10 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

I say second "Cruise of a Lifetime" because this is our second trip to The Mediterranean! Our first was our 25th Anniversary Cruise just two years ago. Who knew we would be returning so soon. (We did throw a coin in Trevi ... Read More
I say second "Cruise of a Lifetime" because this is our second trip to The Mediterranean! Our first was our 25th Anniversary Cruise just two years ago. Who knew we would be returning so soon. (We did throw a coin in Trevi Fountain!) This trip was with my brother and sister in law and since we had been before we were nominated as trip planner. I made all the reservations direct through various sites on the internet - Flight, hotel, cruise, tours, etc. Of course Crusie Critic was my Number One source of information. We flew to Rome via Atlanta two days early to enjoy a little more sightseeing. Good thing as Delta had computer problems and all regional jets were grounded Thursday mid-day and we missed our connection to Rome by about 15 minutes. Delta agents were helpful and the four of us were put on a later flight that stopped briefly in Paris. We got to add another city to our "bucket list of places to visit". I had arraigned a private transfer with "Rome Airport Transportation" and was not sure they received my notice about the delayed flight but once we cleared customs there they were with our name on a sign. What a welcome relief! The trip from the airport to our hotel was uneventful but we did get to see some sights on the way. We had reservations at the Hotel Colosseum. The hotel was very adequate, very clean and in a good location. (I was a little worried as other reviews painted it in a somewhat negative light as being close to a gentlemens club. There was one at the end of the block but we never saw anyone going or coming and had no problem at all.) As I mentioned the rooms were clean and well cared for. Breakfast was a selection of breads, cheeses and meats. It was adequate unless you were looking for a full American breakfast of all the eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage and cereal you could eat! They did keep our passport to register us but they were returned to us our first trip down to the desk. The keys are on a giant brass key ring that weighs a pound but they kept the keys for you at the front desk as you went out. The elevator was small - enough room for two pieces of luggage and two people. If you don't like tight places take the stairs! We went to a small restorante pizzeria just down the street that was recommended to us - La Mela D'Oro. Our waitress wasn't much although some of the other staff seemed friendly. We really didn't like the food and would advise seeking out another place. The sound of thunder awoke us on Saturday morning but by the time we finished breakfast the storm was clearing. We broke out our umbrellas and hit the street. After a few minutes of getting oriented we made our way to Termini Station and purchased an all day Metro pass. We had reserved tickets to the Vatican Museums and so bypassed the lines and walked right in. After spending the morning touring the museums and St. Peter's we found (or it found us) a small mom and pop restaurant - Trattoria Al Cuppolone. It had good food and good service at a great price. From the Vatican we took the Metro back to Barberini Station and started our walking journey. We began at the corner of San Carlo Quattro Fontane and made our way to the Quirinale. From there a short walk to the Trevi Fountain and it hordes of people! Onward to the Pantheon, Pizza Navona and back along the Vittorio Emanuele to the Forum area and its wonderful ancient ruins. The Colosseum was the end of our walking tour with a short jaunt back to our hotel. After a short time to cleanup from all the walking and exploring we headed back out for some real Italian food at the Hard Rock Cafe! Day One - The next morning Rome Airport Transportation picked us up at the hotel and delivered us to the pier at Civitavecchia. Upon arrival at the port RCL personnel greeted us and escourted us into the registration area. It took less than 20 minutes from our arrival at the port until we were aboard the ship. Although only Gold members of C&A we were treated like royalty! We went to the Windjammer for a delicious lunch and while there the announcements that the rooms were ready was made. Arriving at our cabin (#7221) we found it ready and our cabin attendant nearby. Although the cabin was cleaned regularly we hardly ever saw the attendant. He did a fair job but nothing special. At 4:30 pm we went to the Guest Assembly Drill. It’s amazing that people don’t think they really mean everyone has to attend. After rounding up the strays we were dismissed. Sail away took place at 5:00 pm and the high seas beckoned! After cleaning up a bit we headed to the Welcome Aboard Show. It was OK but it seems that the entertainment has gone down hill a bit. The orchestra was great but most of the other entertainment just didn’t WOW us as in the past. We had Second Seating for our meals so we wouldn’t have to rush back from shore every day. It worked well for us. Out Wait Staff (Natalia and Sachim) were EXCELLENT and showed excitement every night. We had two couples from California traveling together as table mates and enjoyed great conversation each evening. Day Two we awoke to find our ship pulling into Messina, Italy. We had opted for a RCL excursion "Taormina on Your Own”. This fit us well as we were able to enjoy the town at our own pace. After getting back to the ship we made the Headliner Show - The East Coast Boys - not a bad group. We enjoyed their songs and then made our way to dinner. After dinner a stop in the Casino was mandated by the wife. After making our contribution we strolled the deck and then turned in for the night. Day Three was a Sea Day. Nothing to do but kick back and relax. I had brought along a book to enjoy on deck so after a quick stop at the Café Promenade for some hot chocolate I retired to a chair on Deck 4 to begin my relaxation! The Production Showtime was "Now and Forever” featuring Broadway numbers. We did not enjoy the show and forced ourselves to sit through it. Afterwards it was off to dinner - our first Formal Night. Day Four we found ourselves in Athens. I had arraigned a private tour through Nikos Loukas (privategreecetours.com) to see the sights of Athens. We were met at the port by our driver, Demitris. He had a vast knowledge of Greek history and