2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We were on this cruise for an extended family event and we had our 3 teens with us. It was my first cruise with my boys but my husband and his daughter have been on many. Both the embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and it was ... Read More
We were on this cruise for an extended family event and we had our 3 teens with us. It was my first cruise with my boys but my husband and his daughter have been on many. Both the embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and it was nice to see an option to self assist by carrying off your own luggage and not wait for a departure time. We didn't choose that option but may try it the next time. An inside state room and a balcony room were our 'home' for this 9 night adventure and was available by 1:30 pm. I couldn't believe how much space we had and so many storage options! Very impressed with the cleanliness of both our rooms and even the comfort of the beds. Our room attendant Richie was absolutely amazing and took care of us very well. He even assisted us with a scavenger hunt we were on with family and friends. I had read many reviews of the Navigator prior to our cruise and was worried about the condition of the ship and the food in both the MDR and the WJ as many were negative. I am very relieved to have discovered that I do not share the opinion of the negative reviews. This ship was very well maintained in appearance and in the quality of the furnishings (carpets, drapes, bedding, towels, dishes etc etc). There was a bit of a disappointment with one of the $ dining options which I mentioned in the progress report onboard and it was acknowledged by the staff within hours and a very nice surprise awaited us in our room in the form of chocolate covered strawberries to make it up to us. It really wasn't necessary for them to do that, as our 'disappointment' was only mentioned to maybe help the next patrons have a bit better experience. They went above and beyond. The MDR service was excellent and because we were travelling with about 60 other people in our 'group' we had a section mostly to ourselves and got to change up tables and have a variety of waitstaff. They were all GREAT and worked so hard to make it so enjoyable. There were lots of choices on the menu and it was nice to try new dishes and desserts(...and really for me, such a treat to not have to cook and do dishes!! :) ) My family really enjoyed it too! The WJ also was a pleasant surprise with all the different choices and you could make lots of healthy picks. I love Indian food and am happy to report that these options were tasty and had some nice 'kick' to them! Everywhere on the ship, in all the lounges/bars or on deck there was always a friendly staff member offering to serve up a beverage. The kids loved the activities and shows and the cookies available in the cafe. All of the ports were beautiful and harassment free. Bonaire was the best in my opinion, so beautiful and pristine! I would go again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
Embarkation was slow but Disembarkation was excelent Excellent service in the dining restaurant with Mr Shalton & Bobie waiters, Bad food quality in buffet aeria such time lot salty items & sauces poor maintenance ... Read More
Embarkation was slow but Disembarkation was excelent Excellent service in the dining restaurant with Mr Shalton & Bobie waiters, Bad food quality in buffet aeria such time lot salty items & sauces poor maintenance service ( loose aluminum ceiling plate my room)also water leakage problems bad smell & mold on carpet. Cracked chairs & loose painting in the dining room. 2 of our friends has big leaking problem in there room because of shower , bad small in the room they want the help desk the maintenance made carpet shampoo & used air dryers for few our but with out result for the first days . the help desk clam non any arty cabin available but after three days of claims finally the find another cabine in the deck #8 could you imagine the 2 ladies sleeping with bad cabine.They offre theme 50.00$ each for compasation. this situation is not acceptable for there first cruise with your company. Read Less
46 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
First off to all the Veteran Cruisers, Let's face it the industry has changed dramatically. The days of the Deck Parties, Ice Carvings, Midnight Buffets, Festive sail away parties and Theme nights are a thing of the past. Not sure ... Read More
First off to all the Veteran Cruisers, Let's face it the industry has changed dramatically. The days of the Deck Parties, Ice Carvings, Midnight Buffets, Festive sail away parties and Theme nights are a thing of the past. Not sure what the reasoning is behind all of these cuts is because these in the past were very enjoyable and highly anticipated events. I'm sure it has something to do with $$ though :-).That being said, To you not so seasoned cruisers who are clueless to what I'm referring to will know no difference. Anyway Contrary to the negativity of the reviews this ship has been getting, This was a terrific cruise. I fell into the trap of believing all of the negativity and even with all of my experience in cruising, was extremely concerned that I was in for a bad experience. Shame on you folks that submitted some of these wildly false and negative reviews. What happened on the transatlantic portion on this ship and the Boston debacle has nothing to do with the Caribbean sailings. Different ports, different processes. Be aware that in the new age of cruising, some of the responsibility of you having a good time rests on your own shoulders. Its not the ships responsibility to make sure that you are happy 100% of the time. If that is your expectation then your setting yourself up for a huge disappointment. The ship provides the opportunity, It's up to you to make it happen. Embarkation- Not so smooth for us. We normally go early, this time since it was a 9 day cruise, we figured we would try a later boarding experience. Bad idea. We are Emerald members who are suppose to get priority boarding privileges but were not allowed to use the Emerald line until we went through a majority of the regular line. So not very smooth for us. Others also seemed slightly frustrated with the process, but we all made it just in time to get immediately into our cabins. Now to the ship- Very well maintained. It is a bit dated and Yes could use a renovation soon. But definitely acceptable. Our cabin on Deck 7 was a typical balcony cabin. No problems. Dining Room was very nice. Service was a bit slow at times and food was Average. Staff was very attentive, but at times showed some frustration, but all in all was good Windjammer- Food was actually quite good up there.Better than some other RCCL ships we have been on. Always seemed busy though. Also keep in mind that most people have that its their world and you just live in it mentality, so if your not ready for battle, be prepared to get bumped, shoved, cut in front of etc.. Just stand your ground. Entertainment- Comedians were fantastic, Ice show even though not my thing, was quite good. Did not do any of the production shows, If seen one you've pretty much seen em all. On board feedback from other guest was not very favorable for the shows. Many walk outs. Cruise Director Cuddy was a bit of a phony, but had most convinced that he was the man. Entertainment staff were pretty good. If you are going on to participate in the trivia games, Be aware of the "Googlers". Hard to believe people would cheat to win small meaningless prizes, but it happens. Schooner bar Piano Guy David Curtis is quite entertaining. Definitely worth a look.. He is the late night guy. Terrific improv talent. But very important for crowd to participate. Ports of call - Labadee, Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. All were very good. Labadee was just a quick walk around for us because we have been there several times. The other 3 were very nice and we were not disappointed in any way. I was the leader of a group of 24, So I had booked all our excursions months in advance through private vendors. I have submitted reviews on all of our excursions on Trip Advisor. The three tours we did were Irie Tours on Curacao, Caribe Water Sports Snorkel Tour on Bonaire, and ABC Jeep tour on Aruba. First 2 were excellent, ABC tour had potential to be great but heavy downpours throughout the day put a bit of a damper on that excursion. Bar Service - Not the greatest. We purchased the premium drink package (in advance..much cheaper). Bars in public areas (pools and windjammer)at times were quite busy and had to wait up to 5 minutes at times for service. Very few drink guys walking around as they used to hound you like used car salesmen before the package era became popular..hmmm!! Guest Services - Very busy at times, but took care of most issues. Our safe malfunctioned twice. Had problems with keys etc.. billing and credit issues were resolved efficiently. Just go when they are not busy. Promenade Area - Very good.. Did parades, bars and snacks as well as shops were all available. Nice open area to stroll around at various times. Kind of like a mall atmosphere if I had to describe it. Disembarkation - A breeze for us because we used self assist. Were off the ship and thru customs with luggage in hands and in our van within 30 minutes after departing our cabin. In Closing we really enjoyed this cruise. Disregard the negativity and trust me on this one. I get the fact that some things happen that can cause folks to not enjoy their vacations, but most of the negativity is just coming from those that have nothing better to do but complain. Was it perfect, absolutely not..But in comparison to other sailings Iv'e been on, It ranks pretty high. Enjoy and I hope I offered some good insight. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Ok so where to start, so many things to say. First of all, we had to wait 4 1/2 hours in line in the heat just to get on the ship. We never went to a terminal. It was a tent that was even hotter inside to wait in more lines. After a couple ... Read More
Ok so where to start, so many things to say. First of all, we had to wait 4 1/2 hours in line in the heat just to get on the ship. We never went to a terminal. It was a tent that was even hotter inside to wait in more lines. After a couple hours they finally started passing out water while we waited in line. We didn't leave until 6pm and when we got onboard there we didn't get to grab a bite to eat because we had to go immediately to the muster drill. By the this time we were starving and went looking for food. Could we find any? NO!!! We were supposed to wait for the dining room to open. I had an anxiety attack at this point and started crying and begging for food so I went up to one of the waiters and started yelling at them that I just wanted food and to sit down. Something to the effect of: "Can't we even get fed on this stupid ship? I just want some food and my feet hurt and I want to sit down already. We've only been waiting for hours in line!" Yes, embarrassing, but it happened. I've got to say they found me a seat and within two minutes moved us into the dining room. Probably to keep everyone else from rioting. After A glass of wine and some bread I started to calm down, ate and went straight to the stateroom and to bed. Everything was ok until we got to the royal Caribbean port in Haiti. We booked an excursion for jet skiing. With our friends. The staff on the excursion was rude and antagonizing. The chicks name was HANNAH and she gave us misinformation and was rude to us because we are middle age and treated us like we were geriatric. She almost let our friend drown because she didn't follow safety protocol or recommendations for the excursion. After 30 minutes of our friend in the water she decided to stop laughing and saying Ebro thing was cool and called for help. After the boat came and took our friends away we just wanted to be done and on our way. They charged us twice for the locker because of their mistake. The port shopping was horrible because the people are so aggressive and rude. Plus, they lie to you just to get you to buy. One guy actually got in my husbands face and told him "LOOK AT ME! I'm taking to you." The only good thing was that the ship provided food and beverages. On Wednesday night there was supposed to be a Latin pool party but the whole deck got flooded from the pools because the ship was rocking so badly since we sailed that it was cancelled because they were worried the band would get electrocuted. So were we. They told everyone to go to the Cosmopolitan Club to continue the party. That was a disaster. The do apparently didn't get the memo and some old lady started yelling and cussing at him that no one liked his music and to play something else. When he did, she started yelling at people to get up and dance, so we left. At 1am, said lady was leading a protest two decks below us, stomping and chanting "This stupid "A" (profanity) boat sucks!" because they closed the only dance club early. This went on for 30 minutes. At 4am there was an explosion and I thought the ship was sinking. Never found out what that was about. For the first 3 days the hallway smelled of sewer. There was only one dance club on the ship. The Latin band was awesome! But they only get a corner the deck and it was super crowded because it was the only place that had decent dance music. I called and bought a gift for my husband for our anniversary, which was on the 29th. I waited all day and nothing came. Next day we went to guest services and to find out what happened and they apologized for the error, which I they never said what happened but they ruined the surprise. They tried to make up for it and offered us a bottle of champagne, which we never recieved. They also offered us dinner at one of the premium restaurants to make up for it. That was nice, but ,y husband woke up sick and it wa on the last day of the cruise so I had dinner with my friend and not our anniversary dinner. So no anniversary celebration for us on the ship, thanks to ROYAL CARIBBEAN. Needless to say, we will never ever travel with them again. Worst vacation of our lives. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Navigator of the Seas – March 5th 2016 Sailing My wife and I are seasoned cruisers and I have completed Cruise Critic entries of our past voyages, I certainly do not use this forum to criticize at least that is not my intent. I do ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas – March 5th 2016 Sailing My wife and I are seasoned cruisers and I have completed Cruise Critic entries of our past voyages, I certainly do not use this forum to criticize at least that is not my intent. I do however share my thoughts and experiences based on previous cruises and comparable voyages. With that being said this is my review of the MS Navigator of the Seas from Cruise Port to Embarking to disembarkation. Ft. Lauderdale Cruise Port Embarkation Unfortunately the MS Navigator was delayed 2 hours prior to docking in Ft. Lauderdale on March5th this meant that the furthest Southern Dock was used which is not very passenger friendly to say the least. The Traffic is a mess and not very organized. Nonetheless we managed to get through without that big of a deal. Just an FYI to Platinum and above RCCL members – The signs for Check in are not advertised to well so you need to ask where these areas are, it does make a difference. The only good thing about Ft. Lauderdale is they finally finished the freeway construction into the Port (Only took a couple years). As for Disembarkation the terminal is just as dis-organized going out as it is coming in and we generally take the early off the ship option so I cannot imagine what it is like if we waited until Nine or Ten AM. Thus my only advise is, feel it out when you arrive and make your best educated decision on what you see it’s like. MS Navigator of the Seas Well we were told that the Navigator is the sister ship to the Freedom and you wouldn’t notice too much difference – well not quite, the MS Navigator is actually smaller in Width and Length so there is a noticeable difference but you will overcome the differences rather quickly so it’s not a show stopper. The ship is arranged similar to that of the Freedom Class ships so getting around should be relatively easy. The Promenade is smaller in width and this is probably where you will see the most difference. As for the Location of the dining rooms and specialty restaurants - Just an FYI Giovanni’s and Chops Grill are located right inside the Windjammer (Left and Right) sides AFT Ship so no worries about running cross country to find these. The Ship overall has had some face lifts but is still in need of a few minor things that will make it complete. For example the elevators on AFT Starboard side seemed to be a lot slower than the elevators on the AFT Port side. We even experienced one of the