4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first transatlantic cruise and it was wonderful. There were some minor issues which is why I can't give it a 5. I would give a 4.5 if I could however. There was plenty to do on the ship as they really did try to ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and it was wonderful. There were some minor issues which is why I can't give it a 5. I would give a 4.5 if I could however. There was plenty to do on the ship as they really did try to offer a variety especially with being at sea for 6 days. I brought along some "things to do" anyhow. I especially enjoyed some of the crew offering basic language classes in Spanish, Portuguese and French. We had "cheat sheets" to carry with us just in case. I checked the Compass every evening to see what was going on the next day. Very good evening shows in the theater. The ice dancing show was awesome. We opted for tours in Ponta Delgada & Lisbon, Portugal as well as Paris, France. Very enjoyable and the tour guides were very informative. The 1st day of touring was rather disorganized and many complained about getting off the ship and getting on it. We were at least 45 minutes late in getting off the ship for our tour. It took us about 30 minutes to get back on but for others it was an hr or more. Amends and improvements were made as we received a 15% credit off our excursion cost plus changes were made going forward to make it easier to get off the ship. However there was still a bit of an issue with getting off at the time indicated which could have been due in part to the tides and where to put the ramps. Not their fault. We were pleased with the food offered but then we were looking for some different options. Our dining room servers, Reynante and Boohpendra, were really good as was our bar server Howard. We sometimes asked what their recommendations were for the main entree and weren't disappointed. We don't usually see the head waiter on our cruises but that wasn't the case this time. Unfortunately I don't recall his name but he came over and talked with us a few times. He asked how everything was going, did we have any concerns with the dining or in other areas of the ship. He was very good. We had MyTime dining for the first time and am going with it again on our next cruise. We weren't happy with our room attendant's service but he could have been new to the position or had too many cabins. Our cabin was set up with 2 towels and 1 small bar of soap for 2 people. I asked for a couple more towels but we didn't get that day or the next morning so we had to ask again. The 3rd time I said I would at least like 1 more towel. We didn't get more soap so I had to spend $19 for a bottle of shower gel. I also had to ask at least 3 times for more toilet paper as we were down to less than 1/2 a roll at one point. We had a bath mat one morning but it was taken away and we didn't see another for at least a week so we used a hand towel. After a week onboard, we received a tube of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion. One day our room didn't receive service so I went to the desk. We were in the cabin when the attendant came the 1st time but we left within 30 minutes. He could have come back but he didn't. We didn't have the card to place in the door to make up the room because he took the card on the 1st day. We did eventually get one back. However, in spite of the issues mentioned, the good outweighed the bad so we have booked another cruise on the same ship for next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first transatlantic cruise and I wasn't sure if we would get bored. But there was plenty to do including bridge lessons and bridge games. There were times that were disorganized such as going out on excursions and in ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and I wasn't sure if we would get bored. But there was plenty to do including bridge lessons and bridge games. There were times that were disorganized such as going out on excursions and in the Azores it took over an hour to return to the ship because of the security process. But it is a beautiful ship and we enjoyed ourselves. The food was very good and the staff was friendly and tried to make our cruise pleasant. The entertainment was also very good and a few of the shows were excellent. Disembarkation was in Southampton England. Because we were immigration checked our passports on the ship it went smoothly. However the process for doing this was quite long and used up a sea day while waiting to be checked. The excursions we chose were informative and quite nice. We especially enjoyed Paris. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Friends invited us to join them on this Transatlantic cruise, I am usually a loyal Celebrity Cruise Line cruiser - this was the 3rd trip that I have sailed on RCCL. The Navigator is a beautiful ship, well maintained and the open concourse ... Read More
Friends invited us to join them on this Transatlantic cruise, I am usually a loyal Celebrity Cruise Line cruiser - this was the 3rd trip that I have sailed on RCCL. The Navigator is a beautiful ship, well maintained and the open concourse is beautiful - a much smaller version to the open concourse on the Allure of the Seas. The smaller size is somewhat of an advantage as it takes relatively little time to travel from the front of the ship to the back of the ship and the new electronic navigation devices near the elevators made it so easy to find any venue on the ship. We had a room at the front of the ship with windows just below the ships bridge - sort of like riding shotgun in a car! Room was slightly larger than the ocean view rooms that are located on the sides of the ship. Friendly, efficient room attendant (Marcelino), he kept the room in an immaculate condition, twice daily ice delivery. Great food in the Sapphire Dining room (My Time Dining), excellent service! The Windjammer Buffet had an excellent salad bar and outstanding curries, the service level was great always someone from the wait staff offering coffee, tea, juice, water. Tables cleared in an efficient manner, only very few times when one had to search for a table. I found that there was excellent service from all staff members with two major exceptions - the Front Desk Reception area, staff unorganized, extremely slow and not as user friendly. Also noted that there did not seem to be many senior officers around and the Cruise Director was possibly the worst Cruise Director I have ever seen. The Diamond Lounge (held nightly in Star Lounge) was great - bar staff (Tatiana) made a point of remembering your drink preferences. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This cruise was for my wife and I on our 25th wedding anniversary. Neither of us had ever traveled to Europe. This repositioning Trans-Atlantic Cruise seemed perfect, and for the most part it was. This was our second time on Royal ... Read More
This cruise was for my wife and I on our 25th wedding anniversary. Neither of us had ever traveled to Europe. This repositioning Trans-Atlantic Cruise seemed perfect, and for the most part it was. This was our second time on Royal Carribean, but first time on one of the mid sized ships. While we are "Elite" on Princess, we are just starting out on Royal. That being said, the embarkation procedure was fine, not a long wait, not a short wait, but overall it was fine. We were very pleased with the ship, The "Mall" on board is awesome, as is the skating rink on board. We went to the ice skating show "Ice Dancin' " and it was a great show in its own right, but amazing that it was on a cruise ship. The Ship itself was very calm, probably the smoothest cruise I've ever been on (but to be fair, the Atlantic was very calm during the duration of our cruise). The dining was very good to Amazing. At our table we had 3 couples, all celebrating anniversaries. We enjoyed all of the couples, so whatever software R.C. uses to matches up couples is VERY GOOD. We ate at the Steak House 3 times and each time it was amazing. The 18% Gratuity on beverages is outrageously high, especially with the fact that if you buy a bottle of wine there is a 18% gratuity on that too. There are beverage packages, but they are expensive to the point you would need to stay loaded continuously to justify it. I am a realist and realize that we're on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, so things aren't going to be cheap... but 18% is a bit high in my opinion. The shows were great, and the cruise director Jeffrey was amazing. The Ports were nice and wished we could have had more time, particularly in Lisbon and Le Harve (France). We took several tours from the cruise line and all we nice. We stayed several days in London after the cruise was done, so we didn't use the Cruise tour to Stonehenge and Heathrow. Overall we had a wonderful time, and recommend the ship, the line and this cruise highly. 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
We took our first t/a on this same ship two years ago and got totally hooked on transatlantics, this trip was our fourth t/a in two years. R/C must have had all the in training officers put on this ship, it was really unorganized. The ... Read More
We took our first t/a on this same ship two years ago and got totally hooked on transatlantics, this trip was our fourth t/a in two years. R/C must have had all the in training officers put on this ship, it was really unorganized. The activities were led by people that had Just been informed that they were doing it or had not been told at all. The entire ship was hot in all the public areas so sitting in other than your cabin or outside was very uncomfortable. I get cold if the temp drops below 70 so it wasn't me, the men wearing suits were taking their jackets off after making an appearance. The ship lost satelite tv for 10 days so we watched the same reruns of recorded tv over and over again! The thing that bothered me the most was that they never bothered to tell us any news except we were diverting to try to get below a storm. I went on the internet after a couple of days rocking and rolling to find out that we were in the middle of tropical storm Melissa. If we wanted to know if the world wass still out there we had to telephone relatives or get on the internet both of which are expensive. I normally love R/C but this was a bad one.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Nov. 3 we boarded the Navigator of the Seas for the sixth time. The difference, this time it's 21 days and every day was fantastic. The staff and crew were so friendly and helpful from our wait staff in My Time Dining, Francisco & ... Read More
Nov. 3 we boarded the Navigator of the Seas for the sixth time. The difference, this time it's 21 days and every day was fantastic. The staff and crew were so friendly and helpful from our wait staff in My Time Dining, Francisco & Carlo, probably the best we've had in over 20 cruises. On the first 7 day cruise we had a small problem with a bar server in the Two Poets but she was going home at the end of that trip and her replacement was the very best. Guest Relations staff managed to be pleasant and helpful through it all, and just everyone on board went out of there way to be helpful and share a laugh with any of the nine people in our group. I do have to say the Nav. is getting tired but should be addressed come January when she goes into dry dock for a major overhaul. Something we've found on the last few cruises is the entertainment in the theatre is not what it used to be in the early days (5 to 7 years ago). I would have to say that this back to back cruise would have to be right up there in the top (favorite) three cruises we have been fortunate to have taken. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
So all in all a good cruise with all the typical good service from RCCL. Quick notes are that they really have very limited support for kids under 3 on most of the boats below the Oasis class. We were limited to $20/hour child care in ... Read More