shared it with us as we toured the city at our pace. The Acropolis and Mars Hill had to be the high points for me. We never felt rushed or pressured at the suggestions he made and had a wonderful time. We had lunch in the Agora area and stopped for dessert on the way back to the ship. That evening we went to the Ice Dancin’ Spectacular - and it was! This was the best entertainment of the entire cruise. It is amazing what these people can do in such a small area while the ship is moving!!! After the show, dinner, the casino and bed. Day Five we arrived at the port of Kusadasi, Turkey. Again, I had arraigned a private tour through Tayf Tours. Our guide and driver (Yesim and Hasan) were waiting for us as we exited the ship. We quickly boarded our van and were whisked off to the House of Mary. We arrived before the tour buses and so had a rather peaceful time there. We then beat the crowds to Ephesus and toured the ruins and the Terrace Houses. From there we went to a local pottery store and yes we bought some pieces. They were absolutely beautiful. Our journey then took us into the mountains to Sirince. We spent just enough time here to pick up a few items and then back to the valley for lunch. Everyone warns of the "carpet factory” tours! I was hesitant but did stop at one for lunch and a quick tour. Looking back I would have let them know up front that we had no intention of purchasing a rug. Although they were beautiful they moved outside of our price range very quick. It was an interesting stop and story and the lunch was very good. Arriving back at the port we had some time to look around and purchase a few more items! The Headliner Show was Chilli Gold, a British singer, and she was actually pretty good. We enjoyed her show as it was full of familiar songs and high energy. Dinner was casual. My wife and I actually ate alone as my brother and sister in law went to the Mystery Dinner. They had a great time and said the steak was some of the best that they had ever eaten. More casino and deck strolling before turning in for the night. Day Six we arrived in Chania, Crete. We took the three Euro bus into town and spent the day wandering about. More shopping about town and then back to the ship for another show and dinner. Day Seven was at Sea so we could unwind before arriving back in Rome. The Farewell Show was pretty good and dinner was sad as we bid farewell to our new found friends. Sunday our ship arrived back in Civitavecchia. Disembarkation was as painless as checking in. We had no more arrived at the C&A waiting area when they announced we could leave the ship. Transportation was again through Rome Airport Transportation. The were waiting when we left the ship and had us on our way to our airport hotel in no time. Because of flight schedules we chose to stay Sunday night and fly back to the US on Monday morning. Our hotel, the Courtyard Rome Airport had our rooms ready when we arrived about 9:30 am. We checked in, had lunch and a nap and then went out exploring. A walk into downtown Fiumicino led to a street fair and seeing how the locals spend their Sunday afternoons. Monday morning was a shuttle bus ride to the airport and our flight back to the US. All things considered this was a great vacation. We’re already planning our next cruise to either Northern Europe (the Baltic) or New England (to see the leaves change). Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our honeymoon cruise. What drew us to it was the itinerary: Rome, Messina (Sicily), Athens, Ephesus, Turkey, and Crete. I had only ever been on a Princess cruise before, but RCI was rated so highly, it was a no brainer. My ... Read More
This was our honeymoon cruise. What drew us to it was the itinerary: Rome, Messina (Sicily), Athens, Ephesus, Turkey, and Crete. I had only ever been on a Princess cruise before, but RCI was rated so highly, it was a no brainer. My husband and I got into Rome the day before. I know passable conversational Italian, which saved us money on our cab ride to our hotel (make sure you know common rates before or they will rip you off). On our own, we headed to the Vatican and Colosseum. The next day, we took the metro and then a train to Civitavecchia. You will likely be able to split a cab with others heading to your port; it's a very short ride (10 minutes). Embarkation was very easy. Our bags came fairly quickly and we had a nice meal in the meantime. Not too much else to report on that. We had an interior cabin. Besides being cheapest, my husband doesn't like being woken up by the sun. Perfectly adequate. The food was sensational, especially the desserts (I may have eaten 10 different cheese cakes). We used My Time Dining most nights and had the same waiter and table neighbors on most nights. We sat right next to the window, so we had gorgeous views as we ate. I don't eat red meat or shellfish, but I was always able to find something. I also loved the menus themed on where we were (e.g., caprese in Italy and anything with feta in Greece). This review is being written over a year later, but with an infant son now, my husband would only book another cruise if we were able to take him in the dining room. We aren't huge entertainment on the boat kind of people, but we enjoyed a wonderful couple's massage at the spa. We spent every night in a hot tub, participated in trivia as often as possible, and frequented the arcade (Deal or No Deal was the best game ever). We tried the ice skating, Bingo (which we thought was a rip off), and the Newlywed Game, which was okay entertainment. Also tried the karaoke which was ok. The best part of our trip was the excursions. We did everything through RCI, which was well-worth it. We went to Mt. Etna in Sicily, the Acropolis in Athens and Plaka for a nice lunch, historical highlights of Ephesus, and Crete. I can't stress enough how fantastic these excursions were, especially Ephesus, which completely surprised us. I would absolutely go back in a heartbeat. Disembarkation took a little longer than we thought. We had to stand in line, partly in the sun, to get on a complimentary bus back to the train station. My husband and I were heading to Florence, so we needed to make a certain time. All and all, however, it worked out. Overall, this was the honeymoon of my dreams. My husband and I decided that cruising was going to become a part of our lives, so we booked a Caribbean cruise for the winter. Unfortunately, we had to cancel that because I was pregnant and over 24 weeks at the time, but we were able to move our onboard credit from booking on the boat to a later cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