Starboard side elevator doors opening and closing several times before it finally reset and started running its normal cycle. Also the women’s rest rooms on Deck 11 (Windjammer Side) seemed to be out of order for the week of our cruise not sure what happened after day 1 but it never recovered for use. The Sliding doors seem to be a little of with Sensors on Deck 4 and deck 11. As aforementioned the ship is a tad bit smaller but it is definitely not a show stopper. MS Navigator of the Seas CREW Words cannot describe how ecstatic we are with the Crew – We had a group of six and there was not one crew member that did not make us feel like part of the RCCL Family. We have taken over Nine cruises and although we had great service from the staff, the MS Navigator Crew raised the bar on Customer Satisfaction we were absolutely mind blown on the interaction – the service and the commitment this crew had absolutely amazing, we made some awesome lifelong friends with this RCCL Staff and already conversing on social media. It was something we didn’t expect and something we will never forget. So with that as I said in the beginning words cannot describe how awesome this crew was during our trip and we hope you have the same interaction. Windjammer / Specialty Dining Well honestly we only used the Windjammer for Breakfast, most of our dinners were in the main dining room as our wait-staff was so top notch we could bear not having dinner with them on a nightly bases. Although when we did use the Windjammer the food was good although it appeared it was more crowded than normal but that could certainly be about timing. There could have been more staff on hand during the breakfast service but nothing extremely bad. We did not try any of the Specialty restaurants as the timing just wasn’t there for us. But I didn’t hear any bad reviews from anyone on the ship. The Main Dining Room (Sapphire) was absolutely incredible from the Hostess down to the wait staff it was fantastic. During one of our dinners the wait staff let us know that there was a Galley Excursion that costs about $30.00 per person, Although we were a little reluctant to do it – we decided to anyway and I will be the first to say it was well worth the experience in understanding firsthand how the Galley works I highly recommend you take this tour if the opportunity presents itself. Games and Shows on Navigator We only made a couple shows (Quest and Love and Marriage) both are great shows and if you have time it would be worth seeing / participating in either one. As for the headliner shows, honestly there wasn’t allot of advertisement on the ship about the headliner shows so I couldn’t even tell you who was on board, generally you would see this advertised on the ship or a marquee but honestly I don’t remember seeing much of anything. BINGO – Well this was our first and last time playing bingo, it’s not your typical bingo play – you have 3 rounds of Bingo and depending on how you play – Soft Card or Electronic will determine how much it cost to play. You can figure and averages start about $25 and go up from there. Game 1 is your general BINGO Straight or Diagonal Cover, Game 2 is 4 Corner and Game 3 is Cover All. Now I am not an expert BINGO player but I heard allot of people complaining when game one was over in 4 Number Picks and we all found out there is only one prize for each round. No one was expecting anything extravagant but come on RCCL a T-Shirt and or a Specialty restaurant Gift Card would be nice 2nd and 3rd Place prizes especially after 5 minutes playing round one. Round two went a little longer with only one prize awarded and round 3 was for a Free Cruise, So it just so happened that there was a 3 way tie and the answer to the tie is, The MC would pull a number and if that number is on your card you win. Uhm… Not good – and no one was happy of how this all ended. So do your-self a favor and ASK the questions before you play – How much? How Many Prizes and how Tie Breakers are handled. As for the Pool Side – Pretty much the norm as any other cruise except my overall standing complaint is the music is way too loud, not that it’s a bad thing but it is nice to sit on the deck and have a conversation that doesn’t require a bull horn to communicate with your party who is two and a half feet in front of you. Overall Appearance on Navigator The ship was very clean except the pool area; I certainly don’t blame the workers I do however believe that RCCL and Passengers bear most of the Brunt on this. First we are smokers and we are polite smokers meaning we will not wander into a nonsmoking area, we keep our areas clean and do not impede on others to clean up after ourselves in any shape or form. RCCL needs more trash and recycling containers on deck 11 and need table ashtrays as well. These two simple and low cost products can help allot of unnecessary work for everyone, but more importantly help to detour those passengers who like to leave their garbage anywhere and everywhere. Restrooms were clean and the only non-operational Restroom was the aforementioned Women’s area on Deck 11 Windjammer. Gest Services Officers Utterly fantastic – never met such an awesome Guest Services crew. We had some room issues that we later found out were are issues. Which I will explain below – Nonetheless they were very helpful and very patient with us. Stateroom 3626 Deck 3 AFT three doors from the Elevators – Awesome area, great for immediate access to dining rooms, elevators, casino etc. We liked it so much we are booked next year on the same ship same room. As I mentioned before there was a slight room problem that RCCL failed to alert us of. They have staterooms that are POWER EFFICIENT meaning there is a trigger Pocket below the light switch that when activated it allows your lights to turn on and off. If you don’t place the cards into the slot the correct way your lights will not work. Well it took us a few days before someone finally explained it to us (Guest Services) although we felt silly we laughed quite hard about it because we were sure there was an issue with our room’s electric. So check with your State Room Attendant and ask if you have such a room – I think they are retrofitting these rooms a little at a time. Overall The MS Navigator is a great ship, with a great Crew and we are looking forward to sailing on her again in March 2017 if not sooner. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
This cruise is one with a majority of Texans on it due to the port. We were one of the minority being from the Pacific Northwest (PDX). Because of the makeup of the guests, there was a lot of country western music in the bars and the big ... Read More
This cruise is one with a majority of Texans on it due to the port. We were one of the minority being from the Pacific Northwest (PDX). Because of the makeup of the guests, there was a lot of country western music in the bars and the big screen had plenty of football playing. They know their audience, that's for sure! The port itself is a mess - piles of dirt and construction materials that you see from the deck of the ship. The area in front of the terminal entry was very small and crowded but we had no problem finding a porter to wheel our bags inside. The line into the security scanners was long and slow as there were only two security guards working. They only made you throw out your bottle of water if it had been opened but you could have just put it in your bag and it would have probably gone right on through. (Think vodka...) The actual registration went very quickly even thought we were there about 11:30 am in the thick of the early boarders. The first night the left balcony partition door came loose in the wind and was banging against the ship from 2 am - 5 am when my husband finally called the desk. It ruined the next day having to sleep all afternoon to catch up. I feel like we lost a day of the trip. The humidity was horrid - impossible to have your balcony door open with that wall of wet coming in. Of course, we're from a place where we hardly have humidity so it was difficult to enjoy the balcony except late at night. The first night's dinner was unsettled. My fish was overcooked which isn't normal for RC. The rest of the time, everything was perfect except the Baked Alaska (gritty meringue) which was easily replaced. Our waiter, Stalin and assistant, Jakub, table 414, at Early Seating were very attentive. Stalin would make suggestions which were always the best choice. We had brought our own wine on board (they allow 1 bottle per person), and we had them the last 3 nights without a corkage fee being charged. My mother wasn't able to negotiate the stairs much so we had to use the elevators most of the time. They were so busy we had to go in the opposite direction we wanted to go just to get in one. Lots of other people were doing the same. This was the first time for this experience. The Flow Rider was so much fun. You have to sign a waiver and there are age/height restrictions. The instructors are very helpful and work to give you the longest ride possible. They have boogie board (on your stomach) and surfing at separate times. Putt putt golf is an 8 hole course and goes fast. It's in the sun, so wear your sunscreen! We didn't do any excursions through the ship except the Houston Space Center which included bus transportation to IAH. It was a very comfortable bus with a toilet, safe driver and knowledgeable guide. The stop at the HSC is about 2 hours long which is plenty of time to see almost everything within the building. There is a nice cafeteria to grab a bite to eat, a large gift shop and restrooms. Since we were a tour, we had Green 1 bag tags which put us off the ship among the first groups and through customs quickly. The baggage area is small so it makes for some confusion. The customs process is slow depending on who is in front of you. We were behind three British citizens who had to be fingerprinted and photographed. The tour does watch for you since you have a sticker on your shirt and they usher you out to the bus area. I would pay for this next time just for the priority service! We did not go to the production shows since the last one I went to on a cruise a couple of years ago was pretty ordinary. After reading reviews on here, I'm glad we didn't waste the time. However, we went to the comedian and the hypnotist shows which were hilarious. We also found the time to to go the Love and Marriage game which had the best participants I've ever seen. The drinks were only $5 in a souvenir glass - the best deal on the ship? We played the Nations Game where you collect signatures from crew members from all the different countries on the ship. It was a great way to meet them and have a conversation for a more personal trip. We ate in the dining room every night and only a few times in the Windjammer. We had breakfast from room service most days. The order forms are on a hook behind the cabin door. They were normally about 1/2 hour earlier than the time selected. The first morning's food had cold, hard toast and poorly cooked bacon. The scrambled eggs seem like they are baked. The fruit plate was ordinary, not well plated and some of it was sour/unripe. It didn't stop me from ordering it, though. The refrigerator is a good place to put an extra yogurt or lemon tart for the next morning or a snack. As someone posted before, it would be a good idea to have the steward remove all the items from your frig so you aren't tempted to use any of it. We didn't use anything but I think I was charged for an item. Probably poor inventory control from the last occupant. The Belize City port is a tender port. They may have this well organized, but it's a big chunk of your port time sitting on a noisy boat on metal benches. This port appears to be the poorest of the three, followed by Roatan, Honduras and then Cozumel, Mexico. Everywhere you are inundated with "requests" for your money. It was very tiring and depressing. The ship was late loading our Gold benefits onto the Sea Pass card on Sunday and I went to the service desk to find out how to get a credit. The person at the desk called the shop and sent me back to have it fixed. He even called me the next day to make sure it was taken care of! That was the only time I had any dealings with the desk since the rest of the trip went smoothly. I signed up for international internet with my carrier, Verizon, but it didn't work very well with the ship or on land. The next trip, I'll buy a couple of days of access and do everything I need to during that time and forget about it the rest of the time. The cafe at the end of the Promenade is where there are sandwiches, pizza, desserts, coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade and water. It's not apparent that this is included in your fee as it's next to the Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's counter that do have a cost. It's not that large but the tables have good turnover and it's open all night, unlike the Windjammer. The dinner menu is posted on an interactive screen outside of the dining rooms so you can check out that night's options or any of the other restaurants. I always found something to eat without a problem and they take care of dietary issues such as gluten free. We signed up for the galley tour which was a $30 per person buffet lunch for 150 people. It started with a mimosa and then an inside glimpse of how the kitchen works. Lunch was prepared by various sou chefs and placed on the pass for you to select from. There were omelets, Beef Wellington, eggs Benedict, salmon, fresh fruit, a lovely bread display, sushi, a large selection of desserts and crepes made to order. It was well worth the cost, so if you have the opportunity offered to you, don't hesitate to do it. The cardroom is on deck 7 and has a daily suduko puzzle and quiz posted. They have boxed games, plenty of tables & chairs and a pretty large library of books. It was a hidden gem we didn't discover until the cruise was about over. It's just below the art gallery. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
I will never forget this wonderful ship and the amazing staff that all played a part of an amazing vacation! We took this cruise as a family vacation/wedding/honeymoon event. I have never felt so important and appreciated in my life! ... Read More
I will never forget this wonderful ship and the amazing staff that all played a part of an amazing vacation! We took this cruise as a family vacation/wedding/honeymoon event. I have never felt so important and appreciated in my life! These staff members (especially Vesyl-server in the main dining room and Glendon- waiter in the pool area) should come to Oklahoma and teach our restaurants, bars, hotels, etc... a little about customer service! I have been back a week and I wake up every morning from dreams about being back on this cruise. I told my husband that I feel like I live on the ship now and have been doing everything I can to plan my next cruise on this ship! Simply wonderful and unforgettable! We played miniature golf, swam in the pools, relaxed in the hot tubs, enjoyed the spa, bars, and restaurants, and even shopped! There were so many options for activities but my now husband and I chose to relax since we were getting married (and we all know how chaotic that can be!) Our Oceanview Stateroom with a balcony was a perfect size and was cleaned twice a day. We came in multiple times to champagne in the room. The only bad part about this cruise was getting off of it :( Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was my first cruise, so I don't have a point of comparison other than what I have read here. But my overall impression was good. Galveston is unfortunately pretty far from the nearest airport, so if you are not driving in, you ... Read More