So all in all a good cruise with all the typical good service from RCCL. Quick notes are that they really have very limited support for kids under 3 on most of the boats below the Oasis class. We were limited to $20/hour child care in our state room and 2-3 1 hour periods with a kid's staff member in the tot room. The also had bags of lender toys which was good but our tot got board with them and the hour play periods after about a week. To be fair there were no other kids under 2 for her to play with and the staff were very friendly but we were spoiled by our 7 day experience on Oasis when they not only had child care for $9/hr in a designated Royal baby's room but a 24 hour play room as well. Taking care out our tot in our room prevented us from enjoying our room childless. It was good we got a Grand suite or out tot would have had no place to run at all! The Weather in April was only warm enough to swim 1 or 2 days so that wasn't available for our tot either. Nor was there a pool with more than and inch of water for tots. So we spent a lot of time in our room or going with out tot back and forth to the few areas that were interesting to her. This was relaxing but it didnt allow much time for many of the other activities on the ship. We are fairly experience cruisers so we didn't feel we missed too much but it would have been nice to get out a bit more. The word from the crew is that the ship is due for dry dock which will address its getting older plan, During they dry dock they are supposed to update the child area. Recommendations: 1. Until updated you can get better service for kids under 6 on other boats and kids below 3 should avoid this ship. 2. Transatlantic cruises are populated by the traditional older set. Go if you enjoy just chilling out and meeting other seasoned travelers. 3. Get a bigger cabin on the long trips. It may sound obvious but the importance will hit you quickly especially if you have a kid in the room with you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Review of Navigator of the Seas, Transatlantic voyage April 6 through 21. 15 days, with stops in the Azores, Toulon, and Livorno on the way to Rome. Embarkation: The cruise port in New Orleans is very close to downtown and the ... Read More
Review of Navigator of the Seas, Transatlantic voyage April 6 through 21. 15 days, with stops in the Azores, Toulon, and Livorno on the way to Rome. Embarkation: The cruise port in New Orleans is very close to downtown and the French Quarter. Access is very narrow, but we arrived early enough that there were no crowds. Our baggage was collected immediately. The baggage handler asked for a tip (which I was prepared to pay) before he actually handled all of the bags. (I tipped $5, for which he took the bags from the taxi and put them in a nearby cage to be rolled onto the ship.) Check-in was relatively quick. We waited a short time in line, entertained by a couple complaining that Florence and Rome had not been located near enough to the ports. I observed that it was very inconsiderate of Romulus and Remus, but that went way over their heads. The actual check in process with the staff was as fast as I have ever seen. There were airline-like security checks. We had purchased two bottles of wine, but security did not care. We could have brought two bottles in each bag. Security did check one of our bags quickly because my laptop charger and some other electronics were in there. That was about 15 seconds. I also had an extension cord and a Belkin cube tap so I could have extra outlets for charging. There has been some commentary about cruise ship restrictions on these things, but security here did not care. We boarded the ship in short order. Having arrived just after 11, the cabins were not yet ready, so we toured the shop a bit, found a table in the pool area, and had lunch from the Windjammer. Cabin At 1, the cabins were ready and we went to see our cabin and drop our carry-on bags. We had a junior suite, no. 1394. This is an aft cabin, so it has a slightly different configuration from standard junior suites, and it has a very large balcony. The room itself was very nice and spacious. Our suitcases went under the beds, which had been pushed together per our request. The bath, with its tub, was also very nice. The cabin has a walk in closet, but one difference between this and others we have had is that the closet is long and narrow, and while there is a clothes hanger running much of the length of the closet, towards the aft end the closet is narrower than the hangers. Nevertheless, with clothes for a 3+ week trip, we had plenty of storage space. The room has a stocked refrigerator, which we emptied and used for our wine, etc. There are few outlets, but with my Belkin cube tap and with a universal adapter for the European outlet, I had enough power outlets for a laptop, camera battery chargers, Kindle chargers, etc. Given the proliferation of devices which need charging, The Belkin cube tap (which includes a surge protector) is a necessity. The balcony is large and had two loungers, two chairs and a table. It has somewhat of an obstructed view because of the ship superstructure in the back. It is fully covered by the Windjammer. On the Navigator, the Windjammer is enclosed, so our dreams of dropping food from the Windjammer to waiting arms below were dashed. Because the balcony is enclosed, it had no wind whatsoever. On the other hand, if you want to sun yourself (not generally our thing), on an Eastbound TA the balcony is in the shade until late in the afternoon. We did not find the walk to and from the cabin difficult. We tend to walk everywhere and use the steps as much as possible. Our cabin steward was Reynaldo. The cabin was always clean and bed made promptly. We requested ice and we had a fresh ice bucket twice a day. The cabin comes with towels for two, but with trips to the gym and pools, we needed more, and after one request, the towel rack was always stuffed with towels. We had robes. Towel animals appeared from time to time. Baggage Delivery Despite having checked in early, our bags did not arrive quickly. We had been told that as suite guests our bags would be promptly delivered, but only two of our 3 checked bags arrived by 4 p.m., the nominal sail time. At that time we did the muster drill, and from the deck we could see my wife's bag still in a cage on the dock. Along with lots of other stuff. The ship sailed about an hour late, with the excuse that there was more to load than for its typical 1 week voyages. (Hadn't anyone figured this out?) My wife's suitcase arrived around 7 p.m.; others in our area were delivered after 9 p.m. Supervisors came around inquiring what was missing; they were suitably apologetic and kept offering the canned excuse that there was a lot to load given the 15 day voyage. Since the length of the voyage was a running excuse, let me note that the Navigator sailed with just over 2900 guests for its approximately 3800 beds. Transatlantic sailings don't attract children, and there were a lot of singles on the ship. Let's move on to the ship. Spa and Exercise Facilities There is an exercise area, indoor Jacuzzi and gender specific saunas and steam rooms. The indoor Jacuzzi was nice, and large to even swim short laps. Given that it was sometimes cool outdoors, this was a nice touch. However, on a couple of occasions it was not heated enough. The paint was peeling. (Navigator is going into dry dock for refurbishment.) The men's sauna and steam room were OK, although on one day neither was very hot as some system failed, they cooled off, and had to be started from scratch. The men's room has lockers, and to get keys you need to go upstairs to the spa check in. Some of the lockers are not for the height challenged (they are over 7 feet off the ground) and on multiple occasions after getting a key, you find that someone has put stuff into that locker without securing a key. (Just clothes.) More trips up and down the stairs, but exercise in any form is welcome. HOWEVER, the ladies steam room was closed. Broken. According to the spa staff, they expected to have it fixed in a day or two. It wasn't. Then the story was that it would be fixed in the Azores. It wasn't. We ran into several couples who were double platinum or whatever who had sailed the Navigator on its Caribbean route earlier in the year, who reported the steam room was out of commission then. When my wife asked the staff, saying it's never going to be fixed, they agreed, and said it would not be fixed until dry dock, but they had been told to say that a fix was imminent. The Navigator does not have a thermal suite, so there are no co-ed steam rooms and saunas. Outdoor Pools There were always adequate deck chairs. The weather was not hot, so there were not a lot of swimmers or sun seekers. The outdoor running track was adequate. Often one of the outdoor pools was closed for maintenance. Dining Let's move on to meals. Given our balcony, we had breakfast in the room most mornings. Service was generally good, with the meal arriving at or before the ordered time. We were able to order things not on the pre-printed menu (like lox to go with the bagels.) HOWEVER, when in port at Toulon, delivery was way late. For us and lots of people. On a morning when it makes a difference. I don't recall the precise times, but if we had asked for 7 to 7:30 delivery, it arrived at 7:45 a.m. After several calls. And incomplete although that was quickly remedied. (I had called to make sure they had our order; if they didn't, I would have simply gone to Windjammer.) A supervisor called us that evening to confirm that the problem had been resolved to our satisfaction (it had) but again offered the excuse that the kitchen was not prepared for as many people who ordered room service on a port day. Like that had never occurred before. And, on a ship traveling 900 light from capacity. We tended to eat lunch in the dining room, opting for the large table option. You meet interesting people that way. The dining room offers a salad bar where you pick what you want and the staff makes up the salad. Uniformly good. There are also a few buffet items; we tried a few and were not impressed. There is also a menu which changes somewhat daily. Those choices tended to be good. HOWEVER, the dining room opened at noon. If you arrived at noon, and promptly ordered, telling the waiter you had something planned at 1 or 1:30 (a class, exercise, walking group, etc.) it was impossible to get out before 1, and usually not before 1:15 p.m. Not the waiter's fault. The main courses are simply not ready. (Yes, I know, I should have gone to Windjammer if I'm time pressed.) Dinner was in the main dining room late seating. We had a table for six, which is good for conversation. Our table mates were diverse, which is something we enjoy on cruises. One couple was German and Austrian, living in Canada for many years. The other couple was Puerto Rican, living in South Carolina for many years. Both of the husbands were engineers. One of the great things about cruising is meeting people with entirely different life experiences and views. Our wait staff, Gezik and Neal, were great. My wife likes lemon with her water, and a plate of lemon slices arrived as we were seated every night. When she has Caesar salad, she prefers it without cheese, and that's how it came. We had a 12 bottle wine package. Whatever we selected was always in stock. Our leftover wine was stored or we took it with us. If we stored it Neal had it back for dinner the next day. We knew the wine selection in advance and it was good. The menu included about six regular items (salmon, strip steak) and about six rotating items. My wife likes salmon, but after three attempts gave up as the salmon had no taste. The way it is prepared is that after lunch it is seared on both sides to seal it, and stored in the kitchen until dinner, when it is baked. (No open flames in the kitchen.) It is not marinated in anything, ever. Sauces are sometimes offered, but they did not help. The salmon was not seasoned, either. Eventually, on a fifteen day cruise, the menu got repetitive and boring. That goes for appetizers, dinners and desserts. The kitchen did make us some souffle's on request, but, alas, our tablemates did not want a souffle every night. There was only one lobster night, and that was a lobster tail. That night was also prime rib night, so RCI got to offer two higher cost items on the same menu to reduce demand. (And if you don't think that's true, take the all-access tour like I did.) I prefer lobster tail to lobster, but, interestingly, the headwaiter thought that lobster tail was simply the tail of a Maine lobster. It's not, and after we had this discussion, he came back one night as we were leaving and said that the executive chef had confirmed that lobster tail was a separate species of crustacean. Maine Lobster was available, at an increased charge. Food service on the ship, like all cruise ships, is getting more restricted. What we like to do, for example, is to have a snack on our balcony at 5 or so, along with whatever wine was left over from the last night. However, the Windjammer is now only open specific hours, and closes about 4:45 p.m. And at that time, hors d' ouerves are not out. At 6 there will be sushi (unlabeled), meats, cheeses, etc. There is the Promenade Cafe, which is always open, but its food choice is limited. The ship also has a Johnny Rockets as an extra charge restaurant. We refrained, since the extra charge approximates what we pay at home for Johnny Rockets. Unlike some ships, this Johnny Rockets was not open for breakfast. It was largely empty, as I suspect its clientele are typically from the teenager crowd, lacking on this trip. We went to Portofino once, for a murder mystery dinner. The show was great, and the food and service were excellent. We did not try Chops. We wholeheartedly recommend