After check-in, there is nothing to drink until you get to the deck 11. There is no more ice sculpture showing. Cabin - Cabin in deck 9 mid-ship is very noise. There are machines installed on deck 10 right above the room for swiming ... Read More
After check-in, there is nothing to drink until you get to the deck 11. There is no more ice sculpture showing. Cabin - Cabin in deck 9 mid-ship is very noise. There are machines installed on deck 10 right above the room for swiming pools on deck 11.. Custormer relation department did n't do anything to correct the situation. We need to switched room within family. They did use ear-plugs for the rest 6 nights. Food - About the same quality of cafeteria. Dirty and sticky tables on deck 11 area. I saw people use napkins to cover the table before they eat. Fish dishes are always over-cooked, beef dishes are tough and over-cooked. Lamb dishes are excellent. No loster or steak served if you don't pay extra. Entertaiments are good - Singing, dancing and Ice dancing too. Customer relation department - not treating customer as customer, unprofessional and very rude. I think RCCL is cutting down, there is no pen , pencil or paper in the room. No more chocolate in bed at night, no more food during the captain's welcome back party. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Royal Caribbean remains a quality experience. We upgraded to a balcony room since we knew we would be gliding by fantastic sights. It was worth it. The room was really nice and we don't know if we will ever go back to the interior ... Read More
Royal Caribbean remains a quality experience. We upgraded to a balcony room since we knew we would be gliding by fantastic sights. It was worth it. The room was really nice and we don't know if we will ever go back to the interior tiny rooms that we convinced ourselves were OK because we only slept there... The Eastern Mediterranean cruise was a first for us.. We flew into Rome to join our son and a "quaint B&B we found on the Internet. We were looking for the best ways to be economical (it's a challenge our family persists in) We planned on the train from the airport to Termini end. It was 24 euros. As we walked the airport to baggage claim, we saw signs for bus lines advertising 5 euros transfers... We checked it out and thought it would be fine. We bought a round trip ticket for 8 euros. It was a short walk to the bus stop and easy to load suitcase in the outside bins. They let us off just outside the Termini, and took about 50 minutes. Our son arrived later that afternoon and he took the train as planned. He said it was a terrifically long walk to get to the station, then load the luggage on the train and haul it with them. We toured Rome (not our first time, but perhaps our last) for two days. The pickpockets were worse than ever. My husband was picked twice within 30 minutes and both times he recovers his wallet from the hands of the pickpocket who got his wallet out of my husband from pockets. My son was picked the next day, and later on the way to the Termini to go to the port, I was picked by three young women who surrounded me. I also figured out what they were doing and batted one of them away from me as she reached into my bag. We took the 'slow' train for 5 euros. It took about an hour, and the fast train for much more was about 25-35. The ship offered transfers back for 95 euros... We exited the train and walked about 3 football fields to the gates of the port where we then walked a little further to the cruise line shuttle bus. Finally the cruise... great fun! Same food we expect on Royal lines. Ice Shows, great music, the Promenade!!. mini golf, volley ball, dodge ball, lots of varied activities. Loved room service breakfast, and late night snacks of fruit trays, cheese trays and spinach dip and chips. Eating while watching the stars and passing by islands and sites. Even saw a small island that seemed to grow straight out of the water to a sharp peek.. watched as it erupted with a burp of smoke. We found out it was an active volcano. We stopped At Messini and we went to Mt Etna, and our son and his wife went to another small town up a winding hill side road. He won on his excursion. I stayed on the ship and lounged at Crete while my husband and son went swimming at the beach. they switched stops because Greece was having strikes and protests, and went to Turkey next. We toured the bazaars and saw an old fort. The rugs were amazing and the work to make them incredible. But $1000 for a place-mat size... I will settle for walmart. Greece was beautiful. We took a bus tour and stopped at a beach-side cafe for a break and at the acropolis. I think we could have spent a week there. It was clean and everyone was pleasant. Back to Rome and my husbands fav.. Gelato.. sour cherry was the best! All in all it was great... I think I enjoyed the cruise more than the stops. and Definitely have had enough of Rome. The current condition of danger there is more than I want to experience again. Others on the cruise reports similar experiences and many not as successful as we were. One older couple were 'guided' into a narrow roadway and then surrounded and forced to provide the password to their credit card, and lost their passports and everything they carried. sigh... great stories if you save yourself and get away.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Our first time on Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas. Embarcation was a breeze. We were on the ship in 15 minutes. Our Grand Suite was impressive and spotless. The entire ship was clean. The entire staff on board were very helpful and ... Read More