This was my first cruise, so I don't have a point of comparison other than what I have read here. But my overall impression was good. Galveston is unfortunately pretty far from the nearest airport, so if you are not driving in, you will have to work out how to get to port. We ended up flying into Bush a day early. We stayed the night at the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson. It has a shuttle from the airport and another to the port. It is located right on the southern beach near the pleasure pier and a bunch of other restaurants, so it is a good place to stay if you plan on coming in early. It is one of the only ones in Galveston that has an airport shuttle. We arrived at the port the next morning a little after 11 am. There was a porter ready immediately to take our bags and when the rooms opened our bags were already waiting for us. Embarkation seemed fairly painless. We were on the boat and eating in the buffet well before noon. We were not really impressed with the Windjammer and after eating lunch there the first couple days, we just stopped going back. Rooms opened a little bit after one. Our room was clean and everything worked, our room attendant, Golda, was very friendly. She came and introduced herself the first day and knew our faces and names after that and was always friendly and accommodating every time we saw her. She left us two towel animals, a snake and a dog (even incorporating the sunglasses I left lying around into our dog). The view from the balcony was nice and we felt the movement of the ship a lot less in our room than other places on the ship. We were part of BGG@SEA and we spent a lot of time in the conference room. It was nice, although hard to get to. You can only get to it from the forward stairs. If you go down the wrong side, you have to go back up to the fourth floor and then over through the casino. The casino was always packed and there was no easy way to get from one side to the other. Plus, this is one of the only areas where people are allowed to smoke inside the ship. I'm sure it is convenient for those who do smoke, but it is pretty gross to travel through if you do not. And the smoke bleeds out into the bar areas on either side sometimes since it is not enclosed in any way. I honestly never went to the casino, in part because I couldn't breath for all of the smoke in there. There are a lot of different bars on the ship (about 15 in all). They all have a different feel and each has their own specialty drinks (as well as being able to make all of the usual ones). Most people tend to find one or two they like better and frequent regularly. We tended to go to Two Poets (an English style pub) and R Bar, a kind of zany looking little bar. For food, we primarily stuck with the Main dining room and café promenade. We always enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the menu changed every day so we never got bored and never ate the same thing twice unless we really liked it and wanted some again. Our waiters Leonardo and Atarulla were wonderful and we stayed in their section all week. They were very accommodating to a surprising degree. My husband mentioned he was debating between two food options, the waiter gave a recommendation, he ordered and then the waiter brought both out for him to try. He was always willing to bring out extra at the slightest hint that we wanted it (even bringing an extra lobster out to us on the 2nd formal night, which was the last port day without a word from us, just because my husband was excited to eat lobster). We did my time dining and we got a table to ourselves unless we wanted to go with a big group and then they sat us together. Overall the main dining room was one of our favorite places on board. Café promenade has snack food like little sandwiches, cookies, etc. (the muffaletta is really good). It is attached to a starbucks and a ben and jerry's which are both good options if you want them, but they do cost extra. Overall they tend to overcharge you for anything extra you buy (normally two mixed drinks would run us a little over $20, two frappes at starbucks would cost about $10, etc). Overall the only food we weren't super thrilled with was the Windjammer, but it worked if you just wanted to dash in, eat and dash out again. It was always busy so I guess most people liked it. Because we were with a group, we did not do too much of the normal on board activities. The adult pool was frequently empty with a lot of people lounging around it but the hot tubs were super packed. We did go to the Quest and the Love and Marriage game. Both of them were very fun and we laughed a lot. The director and his comments really added a level of humor to each event. The only thing we were not very happy with was the shore excursions and disembarkation. Since this was our first time cruising, we stayed with all RCI excursions. In Jamaica, we did Flavors of Jamaica. It was about an hour drive each way to the plantation. Our guide on the bus was very nice and we learned a lot about Jamaica from her. The plantation itself was very pretty (although they have a lot of very large spiders all over the place, so this may not be the best tour if you are an arachnophobe like me). The guide that showed us around the plantation was really mean. The group in the back couldn't always hear very well, at one point, she called us out for "not listening" and then pulled us to the front of the line like bad children. Then as punishment she wanted us to dig through a pond searching for a bullfrog to catch for her. I refused since I am afraid of spiders and there were some big ones on the lily pads. She then had us go wash our hands, ad held my husband back so I would be by myself when I had to go by this giant web filled with spider webs. He didn't realize what she was doing until I jumped when I saw it and she laughed. Overall she was very mean and ruined this excursion for me. The food itself was very good, but there was some miscommunication at some point and the plantation did not realize how many people there were and did not have enough places for everyone. So it was delayed by quite a bit while they had to try and figure out how to squeeze in the extra people. There was not enough food for everyone and some people did not get everything. The group that came in after us ended up having to cancel their excursion because it was so delayed, but not until they spent an hour or so, standing there staring at us and complaining that we needed to hurry up. Overall we were not thrilled, although, the food when we finally got it was very good and the chef and our bus tour guide were very nice. We were going to do the stingray city sandbar through RCI, but they cancelled it (due to high winds, I guess they were afraid a wave might knock someone into the path of a boat) and didn't tell us until we got to the pier. By the time we found out, the other tours we wanted to do were either full or had already left since this was one of the later excursions. RCI ended up just refunding our tickets, but they made no effort to try and help us find another excursion. We just ended up wandering to the different stations, trying to find something else to do. We were very disappointed in how RCI handled this. We ended up going with a local one that was doing the stingrays anyways. It was called Kelly's watersports and it was in this big round both at the end of the pier. Overall, I would not recommend them either. They crammed a bunch of people on the boat. And they only had one handler and one stingray for the whole boat of 50 plus people. They ended up just having us crowd around this one poor stingray to feed it and then to take pictures with it. There was no line, it was just pushiest people got to go first. If you went first you really had nothing to do but float around, and if you went last you spent the whole excursion waiting for your turn. Very disorganized. They charged us extra for the tour because they knew we were in a bind, and then charged us another $40 for five pictures if we wanted the pictures we waited for, but they didn't tell us the price until the end. They were supposed to email us the pictures and we still haven't received them. I would go with moby dick tours instead, they are also on the pier and were much better organized and less crowded. When we got done with the picture fiasco, we went to their area and they let us interact with the stingray like we thought we were going to get to. Finally in Cozumel we did the island tour and mayavn ruins. This one was a lot of fun and we learned a lot about the mayans from this tour. We wished we had a bit more time at the tour, especially to look in the little shops afterward. As part of the tour, we went to a mayan chocolate factory which was fun and we learned a lot about the way they used to make chocolate before Europeans got a hold of it. This was really well done and well organized and everyone was friendly. They even recommended a local restaurant, La Choza to eat at afterwards and it was very good. This is the only tour I would really recommend to anyone. Disembarkation was very long (especially for those with visas rather than passports). I would recommend taking your bags down yourself, picking them up again is not very streamlined, and they actually lost our friends bags, or someone else grabbed the wrong bag, there was no process to check out the bags back to you. Anyone could have grabbed any bag. Better to keep your bag with you and know you will have it. It was a very long wait in the lounge and then a very long line when they finally let you leave the lounge. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Every year we have a "Cousins and Friends Cruise" generally around 16 people. This was my 7th cruise with RCCL all out of Galveston. We have cruised on NCL, Holland America and Carnival. I really wanted my cousins to experience ... Read More
Every year we have a "Cousins and Friends Cruise" generally around 16 people. This was my 7th cruise with RCCL all out of Galveston. We have cruised on NCL, Holland America and Carnival. I really wanted my cousins to experience the RCCL difference as we had sailed Magic the last two yeas. It did not match up and I was disappointed. We did have a great time. But a vote was taken and we well be sailing Magic next year. The first night one end of the table did not get waited on?? No bar service at the table at all. It was so bad that two couples complained. We were given two "new" waiters and received great service after that..to a point. They were overwhelmed! way to many people and we were always the first in the dining room and last out. I can't blame the Waite staff, this looks to this old cruiser like a logistics problem and poor management. To many people overall? They added several cabins and maybe have not adjusted the staff to cover for the increase in passengers? I seemed crowded everywhere I went. Toward the end of the cruise we saw several passengers loose their cool and I felt sorry for the RCCL employees that were shown total disrespect. Now let me say it was a good cruise, we had fun. The shows were up to standard. The ports of call were what you make of them and we enjoyed ourselves. It is sometimes the luck of the draw and a cruise is what you make of it sometimes in spite of things that do not measure up to what you expect. Navigator has the potential to be an excellent ship. But, with a few exceptions, I believe every passenger should feel like they ge a great cruise experience and we do expect RCCL to be held to a higher standard. You let me down folks. On a scale of one to ten you got a 7 overall this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
First a little about my cruise background – this is my third cruise. The first was on Norwegian Spirit in 2011, Carnival Magic in 2013 and now Navigator of the Seas – Feb 2014. I was traveling with a group of entertainers for a ... Read More
First a little about my cruise background – this is my third cruise. The first was on Norwegian Spirit in 2011, Carnival Magic in 2013 and now Navigator of the Seas – Feb 2014. I was traveling with a group of entertainers for a jazz/blues/r&b cruise organized by a group of travel agents. From the time we arrived on the recently out of dry dock Navigator of the Seas, it was a communications nightmare with RC. When I checked in online, it clearly stated our cabin beds were to be set apart but they weren't, even though three people would be sleeping in the cabin. The toilet had dried urine on the seat. Disgusting! It took forever to get the cabin attendant to get the bathroom cleaned, the beds set apart, and to let the top bunk down. My luggage didn't arrive until after 9:00 pm so I didn't get to shower/change before going to dinner. The carpet in the cabin hallways was of poor quality because it always needed to be vacuumed. The food was just okay, nothing special or delicious. Due to fog, we were not able to get to the port to dock. Finally, around 2:00 pm, the captain said we were being towed in by tug boats so we could at least disembark. We were finally able to disembark around 5:00 pm. People had been sitting in the terminal waiting all day to board to then find out that they wouldn't be sailing out that night due to the fog. On top of that, my Kindle was stolen by the cabin attendant and my cabin mate had her charger stolen too. I guess he thought her charger would work on my Kindle. Not a good first impression with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
This is my 12 cruise. We started in 1969 on an Eastern Steamship (Star of the seas) and have cruised on 5 different cruise lines.. I rate this cruise a 3 out of 5. On embarkation we were delayed until 7:30 pm to board ship. This was not ... Read More
This is my 12 cruise. We started in 1969 on an Eastern Steamship (Star of the seas) and have cruised on 5 different cruise lines.. I rate this cruise a 3 out of 5. On embarkation we were delayed until 7:30 pm to board ship. This was not RCCL's fault because the port was closed due to fog (Galveston). But we still had to buy a 7 day drink package even though most of the bars were closed and we were limited to only certain brands of liquor that could be bought while in port. I drink Jack Daniels and that was not one of the brands. The Ship did not depart till 8AM the next day. Also very little food could be found because most of the restaurants were closed.. The cabin and staff were very nice. But I found that some of the bartenders were not that good. (they could not make a Rob Roy or didn't know how. ) Our cabin, and not only ours but many others had only hot water for 1-1/2 days so we could not shower. My son's cabin had only cold water for those days. Also the Toilets would only work sometimes because of a vacum line problem. The food in the dinning room was OK even though I ate the same thing almost every night. I did not like the choices. The waiters were great. I prefer anytime dinning on NCL instead of mytime dinning on RCCL.. The windjammer buffets were OK. I rate the food 7 out of 10. The refurbished ship was nice. I saw a few things that could have been done that weren't like a piece of countertop at the poolside bar was missing. We were 400 in our group and had a good time. ESPECIALLY our Mardi Gras party with the Nic-L beer band on last day at sea. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
First a little about me. This will be my 22nd cruise. It is my eighth cruise on Royal Caribbean and for the first time in 22 cruises I am repeating a ship. I was on the Navigator of the Seas back in August 2004. At the request of ... Read More
First a little about me. This will be my 22nd cruise. It is my eighth cruise on Royal Caribbean and for the first time in 22 cruises I am repeating a ship. I was on the Navigator of the Seas back in August 2004. At the request of someone who wanted more details, I decided to write my review while on the ship when things were still fresh in my mind. Then, at the request of several, I loaded photo editing software on my laptop so that I could edit the photographs and add the photographs to the review on the main boards. I also post my review to the review section, but I cannot include the photographs in the review section. I post to the review section so that those searching for a review can find it easily. I post to the main boards so those that want to add comments or ask questions can. I am bringing three cameras with me. I have a Nikon D5100 that I will use mainly on the ship, a Canon A1300 that I will use mainly on dry land off the ship (I call it my travel camera because it is much smaller than the DSLR so it is much easier to carry around on shore excursions) and a Canon D10 waterproof camera that I will use in the water, such as in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Thursday, February 28, 2013 -- Travel day I am currently at LAX waiting for my flight to New Orleans. I made reservations for a taxi to take me to the Fly-Away Bus which will take me to LAX. Total trip cost - $26 including tip. It comes to about $100 if I take the taxi all the way and about the same amount if I drive and pay for parking. I'll use a share-the-ride van to return home, which costs about $48 because the Fly-Away Bus takes a long time to show up and when it does, since United is the last stop, sometimes it is full. At any rate last night I called the taxi company to confirm my reservation and verify that they have the special instructions I gave them. They wanted to know if I was ready to go (what twelve hours early -- NO!). The next morning I get a quick call, "The taxi has arrived" CLICK. I run outside -- no taxi. I call and I'm told the taxi is on his way. Ten minutes another call, "The taxi has arrived" CLICK. I've been standing outside all this time and still no taxi. I call again. This time I get someone who is rather rude. Still no taxi. Then another call to me. This time the person says she has the driver on the phone. Once again the special instructions I gave them are ignored. This happens every time because I am not physically located on the same street that is my street address. I've got to give a different taxi company a try. I go through this