the fun of the murder mystery dinner. Coffee service was always available. The ship serves Seattle's Best, which is fine with us. Starbucks is available for an extra charge at the Promenade Cafe. Frozen yogurt was available at three different stations whenever we wanted it: chocolate, vanilla, sometimes strawberry, and a combination. The ship also offers Ben & Jerry's for an extra charge. We refrained. Food was also served for lunch in the Promenade. The displays were enticing. Health We, along with a great many other passengers, developed coughs. One member of our meet-and-mingle group developed pneumonia. RCI personnel constantly urged us to use Purell, which is available everywhere. RCI personnel cleaned things like the banisters regularly. Cruise Critic and Meet and Mingle We followed the roll call on Cruise Critic (about 5000 posts) and joined meet and mingle. Did the cabin crawl, slot pull, murder mystery dinner together, book cluib, walking tour. Other activities were organized, We organized one tour with folks we met on meet and mingle. All-Access Tour I took the All-Access tour, with about 10 other people. Cost is $150, although my sense was that I was the only one who paid. Good tour, well worth it. Toured the bridge, with the officers there explaining things. Then a visit to the engine control room, where the engineer on duty gave a 45 minute talk on how to run the ship. That ran over, annoying the environmental guy. Then on to waffles in the crew's quarters. Off to the kitchen, where we saw food storage and learned about ordering stuff, and learned that the chef had a budget per person per day for food. We saw the pictures of every arrangement of food for the staff to use to make up plates, although not all of the arrangements were going to be used on the cruise. We saw salmon being seared and stored, rolls being baked, shrimp cocktail being assembled. Then off to backstage in the theater, and finally a stop for champagne. Activities There was plenty to do on the multiple sea days. There is entertainment in the evening, ranging from singers, comedians, the Dungeon dance club, the ice show and production shows. The ice show was very good; we understand that the second time it was offered, given that the ship was rolling a bit, the performers missed a few cues, but got rave reviews from the crowd for their spunk. We entertained ourselves at trivia in two different groups. What kept us attending was our two groups, otherwise we would have dropped out. The questions were prepared and had been used multiple times before (sometimes repeated during the cruise), but every day there were answers which were wrong. Not close calls. The Great San Francisco Earthquake did not occur in 1908 but in 1906. Golda Meir is not the only Israeli prime minister born in Russia; there were 7. The country closest to where the Titanic sank was not Halifax, which, last I checked, was not a country, nor is it Nova Scotia, which is not a country but a Province of Canada. The staff member running trivia took Canada, Nova Scotia and Halifax as correct answers. Internet I bought the 500 minute internet package. RCI tells you that you need to go to a hot spot. The Solarium hot spot did not work. The internet center on 8 was fine, although as usual for this type of service with high usage everyone's connection slowed. I had a problem once where the connection would not disconnect and kept billing; guest services remedied it promptly. I was able to get a connection in our aft cabin twice. Telephone I have an Apple iPhone 5 and my wife a Blackberry Bold. Service was good for the first few days. (We were just using the phones for e-mail.) Then mine stopped working and my wife's was slow. Guest Services called Verizon, which reported a world-wide problem with the ship system. That lasted about 3 days. (Not an RCI problem.) Pricing We booked a year in advance, paid retail (about $3,800), and got an aft cabin, our first aft cabin. RCI tells cruisers to book early for best selection and price. (We also got a $250 shareholder's credit.) Until our final payment was due, pricing did not change. As soon as final payment was made, RCI began offering a special, book a balcony or better and get a free liquor package, valued at $1650. (We can't and won't drink that much.) Our agent tried to get this deal for us but was unsuccessful, even though a few people on Cruise Critic reported that they had persuaded RCI to extend the deal to them. I wrote to RCI; no response. Once on the ship, we met a number of people who received the free liquor package even though they did not meet the terms of the offer, including one fellow who got a single for $470, had the single supplement waived, and got the free liquor package. He showed up at dinner every next nicely lubricated. Disembarkation We left early in the morning to catch a train to Rome. We purchased a transfer from RCI from port to the train station because we wanted to make an early train. Getting our bags was as easy as it could be. About 17 people purchased this early transfer. 16 showed up on time. So what do you do if you are RCI? You hold the bus for the last guy, 20 minutes, inconveniencing the folks seeking to make the earliest train to Rome. No manner of requesting that we leave for the 10 minute trip to the train station made a difference. (We were less concerned as we were meeting our daughter in Roma Termini and had more room in our schedule.) Dings I wrote to Adam Goldstein about the liquor package offer. I'm still waiting for a response. It's been 3 months. My wife filed a comment card about the non-working women's steam room (and other matters) very early in the cruise. She was promised a response in 24 hours from guest services. She's still waiting. My wife was publicly insulted by a member of the cruise director's staff we had not seen before or after. When we saw Keith, the cruise director, later that day, the incident had already been reported to him by others, strangers to us. While Keith said he was "spoken to," my wife has yet to receive an apology. What's Next Next year's trip is booked. That cruise is about $10,000. It's not on RCI. Will we go on RCI again? Maybe. Right itinerary, right price, we might consider it. Biggest downside for me was the reduction in ports. Our 2012 RCI TA had 6 stops; this one had 3. Second biggest downside is the Grand Bazaar approach to pricing. Third biggest downside is the rude treatment by one employee for which RCI doesn't think it should apologize. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
This was my first longer cruise, going from and to places I'd never been before, on a ship the size of which I had never been on before. My first sight of Navigator of the Seas..."holy cr**!" Big was understating it - it ... Read More
This was my first longer cruise, going from and to places I'd never been before, on a ship the size of which I had never been on before. My first sight of Navigator of the Seas..."holy cr**!" Big was understating it - it was HUGE!!! Travelling with mobility issues makes it harder these days, but not with this cruise! From the moment we entered the cruise terminal in New Orleans, the staff of Royal Caribbean couldn't have been more friendly and helpful. Wheelchair provision was great, accessibility was really good and there was no problem getting from the gangplank to my room. I had preorganized a rental scooter that was waiting for me and I had booked a disabled room for the first time. I was very impressed. Previous experience on cruises left me with cracked skulls and bruises from falling out of standard bathrooms into wardrobe doors, slipping out of the shower into mirrors and, most embarrassing of all, not being able to make it to the loo on time because of having to manoeuver up the step. Not on this cruise!!! The bathroom being on one level, no shower lip to trip over and being able to take my wheelchair in there...I was in paradise!!! For the first time, I was able to find something to do pretty much each day. Not being a drinker or a gambler, not being a sun worshipper and not being able to participate in more physical endeavours, it is sometimes a challenge...not on this cruise. There were the standard jewellery making classes and scrapbooking classes, but what made this more fun for ME were the extra craft classes provided by the amazing Connie and the always entertaining Crafty Dude (Tony, her helpful hubby). They gave me something to get up each morning for, something new to learn and taught me skills I can take home with me. Way to go, Connie!!! As someone who always declares "I have no great skill in anything", well, I can't say that anymore. RC laid on the music trivia, a different one each day. I found my niche, to the point I even gained a Trivia Posse and was actually in great demand to join other teams. I have never been one to win anything, yet I managed to complete the set of prizes at trivia!!! Yay me!!! Shout out to TT, Roberto and Alina from the Cruise Director's staff...they made everything even more fun, I wanted to take them home with me! Were there any disappointments? Well, yes. Dinner at 5.30pm was a bit rough, as I found that if I ate breakfast I didn't want lunch and if I had lunch I was not hungry at dinnertime. I did find, however, that I was at a table with six great tablemates! I even made a great friendship with two of them (we have plans to cruise again together!), something I have never done on any other cruise! The food? Not so great. Plenty of it, but with having food restrictions, it was sometimes just too hard to find something that could be modified for me (thank heavens for the windjammer!). I was very disappointed that there were no themed dinner nights...apparently discontinued. Well, Royal Caribbean, in this cruiser's opinion...BRING THEM BACK!!!! The night time shows were disappointing. Too many "guest artistes". I like the Broadway style shows and enjoyed the two they put on. The ice show was fun, especially as they kept falling over (ok, the ship was rocking!)...they had great skill and did a fantastic job for being on a moving boat. Cudos to the ice cast. I didn't book too many tours for port days, only in Livorno as I wanted to see the Leaning Tower (no, I didn't do it, I promise!). They tried their best, were very accommodating, but with the weather having closed in, I got to see the Tower so was happy with that. Being able to take my scooter off the boat in both Porta Delgado and Toulon, I was able to explore on my own which gave me not just a sense of independance but a feeling of satisfaction. All in all, the best cruise I have ever been on. It has made me want to try longer cruises and I am considering consecutive back to back cruises next year. This was one cruise I will NEVER regret taking... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
I sailed with my wife and my 4 year old daughter. Boarding the ship took about one and one-half hours. I had arranged for our stateroom to be decorated for my daughters birthday and our anniversary. We arrived at our stateroom to find ... Read More
I sailed with my wife and my 4 year old daughter. Boarding the ship took about one and one-half hours. I had arranged for our stateroom to be decorated for my daughters birthday and our anniversary. We arrived at our stateroom to find it beatifully decorated with a not for my wife and daughter from me. A great way to start the trip. I have been disappointed in the past by other cruise lines. Our cabin steward, Golda was outstanding. During our trip she made a different towel animal every night for my daughter, she was very easy to work with, if we were not out of our cabin by the time she finished working she offered to come back when we were ready. Our room was always immaculate, a very difficult task considering we have a 4 year old. We ate at Portfino the first night, the food and the service were outstanding. We said we would go back another night. The crew on the ship is extremely friendly, not once in 15 days did I pass a crew member and not get at least a greeting. We saw several shows while onboard, the juggler was funny and included my daughter in the show, so that was one of my favorites. But, the ice skating show is not to be missed. The other shows we saw were good, nothing great. The food outside of the pay restaurants was also very good. The main dining room always had something very good on the menu. The night they served lobster I was very skeptical to even try it, because I am from Maine and I am almost always disappointed with cruise ship lobster. Our waiter convinced me and I am glad he did, it was very good. My only complaint would be at the buffet for breakfast, it did not have the variety that I have had on other ships. Our waiters in the main dining room were exceptional. Fahmi and Christian could not have been better. They were always right there to meet any need you had. They were also very fiendly. If I took another cruise on this ship I would want them back to be my waiters. The head waiter Leslie, was also excellent. He always took the time to stop and say hi, on several nights he made my daughter napkin animals. He also brought her plates of beef carpaccio that he found out she liked. We took shore excursions in Ponta Delgada, Toulon and Livorno. The excursion in Ponta Delgada was good, but it was not a very nice day. The tour guide was knowledgable and friendly. I could have lived without the Pineapple plantation. If I had to do it over again, I Probably would have done a different tour. In Toulon we went to Aix. I really just took this tour for the ride to Aix, I did not have any interest in following the tour once in Aix. I guess this somehow offended our tour guide, he was a complete jerk to me and my wife. We still had fun in Aix and I complained about him once back on the ship. The tour in Livorno was very good. We went to Pisa and Florence on our own, Lisa our guide was very knowledgble about the areas and gave us some great tips for getting around and what to do. On the sea days there was always plenty to do, miniture golf, rock climbing, trivia, bingo, ice skating, or just hanging out at the pool. The first few day of the trip we did not put our daughter into the kids club, because I enjoy spending time with her. But, I started to feel guilty and selfish, as I had heard other kids were having a great time. We finally decided to let her go and she didn't ever want to leave. The staff was very friendly and always had something fun planned for the kids to do. She also met many new friends in the kids club, I was happy we decided to send her. I think the ship is due to be refurbished soon, which is fine as long as they keep the Captain and crew. Overall the crew was outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