Our first time on Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas. Embarcation was a breeze. We were on the ship in 15 minutes. Our Grand Suite was impressive and spotless. The entire ship was clean. The entire staff on board were very helpful and eger to please. The food was good. We ate at the Windjammer only once for breakfast and spent the rest of the cruise eating breakfast in the Nutcracker resturant on deck 3. The eggs benidict were good. We didnt eat lunch much of the time as we were out on shore excursions. We had a 6pm dinner seating each night and the food was excellent except for the prime rib dinner night. It was a poor cut of beef. We ate a Portifinos and Chops once also. Chops was the best. Get the 18 oz Porter house steak. We did not eat at Johnny Rockets. There were 2 formal nights. Some people dressed up while most just wore a sport coat and no tie. The royal promenade had numerous specialty shops such as Ben and Jerry's, and an Irish pub for a wide selection of beers but at additional cost. What saved our liquor bill was the Concierge lounge and its happy hour from 5-8:30 daily. Free drinks. Normally a glass of wine was $10 (including the 15% tip added in) and the cheapest beers were about $7 each. But with the grand suite we got came the free happy hour. Internet access is expensive. $.65 cents a minute. The entertainment was OK. Nothing special. The ice show was good as was the Motown singers and the rock group, The Zoots. Since the cruise was in the med there were not a lot of kids on board. Mostly mid to upper aged individuals. Lots of non-Americans. There is an adult only pool and hot tub as well as the regular pool and 4 hot tubs for the rest of the world to use. I didn't see any topless women as I expected since this was a European cruise. Chairs were hard to come by on days at sea, except if you had a suite, there was reserved seating. Getting off the boat was a breeze. We docked at 5 am and walked off the ship at 6:45 with our bags in hand. No crowds. We had a private limo take us to the airport for about a 45 minute drive and for 100 euros. We didn't feel like waiting on a bus to take us and 50 other people. Overall an excellent vacation. The only bad part was the long flight home to the states. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
OVERALL -- We are a couple in our 50s, celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary by taking our 5th-ever cruise but first ever Mediterranean cruise. We definitely picked the right ship, the right itinerary and the right time to cruise. The ... Read More
OVERALL -- We are a couple in our 50s, celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary by taking our 5th-ever cruise but first ever Mediterranean cruise. We definitely picked the right ship, the right itinerary and the right time to cruise. The Navigator of the Seas is beautifully maintained, both in public areas and the cabins (our cabin certainly was). The ports of call were great and the weather even better, not too cool and not too warm. In fact, the last day of the cruise the waters were so calm they looked almost as smooth as glass. SHORE EXCURSIONS -- Thanks to Cruisecritic's Roll Call thread, we were able to pre-arrange private shore excursions for Kusadasi, Turkey, (to see the Roman ruins at Ephesus) and for Athens with fellow cruisers. We used Ephesus Tours for our Ephesus excursion and Private Greece Tours for our Athens excursion. Both turned out to be excellent choices in terms of price (significantly cheaper than tours through the cruise line) and quality. We hade enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides who got us to where we wanted to go, in most cases before the crowds got too large. GETTING ON & OFF THE SHIP was a breeze. Showed up, almost no line at all, and went on board immediately. At lunch at the Windjammer. Our cabin was ready when we checked at 1 pm. Our large suitcase arrived within an hour or so. We carried our own luggage off the ship so we could leave by 7:30 a.m. No trouble getting an elevator and walked right off the ship to our waiting cab that took us on a less-than-one-hour drive to the airport (Fiumicino). We split the cab fare 5 ways, making the fare 30 Euros per person plus a little tip for the driver. Very reasonable. FOOD -- In the dining room was generally, very very good. Only complaint: We ate too much. LOL. Ate at Chop's Grille one night. That was a real treat. Windjammer food was, well, what do you expect of a buffet? The food was convenient and kept us alive without making us sick. SERVICE -- Dining room staff were great. Our cabin attendant, Antonio, kept the room up and made nice towel animals. We didn't see him often but we're not complaining about that. Staff at Guest Services were generally okay, not spectacular. At one point I wanted to use the ATM to get extra cash (for going ashore because Rome burned through a lot of my cash). The ATM was down and the Guest Relations rep had no clue when the ATM would be working again. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES ON BOARD -- There was plenty to do no matter your taste. And, of course, we had ample down time for ourselves to just nap or relax with a good book or to soak in a hot tub. The shows were all good. We especially enjoyed the Bee Gees tribute group. Karaoke was fun and popular with the cruisers. Had some good singers and a few who weren't. I just wish it had started earlier and went longer. An hour or so just didn't seem long enough. WHERE COULD RCI IMPROVE? -- In our opinion, the "regular" coffee was awfully regular. It was as if they used whatever brand they used just to try to drive us to buy the Starbucks stuff. They could also stand to have a lounge with music that suits our generation. After all, I think our age group was probably the largest on board. Contemporary pop plus music from 50s, 60s & 70s would have been great. If they could put that together in a lounge with an adequate dance floor I think the cruise line would sell more liquor by keeping us 50-somethings awake and partying longer than we did. Earlier, when the lounge's theme was "romance," I requested a song of the D.J. It wasn't a slow song so he made it a point to tell me that the theme was "romance." I replied that couples dancing together was romantic, especially compared to an empty dance floor. Other than this little annoyance with the music selection this cruise was great. We'd do it again in a heartbeat and we'll always have a lot of great memories from it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were not disappointed. We took the cruise out of Civitacecchia, Italy not really know what to expect with this being our first European cruise. As well, this cruise was different for us ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were not disappointed. We took the cruise out of Civitacecchia, Italy not really know what to expect with this being our first European cruise. As well, this cruise was different for us as we were by ourselves - no friends or children. Here are our thoughts: *Flew into Rome and trained to Civitavecchia - Very easy to get to the rail station at FCO...a little walking. One of our few problems on the trip came here but it