every time with this company, though this is the first time I ended up with someone who was rude. All that said and done, I make it to the bus on time and despite the famous Los Angeles traffic, we make it to the airport in a reasonable amount of time. The security line was not too bad except my lower right leg need a pat down. Just the lower right leg, nothing else. What does my right leg have that my left leg doesn't have? Who knows? So here I am, in the United Club (thanks to a day pass I have) at LAX typing this and boarding will begin in about ten minutes. So I'll get back to you after my arrival in New Orleans. Unfortunately I'll be spending a long time at the New Orleans Airport before the return flight (working on this) and there is no United Club in the airport. Well the flight to New Orleans was uneventful. The in-flight entertainment was Chasing Mavericks, a film about a surfer named Jay Moriarity, a very good film in my opinion. I am in an Economy Plus seat. I've been in first class and it is not worth the extra cost. All I want is the extra legroom and Economy Plus offers that for a very reasonable price over the cost of knees in the back of the seat in front of you coach. My two seat mates are great. One is from New Orleans but now lives in Southern California and the other is also taking a cruise on Carnival. My one checked bag is one of the first to come of the plane that is not marked priority (first class and those willing to pay extra for the service get their bags marked priority). One mistake I made was to exchange my camera bag (with the camera in it) for my computer bag, after the movie was over. So now the camera bag is in the overhead bin and I have a window seat with a great view of New Orleans -- RATS! I have a Sudoku book in the computer bag that I used to pass the time until we land which is why I made the switch. I must admit, I was surprised at what I saw of the Mississippi River. I was expecting a very wide blue tinted, fairly straight river. Instead what I saw was much narrower than I expected the color of mud, full of barges and with more switch backs than a steep mountain road. No wonder it takes eight hours to get from the gulf to the city, the ship has to travel three times further than a crow would fly making the same trip. On the way out of the airport I see a hotel shuttle service. It costs $20 one way ($38 round trip -- I'm taking the ship's shore excursion tour back to the airport). I estimated a taxi would cost $100, so I try it out. Each van holds fourteen people and I am number seventeen in line. Ahead of me is someone else from Southern California and someone from Australia. We chat for a bit which helps fill the time until the next van arrives. All in all I spent 45 minutes in line. It is the price one pays to save $80. I'm not in any rush, so the delay is not that big of a deal. But then I get lucky. I'm last one dropped off, so I get a free tour of the downtown / French Quarter area. I'm in the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown. It used to be the Iberville Suites. It is a two room suite and a very nice hotel room. I highly recommend it. I "won" it in a bid on one of those sites where you don't know what you are getting until you get it (picture the former captain of the Enterprise and you'll know which site I used). It is located one block from Bourbon Street and one block from Canal Street, so it is a great location. There is even free Internet access. Usually the more the room cost, the more the Internet access costs. I drop off my luggage, grab my travel camera, and head off to a nearby (walking distance) steakhouse. I get a 24 ounce rib eye (I haven't eaten except for a sandwich on the plane) all day, so I have no problem finishing off a very good steak. The steak, ice tea, three good sized shrimp (the term large shrimp is an oxymoron) and a pecan pie plus tip comes to $77. Expensive, but well worth it. The steak house is Brennan Steak House and it is about two blocks from the hotel. After dinner it is about 7:30pm and I decide to checkout Bourbon Street at night. The street is blocked off from traffic, so people can walk down the middle of the street. For the most part the street is filled with bars, restaurants, jazz halls and places where you can learn some new pole dancing moves (if that is what you are into). They all say no cover charge, so watch out for the drink prices. Finally I head back to the hotel to check out one of the two large wide screen TVs in the large sitting room. Discovery Channel and the History Channel offer some things to keep me entertained until it is late (here -- my body is still two hours behind) and then I update this. Well, tomorrow I am meeting several people I have been corresponding with for the last six and a half years on one of the cruise forums I belong too. We will meet, for the first time, for a two hour tour, on the Steamboat Natchez. So, until tomorrow morning, well, actually later this morning, good night. Friday, March 1 -- Visiting New Orleans Since I stayed up late, I slept in late, getting up in time to shower and still have time for lunch and then off to the 11:30am lunch tour on the Steamboat Natchez. I decide to catch quick lunch at McDonalds. Unfortunately I arrived at 10:25am and lunch is not until 10:30am, so I have breakfast. I went to McDonalds because I know where it is, it is close (just down the block) and it is quick. I know there is another McDonalds just around the block from the one I am in. However, upon arriving back at the hotel I realize there is also a McDonalds across the street from the hotel. I grab my camera, catch a cab and head over to the Steamship Natchez. It is an $8 cab ride including tip. I board the ship no problem. I meet up with some of the people I'll be cruising with. Then I head out to take some pictures. But the camera refuses to take the picture. A quick check reveals the problem. When I uploaded the pictures last night I took the memory card out of the camera and put it in the computer. Unfortunately I forgot to reverse the process -- stupid mistake. I have over one hundred gigabytes on over ten memory cards. Unfortunately they are all currently in the hotel room. Fortunately one of my future fellow passengers had an extra memory card. The tour is great. First I check out the ship and they let us into the engine room. One of the people in the engine room sees how interested I was in the goings on and gave me an information sheet on the ship. Then I head back to the person who lent me the memory card to tell him about the engine room. Soon we are both touring the engine room. Then suddenly it seems half the passengers on the ship show up in the engine room. About the time I finish checking out the ship it reaches the halfway point. The ship turns around and I get the chance to see the goings on around the river on the way back. After departing the ship I check out the river walk. There is an IMAX Theater and an aquarium. I would check them out but they are $20 plus each, and I don't feel like spending that kind of money right now. My little walk has lead me to the Cable Street street car. It is only $1.25 to get back, but I end up waiting about twenty minutes until one of the electric trolleys, going in the same direction I want to go, shows up. Back at the hotel I just relax until it is dinner time. Tonight I am going to try an Italian restaurant I found last night when walking up and down Bourbon Street. One thing I notice when walking to the restaurant is that Bourbon Street is more crowded tonight (Friday night) than it was last night. I end up ordering lasagna with a shrimp appetizer. I also had ice tea, but the tea was pre-sweetened. It was too sweet for me; I ended up having to water it down with water. Total cost, including the tip is $44, and that is the problem. Once a week I get an equally good Italian dinner at a restaurant home for half this price. This is why I tend to avoid the Italian restaurants on the ship. For the most part pasta is pasta. However, there are different qualities of meet (select, choice and prime) and methods of cooking that do make a difference so I do like to go to the ship board steakhouses. After dinner I am back in the hotel room watching TV, uploading my photographs and working on this. I've enjoyed New Orleans and would not mind coming back here again in the future. But for now it is 2am (again) and I've got a very important meeting I have to make later this afternoon, so until later this morning, good night. Saturday, March 02, 2013 -- Embarkation day I'm up at 8am. I check out the Internet for the last time. I don't do Internet on the ship unless there is a lot of interest in the ship, and there isn't that much interest in this ship at this time. Then I pack. Just before I am ready to shower and dress housekeeping knocks on my door. It is only 10am and I am planning to leave at 10:30am. Checkout time is noon, so I tell her I'll be leaving pretty soon. I've learned to bar the door from the inside when I am showing because these people (on land or sea) knock, and if they don't get a reply they use their pass key. Well, if I'm in the shower I am not going to hear them knock. At any rate I leave the hotel at 10:30am, just like I planned, and catch a cab. My plan is to get to the port at 11am and hopefully board by 11:30am. To my surprise, the cruise ship that was there yesterday (the Oriana) is still there. We are directed to a different location to unload and board. The driver was great, so I ended up giving him a 33% tip. He was asking about the recent cruise ship problems and I we eventually compared plane crashes to ships sinking. I ended up telling him that there were a lot more planes in the ocean than ships in the sky. He laughed and then said he had to agree with me on that. We keep up this back and forth the whole trip, it was quite entertaining. Well, at any rate I start walking toward the terminal and it looks like people are already boarding. I am both diamond and in a (mini) suite. It is the suite line that is boarding and fifteen minutes after giving my checked bag to the porter I am on the ship. It is a strange feeling, as this is the first time I have ever repeated a ship. In 2004 all I had was a 3.2 mega pixel camera with a two to one zoom. Now I have a DSLR (16 mega pixels) and the lens I am using to photograph the ship has a six to one zoom (plus I have an even more powerful zoom giving me a total zoom range of about eleven to one). At any rate, I sneak into my cabin, find my cabin steward, tell him I am dropping off my carry-ons, and go about photographing the ship, and this time I know what I want to photograph and where it is from experience (I took over 500 photographs today). Just as I get to the Windjammer they announce that the cabins are ready. What luck, with everyone leaving the Windjammer I have no problem getting a table. By this time I have photographed everything I want on decks eleven through fourteen. So after lunch I head back to the cabin to see if my luggage has arrived (not yet). So I head over to the cabin of the guy who lent me the memory card. I knock -- no answer. I start to leave and look who is coming down the hall (my timing seems to be perfect today). I give him the memory card (with the pictures still on it) plus interest (I gave him an extra one I have -- don't worry, I still have ten or eleven with me totaling well over one hundred gigabytes). After that I go to the common areas on the lower decks (decks three, four and five). After all of that it is back to cabin where I find my luggage waiting for me. I put it in the walk-in closet and sit down and rest for a bit. Then I see the sign that if I want ice I have to ask for it and my room steward is nowhere to be found. So I have to drink the not so cold water from the tap. Just in case I put a glass of water in the mini fridge and then photograph the cabin. Once I finish that it is time to unpack. Now it is after 3pm and I figure the muster drill is at 4pm (I was right). So I decide to just rest and have some more water. To my surprise, the water in the cabin refrigerator is cold. For the first time in my cruising history I've got a refrigerator that actually works. Soon the dreaded seven short and one long horn sound. I put my shoes on and open the door just in time to find my room steward checking up on me (they put a red card in the card key slot to indicate that the cabin has been checked. Why, they take roll at the muster drill. At any rate I ask for ice, which he says he will get for me after the muster drill. At the muster drill I am told to stand in a place that allows me to be the first one in the door when the muster drill is over (like I said, my timing is great today -- too bad they don't sell lottery tickets on the ship). We are having our sail-away in the Viking Lounge, so I take an elevator from deck four to deck fourteen. At the sail-away I have a mudslide (complete with state sale's tax) and watch as the captain uses his thrusters to move away from the dock and then spins the ship so that we can go down river. At this point the Mississippi River is only a little wider than this ship is long. So we are headed down river, a trip that will take about eight hours. As the sun sets I can no longer tell were the river banks are and soon land and river blend into one. I'm not sure how the pilot can tell, since ships don't have headlights. Finally I leave the sail-away to take a few night time shots (it is dark outside and the lights are on inside, making photography through the windows of the Viking Lounge a bad idea. Then back to the cabin as dinner will be ready soon (I have late seating). I turn on the TV and what do I see, a program on the George Smith incident. At first I wonder why Royal Caribbean is showing this when I realize this is just a regularly scheduled program (Nancy Grace Mysteries). I don't know if she solved the mystery of how George Smith died (though she seems to be leaning toward blaming the Russians) because I had to leave to go to dinner. There were lots of good choices, so I decide to have both the chicken and the extra cost, cooked to order, filet from Chops (which comes to $18.54 including tip and tax). The chicken was good and the steak was excellent. My tablemates, as well as those at the table next to me, are all part of the group I am in. Great group by the way. After dinner I am dead tired and head back to the cabin to upload the pictures and work on this. I decide to venture out on my balcony to see what I can see (which is not much) when I notice a big ship headed toward us. It is the Carnival Conquest on its way to New Orleans. I run back into the cabin to grab my camera and I take a few pictures. Then back in the cabin to upload the pictures and continue to work on this. The next time I look up there are a whole bunch of balconies just outside my window. I grab my camera again and run outside again. This time it is an NCL ship. I didn't get the name, but I am guessing it is the NCL Sky. All of this occurred between 11 and 11:10pm. Given we are still in the river, the ships are passing each other at about two hundred feet apart (my estimate -- at the Captain's Corner I learns that the ships are actually 400 feet apart). It is now midnight and it is too dark for me to tell if we are still in the river. Oh wait a second, there is a clue. The pilot boat is right below me. Okay, we must be ready to say goodbye to the river pilot and set a course in the Gulf of Mexico for, well Mexico (Cozumel to be exact). At any rate, it is late, I've covered the highlights for today (now yesterday) and I am tired. So, until later today -- good night. Sunday, March 3, 2013 -- Day at Sea I wake up at about 6:35am and suddenly realize my mistake. I forgot to check on the status of the sunrise when I first opened my eyes earlier. Still, I do get a couple of good sun risen photos, just to show I was there. Also, either the river has become extremely wide, or we are in the Gulf of Mexico, doing about 17.5 knots on our way to Cozumel. We were going about 15 knots in the river. However, the reason we didn't make much progress in the first eight hours is that the river has many switch backs. Now in the open ocean we are on a straight SSE course and have traveled much further in the last seven hours then we did during the first seven hours. According to the ship's information channel, we have traveled 243 miles since leaving New Orleans. We are only about one and half miles from land; though that land is straight down (we don't want to go in that direction). The ship's information channel gives all sorts of good information except for one very important bit of information -- the air temperature. Still it felt nice when I was taking the pictures, at least ten degrees warmer than what we were experiencing in New Orleans. I expect we will see temperatures in the lower seventies soon, as the sun is quite warm (though there is a lot of cloud cover). Okay, that was the 7:30am forecast. The 9am