I am a Platinum member of RCCL's Crown and Anchor Society, and this was our second Transatlantic. In the past we were quite satisfied with the hospitality given to passenger on the Royal Caribbean ships we have sailed on. This trip ... Read More
I am a Platinum member of RCCL's Crown and Anchor Society, and this was our second Transatlantic. In the past we were quite satisfied with the hospitality given to passenger on the Royal Caribbean ships we have sailed on. This trip left a lot to be desired. I read the review that another passenger left on our cruise, and I find he was quite accurate. He spent a lot of time on the food, and I concur. The food was mediocre, at best, and I was really surprised, when it was announced two days out, that the ship had run out of raw eggs. This was the day after we were in Nassau. I would think, they should have restocked when they were in port. Not only were Eggs sold out, but they ran out of bananas and Berries on day 10. The other reviewer mentioned a shrimp soup. I also was surprised by this when I ordered it, and saw the lack of shrimp. We had a surf and turf night, and a lobster night. The Surf part of Surf and turf was 1/2 of a small lobster tail. It also was served in shell, and was hard to retrieve the meat, which was overcooked. The cooks could also learn something about seasoning. There were a number of passengers from Louisiana on board, since the ship was slated to terminate in New Orleans. Several times on the lunch menu Jambalaya was featured. I was sitting in the restaurant with a couple from New Orleans. I told them not to expect much, and that's what they got. No heat at all! One of the problems we encountered was the state of the room. To be frank, it was dirty, and showed signs of extreme wear. This ship needs a renovation badly. the room was a little larger than many of the balcony staterooms, and on the hump, which is about the best you can get, and not have a suite. so I was disappointed when we saw cigarette burns on the carpet, and had lumpy mattresses. Shortly after boarding, we sent out some our clothes for cleaning. The clothes were delivered the next day. About halfway through they offered a special deal. Laundry was done for $25 all you can get. Unfortunately it took two days instead of one. To top that off, they lost our laundry. Our cabin steward had to bring three bags of unmarked laundry, and helped us find it. Which brings me to entertainment. Many of our table mates had sailed on the Navigator before. They commented on the shows which were pedestrian at best. In some cases they had seen the same shows two or three times. the cruise director made the point in one of his pre show comments, that he had been in the same show in 2003. Ten years is a long time to have the same show. Now I know why the shows seemed dated. I also have criticism with the activities, or lack thereof. The Art auctions no longer are with Park West. RCCL now runs the auction themselves, and they are not as varied than the Park West auctions. It also seemed that there were less poolside activities, then we've seen in the past. One standout was Vito, who ran the Bingo games. He is also a marine biologist, and also had a series of enrichment programs which were educational and well attended. Finally kudos to the wait staff, and cabin stewards, who worked hard and were very professional. I was impressed. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
Flight to Barcelona was 3 1/2 hours late in leaving this was not to bad considering hurricane sandy and the troubles other folks had. Hotel Rivalto was great, room was clean, staff was great, location excellent will definitely go there ... Read More
Flight to Barcelona was 3 1/2 hours late in leaving this was not to bad considering hurricane sandy and the troubles other folks had. Hotel Rivalto was great, room was clean, staff was great, location excellent will definitely go there again. Arrived at ship 1 pm on Sat. very smooth embarkation stateroom was ready dropped off carry on, off to windjammer. Our cabin needed a do over as the carpets were not clean and bathroom was still dirty. our cabin was never really cleaned like previous cruises and if was really was an effort to get it cleaned before 11.30 most mornings even after putting his make room card out at 8 am. Just to say we are really happy go lucky couple with many cruise on rcl, this is my first and probably my last attempt at doing a review. This transatlantic our 7th left a lot to be desired. Food. very disappointed with selection, and quality, our wait staff were excellent, but the food coming out of kitchen was never hot. we were a table of 8 and all had similar complaints. Shows were weak other than ice show and the Platters who did a great job with the oldies, other than these two just fair Day time activities less than exciting, trivia fun, sudoku ok,guest speakers no comment Debarkation was close to 4 hrs from start to finish what a mess, Please RCL bring your product up to your old standards us loyal cruisers have supported you in the past but you will lose us in the future unless you improve your attitude and services. PS Ricardo in the cc lounge is the best assest on the ship, a real gentleman with a great way of taking care of his guests. Overall 6 out of 10 Still love cruising GOING ON A 14 DAY CRUISE WITH A PRESIDENTAL ELECTION IN THE MIDDLE WAS QUITE AN EXPERIENCE ALMOST LIKE BEING IN CONGRESS WHERE THERE WERE TWO SIDES WHO NEVER AGREE GOD BLESS AMERICA Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
After a two night stay in Barcelona we boarded the Navigator of the Seas. It had been two and a half years since we last sailed on the Navigator and not much had changed but we did notice that she was getting tired and ready for a face ... Read More
After a two night stay in Barcelona we boarded the Navigator of the Seas. It had been two and a half years since we last sailed on the Navigator and not much had changed but we did notice that she was getting tired and ready for a face lift. We were told that that upgrading had been postponed till spring 2014, she will be very tired by then I'm afraid. All that aside the cruise turned out to be one of out top three cruises for good times and great food. we enjoyed dinner in the dinning room very night with a great wait staff. If people complain about the quality of the meals they must have a wonderful life at home. The only meal we had that was less than great was the night we all went to Portofino where the meal was much less than spectacular and the seafood was cool by the time we got our meal. The entertainment was very good, both in-house and shows in the theatre. Special mention to the Sunlight Band who we miss the most. All in all we had a great time, put on a couple of pounds and came home with some great memories. The only real negative from our point of view was the number of smoking venues and the lack of enforcement of smoking in non smoking areas. I guess I have to mention the debacle when we arrived in New Orleans, even though it was the Port Authority and not RCCL that is responsible on this one. Over four hours to get off the ship and on the street is a little crazy. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
This was our second time aboard Navagator of the Seas and once again we were very happy with the crew and the for the most part happy with the whole experience. As has been noted by others Navagator is due for a makeover and if it is ... Read More
This was our second time aboard Navagator of the Seas and once again we were very happy with the crew and the for the most part happy with the whole experience. As has been noted by others Navagator is due for a makeover and if it is another 18 months off she will really need some help. We arrived in Barcelona late on Thur. before boarding on Saturday and found that a day and a half is not enough time in this great city. STayed at the Hotel Villamari and found it comfortable and in a good location from which to get around the City. Arriving at the port about 2PM only took about 30 minutes to get on board and our stateroom was ready for us--clean but a little worn--the embarkation was about as smooth as could be expected. We enjoyed the Ports both Cartagena and Malaga were pleasnt enough and the weather was good. One problem we found in Malaga was a that several places did not accept credit cards and after you order lunch without cash it gets a little tense. Tennerefe was interesting with the very rugged topography coming right down to the waters edge. My wife and I both thought the shows in the theater started out as very poor but got better later during the trip, The Platters put on a good show as did El Gaucho. The Ice show was good but not as spectacular as previous Ice Shows we have seen on both the Navagator and on Mariner. I always look forward to the encrichment lectures and am disappointed when they are not offered. The Fun Decades presentation was fun and informative and I thought the speaker was among the best we have seen on Cruise ships. The art historian a little less impressive. I also enjoyed the evening Astronomy lectures offered by one of the Directors staff. I would like to know in the future that these types of lectures will be offered it might be the difference in going or not going. Now to the dinning experience, we are relatively new to Cruising (only about 6 years) but I certainly feel that even in that short time the meals have gotten worse both in quality and variety. We were always able to find something on the dinner menue that was agreable but unlike a few years ago when almost each evening there were two or three things on the menue that I thought I would like to have. Our waite staff was very good there were a couple of evening when the food was not as hot as I would have prefered. The windjammer was ok we had the late seating for dinner and would usually just look for a snack for lunch and then perhaps go to tea aroun 4 or so. I think on future transatlantics we will try to get the early seating for dinner. Most mornings we had breakfast in the Main Dinning room and found that very good Hot food cooked to order. I was a little worried about 6 consecutive sea days but they litteraly flew by to the point that I lost track--we played bridge most days, attended the lectures and other activites and found ourselves plenty busy. The last comment concerns the debarkation I don't think you can necessairly fault RCI but the last memory of a very good trip is a bad experience. I don't know how to fix this problem certainly we need security and control but this system is just a mess with little information being transmitted to very frustrated passengers. Fortunately we were in no great hurry as we had a late afternoon flight out of New Orleans but there were a lot of people at the airport when we got there that had missed flights some of them international connections. The trip was really great and one that we will do more often the future it is a great value at less than 100 dollars a day I can't stay home for that. Fishforfun Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2012