was due to our not reading the train schedules correctly so...we missed a train. I had printed out the schedule before I left though & we were able to catch a later train with the same connecting point. Just made our trip tighter. No need to buy tickets early, they are easy to get at the station. My only real advice is pay close attention to the tickets and signs as train/track info is sometimes hard to find. Also, get on/off of your train quickly; they don't stop long. *If you train in to Civitavecchia, it is an easy walk to the port entrance but certain taxis can take you from the rail station to the cruise terminal. I would take the taxi again; our driver pulled us right up to the terminal and helped with bags...was inexpensive. *Check in at this terminal was the easiest I've had on a cruise! Very organized and quick. *We loved the ship! Ice skating rink & events were cool; entertainment was good even though it was a bit thin due to trying to mixup events between English and Italian. *The promenade adds a very cool environment to the ship. Pub option was great; wine bar, piano bar, and Solarium bars were all great. The Promenade Cafe came in very handy for mid afternoon and late night food drink & dessert options. *The pools were great! We really enjoyed the adult only Solarium option. It had plenty of sunning and shaded areas...was quiet. *Our balcony room was clean, spacious and gave us a great view. *Theater was very nice with comfy seats. *Main dining & Windjammer- on par with other RC experiences...great service. Food was okay - good with a few really good things mixed in. Wine choices were nice and it was nice for us to be able to buy a bottle and share it over a couple of meals (they kept it for us). *Johnny Rockets was spot on and really hit the spot when we just wanted a plain, known simple meal. *The gym/workout area was great. Amazing views, good equipment & helpful staff. *Service throughout the boat was top notch! We would definitely do this boat again. The teen/kid options and activities looked great as well. We just didn't need them this time. Few Negatives/Thoughts... *Wi-Fi signal could be boosted and price is steep. *Would love to be able to get TV sound in the Workout area. Lot's of TV's you just couldn't hear them. *Workout area was a bit warm but it may have just been me dying as my diet was a bit different :) Feel free to message me with questions about the boat. I'll also post some pics. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This ship is beautiful. Our hump cabin was perfect. Great views, great balcony, and great location. It was quiet but close to the elevators to save some steps. The only problem we had was getting to the port from Rome. We took the ... Read More
This ship is beautiful. Our hump cabin was perfect. Great views, great balcony, and great location. It was quiet but close to the elevators to save some steps. The only problem we had was getting to the port from Rome. We took the train, which was overbooked and a long walk to the shuttle to get to the pier. When you get off the train, you must climb up a set of stairs, only to go down another set, then once again back up a set. Kind of hard to do with luggage. We met up with some folks from the bulletin board and split a shuttle for $20 Euro per person after we got off the ship and went back to Rome. This was much better and well worth the money. Our favorite port was Kusadasi. It was beautiful. We ate lunch on the water at Victoria's Restaurant. It was great and the people were very entertaining. We had perfect weather. The pools were still a little cool for swimming, but perfect weather for sunbathing. Overall, it was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
OVERALL The Navigator is a beautiful ship. Her crew was very friendly and polite and we would gladly sail on her (and her sister ships) again. As context for this review, we sailed on the Ruby Princess - a similar-sized ship - just before ... Read More
OVERALL The Navigator is a beautiful ship. Her crew was very friendly and polite and we would gladly sail on her (and her sister ships) again. As context for this review, we sailed on the Ruby Princess - a similar-sized ship - just before this cruise, so we've included a few comparisons to that experience. SHIP LAYOUT & DECOR For anyone who has sailed on a Royal Caribbean ship before, the Navigator's layout will be familiar. In general, we found the layout intuitive and we were able to figure our way around within a day or two. We were on the Voyager of the Seas - a sister ship in the same class - two years ago, which probably helped. In particular, we appreciated the grandeur of spaces such as the Royal Promenade, the Dining Room (Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Swan Lake), and the Theater. There's definitely a wow factor to Royal Caribbean's design. Even the lounges and informal dining places had aspects that made us pause for a moment just to take a look, discuss, and even take a picture to show to family when we get back. When strolling down the Royal Promenade during a evening, look up. There is a piece of art that that expands and contracts every now and then. It was quite interesting to watch. We liked the intuitiveness of the layout and the dEcor in this ship better than the Ruby Princess. The prints along the stateroom hallways helped make an otherwise boring walk more interesting. Though the Navigator was bigger than the Ruby Princess, the walk from one side to the other felt a lot easier. The number of multi-story open spaces on the Navigator were also a welcome contrast to the cramped feeling we sometimes experienced on the Ruby. STATEROOM We had a stateroom at the very front of the ship on deck 7 and found that it had many benefits. First, it was great to see where the ship is headed when we're sailing and when docked, the ship was frequently facing an interesting part of the part. For example, we were greeted by a rainbow over Naples - much better than a view of another ship that's docked right next to us or a view of the terminal. Also, because the room is not the standard rectangular shape, the angled end with the window effectively gave us a little extra room. Just a few extra square feet or so, but it made a difference for our enjoyment. FOOD AND DINING Copellia Dining Room - The Navigator of the seas has one three level dining room that is themed after ballets. At the far end from the entrance, there is a beautiful grand staircase, which combined with the tasteful