revised forecast is nice and cool due to heavy cloud cover. Most of the passengers will not be happy, but I am, I like it cool. It is single t-shirt weather for me, which is good, because I'm wearing my favorite cruise ship t-shirt. It shows a deer in a forest with arrows stuck in all the trees. The caption reads vegetarian, Indian word for lousy hunter. I bought it on my first cruise in Sitka, Alaska in 1999. Last night I was so tired I forgot to begin charging my camera batteries. No matter, this junior suite has two plugs. Now all I have to do is find my little camera bag. I don't see it and I do remember packing it when I left the hotel. After double checking all the places I remember putting things in it suddenly occurs to me that behind the side mirrors on the desk is some storage room that is the perfect size for my small camera bag. Sure enough that is where it is. Well, it is 8am now. Time to shower, get dressed, perhaps get some breakfast and maybe a short video from the bow. Then at 10am we are having a gift exchange followed by a Meet and Mingle at 11:30am in the Dungeon (the disco). What a terrible place for a Meet and Mingle as it is dark down there. I decide to bring my breakfast of bacon, eggs, rice and milk back to the cabin to eat on the balcony. And yes, that is a banana in my pocket, except it is in my back pocket. The plates are big, but there are no trays, so things like silverware and the banana have to be transported in my pockets. After breakfast I update this and then it is off to the helicopter pad for a short video. On the way I take more pictures of the Royal Promenade. I also check out the stores. This is not a good time to go to the stores because this is when they first open and EVERYBODY wants to check them out. Though I'm not going to buy anything, I do get to see what I might be interested in, and it's not much. This of course is a problem with the number of cruises I have taken. I pretty much have everything I want. Maybe later in the week they will have something that interests me. Now it is 9:40am and time to get ready for the gift exchange. First I tried to give away some of the discount coupons that I received in my diamond coupon book. I couldn't give away all the coupons I had no intention of using. One coupon is good for a fifteen percent discount on $1,000 or more jewelry purchase. If you really like your bedding, I've got a fifteen percent coupon if you are interested in purchasing it. I didn't find any takers either of those two coupons. However, I was able to get rid of my free spin and match play coupons. After the gift exchange I ended up with a mug from Minnesota, which just happens to be the location of the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Then we went to the stairs near the Metropolis Theater for a group photo. Many of us then went to the Dungeon for another Meet and Mingle event. Though I knew the time and place, I did not receive the invitation -- until I returned to the cabin with my friends AFTER the Meet and Mingle. There was also an invitation to a behind-the-scenes Theater Tour. I did this on the Enchantment of the Seas and I did not find it that interesting. I'll wait until I'm diamond plus when more interesting tours are offered. Finally there is an invitation to a diamond event tomorrow late afternoon. As I suspected, the Dungeon was not a good place for the Meet and Mingle as it is dark down there. There were a few small prizes given out, than then a friend won the grand prize, which was one of each of the prior prizes in a small backpack. We then spoke for a long time and then went to my cabin followed by my friend's grand suite for our own private, and limited, cabin crawl. They then headed to the ice show and I went back to my cabin where my lack of sleep caught up with me. But prior to that someone came by to check the mini-fridge see if I had used any of the items. I showed him that I moved things too make room for my orange juice and glass of cold water. However, nothing was missing. After a much needed two hour nap I went up to deck twelve to catch the sunset. I was not the only one there for that purpose. However, the sun set behind the clouds. In short, the sunset was a bust. Then it was time to get dressed for formal night. I posed for three pictures and then used one of my two for one drink coupons. Then I got in line to have my picture taken with the captain. I was the third or fourth person to have my picture taken with the captain and thus ended up on the DVD, so I paid the $30 for the DVD. After the introduction of the senior staff by the captain, it was time for dinner. I had the chicken salad with apple slices and walnuts as an appetizer and ravioli with shrimp as the main course. Both were very good. After dinner I decided to just go back to the cabin, upload my photographs and work on this. It is now a little after midnight and I am going to be swimming with a manatee in about ten hours. So until later today, good night.Monday, March 4 -- Cozumel It is 5:30am and even though the sun will not rise for half an hour, I can already tell sunrise will be a bust. Not only are there no clouds overhead, but just to make sure, there are clouds on the horizon. Sunrise is shortly after 6am. We are scheduled to arrive at 7am, which is fairly early. But in the distance I can see a Disney ship already docked. Docked at 6am -- that is really early. It occurs to me that this is the fourth time I have been to Cozumel and all four times on Royal Caribbean. Tomorrow it will be the fifth time I have been to Grand Cayman and that has been on three different lines (Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean). It is 7:10am and the captain says we have been cleared to go ashore. The current temperature is 68 degrees and is expected to rise to 79 degrees later today. At 8:20am the Carnival Dream showed up. Given the time, it is time for me to get ready to go ashore, but first a quick breakfast. I just grab a couple of slices of ham and a banana and eat in the Windjammer as I am a bit behind schedule. In August 2004 I was aboard the Navigator of the Seas and I took a ship sponsored excursion to Chankanaab Park to swim with a dolphin. While there we were offered the chance to swim with a seal for only $59 more, which I took advantage of. Today I took an independent tour to Chankanaab Park to swim with a manatee. It cost $50.15 online. The taxi from the International pier (where we docked) to Chankanaab Park is $11 each way (if you have five it is $16 for the group or $3.20 each). I didn't think the cost of the swim included admission to the park, but they let me in for free, so I guess it did. While the dolphin swim is usually a group of ten people with one dolphin, there were only three of us (all from this ship) swimming with two manatees. A word of caution, don't go swimming near manatees with your salad, because they eat lettuce -- lots of it. It was great. Swimming with the dolphins is very popular and a lot of fun, but so was swimming with the manatees and we got a lot more inaction with the manatees than one gets with the dolphins (though the manatees will not pull you through the water like the dolphins do). Unfortunately they don't allow cameras any more (I had a water proof camera with me in 2004 and still bought the video and the pictures). The pictures are one for $35 or all of them (in my case 41 of them) for $79 on a CD (there was no video). I bought two pictures and saved a whole nine dollars. Okay, not really, I bought all 41 of the pictures. Before swimming with the manatee I took ten pictures with my waterproof camera at Chankanaab Park. After swimming with the manatee the camera stopped working (oh ship!). I recharged the battery back on the ship, but the camera still did not work (double oh ship!!). There is no evidence of water intrusion in the camera, so I'll have to get the camera checked out when I return home. This will make swimming with the turtles tomorrow less fun, but life has its ups and downs, even when one is on vacation. At least it is not as bad as forgetting to make sure there is a memory card in the camera. Oh wait a minute, what am I saying, it is worse -- much worse and a lot more costly. And, I did it again today when I was running around the ship taking pictures of the other ships docked in Cozumel -- I left the memory card in the computer again. The only difference is I had my camera bag with me, which means I had all the spare memory cards with me. And while running around I stopped for some of the free ice cream available on deck eleven. There is also a Ben and Jerry's on deck five, but that ice cream cost extra. While enjoying my ice cream I ran into one of my group mates. He went scuba diving today. In between running around the ship and swimming around Chankanaab Park I took a short nap. The sun is a little stronger here, especially since there are no clouds in the sky. We departed right on time, so I guess everyone made it onboard, as I didn't hear any names called. We are moving our clocks ahead one hour so that the ship's time will be the same as the local time. At 4:45pm we had the welcome back party. I told the captain that he could save a few hours if he cut a few corners on the Mississippi River. He said there weren't too many corners that could be cut. I said, well, if you are going fast enough and you build a ski ramp -- he laughed. I bought four pictures today, all eight by ten at $16 each. I think the price of the eight by ten photographs has gone down a little bit (I think they used to be over $20 each). Fortunately, as part of the group booking I received a $100 on board credit (OBC). It is about time for me to create a spreadsheet to keep tract of my spending. Yes, this information is available on the TV, but I also use it when I am filling out my custom's form. And for those that are interested, I have uploaded over 1200 photographs to my computer taking up over 6.6 gigabytes of disc space so far. Tuesday, March 05, 2013 -- Grand Cayman I am up in time for sunrise. Good cloud cover overhead. It is looking good. Oh no, we are headed directly into the sun. So I head up to deck twelve. Even worse, there are clouds on the horizon. So I go down to deck five and then to the helicopter pad for a good forward view. It is windy but nothing I cannot handle. Unfortunately the clouds at the horizon are getting worse (we are moving, so things change). I take a few pictures and a couple of short videos, but nothing worth writing home about. But all is not a total loss, as hardly anyone is up (we lost an hour this morning changing to local time Eastern Standard Time) and the Royal Promenade is empty which makes for good picture taking. The only problem is the firewall above the bridge over the Royal Promenade is closed for some reason. So photographs from the forward end of the Royal Promenade are worthless. However, I get a few good photographs from the aft end of the Royal Promenade. Then I put away my camera and head over to the Windjammer for some take out breakfast, which I enjoy on my balcony. I grab a couple of pre-made omelets, assorted meats, some cheese and a banana. The sign for the ham and cheese omelets and the sign for the vegetable omelets are reversed. I tell them and they switch the signs. It is now almost 8am and we are two miles from land, though once again that is straight down. At our current speed of 17.7 knots (about 20 MPH) and the captain's estimate (from yesterday) that we will arrive at 9:45am, I would guess that we are about thirty miles from Grand Cayman. I've decided to give my Wow card to Sandeep, our waiter. He makes dinner feel special. Well, we are a few minutes late, however, we are the only ship in town today. Two other ships were supposed to be here, but cancelled due to the swells. What swells??? I've seen bigger waves in a swimming pool. The tender ships are the local tenders that hold at least twice as many as the ship's tenders. According to the captain the temperature will be in the upper seventies. We are using a different tender dock than I am used to. We are using the one closer to the middle of town. I went up on deck to photograph the other ships before the captain said there weren't any (he was right). It is strange, we are floating above half mile deep water, yet a quarter mile in front of us is dry land. Grand Cayman is basically the top of a rather steep mountain. My plan is to wait a bit for the tender crowd to thin out, then take a taxi to Boatswains Beach (aka the Turtle Farm), spend two to three hours at the park, then do some shopping in town and catch a tender back to the ship before the big crowds start to appear at the tender dock at the end of the day. Well, I'm back and I learned a lesson in independent shore excursions. Sometimes the ship's excursions are a better deal because of quantity. The admission to the Turtle Farm, online, was $36. I simply decided that I would take a taxi there and back. So when I got off the tender I went looking for a taxi. I found several. None were all too happy to take one person one way, all the way, to the Turtle Farm and all wanted $30, each way. That would bring the total cost of the trip to $100. Fortunately for me, the Turtle Farm had some issue with my credit card and the charge did not go through. So by not going I lost nothing. So I did a little shopping and on the way back to the tender dock was offered a tour for $15. $15 for a tour - that is not a bad deal. Lesson number two, tour operators like to fill up their bus. So I had to wait fifteen minutes until she found others to go, that was not a big deal. As we walked to the van I stayed at the end, hoping to get the front seat. It looked good until right at the van she found two more people. The front seat holds two and she gave the front seat to the two new people. Then she made some five year old sit on his parent's lap so I could have his seat. I didn't like taking the kid's seat and I told him I was sorry. He didn't seem upset by what had happened, but I still did not feel it was right. I decided I would buy him some small gift to make amends. Our first stop was Hell. If you are not familiar with Grand Cayman, there really is a town, with a post office, called Hell. I have never been there before, and see no reason to ever go back. The best part of Hell (in my opinion) is that you can buy cold water and shirts that say things like I've been to Hell and back. I bought one of each (cold water and a shirt that has the word Hell on it). However, there was nothing suitable for a five year old stranger. Our next stop was, are you ready for this, the Turtle Farm. All we had to do was tell them we were in Chocolate's taxi and we could get a limited admission for $10. By limited I mean there were places in the park we could not go. Basically we were limited to the turtle tanks and we were only there for thirty minutes. But still, what was $100 was now only $25 ($15 tour plus $10 admission). That is when I realized that two things were happening here. The Turtle Farm is near the hotel area. So they get lots of tourists. They charge the tourists full price. But they also get a lot of quantity business from the tours, so they charge the tour operators a reduced price. As for the tour operators, they make their profit off of the quantity. If a taxi can make a profit taking one person there and back for $60, then a tour operator can make a bigger profit by taking thirteen people there and back even if only $6.00 is allocated to transportation. At the Turtle Farm you can buy Turtle Food (it looks like dog kibble and no, I didn't taste it) for $5.00 for a small bag. Perfect. I gave the kid half my bag. He was happy, his parents were happy, and even though I never wanted to take his seat, I was now happy besides, I wasn't really all that interested in feeding the turtles). Everybody wins. The tour had all the quality you would expect from a $15 tour. However, it was worth $15, so I am not complaining. Next time I come here by cruise ship, I'll likely just take a ship's tour. But now at least I can honestly say I've been to Hell. On the way back to the ship, on the tender, something strange happened. I had my SeaPass card in my shirt pocket. It is a typical shirt pocket that opens on the top. To the best of my knowledge gravity was working properly at the time, yet somehow the card few out of my pocket. Fortunately it landed on the tender and someone saw it happen and alerted me to it (I did not know my card flew out of my pocket). Now that I know what happened, I still don't know how it happened. While on the tour I learned that yesterday the wind was really blowing hard and no ships stopped. I now realize that the other two ships were probably due in Grand Cayman early and that at that time the weather may have been worse, so they chose to cancel the port stop. We arrived later after things had calmed down a bit and we were able to enjoy our day at Grand Cayman. Back on board I decided to shower and rest up after having spent quite