The process of getting on board the ship was fairly painless. I flew into Ft. Lauderdale and was greeted by the RCCL rep, who directed me to a waiting shuttle bus. I packed for a 15-day cruise, so I had two nearly 50 lb suitcases, plus a ... Read More
The process of getting on board the ship was fairly painless. I flew into Ft. Lauderdale and was greeted by the RCCL rep, who directed me to a waiting shuttle bus. I packed for a 15-day cruise, so I had two nearly 50 lb suitcases, plus a carry-on. That's a lot of luggage for a lone woman to handle! There were carts available at the airport to rent, but it would have been nice to have a porter to help. I was there about 2 hours before boarding time, but was allowed to board early. There was a long line at check-in, even though I had filled out all the forms online which stated it would make check-in quicker and easier. The first 8 days of cruisng was a REAL vacation! I had a balcony room (which I recommend for anyone who is on a ship that long) and enjoyed watching the ocean whenever I had a chance. The cruise line had a jam packed itinerary for all passengers. I didn't need all the activity, but according to the daily updates, more people than they'd counted on were taking part in the activities. I especially enjoyed the daily lectures and evening entertainment. The food at the Windjammer was just okay. On a scale of one to ten, I'd have to give it a five. The same with the main dining room. Just okay food. I ate at two specialty restaurants, Chops and Portofino, and the food there was excellent. My cabin steward, Ray, was outstanding. He was so kind to me and though I didn't require much attention, he was always nearby with a smile and willing attitude. The waiters in the main dining room were excellent, as well. I really enjoyed getting to know them. I was seated with 5 of the most interesting and lively women, who I enjoyed tremendously. Thanks to all of them for making dinner time the highlight of my day! There was a fantastic ice dancing show that required getting special tickets. That didn't go so well, in my opinion. We were told tickets would be handed out at 10:00 one morning. (This was the second round of ticket giveaways.) I went down at about ten minutes before hand, and the line already spread over the length of the ship. I probably stood in line for 45 minutes. I believe that could have been handled differently. Why not just have the room attendants leave tickets under the door? On the first day of excursions in Tenerife, it was a nightmare--a complete and utter failure of the activity director (or whoever handled it) to have an organized departure for those taking tours. We stood in line and then were seated, waiting, for over an hour--time that was supposed to have been spent on our tour. After complaining loudly--on the phone and in writing--I was refunded a portion of my fee, and then the following days the tours went smoothly. Hundreds of people were digusted on that day and I'm sure made their voices heard. We had some problems with people saving seats in the Metropolis Theater--when there were signs everywhere, and announcements everywhere, that saving seats was prohibited. Some people just don't like to follow rules. It makes it very frustrating when you go early enough to get a good seat, only to find that someone is saving 8 seats for friends who don't get there until 5 minutes before show time. I believe that could have been handled by having ushers seat everyone. First come, first serve. Instead, people were rude and unkind--on both ends. I didn't visit the movie theater on board one time, primarily because the movies weren't any good. Also, they ran the same movies over and over on TV. It would have been nice to have a better selection. CBS was the TV station providing some shows, and they ran the same shows the entire trip. Why couldn't they have recorded a couple of weeks worth of shows, instead of repeating the same things? My cabin was excellent. The staff was excellent. There was plenty of entertainment for whoever wanted it. So aside from a few glitches, the cruise was fun and left me with mostly good memories. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
While I have a lot of criticism in this review, let me say that we had a great time, and if you really drill down there is no doubt that the value was fantastic on this cruise. There is nowhere, other than staying in your backyard, where ... Read More
While I have a lot of criticism in this review, let me say that we had a great time, and if you really drill down there is no doubt that the value was fantastic on this cruise. There is nowhere, other than staying in your backyard, where you can spend 15 nights for less than the cost of sailing transatlantic. All that said, there were some annoyances, and I'll throw a few of these out. Embarkation: Pretty good considering we showed up way too early and were at the port at 11:00am. We were in the Windjammer by noon, and that in my mind was not bad at all. Arrived in Lauderdale, stayed at the Sleep Inn, and always a great stay. Common Rooms. The Navigator suffers from not having enough bars that are practical. We usually like to have a pre-dinner drink, and the choice was limited to the Schooner, the Constellation, or Boleros. The Schooner was somtetimes not available due to trivia, Boleros has a Latin flavour which is an acquired taste that I haven't yet acquired. We usually settled on the Constellation, which is good, but 11 floors from the dining room. One other irritant was the number of people who used the Windjammer as their private rec room, as on a daily basis the whole front section was taken up by card players and mah jongers. No consideration at all for the fact this is a dining room, not a games room. Sorry to point fingers, but most of the culprits were Cruise Critic badge wearers, of which there were more than 275 on the ship. Not good! Activities: Lots of trivia which was a lot of fun. In particular there were 2 couples from Minnesota that knew more about TV than the head of CBS. Nice people who I hope I run into on future cruises, if you're reading this. Casino was great, staff very friendly, a little disappointed there weren't more craps players, but that's the luck of the draw. Keep up the good work RCL casino staff. Dining: Best wait staff on any cruise ship I've ever been on. The Head Waiter actually did more than sidle around on the last night, and often was seen cleaning off tables. Waiters Gilberto and Li deserve recognition for there efforts and pleasant personalities. Food was really nothing to write home about, with poor beef and small lobster portions, but given the great cost of this trip, I understand that something has to be cut back in order to make a profit for the ship. Rooms: We had a small balcony on the port side of the ship. Lacked a little storage space but it was roomy enough. The TV's in the rooms have been around since "I Love Lucy" and really need to be replaced as a priority. This was particularly important given our 15 nights at sea, 9 of which we were at sea. Excursions: Took the Pisa/Florence tour. Most of this time was on the bus, and a long walk from the bus drop-off. Now I've seen the Tower I doubt I'll ever go back, but glad we went. Toulon (Aix au Provence) was great and I would recommend. Despite all my negativity, I loved the trip. It was great to have so many sea days and it's our intention to do this again in the fall of 2013, starting in Europe and coming west to North America Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
This was a bargain opportunity trip, that was booked with no prior preference for doing another TranAtlantic. Saw the deal- booked it. :) This was cruise #72, and 4th TranAtlantic. This itinerery is not my preference, but my husband ... Read More
This was a bargain opportunity trip, that was booked with no prior preference for doing another TranAtlantic. Saw the deal- booked it. :) This was cruise #72, and 4th TranAtlantic. This itinerery is not my preference, but my husband prefers it. We spent 4 days prior in Rome, which is always a wonderful touring city. We took a CC arranged bus transfer, since my husband has some mobility issues which worked out excellent. In the past I have taken the cheap train. Embarkment was with a short wait and very organized. I had a large on board credit- that I was able to use, by getting the "My Time" dining on the ship. IF you want this at booking, you have to prepay the tips. This feature is not as well run as other lines. We were "tracked" into a time, at the same table for the most part. It certainly is not "freestyle. They keep you with the same wait staff, and hence the continued policy of individual tipping. It doesn't work well, in my opinion. But, food was good and survice was excellent, despite the appearance of being short staffed and looking overworked, which is another issue, I was conflicted about. I went to only a few shows, which were all good. We are Diamond, and with this status pretty ordinary- it was always over crowded at the events. In my opinion, it should be only open to those members and not extra "guests" that is sometimes complained about. The booking agent, included a very nice cocktail party and dinner for two, which we used in Chops. The wasted food, due to the too large portions, should be addressed perhaps? The ports were good and I toured independently in each. Livorno, I had a rental car, which I did require dock assistance getting back to the ship. :) The port area is NOT well marked. In Toulon, I went with a CC organized tour, which was excellent. In Barcelona- taking the city bus was superior to the ship bus. It dropped off right at the Christopher Columbus statue for half the price. :) The Hop on Hop off bus gives a great overview, which I've done before. I have never made the Azores due to weather/route cancellations. I have two more TranAtlantics booked next year- maybe. :) The 8 sea days, had me pretty bored, but the cruise overall certainly was very enjoyable anyway. The value of this sailing was excellent, but I would not have considered it, if it had not been. Disembarkment also went very smoothly. I had no problem getting a cab and making my 11:15am flight. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
This was our 2nd cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship, Navigator of the seas. But our first Transatlantic cruise. We are a young couple travelling with a 3year old little boy, we choose this cruise for our 2nd anniversary. Transfer from ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship, Navigator of the seas. But our first Transatlantic cruise. We are a young couple travelling with a 3year old little boy, we choose this cruise for our 2nd anniversary. Transfer from Airport to port was good, the guide was quite talkative. Embarkation in Rome was Super fast and impressive, absolutely no complaints there. The ship itself is lovely, clean, well equipt, safe and sturdy. All facilities were working. (weather permiting) The crew and staff were all very friendly and helpful, although maybe a little too helpful and overbearing at some times. E.g one night we asked for Tomato ketchup and chips for dinner for our little boy, but then after that they continued to bring them every night without us even asking, until we asked them to stop as we didn't want our boy eating them EVERY night! Our Cabin was fabulous, it was the very top back corner of the ship, it is a rather unique cabin but perfect for us. It has more space than a normal balcony cabin but has a pipe type thing in the middle of the cabin and a metal beam on the balcony, but this was of no bother to us. The only possible downside is because of its location it is possible the cabin with the most movement on Rocky days. (but there wasn't too many of them) The First few days the weather wasn't very good in the Med, in fact we ended up being stuck in Toulon port for 24hrs by some very bad winds/weather. some called it a 'mini hurricane' this meant that we were a day late to our next port Barcelona, with in turn meant we had to miss a port out of our schedualed itinery. They chose to miss the Azores out instead of one of the 2 spanish ports, which we were all very dissapointed with most people who we spoke to had specifically booked this cruise because of that port. This also meant we were to have 8 straight days at sea crossing the Atlantic instead of the planned 5 which was a bit daunting. We were assured however that the captain had chosen this out of the safety and comfort of the guests?! All the ports we visited However were pleasant to visit. In Livorno we made our own way to the Leaning tower of Pisa. In Toulon we went on the tour train around the ports and had some lunch. In Barcelona we walked up 'La Rambla' and took our boy to the Zoo, and Cartagena we walked around the town and went to the Ruins. The only Royal Caribbean tour we took was when we disembarked at Ft. Laurderdale. We went on the Everglade airboat tour which we would recommend. (we also had booked a tour at the Azores with was refunded) I mentioned earlier that we were travelling with our little boy... out of 3000 passengers he was one of only 10 children on board this cruise and none in his age group. (I would say 70% were over 60.) we were aware that this is know to be an 'older' cruise but didnt realise there would be so little childen. This made our trip interesting as because of this they did not put any of the schedualed kids club activities on... Which we werent very happy with. Although they offered babysitting, it was at a price of $19/hr.....!!! So to say it was a 'family friendly' cruise it wasnt very family friendly. It was only because we met some lovely people onboard who offered to watch him that we were able to get anytime alone on our 14night anniversary cruise!! And speaking of anniversary, although we mentioned it when booking we got no recognition of this when onboard. (although others onboard did). Back to positives... food was fabulous, Steak, salmon, Escargot and of course Lobster! sports activities were great fun, and the evening shows were better than expected. (acrobats, dancers, comedians, magicians, singers) So all in all we had a great time and would cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Remember the end of the 1985 movie Cocoon when all the rejuvenated elderly folks went with the aliens to their world where people never get ill, age or die? Well, they're back with a vengeance and I think I know where -â€" ... Read More