dEcor, beautiful chandeliers and piano playing in the background, made us feel like we were truly dining in style. The piano music is live. The pianist plays from a grand piano on a landing near the top of the grand staircase between the second and third decks. Unfortunately, the view of the piano was obscured from much of the dining room, so many guests didn't appreciate the live aspect. The service and friendly, though it can sometimes take a while, usually about an hour and a half to two hours for the whole service. Since we're on vacation, we weren't on a rush and allowed ourselves to just enjoy the traditional dining service as well as the excellent company of our tablemates. For a 12-day cruise, we found that there was good variety in the meals and that the food arrived hot. The food presentation wasn't as nice as our preceding Princess cruise, but the flavor was equally good. We do wish that Royal Caribbean would just serve the cold soups in a glass - we're fans of the cold soups, but it's really almost like having a smoothie. Windjammer & Jade Restaurant - In general, we liked the layout of this area. It made it easy to pick and choose. We were on the Voyager before, and the entrance to the buffet in the Navigator was significantly nicer. The glassed in, curved dining area in the aft of the ship made for a nice view as we were sailing or while in port. We rarely ate there, however, as we much preferred the other dining options. Chops Grille - We enjoyed dining in Chops Grille. The service was attentive, but not overwhelming. And they truly did have amazing steaks. The way the food is served is similar to Ruth Chris' Steakhouse, you order the meat and the sides are served to be shared. The 10 oz. filet was just delicious and was as tender and juicy as some kobE steaks that we've had before. You get to choose among three sauces, a bEarnaise, a peppercorn, and one other that I don't remember. We asked for a small dish of each and they were all good. One glaring omission was that there was no lobster option, which is common on most steakhouse specialty restaurants. However, we found the extra jumbo shrimp to be an even better option than lobster; the meat was sweeter and the three shrimp provided more meat than an average-sized lobster tail. The broccolini and mushrooms sides were both very good. We only went once so we didn't get to try the other options which were other cuts of steak and a free range chicken. Brasserie 30 - This is the dining room's lunch service and it was our favorite lunch option. The variety during lunch is not as extensive as dinner -- options here were repeated during the course of the cruise. However, the big reason to go here is the salad bar, which is set up in the middle of the dining room. Servers are stationed there to prepare a salad for you, and you get to pick from a variety of ingredients, including: greens (romaine, spinach, or spring mix), meats (prosciutto, chicken, shrimp, smoked salmon), cheeses, other veggies (carrots, asparagus, roasted bell peppers, onions, mushrooms) and of course, dressings. At no point was I disappointed with the resulting salad. While Royal Caribbean does not do a mid-afternoon tea time—a nice aspect of some cruises—we appreciated being able to sit after lunch and mingle in the dining room over an after-lunch tea. While servers prepped the empty tables around us for dinner, they also kept stopping by to refill our water or offer coffee so that we could finish lunch time conversations. However, if you were in a rush to get somewhere, just let the servers know and they can get you in, fed, and out in about 30 minutes or less. Cafe Promenade - The cafe that's right on the forward end of the Royal Promenade is a nice way to get a snack or a quick meal if you're trying to get out. For breakfast, the it has fruits (usually oranges, apples, and kiwi), donuts, muffins, apple strudels, raisin bread, and various rolls. For lunch, it serves pizza, empanadas, sandwiches, fruits (same as breakfast), and a variety of desserts. Our favorites here were the empanadas, kiwi, and the scones. The best aspect of the cafe is the location in the center of the ship. It's a great place to see friendly faces any time of the day or night and serves as a prime social spot. FITNESS CENTER The fitness center had a good number of machines and rarely felt crowded. Also, unlike the Ruby, it had plenty of lockers for people to use. Two improvements would help quite a bit, though: (1) The weight machines could use a little greasing. The movement was not horrible, but the machines were not moving as smoothly as they could; and (2) The hours of operation should have been modified to accommodate the itinerary. We usually enjoy spending time the sauna or jacuzzi after the gym. Our itinerary was port-heavy, though, and the sauna and jacuzzi were only open from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM, so we did not end up using them at all. An extra couple of hours on both ends would have been very helpful, especially since after a long day of walking, it would have been nice to be able to relax in the sauna or go in the hot tub without having to be outside. ENTERTAINMENT AND ENRICHMENT Production Shows - production shows are one of our favorites aspects of cruising and we have yet to be disappointed with a Royal Caribbean show. We had seen one of the shows before ("All Access" must be popular among the fleet) but just having it performed by a different group was still very enjoyable. Ice Show - the ice show is definitely worth seeing. It's amazing how this group of 10 individuals do a choreographed routine that includes jumps, spins, and flips on a moving ship. The show is almost always packed, so arrive early (at least 30 minutes early) to get a good seat. Enrichment Programs - there were more enrichment program options on this ship than most Royal Caribbean ships we've been on—but were nonetheless disappointing. Aside from the towel folding, napkin folding, and fruit carving demonstrations, the main enrichment options were port information and some basic language classes. The port information is a bit of a joke—a sales pitch to funnel you toward partner companies on shore. The language class (Italian) was good for teaching people some basic words (months, days of the week, et al.), but impractical. We think people would have benefitted more from useful phrases such "where is the..." (dovE), "I'd like..." (vorrei) or "How much..." (cuanto costa). Let's face it, how often