a few hours in the sun (and fifteen minutes in Hell -- sorry, I couldn't resist). The captain made an announcement at 5:30pm that the last of the passengers were on the final tender and that after offloading a medical emergency (the second one of the day) we would be off. Hopefully those people will make a full recovery and hopefully they have insurance to cover the cost of the medical care, their lost vacation and the cost of the flight home (and a passport so that they can fly home). After the captain's announcement I decided to get some ice cream and a snack. The ice cream was no problem, but the Windjammer didn't reopen until 6:00pm, so I went to Johnny Rockets for a snack. I thought Royal Caribbean was only charging for the shakes, however, my hamburger and fries and shake cost $11. $5.20 for the shake and $4.95 as a cover charge (plus tip of course -- which I added an extra dollar to). But hey, at least the hamburger and fries were free. Well, it is twenty minutes to dinner, so I'll catch you after dinner. I was on deck ready for a great sunset. Unfortunately we were moving and as I said before, when you are moving things can change. By the time the sun was at the horizon it was now behind some thick clouds. In fact, one person who was also looking to photograph the sunset had turned away to speak to his friends and had to be told where the sun was, that is how think the clouds had become in less than fifteen minutes. On Sunday we had taken a group picture. The picture was supposed to be ready on Tuesday. However, after asking to see the picture before dinner, the picture could not be found. The photography staff agreed to look while I was at dinner. After dinner the picture still had not been located. The woman I was speaking to wrote something up and said I could see the picture after 7pm the next day. There were only two of us at dinner, as most of our table had chosen that night to go to Chops because someone who had been on this cruise earlier had said that Tuesday dinner was the weakest of the week. So the two of us had a nice talk and a quick dinner. I wasn't very hungry, so all I had was a couple of beef sliders, which is basically a small hamburger with a small premium beef patty, and ice cream. After dinner I was very tired and lay down for a little rest before working on this. Around 11pm I woke up and realizing that I was still tired just decided to go to sleep and work on this the next morning. Wednesday, March 06, 2013 -- Falmouth, Jamaica The captain said that we would back in. I thought that mean we would spin before docking. But instead we spun before backing down a fairly narrow channel. We docked with my balcony facing the dock and the village created by Royal Caribbean. So I was at the back of the ship taking pictures of the dock as we approached the pier. The Freedom of the Seas arrived soon after us. Per the captain, we can expect temperatures between the upper seventies and lower eighties. We are also warned that the crew is having a safety drill and that the passengers should ignore the call to muster stations and other safety drill related announcements. I have my only ship sponsored shore excursion (Jamaica Swamp Safari Village) that meets on land at 10:15am, so I am in no rush. I go back to the cabin to upload the photographs, work on this and back everything up. Then I shower, dress and grab a banana for breakfast. I head down to the dock to explore the village on my way to where the tour meets. I pose for my only gangplank photo and the woman who I spoke to last night about the missing group photo is there and informs me that the group photo book has been found. The village is a really neat area with all the usual trappings (Diamonds International, Tanzanite International, Del Sol, hair braiding ...). However, the prices are high, which leads me to wonder what percentage of each sale goes to Royal Caribbean. Also, the tax rate is something else. I bought a hot dog for $5 and with tax it came to $6 (that is 20%). However, that was a cash transaction. Based on a printed credit card receipt I have, a $5.15 drink includes an eight-five cent GCT tax. That comes to 16.5%, which is double the sales tax I pay living in Los Angeles. I am going to the Swamp Safari Village. I signed up for the tour a while ago and don't remember exactly what it is, but I do remember it sounded interesting. It turns out to be a place crocodiles are brought to when they are captured after threatening people or pets. There is also a bird aviary, snakes and rodents, but mostly crocodiles. It is also the place where the famous crocodile-jumping scene in Live and Let Die (James Bond) was shot. They also have a pet baby goat named shampoo which follows the person who gave him his milk around just like a little puppy. That was an enjoyable tour. It gets my recommendation. To get back into the village next to the ship every single one of us, while still on the bus, had to show our room key. Yet I am surprised to find at least two school groups inside enjoying the day. I have no problem with it, but if it is only for cruise ship passengers, then why are non-cruise ship passengers allowed in? At any rate I decide to enjoy some jerk chicken at the Spice Chicken and Bar (the only restaurant I saw inside the fenced in area). Back on the ship I decide to shower rest and work on this, except I get wrapped up in a couple of programs on the TV and don't get much of this done. Before dinner I go get the group picture before they lose it again. At dinner the other table is empty (tonight they all went to Chops). If I recall correctly, our group has one first seating table and three second seating tables, all next to each other. I ask for an appetizer portion of the pasta and order another steak from Chops (which cost less this time as I don't have to pay the Louisiana sales tax). However, I ended up with the full dinner portion of the pasta. In addition I used another one of my two for one drink coupons. After dinner I head back to work on this, upload my pictures and back everything up. We are moving our clocks back one hour (back to central time) tomorrow morning. I also check out the movie offerings on the TV and find one I might watch on Friday. Thursday, March 07, 2013 -- Day at Sea Today is a nice relaxing day at sea. My plans are to leaving the cabin long enough for the room steward to do his thing, attend the Captain's Corner at 1pm, do a little swimming and attend a Top Tier event (which I assume is for Diamond and up). Diamond members also get invited to a behind the scenes chit-chat with the entertainers. I did that on the Enchantment (where I was Emerald) and didn't find it all that interesting. I'm waiting until I make Diamond Plus and then get invited to a bridge tour. Also, tonight is the second formal night. I'm up in time for sunrise but can see that there are clouds on the horizon, so I never leave the cabin. Later in the morning I shower and dress, then go to breakfast. I don't bring breakfast back to the cabin so that I am not interfering with the cabin steward. After breakfast I run around taking more pictures hoping to kill an hour before returning to the cabin. My plan works and when I return to the cabin the cabin steward has finished his work. I upload the pictures, work on this and soon it is time for the Captain's Corner. I didn't take notes, but I did ask a couple of questions and I remember one other question that was asked of the captain, who was the only one there (usually the hotel manager, ship's engineer or cruise director also attend). I asked about the vacation schedule of the lower ranking navigation officers. We all know the captain only works 50% of the year and that the rest of the crew works sixty-seven to seventy-five percent of the year. But nobody ever mentioned what the lower ranking navigation officers' schedule was. They also work 50% of the time and I was surprised to learn that there are more than one first officer and second officer aboard this ship. I also asked about the clearance when turning in the river (when leaving the Port of New Orleans) and when passing the other two cruise ships. The captain said that there was about 45 feet of clearance in back and about 400 feet in front when he spun the ship before leaving New Orleans. He says you always want to leave lots of room in front just in case you have to get going in a hurry. He said there was 400 feet of clearance between the Carnival Conquest and our ship, and slightly less between the NCL ship and our ship. The other question I remember was about what was learned from the recent Carnival problems. The captain said the report on the Triumph fire is not out yet. As to the Splendor he said that the Carnival ships and the Royal Caribbean ships are built differently. That the Carnival ships have one breaker box while Royal Caribbean ships have two, so that if a Royal Caribbean ship loses one breaker box for whatever reason, the ship will still have half it power available. That sounds like something that should be a requirement on all new builds (in my opinion). After the captain's corner I asked him if he knew the name of the NCL ship. He said it was the Sky or Star. I've been on the Star and it was not the Star. However, someone else said it was the Spirit and that is a possibility. It is either the NCL Sky or the NCL Spirit, but I don't know which. After that I went swimming. The pools were less crowded than I would have expected. However, the weather is nice, not hot, so that may have something to do with why there were not more people in the pool. After swimming I showered, uploaded the pictures, brought this up-to-date and checked my account balance against my own records. Oops, there is an error. I've been charged for two gratuities today. Down to guest services to have that corrected. I am told that that the extra gratuity is tomorrow's gratuity and that I will not be billed for a gratuity tomorrow (we will see about that). There was a sunset worth photographing today. There were some clouds on the horizon but not enough to totally block the sun, so finally something worth photographing. And the best part was I never had to leave my balcony. Well, time to get ready for tonight, so I'll see you after dinner. Well, the "Top Tier" event was for platinum and above. That is not so "Top Tier" since platinum is the second lowest tier (just above gold which is the lowest tier). Nothing unusual, though the captain did recognize me (I guess I asked too many questions at the Captain's Corner). Still, it was nice event. Afterwards I posed for four pictures wearing my red Caribbean shirt from Hell (the word Hell was covered up by my jacket). Then for dinner I had the pasta as an appetizer (and this time it was an appetizer portion) and prime rib as the main course. Both were very good. In fact, I would have to say that the meals I have had this week are the best I have had on Royal Caribbean and up there with the best I have had on any of my cruises. So, I'm back in the cabin now updating this and uploading my photographs (including some food porn from last night and tonight), and updating my spreadsheet with the all the spending I have done (I also used the last of my two for one drink coupons). Tomorrow I've got a group golf tournament at 10am and a garbage pail party at 3:30pm (I have no idea what that is) and unfortunately I also have to pack. So until tomorrow morning, good night. For those that are interested, I have uploaded over 2300 photographs taking up 12.5 gigabytes of space. This review is currently over nine thousand words taking up sixteen single spaced type written pages. Friday, March 8, 2013 -- Day at Sea Once again I am up in time for a sunrise photo (but only by a few minutes). I look outside and realized that there are clouds on the horizon, so I don't bother dressing to go out on deck (my balcony faces west during the trip back to New Orleans). However, I did shower, dress and eat breakfast in time to join the group's golf tournament on deck thirteen. Then back to the cabin to drop off a few things. I've been out of the cabin for ninety minutes but the cabin steward has not arrived yet. Fortunately I want to look at yesterday's formal photographs and get my DVD and CD. When I got to the photo area I saw a sign that because of the Louisiana tax, the photo shop will close at 8:30pm tonight. The captain said that we would pick up the pilot at 10pm and would pick up the river pilot when we enter the Mississippi River at midnight. When I return to the cabin with four more photographs the cabin steward was just finishing up. It is time to start organizing my packing. I don't have a scale with me and I was up to 43 pounds when I flew to New Orleans. I am leaving my old dress shoes, so that will save a few pounds and I put some of the heavier things I have purchased in my carry-ons. I also check out the debarkation video, upload some photographs, work on this a bit and watch a movie. Soon it is time for the garbage pail party. It is simply a final get together where everyone brings their left over drinks (thus the name). These are a great bunch of people and I am glad I had a chance to meet them all. Back at the cabin I upload my new photos, work on this and checkout the sunset from my balcony. Finally, no clouds on the horizon. However, there were some very low clouds overhead, which kept it from being perfect. Still, it was the best sunset of the week. Well, here we are on the last full day and I realize that I have not really described my cabin. I am in a junior suit on the "hump". I am not in the center of the hump because I wanted a forward facing cabin. So I am in the cabin next to the center, which faces slightly forward. Inside the cabin there is a couch and a stuffed chair with a matching ottoman. In addition there is a small glass table. Otherwise it is a wider balcony cabin with a tub shower and a walk-in closet. It is probably about three feet winder than a normal balcony cabin. There is a post between the sliding door and a smaller floor to ceiling window which would provide a perfect hiding place for a three year old. It is a very nice cabin that would be roomy enough for three or four people (even though this cabin only holds two). I fill out the survey and the custom's form. Waiting for the time to go to dinner my room steward knocks on the door. Doesn't he know I have late dining by now? Also, I have used the make up my room card every single time. So why is the room steward knocking on my door before 8pm? Well, dinner was bitter sweat. Dinner was good as usual for this cruise, but I ended up saying good-bye to new friends, both the group and the waiter. For the first time a group cruise I was on when off with no problems. Two group cruises ago our leader suddenly disappeared (really, no one in the group knew where he was or how to contact him). If that wasn't bad enough, the last group cruise I was on, the leader died before the cruise. This was a good group cruise and I'm glad I had the chance to meet everybody. That said, the cruise was really good - one of my favorites. It certainly made up for a much weaker cruise experience on my last cruise. We left one day late and thus only went to one port instead of two. It wasn't a bad cruise, but it sure did not match the enjoyment of this cruise. I would like to cruise out of New Orleans again in the summer when I will be able to see more of the Mississippi River. Also, I sure would not mind cruising out of New Orleans again. This is one of the more interesting cities to visit and cruise out of. After dinner I went back to the cabin, changed my clothes and put my luggage out to be picked up. I noticed it was 10pm so I looked outside and it did appear that we had slowed down. I checked the TV and sure enough we had slowed down. I went back outside just in time to see the pilot boat take off. I'll try to stay awake long enough to see us enter the Mississippi River. I must also say that our captain was a great person. I assume all captains know what they are doing and do it well. But a captain with a personality like Claus Andersen (our captain) can add to the cruise experience, and he did in a very positive way. Saturday, March 9, 2013 As promised by the captain, we dock at 6am. The Carnival Elation docks in front of us at 7am. I shower and dress and head out for a quick breakfast consisting of a banana and orange juice. Then back to the cabin and over to the Schooner Bar which is the meeting place for those of us taking the City Tour to the airport. Given that there were five busloads of people on this tour, the Schooner Bar was a poor choice for a meeting place. The Ixtapa Lounge, which is right next door, would have been a much better choice. Departure numbers seven and eight were for the shore excursion people. When it came time to debark they called numbers one through twelve. Instantly the situation when from controlled to messy, as one third of the ship suddenly tries to debark at the same time. Why give out numbers if you are going