Remember the end of the 1985 movie Cocoon when all the rejuvenated elderly folks went with the aliens to their world where people never get ill, age or die? Well, they're back with a vengeance and I think I know where -â€" Royal Caribbean's cruise ship, The Navigator of the Seas. It all started with an innocuous email in my inbox way back in April -â€" an announcement that Royal Caribbean had made a sudden decision to reposition one of its ships (originally meant to winter in and around Dubai) from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. This meant an entirely empty ship desperate for passengers with prices to match. Sitting there in my office, swamped with work, the prospect of quitting my job to travel the world looming large -â€" suddenly the idea of spending days on end doing nothing but staring at the big blue sea, without a care in the world while traversing the Atlantic, book in one hand, a shrimp cocktail in the other, was wildly intoxicating. And since I would already be in the general vicinity at the time of sailing, the rock bottom pricing was impossible to refuse. For those who have never cruised before, a cruise vacation is somewhat like having a floating hotel, ferrying you to various ports-of-call to enjoy during the day, while filling up your nights with gourmet meals and slightly cheesy entertainment. In some ways, the ship is even a destination in itself with shops, bars, casinos, specialty restaurants and in the case of the Navigator, a rock climbing wall and an ice rink. So it was that I found myself boarding the ship in Rome along with about 3,000 other cruisers, with stops in Livorno (Italy), Provence (France), Barcelona and the seaside town of Cartegena (Spain) and the archipelago islands of the Azores (Portugal). Days were spent taking excursions to Pisa (the tower was much prettier and whiter than I had imagined. Warning: Shameful confession ahead... This was one stop where I did the tourist thing I usually despise and took the requisite picture of me propping the tower up. Sad, I know, but how can you not, right?), Florence (a shopper's paradise with high end artisan shops specializing in the most beautiful leather and paper products), San Gimignano (a medieval walled Tuscan town famed for its soaring towers), Aix-en-Provence (birthplace of Paul Cezanne, home to a delightful farmer's market) and Marseille with its picturesque old harbor... The sailing reached an exciting climax early on when we found ourselves in the middle of a weather phenomenon known as a medicane, a Mediterranean hurricane, with sustained winds in excess of 90 mph, forcing the ship to stay in port for an extra day in France and foregoing the stop in Portugal. The ship rocked back and forth so much that passengers looked like people badly failing a drunk driving test trying to walk in a straight line... Something else I was apprehensive about was what to do on those 9 long days at sea. Turns out I shouldn't have worried as every day was a race from one activity to another, including highly competitive trivia three times a day ("What is the literary collective noun for a group of owls?") fighting tooth and nail for cheap Royal Caribbean promotional umbrellas and caps (if bought in the gift shop = useless junk. However, same items won in a trivia game? priceless heirlooms), crew vs. guest volleyball and line dancing by the pool deck. You haven't lived until you've seen 60 seniors doing the Electric Slide... Aaaaaaand grapevine! From my very unscientific data gathering, the typical transatlantic cruiser would seem to be comfortably retired, about 68 years old and possessing a propensity towards enormous buffets. It doesn't help that there's in essence a buffet 3 times a day, with options of ordering however much you want from a menu in the dining room ("Actually, I WILL have three appetizers, thank you for asking!") to a casual buffet restaurant with at least 50-60 meal options, from miso soup to roast turkey to pizza and burgers and everything in between. Free food + non-stop food = an average weight gain of 2lbs per day (lunch literally starts half an hour after breakfast finishes, meaning it was physically impossible to feel any type of hunger for two solid weeks). The first few days, I found myself running around wanting to try everything (and feeling faint afterwards. Fried hashbrowns AND sauteed potatoes for breakfast? I'm talking Sophie's Choice here). Sure, there are "healthy" options of salmon, grilled chicken breast, steamed vegetables, etc., but where's the fun in that? I was finally home! I had found... "my people". All kidding aside, I found myself bonding with really nice people over trivia (shout out to teammates Efren and Maria!), the odd Scrabble game in the card room overrun by old Chinese ladies playing Mahjong much to the chagrin of the Balderdash / cribbage players ("They really need to have a separate room for those noisy games!") and really long dinners. The dining room table dynamic on a cruise ship is a strange one. Put ten people from differing socio-economic classes together every night for at least an hour and a half for 14 dinners (if you're counting, that's 21 hours of conversation...) and mundane dialogue centering on past cruising experiences imperceptibly move on to deep dark family secrets, youthful indiscretions and embarrassing stories. Perhaps it's the thought that you'll never see these people ever again? Or the camaraderie that comes from being on the same vessel in the middle of the ocean? In any case, scintillating... Evenings were filled with shows ranging from the ship's own singers and dancers to specialty acts brought on at various ports to perform magic, hypnosis, comedy, acrobatics, Motown, piano playing and more. While cruise ship entertainment leans towards the cheesy (hence all the Simon Cowell references), I found the few shows I did go to mildly-to-rather entertaining. There were even ice skaters admirably performing jumps and spins in the small but very popular ice rink onboard. If you've ever exclaimed, "I wish there were more hours in a day!", then a transatlantic cruise is for you. To make up the time difference, an extra hour is added on select sea days, meaning you could go to that 11pm karaoke competition or poolside buffet under the stars and still get your beauty rest. Overall, the cruise was a great chance to decompress, do nothing & everything and travel in style back to North America. Oh, and by the way, a group of owls is a "parliament". Just send me a Royal Caribbean key chain when you end up winning the trivia... Travel tips: (1) I first heard of this deal through Travel Zoo, a great weekly e-newsletter that scours thousands of deals to produce a list of the Top 20 travel values of the week. While you may rarely be able to take advantage of the deals, it's worth signing up because you never know when something might come along. Besides, it's fun to see what kind of deals are out there. Before seeing the email, taking a cruise wasn't even on my radar. But I'm glad I did. I ended up paying a base fare of $499 (for a total of $890 including a single supplement and all taxes). I also got $100 shipboard credit which I applied towards the gratuities and a $60 dinner for two in one of the ship's specialty restaurants. All said and done, the cruise averaged just slightly over $60 / day for accommodation, all meals and entertainment onboard. I also used 20,000 fewer frequent flyer miles for my around-the-world ticket which made the deal too good to pass up. (2) I found Cruise Critic's roll call a really helpful resource. This particular group was forum-happy, creating a total of 3,400+ posts, of which only about 1 in 20 were relatively useful. The rest was evenly divided between non-cruise items such as the weather where they lived, relating makeups and breakups, medical conditions and past sailings with arranging cabin viewings, gift exchanges, slot pulls and trivia groups. However, it was great for finding people to fill a group for privately arranged tours. The tours I went on in Italy and France were both arranged by motivated people on the cruisecritic forum and turned out to be cheaper / better organized / more efficient than the ship's tours. (3) There were three specialty restaurants on board. Portofino ($20 surcharge), a great Italian restaurant, serving up a delicious giant shrimp risotto, succulent seafood skewer of scallops, shrimp, lobster with a raspberry tiramisu served with a shot glass of heavenly kahlua topped with cream. I also had Johnny Rockets (old-fashioned diner food, $4.95 surcharge which includes gratuities but not drinks) one afternoon, ostensibly for a snack. However, bottomless onion rings / fries, classic hamburger with all the fixings, and chicken tenders, turned out to be a lot of food! Don't forget to indulge in the chocolate sundae afterwards. (4) Getting to the cruise terminal in Civitavecchia was very easy to do on your own. Tickets can be bought on the day of travel at Termini via vending machine. My advice would be to pay the extra 2.50 euros and go with a first class ticket. Seats are plusher and there is room to keep your luggage with you, as opposed to fighting for a seat in 2nd class. Just note that Italian trains are notoriously late, so leave yourself plenty of time. When arriving in Civitavecchia, you'll need to schlep your luggage down and up one flight of stairs and walk about 7 minutes to the entrance of the port where a dedicated shuttle bus takes you the rest of the way to the ship. (5) Barcelona is eminently easy to do on your own. Forego the ship's $10 transfer and take the blue city bus all the way to La Rambla. The subway system is very easy to use, taking you to almost all the major stops at only 6.20 euro for the day. If you haven't been there, arrange to get to the Sagrada Familia in the afternoon when the around-the-block lines die down. You won't regret the relatively steep entrance fee to see this one of a kind building that's everything a cathedral isn't supposed to be. Did you enjoy this review? If so, check out my travel blog as I travel around the world, passing along helpful tips along the way. www.dreamtravelblog.wordpress.com Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
I'm just back last week from the Navigator TA. It was my first experience with RCL, and I got to say it made me eager for more even though there were several glitches - we booked another November TA for 2012. This was my second TA ... Read More
