DH and I had a wonderful transatlantic -our first! Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful ship. Food choices were good, lots of entertainment and things to do, and lots of relaxing while enjoying a week at sea before hitting the first port. ... Read More
DH and I had a wonderful transatlantic -our first! Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful ship. Food choices were good, lots of entertainment and things to do, and lots of relaxing while enjoying a week at sea before hitting the first port. We had a promenade cabin which allowed us to watch the parade and disco dancing from the comfort of our cabin. The cruise was a good value, catering to a middle class crowd.
After spending a week at sea, we docked in Ponta Delgada, Azores. We went on a tour of the twin lakes (Sete Cidades)- one green, one blue. We then headed out to a park, and finally a very rushed visit to the pineapple plantation. We had only 20-25 minutes there and needed 45. We did visit the various stations (greenhouses) to see how the pineapple grew, however, there was a huge line to get into the gift shop, so we skipped that and got back on the bus. There were many other buses there at the same time which caused backups at all of the greenhouses. Really unfortunate that the arrival times of the various tours could not have been spread out a bit more.
Next up was Lisbon where we did a walking tour, once again booked through Royal. We had a great guide and went on a hike up and down the narrow and beautiful streets of Lisbon. We sampled pastry and fish/potato pancakes along the way.
Our next two ports were in Spain. In Vigo, we walked around on our own and visited O Castro. In A Coruna we hiked on our own to the Tour of Hercules and all the way to the top inside for great views of the bay. Fantastic place to visit- how often do you get to explore a lighthouse dating back to Roman times?
Our last port was Le Havre, France. We took the Royal excursion to Honfleur and then walked around Le Havre in the afternoon. Honfleur, a beautiful fishing village, was spared the WWII bombings that destroyed much of Le Havre, which earned distinction in the way it was rebuilt after the war, leading Le Havre to become an UNESCO site.
The walk from the ship to the train station in Southampton was much worse than I had expected due to all of our luggage. I definitely will reassess how I want to get from Southampton to London next time around. There is a nice Starbucks across the street from Platform One in which to relax while waiting if you do decide to take the train from Southampton to your next destination.
The was a big mix of entertainment to choose from: the performers in the theater, ice dance shows, bands, a DJ, singers, and a guitar player. Landry was funny, the production shows were good (although I would prefer seeing Grease and Mama Mia on all the ships instead of the specially created shows for Royal), as well as the special show they did for the transatlantic. The singers from the productions who were featured in their own show one night hit the right notes. The magician, Bill Cook, did one trick at the end of his act which was a show stopper- don’t know how he did it! Jimmy Tamley did a funny ventriloquist act. Stephani Parker did an amazing job with her Whitney Houston tribute. What an amazing voice! DH loved the juggler, Pete Mattews, and all of the funny stuff which involved the audience helping out. Singers Gary Lovini and Darren Day did a great job, and the Beatles Celebration was fab. Our last show was the comedian, Mick Miller- didn’t understand all of the jokes, being American, but he got a lot of laughs.
The Ice Dancing show was wonderful and not to be missed! We also enjoyed the special show that was done for the Top Tier evening celebration for the Crown and Anchor members.
The MDR remans challenging for vegetarians, however, the head waiter did stop by on the first night to ask if there was anything special that I needed, which I appreciated. There are a number of speciality restaurants- one of which, Johnny Rockets- ended up my favorite place on the ship. One day at sea, it was the only place we ate at all day. Loved it! The Windjammer was a great place to go for any meal because you could always find something. My only cause for concern was the fact that the second time I decided to enjoy some pasta with tomato sauce, it had (unlike the first day I tried it) what looked like peas in it. I ate some of it, and it didn’t taste the same as before. Then I found a tiny piece of bacon in it. Not cool. I did not choose that version of tomato sauce with the peas in it again.
Unlike other Royal ships, this one does not have a Thermal Spa with the typical tiled hot chairs, sauna, steam rooms, aromatherapy room, and scented showers, however, I enjoyed the three stations that were available to use: the oversized whirlpool near the workout area and the sauna and steam room located in the ladies’ locker room.
Cruise Critic event:
We had a huge turn out for our meet-and-greet. The ship gave away prizes and served snacks/beverages. My thanks to all of the people who organized all of the extra events, such as the gift exchange. (On a side note, one of the gifts I brought, having gone out of my way by twenty miles round trip to buy it at the only place it was for sale in my hometown, was abandoned on the gift exchange table. I guess not everyone participating understood the concept: you bring something unique from your city/town/area that you can’t get elsewhere. Oh, well. Thanks for arranging the gift exchange, even if not everyone appreciated it).
My two cents:
I’m not going to complain about the food (which was good with the exception of the pizza which tasted like Jeno’s frozen pizza), nor the service (everyone works really hard- from the people cleaning your cabin, to the servers in the Cafe Promenade, to the entertainers). What I will complain about is the uncouth behavior of my fellow passengers. At every show I attended in the theater, people got up and walked out- while the performer was still taking a bow! Even the Beatle Celebration show, which was packed, had people leaving instead of showing their appreciation. Yes, you paid your fare, but does that give you the right to be rude? I would ask if they had been born in a barn, but that would be insulting to the people who actually had been. Are you in that much of a hurry to hit the buffet or lose your money in the casino that you can’t spare one minute to show your appreciation for the performer’s hard work?
The uncouth behavior continued in the Windjammer where I witnessed one man take a piece of bread with his hand from the display only to put it back. I took the slice of bread out and set it aside explaining to a crew member what had happened. Another woman reached in to grab a bunch of grapes with one hand while holding the utensil she was suppose to use to select her fruit in the other hand. She then transferred the grapes from her hand to the utensil. Yikes.
This was a wonderful trip despite some of my fellow passengers. Royal continues to produce a product which is a good value for middle class passengers. Sure, there are cuts here and there in order to save money (such as in the MDR), but I would prefer keeping fares down and deciding when and where to spend the savings in order to engage in dining and activities which match my needs rather than pay a higher fare in order to enjoy Cherries Jubilee at dinner. Read Less