to send more than one thousand people on their way all at the same time? Since we were right next to the exit door we were in the front of the instantly long line. I took this tour not so much because it was interesting, but rather because it would chew up a few hours of time and get me to the airport for half the price of a rental car for the day. Thanks to the traffic I barely made it with seven hours to spare. I spent the first three and half hours inside the airport pre-check in on a nice comfortable couch going through my pictures because I don't think you can check in more than four hours early. Besides since New Orleans was kind enough to supply such a comfortable place to relax, I thought it would rude not to take advantage of it. From where I was sitting I had a clear view of the check in line and thus was able to go check in when the line was very short, like no waiting at all. The security line was less than five minutes and I found a restaurant to sit down and enjoy an early dinner. Originally I was on a 3:45pm flight that went to San Francisco and then I would change planes to get to LAX. However, United cancelled that flight and this one became available. It leaves four hours later, but I only arrive home one hour later because this is a non-stop. I wonder how we exit the plane if it doesn't stop? Do they fly low and just push us out the door? What about the luggage? Well I guess I'll find out soon enough. At any rate I decide to check on the status of my plane. It is on time, but it is coming from Houston. I realize it will not take seven hours from Houston, but United is kind enough to provide the flight number, so I can check on its status. The plane left San Francisco a few minutes early and is heading to Houston, so it is looking good. So now I am inside the secure area at a restaurant. This time my right leg (and the rest of my body), made it through the security check point without any problems. I decided to try the short ribs (and they sure are short). It comes with some small cut up potatoes and other equally small purple things. I pass on the potatoes and purple things. While waiting for my meal to arrive I decide to check on the status of my flight again. Now it is a half hour late. What happened? I check the status and it is still a flight from Houston, but now it is coming from Mexico, not San Francisco and is arriving in Houston seventy minutes late. Oh well, better to have this happen on the inbound flight than on the outbound flight (which was on time). The ribs and pretzel (which I picked up on the way to the restaurant) were okay. But the tax rate of $2.25 for a $19.60 meal works out to 11.5% (about three percentage points more than I pay in Los Angeles). Well, since I am done with my meal and it is not fair to continue to take up a table, I decide to head over to gate. I hope I can make it in time (the plane hasn't left Houston yet). Well I'm at the gate now and there is a very long line. Why, because the plane to Washington DC is running fifteen minutes late. Why then do half the people need to make other arrangements? Fifteen minutes is no big deal. Meanwhile my plane has not landed in Houston yet. Well, it is 6:15pm and the plane just landed in Houston. Someone just made an announcement that the plane will be more than thirty minutes late. If we cannot make our connection in Los Angeles, United will pay for a hotel for the night. I'm only worried about a share the ride van. Hopefully they keep track of the flights and know that the flight is running late. Well, back to proof reading, though I usually only catch about 80% of the errors because it is very hard to proof read your own writing. It is 7:35pm and the plane is on the ground here in New Orleans. Per the schedule we should have taken off two minutes ago. So far I have proof read half of this review (which is over eleven thousand words and 22 single spaced type written pages). So I'll be back at you after I get home. The flight home was uneventful. The movie was Skyfall, which is the latest James Bond flick. After the move I finished proof reading this. I hope I caught all the errors, but most likely I didn't. At any rate we landed about thirty minutes behind schedule. I get my checked bag and have to wait about fifteen minutes for the van to show up. One more lap around LAX with no new customers we are off. There are only two of us and I am the second one dropped off. I made it home around midnight. In summary this was a very enjoyable and much needed vacation. It is simply one person's account of one cruise. Soon the Navigator of the Seas will head back to Europe. It will be replaced by the Serenade of the Seas, which is a different class of ship (the Radiance class which is about two thirds the size of the Navigator OTS). I enjoy writing the review and taking the pictures. Hopefully someone will find something useful and/or helpful in this review. So, until my next cruise, good-by and good night. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
While this was our eighteenth cruises, it was the first with our extended family consisting of five married children and their 15 children ranging in ages from 1 to 11 years. Overall the embarkation process was extremely smooth once in ... Read More
While this was our eighteenth cruises, it was the first with our extended family consisting of five married children and their 15 children ranging in ages from 1 to 11 years. Overall the embarkation process was extremely smooth once in the terminal. However, traffic around the port was terrible boarding on gridlock. We last cruised from New Orleans several years ago and felt the traffic situation deteriorated rather than improve. We had requested the early dining room seating. Prior to the cruise, seating for the group was arranged through travel agent. We had three tables on the outside edge of the dining room away from the flow of traffic and great for the children. We had two waiters assigned to our three tables. Both were great and extremely flexible in accommodating our needs. The supervisor of our waiters was particularly helpful in arranging for the needs of my daughter one year old child. RCCL originally told us they did not puree food for babies and that we could buy baby food on-board. However, every evening the wait staff supervisor served our baby a three course meal. We were not sure if it was processed baby food or pureed but the baby loved it. We were a little disappointed with the menu. RCCL recently introduced a new menu that offers escargot every night. However, escargot was never available. Our waiter told us that it has not been available due to a "world shortage" of snails. It must be a "world shortage" that is limited to RCCL! This was our first time visiting Jamaica. What a disappointment! The port that RCCL built in Falmouth is great but outside the boundary of the control port area is a nightmare. We only made it about a 100 yards beyond the fence. We were bombarded by locals selling, begging, harassing and just be annoying. We really felt unsafe and returned to the port. Disembarkation went smoothly until we got beyond security. The exit was on the opposite site of the terminal. We were herded down a corridor like cattle. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Our group of twelve took the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans for a 7-night graduation celebration cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. We arrived at New Orleans a day early and stayed at the Prytania Park Hotel in the ... Read More
Our group of twelve took the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans for a 7-night graduation celebration cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. We arrived at New Orleans a day early and stayed at the Prytania Park Hotel in the Garden District. It was a pleasant place, with easy 15 minute bus ride to Bourbon and Canal streets. The neighborhood was quiet and there are several places for food and drink nearby. VooDoo Barbecue, just a block away, was particularly a hit -- excellent pulled pork and brisket, along with tasty sides, all for a reasonable price. Down the street was the Blind Pelican, another fine purveyor of pub food and inexpensive buckets of beer. We went down to the nearby port for boarding about eleven o'clock. Checking our luggage was a bit of a circus. With eleven of us and others in a fairly confined area sorting out our luggage and tags, it did not get us off on a good leg. The porters had blank tags, no pens, and a bit of an attitude. One of my pet peeves is when customers are expected to bear the inconvenience of a transaction for a service provider. IMHO, as a customer, I should not monkey around printing at home, or bumbling with a pen in a luggage discharge area so the cruise line can save a minor amount. Kudos for the boarding process. Quick and easy. Once done with our luggage, we were on the ship in minutes. Smooth sailing! Rose expertly handled the transaction and we were off. The hits kept on keeping on...everything from lunch to exploring the ship was four-stars. No issues with bringing wine, sodas or water. Our cabins were outside starboard on Deck 2. They were the standard issue, well-kept, and in good repair. Others have reported a sewerage odor in the hall, and it was evident daily. The toilets were having issues, mainly involving flushing. A maintenance guy was there daily tinkering in the plumbing closet. The problem was never fixed completely. Our attendant Lynea was excellent. Some complained about hearing forklifts and other equipment, as well as carts in the hallway, but I did not hear any such noises. Dining was "interesting", from wonderful dishes to ...something less. The roast duck, for example, was the best I'd ever tasted. The skin was perfectly crisp, the meat wonderfully moist and tender, with amazing flavor. Then there was the "Stroganoff" mishmash that tasted like something from a Chinese kitchen better wrapped in a tortilla. Some plates had little but a few chips of beef amid the slurry. There was at least one very good offering each night. The trick was recognizing it. One in our party summed it up well: The difficult dishes were done well; the simple dishes were not. Ask your waiter. He knows what he carries off uneaten time after time. Main Dining Room service was excellent. Eduard and Nicolai were friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, remembering our individual preferences, and appropriately calling us each by name. We were well served, never feeling rushed or put-off. The Windjammer offered good food at breakfast and lunch. Staff reductions were clearly noticeable, but the service actually seemed improved. The food there was uniformly good, hot and well-presented, and our group was very happy overall. The "Egg Harbor" for custom-made egg dishes was well organized and the output top notch for fried eggs and omelets. Tables were generally available at all times, breakfast and lunch. Johnny Rockets was a fun departure, and the food there exactly what you would expect. Excellent malts! Entertainment was the usual mix of cruise line dancers and singers, and hired acts. I thought the production shows were better than previous offerings. One thing missing in action was the ship's band. Until Wednesday we thought the shows were backed with recorded music as no mention was made of any musicians lurking behind the curtain. Unlike other ships, the band made no other appearances that I recall, which I find disappointing. Music in the Viking Crown and Boleros was untracked one night after the pianists both came ill. It is apparent that RCCL is shifting from an elder/boomer-centric model to something more contemporary. Out are the 50s and 60s in terms of music (except at Johnny Rocket's) and the 70's and 80's are in. If disco and club music is your thing, you're in the right place. Otherwise it's the Viking Crown or Two Poets for an evening of softer music and drinks. Thomas did a fine job as a substitute Cruise Director when the original suffered a knee injury early in the cruise. Ship activities included crafts such as painting and scrapbooking. Those who participated enjoyed themselves, and brought home some "interesting" work. If you are participating, the classes generally cut off at 25, and if you sign up early, don't expect to lollygag and show up whenever -- your place will be taken. The twenty-somethings with us enjoyed the many sports activities (both organized and casual) and tournaments, as well as the casino play. We did private/DIY excursions. At Jamaica we met our bus and guide from Marva Shaw's "Know Jamaica Tours." We were very happy with the service provided and recommend her based on the experience. We tubed down river, which included several rapids, then climbed Dunn's Falls before a shopping stop and a Jamaican meal at the Ultimate Jerk Centre before heading back to the ship. The Falls can be strenuous, and progress very slow with crowds - stop, go and wait. Missteps are easy to make on the climb, although it's not particularly treacherous. I stepped in a hole and took a fall, with no harm done. Still, be careful. It costs $20 to walk up or just look along the way from the platforms. The ship itself has drawn some criticism as being "tired". That wasn't my observation. The ship was in good repair. Like any well-used facility, like any luxury resort, there are signs of wear if one seeks to find them. Nothing I noticed detracted from the trip experience. Another area that has drawn criticism is the service level and enthusiasm of the crew. IMHO, the service crew performed well. There were apparent staffing adjustments made that somewhat reduced service, particularly the food venues, but the differences were slight if noticeable in terms of personal convenience. Frankly, I recall times in the past where it was common to see crew socializing rather than working. I did not witness service personnel standing around on this cruise. Even the white shirts were hustling tables in the Windjammer. Disembarkation was very well organized and executed. Customs and Immigration moved the line along, and there was a good system for arranging transportation. The accommodations, service, and overall ship experience were excellent. The itinerary was good for us, including shopping, beach time, touring, and one new destination. Overall, we were well-satisfied with our cruise vacation on Navigator of the Seas. 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: October 2011
I traveled with 5 of my coworkers. We all work for a major Airline and word spread that they made a ton of money last year and all employees were receiving a profit sharing check from the company. I've traveled with these same ... Read More