are we really going to be asking about the day of the week while in Rome? To give them credit, they did teach "buongiorno", "ciao", and "grazie" in one class. COMMUNICATION We were generally satisfied with the internet access available on the ship. The cost was 65 cents per minute, but there were packages that made it cheaper. Perhaps it was because we largely used it very late at night or when most people were away because we're at port, but we didn't have too much trouble using the internet. For those just checking e-mail, it was helpful to use outlook, if your computer has it, to access and send via gmail. This allowed us to draft e-mails and notes in advance (without being logged in). For receiving, we would just do the send and receive, and then read e-mails after we were logged off. This made it possible to go through e-mails with just being logged on for 2-3 minutes. For those who are members of the Crown & Anchor Society, it was nice to get $5 of free internet as a gold member through the Ultimate Value booklet. Just bring the coupon to the customer relations desk. HEALTH Unfortunately, during the cruise, there was an outbreak of the norovirus (enough that the Captain wrote a letter that was distributed to all passengers). The outbreak happened soon after Egypt, which we've heard is not uncommon. However, the ship's policy for sanitizing hands was not particularly sensible if the purpose was to limit getting other people sick. For example, at the Windjammer, a handful of staff were specifically assigned to greet and enforce passengers using the hand-sanitizer—only at the front door. It was not uncommon, though, to see people sneeze, cough, or pick something off the floor with no sanitizer or sink to be found near the buffet or dining area. It's also unclear why hand sanitization is required to enter here, but not at buffets hosted by the captain or in the dining rooms. PORTS OF CALL Ports of call for this trip included Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Piraeus (Athens), Kusadasi (Ephesus), Alexandria, and Messina. Below are select ports where we have some tips for travelers wishing to go on their own (our usual way of touring ports): Naples - It's possible to get to Pompeii on your own. Take a shuttle or a cab from the port to the train station for the Circumvesuviana Train. (We walked it, but it took 40 minutes.) A cab should cost about 12 euros. The train ride to Pompeii takes about 50 minutes. Herculaneum is only 30. Look for brown signs that say Scavi Pompeii or Scavi Ercolaneo depending on which one you're looking for. Kusadasi - If you're not interested in Ephesus, at least get off the ship and enjoy the bazaar that is just outside. Expect to haggle for a good price. Prices are largely posted in Euros, but you can also pay in Turkish liras. The exchange rate provided by shops is largely 2 lirasi for 1 euro. This overinflates the Lira since it's really about 2 Liras for $1 U.S. Dollar (as of May 2010), so we found it slightly cheaper to buy using Liras. This was one of our favorite ports because the people were so friendly. If you're not interesting in buying anything, just say so and you can expect a friendly conversation not related to buying stuff (most of the time). While, here try a hamman, a traditional Turkish bath, complete with a big hairy Turk. There is one just near the Mosque closest to the ship that accepts both men and women - cost is $20 dollars or $15 euro for the bath, with an extra 8 euros if you want a massage (about 15 minutes). Expect to spend about an hour inside. Rhodes - Rhodes is another port where it's easy to just go on your own. The old town is just on the other side of the wall from the port. This part has lots of souvenir shops and little boutiques. If you feel like a beach day, you can go to Faliraki beach by taxi for about 15 euros. At Faliraki, there are also shops, that unlike the ones in the old town, will focus on things for the beach like towels, pareos, and sandals. Alexandria - Most people in Alexandria go shopping at night when it's cool so the markets that cater to locals are open at that time. For a taste of Egyptian culture, go out after it gets dark, but be careful when crossing roads. Expect that for the first three or four blocks, that people will pester you—a lot—offering things such as souvenirs, drugs, and even prostitutes. Just say no and thank you (or "shakran") and keep walking. They'll leave you alone after you're a few blocks into town. We stayed in the crowded parts and you'll notice women in veils leading toddlers as they go shopping even very late at night (we were out at 1AM). Although we stayed safe—even while carrying a big camera around to take photos—we are two guys in our early 30s. Others might want to keep pockets empty or leave items (large cameras, jewelry, etc.) behind that might draw extra attention. Most cruisers will likely stand out as a foreigner no matter what. For souvenirs, there are shops right in front of the port - however, expect to pay double what you would pay outside the port. As examples: the 10 pack of large papyrus bookmarks were only $1 at Qaitbey Fort, while it was $2 (with haggling) at the Port ($4 without haggling at some places); the 10 pack of portcards were $1 at the Sphinx and $2 at the Port, and the keffiyeh (the men's headcover) at the Sphinx was available for $1-$2 while it was $5 at the Port. GLBT Friendliness One disappointment about Royal Caribbean is that it doesn't post GLBT get-togethers on the Cruise Compass (although it will post it for Friends of Bill W, veterans, red hatters, and others). By comparison, Princess posted the GLBT get-togethers in its Princess Patters and had a member of the cruise director's staff to host. We ended up posting on the bulletin board and got a group that got together every other day in the Champagne bar. This cruise was part of our honeymoon. We received an invitation to attend the honeymoon event and the ship staff treated us like other couples. During the cruise, though, we found two other male-male couples celebrating their honeymoon, who were not invited to the honeymooner event like we were. One couple was quite surprised not have been invited since they even paid extra for the honeymoon package with the decorations, champagne, etc. The rest of the passengers on the cruise were also very friendly. The passengers attending the Love & Marriage Game show cheered loudly for us to participate relative to most other honeymoon couples, but another honeymoon couple edged us out with their dancing skills. SUMMARY We had a great honeymoon on the Navigator and thought the experience faired well relative to both our trip that immediately preceded it on the Ruby Princess, as well as a previous trip on the Voyager. The layout and food were especially enjoyable, while the enrichment activities, jacuzzi/sauna hours, and GLBT-friendliness could be improved with relatively little effort by RCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was an anniversary cruise with husband, second cruise overall, first with Royal Caribbean.  We flew direct from Chicago to Rome.  We booked our air travel ourselves and had quite a time getting out of Chicago.  Our airline got ... Read More
This was an anniversary cruise with husband, second cruise overall, first with Royal Caribbean.  We flew direct from Chicago to Rome.  We booked our air travel ourselves and had quite a time getting out of Chicago.  Our airline got everyone on the plane, then announced the plane had an oil leak and we would be taking a new plane.  Here's the problem, we booked our flight for a Friday evening so we would arrive in Rome on Saturday morning for a day of sightseeing.  With the delay, it was afternoon when we finally got into Rome to sightsee.  I highly suggest arriving 2-3 days earlier so that you have time to see everything in Rome.  I'm so disappointed that I didn't get to go into the Coliseum.  Don't make the same mistake we did!Scheduled our own transfer with rental company from hotel to ship.  Arrived at Civitavecchia at 11:00.  We had completed our Set Sail pass prior to leaving the states so check-in was a breeze.  We walked right up to the counter and got our cards.  Don't be surprised when you are asked to give them your passport, they keep if for the entire trip and you get it back the last sea day.  We were on the ship by 11:30.  Went directly to the spa to make a reservation and got the day and time that we wanted.  Had lunch in Windjammer, it was busy but we found a table easily.  Our room was ready at  1:00 and our luggage arrived at 1:05!  We had a balcony room.  It was clean, had enough storage space for our needs.  What more do you need!?!?  We didn't come this far to hang out in the room!  Cabin steward did a great job, we never saw her, but our room was always made up.Our sailing was the Eastern Mediterranean so next day was in Sicily.  We scheduled excursion through the ship to Taormina.  Our tour guide was friendly and knowledgable.  Disembarkation was quick and efficient.  Taormina was absolutely gorgeous.  I highly recommend visiting there if it is your first time to Sicily.  Even our neighbors that are from Palermo told us to go there.  We spent out time seeing the Greek Theater, having lunch and shopping.  Lots of great souvenirs.Day at sea was next. We had our scheduled massages in the spa.  Service was great and they were running on time.  Remember, the price of your service already includes gratuity.  I heard lots of complaints at the front desk from people who were not aware of this!Athens, Greece: This is where I wish we had not gone through the ship for our excursion.  Our tour guide was not enthused about having to work.  We did A Taste of Athens.  It began with trip to Acropolis and Parthenon.  When we arrived, there was NO ONE at the gate to enter the Acropolis.  Our tour guide decided to walk us around, tell us some Greek mythology, stop at bathroom, etc.  Half an hour later she decided we should go in, well, by that time there were easily 1,000 people waiting to shove through gate that they closed because it got so busy!  She shrugged and said that's what happens during peak summertime.  Wish she had taken us straight in.  By the time we got through the gate and up to Parthenon, she didn't even allow time for pictures!  SUGGESTION:  Book your own travel agent, get off the ship ASAP and go straight to Acropolis.  Our day went downhill from there, but I don't want to ramble more about it here. Ephesus:  We again did excursion through ship.  It took us to ancient Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary, and provided lunch at a 5 star resort.  We were very pleased with the company they partner with.  Loved our tour guide and they even provide a bottle water to everyone on the bus.  House of Virgin Mary was ok, would have been fine not going there.  Ephesus was amazing!!!!!!!!  Easily our favorite place to visit out of the whole trip.  This is not to be missed!!!  Lunch at the resort was traditional Turkish food and was very tasty.  Spent rest of day in Turkish bazaar, lots of good souvenirs here as well.Crete:  Took excursion through ship to the beach.  Nice relaxing day, your ticket also gets you a free soda or bottle water from the resort.  Water sports available.  So glad I didn't go to Knossos.  I didn't meet one person who was happy with going there, they all felt it was a waste of time.Dining:  We did my time dining.  Another thing I learned:  My time dining still requires reservations.  For those who have cruised with Princess as we have, their my time allows you to show up at anytime to dine.  Not so here, you need to choose what time you want to eat and request a table.  We would always just request a time the day before.  We sat in the same section every night because we loved our waiter!  If you can sit in Mihai's section, you'll get great service and a smile.  We really enjoyed getting to know him during the week and made our dining experience very memorable.  Food was very good, typical fancy cruise food with lots of choices each night.Misc:  Rock climbing wall was lots of fun.  The shows and entertainment were top notch, we enjoyed everything we saw.  We went to the Mystery Dinner Theater one night in Portofino.  It was fun, don't know if it was $50 fun, but did include dinner in Portofino.  However, they only gave us two option because of the theater.  I would have rather eaten there on a normal night and had to whole menu to choose from.  Solarium was pleasant break from the children on the ship.  Just wish they would fill their pools with chlorinated water instead of salt water.  This midwesterner is not used to salty water!Overall, we were very happy with this ship and Royal Caribbean.  We are already planning our next cruise, hopefully on the new Oasis class ships. 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Sail Date July 2009
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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