I traveled with 5 of my coworkers. We all work for a major Airline and word spread that they made a ton of money last year and all employees were receiving a profit sharing check from the company. I've traveled with these same coworkers before (ages from 44 - 62) and we all get along so well. We did Hawaii the previous year and wanted to try Egypt for 2011. Well, we all know what happened in Egypt. So we nixed that idea. Some one bought up Europe and since none of them had been on a cruise before, I suggested a Med. cruise. I went home and saw Navigator for $499.00 (inside cabin). My coworkers couldn't believe it. Well we did get a share of the profits and immediately called RCCL and put down deposits in February. Fast Forward and October arrives quickly. We fly free, only having to pay taxes, so for $42.50 we flew round trip to Rome from Philly. Flight was very nice on an Airbus 330 and the flight attendants were wonderful. This was my first time to Europe and I'm hooked. We flew in a day early and stayed at the Hotel Georgina. Would stay again if cruising out of Rome. Right up the street from Termini Station. Place was clean and inexpensive. Immediately dropped our luggage and headed to the Coliseum. If you do go, people will be walking back and forth offering tours to go in. Please take it. We paid an additional 7 euros and it was worth every euro. She walked us around the whole place and gave us a history lesson of things I never knew about the Coliseum. We had walkie talkies that went around our necks and you put it up to your ear when the guide speaks. I was in awe of this place. After that we went back to our hotel and napped then woke up for dinner. The food was so fresh and the pasta and wine so good. We took the train from Termini to the port of Civ. Saved a lot of money doing it that way. Just make sure you get to the train station early. We had a hard time finding out what track our train was on. Train ride was nice with some good scenery. Having been on the Explorer before, I was looking forward to being back on the Voyager class. We had 2 inside cabins and 1 couple had a balcony. Our cabin was comfy. Love the shower doors. Navigator is going into drydock soon. I'm sure there was wear and tear around the ship. However, everything was clean and shiny. I only noticed a few dirt spots on the carpet, because it was right there in plain sight. 3,000 pax trampling around on the carpet, so that didn't bother me at all. The welcome back show was very enjoyable. Please don't miss it. Our 1st port was Messina, Italy. We booked an independant full day tour and was given 3hrs in Taormina, then went to Castelmola, had lunch at a restaurant with a beautiful view of Mt. Etna, then back to tour Messina. We loved our guide who fed us so much history and answered all questions. Everyone agreed this was a wonderful start to the cruise. It was sunny and in the 70's perfect weather for touring. Next was a sea day. It was windy that day, so relaxing outside was out of the question. I found a quiet corner and read and had a few drinks. Some of my coworkers had the compass and followed activities off of that. Everyone had a relaxing day. The Ice Skating show was fabolous as always. Don't miss it. Next was Athens, Greece. Had an independent tour and went to the Acropolis. We felt a little cheated out of this because when you buy your tickets, it includes other sites, however, they're closed for whatever reasons. I don't think we should pay full price for tickets if they know a lot of the other sites are closed. Acroplis was amazing. Went to the New Museum. Awesome place. Went to Plaka and walked the streets with our guide. Nice and quaint. Athens dept of sanitation was on strike and there was bags of trash everywhere. Yuck. Enjoyed our day. The ruins were simply amazing. We did the Michael Jackson Name that Tune after dinner. Great fun. Athens was sunny and in the 70's. Next, Turkey (Ephesus). Again, an independent tour. Went to Mary's house, Ephesus ruins were unbelievable. Saw an reenactment of gladiators fighting in front of Cleopatra and Antony. They put on a show with horses and chariots in full costumes. It was so neat. We happened to be in the right place at the right time. Got some great pictures. Also, went to the carpet show because someone was interested in purchasing a rug and he did. He's getting it framed and hanging it on his wall. He said it costs to much money to be walked on. We had a turkish lunch there also, it was outside with white tableclothes. Our Tour guide again was wonderful. Learned so much. Went to the Movie Theatre, saw a movie with Denzel Washington in it. Forgot the name, but it was a good movie. It was warm this day, but with a nice breeze. Next was Crete, I slept in that day and never went on the island. Some of my coworkers did and they said it was nice. They bought some souvenirs. This day was sunny and warm. So while everyone was off the ship, we had it to ourselves. We played basketball. Had the court all to ourselves. Then played mini golf. We never laughed so hard. Next we went and changed into swim suits and went to the Solarium, found chairs together and read, listened to Ipods or slept. We went in the jacuzzi which was nice and hot. I fell asleep with my face in the sun and would you believe I got sunburned. They had a barbecue lunch set up that day with ribs, chicken, salads, all types of food. I have to also say our dining team was unbelievable. Our head waiter came around every night. He told us they make other dishes not on the menu, just ask. One night we had curry chicken. Which was not on the menu. So good. Lobster was not served on this cruise. I did miss that. Food was good, I actually gained 10 pounds. However, I feel Carnival has more varieties of food and I prefer their menu. Embarkation was painless. We carried our own bags and was off the ship in no time. We stayed another night in Rome. So took the train back. Found another hotel, Hotel Everest. It was up the street from Hotel Georgina. We dropped off our luggage and took the subway to the Vatican. And would you believe while we were standing in the middle of the square, the Pope comes out to deliver his blessings. He said it in about 3 different languages including english. Incredible. I'm not Catholic, but not many people can say they saw the Pope, Live. We also took the Subway to see the Trevi Fountain. Just Incredible. Our flight home left on time and we had the cruise of a lifetime. I would like to think Cruise Critic. All our private tours were found from reviews posted on this website. Hopefully, 2012 we can do another Med. cruise. I'm hooked. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Having just returned for the Mediterranean cruise (29th May - 05 June Rome to Rome) on the Navigator of the sea, I have to say that I was not impressed, nor will I be in a rush to do another cruise on Royal Caribbean International on the ... Read More
Having just returned for the Mediterranean cruise (29th May - 05 June Rome to Rome) on the Navigator of the sea, I have to say that I was not impressed, nor will I be in a rush to do another cruise on Royal Caribbean International on the Navigator of the seas. This was my 4th cruise and although the other cruises where all on Celebrity ships, I thought that as part of the same company you would receive similar service on Royal Caribbean. Boy was I wrong. From the moment we stepped aboard we found that staff was rude and not very helpful, especially staff at the Customer Services and at most of the Bars. Buying the soda package at $6.00 a day is well worth it but having to deal with bar staff that resent you for ordering a soda almost makes it not worth the effort. We mostly had dinner in the main dining room and although our Head Waiter and his assistant were great the same could not be said for the food. The menu was limited, the food was bland and tasteless. It seems that the only way to get a decent meal was to go to the speciality restaurants and pay for it. This kind of defeats the whole purpose of having an all inclusive cruise. The Jade and Windjammer was no better they had lots of food but a very small selection. The biggest problem here was that we could never find a seat and would have to walk around for up to 15min to find a seat. Used plates where left on the table and not collected often. Although the ship is beautiful, it has started to show its age and small things like the brackets on the wardrobe that is broken or the rusted bin in the vanity slap in the washroom are all tell tale signs. Cabins and bedding looked worn and faded, and constantly having cleaning equipment, bags of rubbish and vacuum cleaners in the passages did not make a very good impression. The pool area was great but the spa's could do with a good clean, simply putting chlorine in and replacing the water does not mean does not mean the spa is clean. I found the ring of dirt around the rim of the spa disgusting and yet another sign of neglect. Also having to sign out pool towels in the morning and afternoon is just an absolute waste of time. All the negative comments aside, we did make some great new friends and we saw some interesting places. Cruising is still the best way to see Europe, just make sure that you choose the right company to sail with. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We drove to Ft Lauderdale from Georgia and stayed at hotel night before. We arrived a few hours early to port. Dropping off our bags, parking and check-in was a breeze. Our room was ready so we headed to check it out. We were quickly ... Read More
We drove to Ft Lauderdale from Georgia and stayed at hotel night before. We arrived a few hours early to port. Dropping off our bags, parking and check-in was a breeze. Our room was ready so we headed to check it out. We were quickly approached by our cabin steward with a nice greeting. As far as the cabin was concerned this was my first time staying in an interior cabin but we managed the space well although I would not wish to stay in one with my family. It was pretty clean except for the full length mirror which being women we noticed that right away. After the 1st day the cabin steward was not seen until day 4. One day they had not set up all the beds for the evening and we had to call to get service. Another steward came to assist us. We also found the ice bucket was not refilled. We felt different people were making up the room because it was never done the same way. On the last days we saw him several times. We prepaid our tips but felt he was not worth it. As this was my friend's first trip we tried to enjoy as much as the ship has to offer except for trivia which they don't enjoy. I did talk them in attending the Adult Quest game and they had a fun time. One night before dancing we went to see Sex and the City 2 in the theatre. While we enjoyed the movie, the theatre was freezing and the seats were the most uncomfortable. The 70's dance party was the Best! The ship show productions were just ok, we ended not seeing most of their shows infact we walked out on some. The Guest entertainment, MOSAIC were unbelievable. We truly ejoyed them and would love to see them again! The Ice Skating performance was also great! We ate at Windjammer for the first lunch and 1st breakfast. While we enjoyed our meals at Windjammers, we did most of meals in the Main dining Hall (Nutcracker) By doing this we met some wonderful people for breakfast and lunch. We opted to eat here for lunch to enjoy their salad bar which was great. We had second seating for dinner, they sat us at a table with 6 other ladies that were also traveling without children and husbands. We had the best times with these ladies and a lot of laughs. Our serving crew were the best. They made our great meals even more enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Just off the boat of our second RCCL cruise, and still not impressed with Royal Caribbean. This was a company cruise, which I earned for free but had to buy DH in on and we had an oceanview balcony cabin (9542 is literally two steps from ... Read More
Just off the boat of our second RCCL cruise, and still not impressed with Royal Caribbean. This was a company cruise, which I earned for free but had to buy DH in on and we had an oceanview balcony cabin (9542 is literally two steps from the forward port staircase-so nice!) Was not impressed with my first RCCL trip four years ago, but as a now experienced cruiser I felt I could be fair and give the company another shot. Embarkation was a breeze; we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale at 10:55 and took a company chartered bus to port, arriving around noon. No waiting, walked right on board the ship! Only one quick picture on boarding, and they swipe your seapass card to keep track of your photos (more on that later!) Headed up to Windjammer for lunch. Here I was surprised that the quality of food has gone down since my last RCCL cruise. I was very disappointed with the choices (hamburgers, hot dogs, a few mystery stews, etc.) and indeedthis was served every day! No difference in food choices-this was the menu every day of the cruise. The frozen yogurt stand, however, was yummy and provided some very interesting shaped ice cream that had us laughing quite a bit. Our cabin opened as promised at 1pm, and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Putting everything away proved a bit challenging as the closet shelves face the interior of the closetand are difficult to get to. DH frequently knocked over the hanging clothes to get to the shelves (there is no door to the shelves; they are basically tucked in the corner of the closet.) I suppose if you lived out of your suitcase this would not bother you, but as I like to unpack this was odd. Bed was comfortable; bathroom adequate and the shower is the size of a phonebooth only circularno shower curtains just a tube in the corner. Hubby at 6'2" and 200lbs found it a tight fit! Nice counter space; one medicine cabinet (two cabinets at desk - so plenty of space.) Huge spaces under bed easily fit our suitcases. Very late departure (rumors ran that someone was removed by the police) and we had late seating for dinner with our company. Food in the main dining room was ok-standard Red Lobster fare-was rather disappointed that the quality was down from the prior cruise. Had one outstanding salad out of the three meals in the dining room (Orange Carpaccio?) Easily got reservations for Portofino and Chops for the fourth and fifth nights with no difficulties. OUTSTANDING DIFFERENCE in the quality of the food! Portofino was divinethe $20 upcharge was well worth itattentive service and food that truly was excellent. Chops was very good (not quite as good as Portofino, but still much better than the main dining room) but the $25 upcharged seemed a bit high for what you get (we are steak lovers and while the steaks were good, they were midgrade quality.) Two sea days-absolutely ridiculous on a five night to have two days at sea. I am not a sun worshipper, and found my balcony to be a very pleasant place to read. Ship offerings during these days were quite limited during the day, and I did find myself bored (this is my sixth cruise and this is quite rare for me. I love to do the silly challenges and scavenger hunts and classesthey simply offered very, very few!) Spa- wait a day to see the specials had the "happy hour" 25 min back massage with mini facial and foot massage and that was divine (ask for Tommy) and well worth the cost. Couples massage later in the week was good, but we discovered they charge you more to have massages as a couple ($30!) and thought that rather silly. Thankfully we had the coupon book for crown & anchor society members and got 10% off. Gym - hubby used it daily and liked it alot. He's a dedicated health nut and it filled his needs adequately. The jogging track was impossible to use after 10am, but nice before that time. Activities - the back of the boat has the rock wall, inline skating, etc. Times were limited and long lines were the norm. Teenagers essentially took over that area. Johnny Rockets - $4.95 upcharge plus you pay separate for drinks-food was great for burgers/shakes/etc and it is all you can eat. We ate there once for free with coupon and went back again to avoid Windjammer. Shows - Ice Dancin' was fun - loved the guest performer Larissa. Nightly shows were ok; magician was hysterical (Chad Chesnick) and we missed the Quest. Video reviews of the Quest and friends reviews assured me that I probably would NOT have been comfortable even watching...if you don't like watching people make fools of themselves, this is not for you! Room Service - Well, prepare to wait. If you ask for breakfast at a certain time it either comes on the nose or twenty minutes after the thirty minute window ended. They typically bring more food than you request, BUT the coffee is much better. Surprisingly, the scrambled eggs onboard are tasty (but the bacon you wonder if its really from a pig-ugh) We ordered it twice (as did friends) and they always brought danishes even though we never requested them. Pubs, bars and cafe - cafe food was ok, coffee bar was greatly lacking, and they ran out of Ben & Jerry's ice cream the second port day (so the second sea day there was none!) Schooner's piano bar was THE place to be. Oddly, they had alot of smoking lounges all over the ship, and some of the bars were smoke free. Nice to sing along in the piano bar without inhaling smoke. Crew- all extremely friendly, but not very helpful! Kind of funny to have them all smiles (then again, I am a smiley person) but unable to help you with little requests (like, I'd like a cup of soup instead of a bowl of soup - nope, can't do it!) Photos - very few stations to have photos meant long lines. Loved that they swiped your card and you could look at all photos on a kiosk later for review, but not all photos were there (they'd print some, and those weren't on the kiosk, and others wereit was weird) and some would not enlarge for review. Shops - standard jewelry, general store, logo. Prices for booze and jewelry were competitive with onshore prices. Actually bought rings for each other as anniversary gifts on the second sea day after not finding anything on shore we liked. Disembarkation - an absolute DELIGHT! Picked up tags for express departure the night before, went down to our lounge and as we got off the elevator were told to stay on and go to disembark! Back up a deck, walked right off ship. The ramp to the dock was funny as my luggage was pulling me (at 62 lbs this was funny-I could barely keep up with it :-) Very quickly through customs, back on company bus and at airport by 8:45. Overall, I was disappointed with the food and lack of things to do on sea days. I love to cruise and really enjoy meeting new people and meeting the crew; this trip was a nice break but I was surprised how often I was bored! When I look at the cost of just buying in hubby, I do not feel we got our money's worth. I highly question the practice of less port days (a growing trend) and will only travel on RCCL again if the my company insists on it it's not my first choice. Read Less
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates 4.5 0.0

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