I'm just back last week from the Navigator TA. It was my first experience with RCL, and I got to say it made me eager for more even though there were several glitches - we booked another November TA for 2012. This was my second TA - previous with Celebrity. Prior to that I was worried about the long string of sea days and worried about boredom - believe me... boredom is not likely! I am so hooked on TAs now! I have always enjoyed Celebrity's food and considered that a reason worth sailing with CC. Comparing Celebrity to RCL food I'd say it was a toss - the food was equally good in quality and quantity. While we enjoyed CC's Aquaclass Blu restaurant, I don't think its worth the disadvantage of the less than perfect cabin locations. This trip was the first time we used a specialty restaurant and we loved Portofino. Our regular dining assignment was at a table for 10, and we had a terrific group. Each evening I actually looked forward to sitting down with the group to discuss the day's adventures. So much so that on the night we went to Portofinos we went back to "our table" to see our new friends. It helped to have the very best wait staff I've ever encountered. The evening meal was a highlight of each day. Our trip started a bit weird - we had chosen a middle of the ship cabin and had requested no upgrades because we wanted to keep mid ship because Danni gets a bit motion sick sometimes. We boarded without incident, other than during the 15 minute walk from our hotel to the ship the skies went from blue to gray and a cloudburst left us drenched. Civitavecchia was easy and seamless for boarding, So wet and still happy we boarded. We went to lunch, then after it was announced we could go to our cabins we went to our cabin to find other people there. The steward told us we had been upgraded from our selected interior 9th floor cabin to an ocean view on the 2nd deck forward...very forward. We were not pleased! Down to Customer service to appeal, and at first treated rudely for questioning our good luck in getting a free upgrade. After explaining we were told to come back after dinner. By then our clothes were drying out but still a bit uncomfortable as we did the usual selfguided tour of the ship, and then went to dinner. After dinner, back to the desk - no solution yet. We went to the theater, and then around 10pm came to a resolution of the room - ocean view 2nd deck, but at least between the elevators, closer to mid ship. They gave us vouchers for a specialty restaurant as compensation. Not great, but at least we finally had a room. Back at our room we told our tale to the room steward and asked him to help us find our luggage. He found them on the 9th floor and brought our damp suitcases...fortunately the contents were protected with plastic and our clothes were dry. Rough start to a great vacation, but all things considered we were very happy with the cruise. As it turned out while we were in Toulon, the worst storm in the last 10 years hit the Mediterranean. We were stuck in port overnight and lost a port day in the Azores, which also meant we would cross the Atlantic in an uninterrupted 8 days at sea. We also crossed the Atlantic on the edges of a storm that gave rough sea conditions. while usually 3 to 5 meters, the occasional wave was up to 10 meters. To tell the truth we ended up glad for the 2nd deck cabin - the lower the deck the more stable the ride. Despite that there were lots of activities - loved the many trivia contests, live music throughout the ship at different venues. We don't drink much but found we were welcome to sit and listen to music in any bar at any time, even without buying drinks...in all my previous cruises I was hesitant to sit in bars in the evening without making purchases. This time it was apparent it was not only acceptable, but we we were very welcome! As Elite with Celebrity I had Diamond status. I was very disappointed to find that even though we were sharing a cabin Danny could not join me for pre-dinner wine in the Dungeon...actually, she did join me the first 3 nights, but on the fourth night a different attendant check her card (not just mine) and she was denied access. Since my DH doesn't have Elite yet on Celebrity and he has been able to join me to Elite functions I never doubted that Danni would be able to share. Not so. Its no fun to sit in a venue and drink wine by yourself leaving your roomate behind, so I didn't go to any more Diamond functions. We did use the gym almost daily, and found equipment usually available within 10 minutes even during the busiest periods. Loved the gym. Thank God for it - it accounted for a 1.4 pound weight gain during the cruise, despite the fact I thoroughly enjoyed myself at every meal...my Weight Watchers leader was happy. On the roughest days the pools were closed, but other than that we were able to swim most days - I wasn't sure if that would be so for a November crossing, so this was another positive. Final verdict - not perfect, but we had a terrific time, and can't wait to go again. and look forward to many more RCl cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Summary Our second cruise on RCI was even better than our first and the aggressive pricing works for us as well. Compared to Holland America, Princess and Celebrity, RCI has a much higher energy vibe and more activity. While not for ... Read More
Summary Our second cruise on RCI was even better than our first and the aggressive pricing works for us as well. Compared to Holland America, Princess and Celebrity, RCI has a much higher energy vibe and more activity. While not for everyone, we did enjoy the transat and time in Rome. Itinerary Back in April 2011, the Navigator of the Seas (NOTS) was shifted from year round service in Europe back to the Caribbean presumably due to business reasons. Since the routing change was sudden, this cruise was significantly discounted at first when we booked. The 14 day crossing left from the port of Civitavecchia for Rome on Nov 6th stopping at Livorno for Florence on Monday, Toulon, France on Tuesday, Barcelona and Cartagena, Spain on Wednesday and Thursday. There would be two days at sea, then Ponta Delgada, Portugal on Sunday the 13th followed by six sea days and ending at Fort Lauderdale on Sunday Nov 20th. Due to hurricane strength winds in Toulon Tuesday night, we were pinned in port till Wednesday morning. See this article on the storm http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2011/11/15/224109.htm We sailed for Barcelona that morning arriving about 7P where we stayed till Thursday evening. We proceeded to Cartagena Friday, one day late. To make up lost time, Ponta Delgada was dropped and we sailed directly for Fort Lauderdale. Pre-Cruise We flew direct JFK to FCO (Rome Fiumicino) on Tuesday night Nov 1st on AA 236 leaving JFK at 8:50P arriving FCO 9:55A. We chose this flight as it arrives later so we would not have to wander around Rome for very long before checking in at 2P. We also had the (forlorn) hope of sleeping more since it left later. Food was usual roach coach fare, but at least they did not charge for it (did not provide an emergency procedures manual for the meal either). Taking a taxi from FCO to Rome anywhere within the Aurelian walls, center city) should cost 40 Euros, but since we only had 50s and the driver feigned having no change, he got a large tip. Do bring small bills to avoid this type of issue. We booked a room at the SuiteDream Hotel on Via Modena 5, just off of Plaza Repubblica about 800 meters west of Termini, Rome's main railroad station. If you book directly with the hotel instead of through a booking site, breakfast is included in the price and it features cold cereals, hard boiled eggs, fruit, cold cuts and pastries which is quite sufficient for a day of touring. For four days (Nov 2nd to 6th including breakfast and bottled water only in the room fridge, the price was a very reasonable 130 Euros per night including breakfast for two people. Taxes of 2 Euros pp were extra. The rooms came with individual a/c and free wifi and had comfortable beds. Being on a side street, the rooms were very quiet. Bathrooms had basic amenities and the room was spacious for a European hotel. We toured the usual tourist attractions in central Rome and St. Peter's square. We were unable to find the stop for the 115 bus that takes you to an overlook on the west side of the Tiber for a panoramic view of the city. Note that the Coliseum has high steps to the second level which is tiring. Also, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forums have uneven footing that requires sturdy shoes. The lines for entry to St Peter moved reasonably fast and you do have to clear through metal detectors. The efforts are well worthwhile. We also ventured up Arventine hill to the keyhole of Malta. Look this up; it is well worth the view. Food in Rome was pretty good though expensive; for the two of us, we averaged $50 for lunch and $80 for dinner with a glass of wine. I am sure we could have done it cheaper, but we enjoyed what we had. We had dinner at Hosteria Romana which was recommended by Zagats and Rick Steve's. We also had lunch at Roma Spartia popularized by Anthony Bourdain in his Rome tour. Yes, the Cacio e Peppe was good as was their ravioli. Weather was good for the first three days with rain Saturday night and Sunday, the day of departure. A Cruisecritic member chartered two buses for a group of us to go from Rome Termini with an intermediate pickup point directly to the terminal in Civitavecchia. At $24 each, it was a bargain for direct service to the ship. Since we had priority boarding, we were on board in about 15 minutes. Luggage arrived about 2P and we sailed at about 6P. While a sailaway meeting was scheduled that afternoon, we demurred due to rain and wind where we were to meet. Note to self, always plan an alternate indoor meeting point for sailaway meetings. The wind and rain were to dog us for three days. Ports For our first stop, Livorno, on Monday, we shared a private van tour of Florence and Pisa which cost about 75 Euro (approx 100 USD) each. While the price was comparable to a ship tour, we had a private van for seven people and we could determine where we wanted to spend more time. We stopped first at an overlook on the southwest side of the Arno River where we could see much of Florence including the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge with shops built on the sides. The driver took us on a tour of the city to orient us then dropped us off for a few hours. Since this was Monday, the museums were closed. Despite the rain which was heavy at times, we had a good time walking around the city which is compact. Then we went to Pisa and the tower which remains as an object lesson for foundation engineers worldwide. The rain was heavy by then and we returned to ship. At Toulon, we docked at La Seyne-sur-Mer across the bay from Toulon itself. Given the heavy rain, hurricane strength winds and our experience in the rain in Florence, we opted to stay on board. Those who did take tours away from the coast said that they had sunny conditions. With winds gusting to 90+ mph, the captain, Eric Stendal, said that the port was closed and we would stay overnight. Midmorning Wednesday, we did sail out for Barcelona arriving 7P and stayed overnight. We took the ship's tour to the monastery at Montserrat northwest of Barcelona up about 2,200 feet up the side of a sheer rock cliff. The monastery was undergoing renovation but the cathedral area was still quite impressive. We walked around a bit but did not have time to take the cog railroad to the very top of the mountain. You can get to Montserrat by road as we did, cog railroad or cable car. The last two connect to a regional rail line that goes to Barcelona. For $42 pp for four hours, I thought the tour was reasonable. That afternoon, we went back into town using RCI's overpriced shuttle service of $10 pp. We walked up Las Ramblas to Plaza de Catalunya stopping a few places to shop. By the time we got back to the ship, we were starting to feel the effects of a virus that had been going around the ship plus walking in the rain in Florence. Friday in Cartagena, we took a short walk downtown. Facing the town from the pier, there is a medieval fort on the top of a hill and to the right is the entry way into the fort. There is a fee to enter the fort. To the left of the fort is a pedestrian only street with shops and open air restaurants. There is also a seaside esplanade near the pier area. Cartagena was the site of a battle between the royalists and fascists during the Spanish Civil War which trashed part of the city. After Cartagena, we skipped Ponta Delgada and sailed directly for Fort Lauderdale. Since we would have topped off supplies on Sunday in Ponta Delgada, some fruits and dairy products began to disappear by day six. Salad greens held up well but lemons and lines showed up only at the bars (no surprise there). Weather for the crossing was OK with some rain and wind from time to time. We did run into Tropical Storm Sean late in the cruise with strong winds and spray which caused the outside decks to be locked and the pools drained and netted. Not having to go north to the Azores, Captain Stendal took us south to the Canaries after exiting the Med and then headed west to Florida. This provided warmer weather and there were some people using the pools and sun deck though the open areas were breezy. Unfortunately, it was too windy t try the rock climbing wall. The Ship The Navigator is the fourth of the five ship Voyager class and unlike the first two ships; the last three had glass balcony partitions instead of steel which made the balconies and cabins brighter and gave the ship an airier look. Like the other Voyager class ships, the signature design of the Navigator is the four story tall Royal Promenade that runs down the middle of the ship on deck 5 between the forward and aft Centrums. The Royal Promenade has "window" rooms that look out onto the promenade from both sides on the upper three levels and a mix of shops, bars and eating venues on the first level. The Centrums are another feature of RCI ships and these extended from deck 3 to deck 12 forward and to deck 14 aft. Most of the public spaces are on decks 3 to 5 and decks 11 to 14. The main dining room is aft on decks 3 to 5 with buffet options in the Windjammer Cafe aft on deck 11. The bars are on decks 3 to 5 and 11 to 14. For more information on the Voyager class of ships, go to this URL http://voyager-class.com/. At the aft end of the Royal Promenade are the library on deck 7, the internet cafe on deck 8 and the Concierge Club for Suite pax on deck 9. Mary who is a retired librarian noted some deficiencies in the library operation that may be due to cost cutting. For one, there is never anyone from the cruise staff there to check material in or out. Also, not much effort was made to properly shelve books; books that should have been in the collection were misfiled on the paperback exchange shelf. Another cost cutting casualty is the daily news briefs that we received on every other ship we've taken. These news briefs are an eight page 8 ½ x 11 brief that offered bits of the world outside the ship. It might have been a feed from the New York Times, the Times of London or the Toronto Globe and Mail. Whatever it was, it was welcome. We didn't have this on the Navigator. The only news channel we found on the in-cabin TV was Fox News. CNN or BBC was not available. Movie selections were Ok with recent runs such as Knight and Day and REDs (Retired, Extremely Dangerous??). Good entertainment on a rainy day. Stateroom With the very favorable pricing, we booked a Grand Suite, 1564, forward portside. At about 390 ft2 with a 90 ft2 balcony, the room is double the width of a standard balcony stateroom. As one enters our cabin, to the right ix a dressing area with three closets and a waist high granite topped dresser with six large drawers and a built-in mini-fridge. The closets are to the right against the hallway wall and the dresser is on the left of this area which divides the dressing area from the living room area. There is also a bar setup area with glasses and an ice bucket. Pity, they do not let you bring liquor on board. Also here is a full length mirror. To the left of the entry is a large bathroom with a tub shower, a two sinks and a shelf for towels. The sink vanity has drawers down the middle and hidden trashcans under each sink. The mirror above the sink has storage behind it for your toiletries. Amenities included bath soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lube. There is a razor point with both 110V and 220V outlets. The razor point is powered only when the bathroom light is on. Beyond the bathroom door is a small two drawer table and mirror along with various switches and sliders for controlling the lights. The living area beyond the dresser has a large sofa, two club chairs and a coffee table. The sofa is flanked by two end tables with lamps. Behind the bathroom is a sleeping alcove for a king sized bed and a vanity desk area with six more dresser drawers and a mirror area above the vanity with two hidden storage areas behind the side mirrors. The coffee/tea service setup is on the desk and there are 110V and 220V outlets just below the mirror. The balcony siding door is on the living area side with a light switch for the balcony light to the right of the door. The LCD TV and DVD player are in a low console between the window on the alcove side and the sliding door to the balcony. Our stateroom attendant, Anca Butic (sp?) did an excellent job of tending the cabin. Booking a full suite (Grand, Royal Family, Owner and Royal) gives access to the concierge lounge on deck 9 which has morning continental breakfast and a cappuccino/espresso machine (when it works) and cookies in the afternoon. Access to the lounge is by the room card. The concierge has regular morning hours. From 5P to 8:30P, there is a nightly cocktail party in the forward lounge on deck 5 (Ixtapa on the NOTS) that is limited to suite pax (also Diamond plus and Pinnacle club members). In addition to complimentary drinks, wine and beer, there are hot and cold appetizers available. Needless to say, our bar bill was de minimus for this cruise. The concierge can be found here during the party. In addition to the concierge lounge and nightly cocktail party, suite pax have access to reserved seating in the main theatre and Studio B for Ice shows as well as a separate seating area on the pool deck. In addition to the regular ice show, there was a special show for suite and diamond plus pax with complimentary cocktails and appetizers. Dining We had first seating (6P) in the Swan Lake dining room (deck 5) at a table for six. The food in the MDR was the equal of what we have had on Princess and HAL last summer and fall. The meat quality was very good as was the seafood; I normally shy away from seafood on ships but at Jacob's urging, I tried several fish and shrimp dishes and they were better than I expected with none of the fishy/bitter aroma and taste that sometimes accompanies ship board seafood. Service was good although the kitchen was slow in providing the dishes in some cases and the food, while not piping hot, was certainly at an acceptable temperature when served. As Diamond members, we also had access to the D/D+ breakfast area which was very good, but we drifted back to the Windjammer for its greater variety. Lunches in the MDR were also very good with a spec your own salad bar and 30 minute hot entree service (usually faster unless they got slammed by a large inrush of pax at lunch). The Windjammer Cafe offers a large variety of foods at breakfast and lunch and we often found ourselves eating there rather than the MDR. The first part is the Jade Restaurant which is divided into two sections which are opened at staggered intervals as needed. The hot table section offers Asian entrees such as congee and miso soups, various curries and Chinese dishes and sushi that change daily. Further back is the Windjammer Cafe which offers spec your own omelets at breakfast and spec your own sandwiches at lunch. The breakfast offerings were the same day to day as was many of the lunch entrees. Seating in the Windjammer Cafe area is more available than in the Jade. The table servers come around to offer beverages (both free and extra tariff) and clear away used plates quickly. The self serve soft ice cream machines are at the dividing partitions between the Jade and Windjammer dining areas. Suite pax may use the Portofino Restaurant area for breakfast and lunch. Made to order omelets are available at breakfast along with fruit and pastry items. Nothing special is available at lunch in the Portofino, but it is nice to have a quiet area with white tablecloth service. Cold and hot drinks are provided at the table. There is no outdoor grill for burgers and such; the burgers at the Windjammer looked dry and overcooked. Although there is snack service from 3:30 to 5 P each afternoon, the offerings were the same every day. Yet another food venue is the Cafe Promenade in the Royal Promenade on deck 5. This is a 24 hour eatery which offers continental breakfast in the morning and light sandwiches, pizza and snacks the rest of the time. If you get it fresh, the pizzas were good, otherwise they were dried out. Seattle's Best coffee, regular and decaf, along with hot water for hot cocoa and various teas and iced water is available at all times. Extra tariff items include specialty coffees and Ben and Jerry Ice Cream. We did not try Portofino's, the extra tariff Italian restaurant nor Johnny Rockets, the 50s diner but we heard positive reviews from other pax about them. When the concierge lounge cap/exp machine was not working (the last few days of the crossing), showing the suite room card will get free specialty coffee service at the Cafe Promenade coffee bar. Entertainment We did see some of the shows, but they are the usual cruise ship fare. The Metropolis Theatre is nicely decorated but can fill up quickly unless you get there early. We did not use the suite pax sitting area as we rarely stayed the full time for the shows. The ice shows in Studio B were good but since the skaters were trying out new routines during the crossing, only a few shows were put on. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Cruise Critic Roll Call Members: We had over 200 members on the active Roll Call and many volunteers organized daily activities for the big group. This made it one of the most enjoyable crossings we've ever experienced. We made ... Read More
Cruise Critic Roll Call Members: We had over 200 members on the active Roll Call and many volunteers organized daily activities for the big group. This made it one of the most enjoyable crossings we've ever experienced. We made lots of friends, who we hope to cruise with again. Embarkation: We arrived at 11:30 AM and stood in a relatively fast moving line (both outside and inside) for about 45 minutes. The staff was pleasant and helpful. Cabins were ready at 1 PM. Cruise Critics assembled for a Sail Away Party after the Muster Drill. Great fun. Ship: The ship was in good condition for its age and we eventually learned the large layout. We got to like the way the ship is laid out with an indoor promenade. Placement of dining room, show room, lounges and cafe was typical of large ships and better than Carnival. The ship is 15 decks high and rode the open seas very well. We had smooth sailing and very good weather for the crossing. Cabin: Our balcony cabin (#6322) was on the starboard "hump" and therefore slightly larger than others in that category. The location near the rear elevators was perfect. We were one deck above our dining level and near the elevators for a ride to deck 11 for the Windjammer Cafe. The cabin size is typical of ships this size. We used the balcony only a few times. The beds were comfortable. Linens and carpet were clean. On the negative side: The bathroom seemed smaller than other ships we've been on. We had a very slow drain in our sink. The TV was old and the programming was slim. No ice was provided in the cabin. We had plastic SOLO cups for glasses in the bathroom. Our stateroom attendant's name was not provided in our cabin and did not present himself on the first day. Stateroom Attendant: He kept the room clean but visited it only twice per day. He did not make himself know to us for a few days. I ran into him once during the entire cruise. He did provide 4 towels instead of the normal two. But we've had much better service on other cruises. Recommended tip for him. Dining: We found the Windjammer Cafe relatively clean but always crowded. The staff seemed shy but friendly. The breakfast buffet quickly became boring. Pastries were stale. Toasted bagels were like a rock. Had to wait in line for a cup of coffee. The omelet ordering process was tedious. Some food was cold. The eggs were a purveyor's ready mix product with food coloring added and quite watery - not fresh scrambled eggs. Bacon and sausage were OK. Waffles and French Toast were pretty poor products. The Main Dining Rooms (3 decks high) were nicely decorated and clean. Early dining was moved to 5:30 PM. The variety of meals offered were somewhat disappointing. They offered daily standards of Sirloin Steak or Salmon. The Salmon was quite good. The steak was deplorable. 3 at our table had to send it back and order something else. It needs to be removed from the menu. When Lobster & Filet was offered, the lobster was miniscule. We all laughed that a single shrimp would have made a better Surf 'n Turf. Overall the food was barely acceptable and has gone down another notch since last year's TA on the Jewel OTS. Wine was very expensive. A $16 bottle of 10 Year Vine XY Zin sold for $49 onboard including tip. It took 30 minutes to get a cocktail ordered and delivered to the table. They need a dedicated cocktail waitress and a sommelier for the dining rooms. Lunch in the main dining room offered a made-to-order salad. That was excellent. The pasta offerings were not good. Other items for lunch were acceptable. Cafe Promenade offered stale donuts. Johnny Rockets should be closed or made no charge. Alternate Dining: We dined at Portofino's and found it below the level we experienced on Celebrity ships. At $25pp we went there only once. My meal was average. Dining Room Staff: Our waiter and assistant were good, not great. Respectful and friendly. The head waiter interrupted our conversations often. He lost my bottle of wine, mis-marking it for another table who enjoyed it, I'm sure. Our tablemates had to convince him that a full bottle was put aside two days ago after it was opened and only sampled. He finally "bought me" another bottle. Extra tip for the waiter and assistant but much less for the head waiter. Entertainment: The CD was Mike Hunnerup from Australia and he quickly grew on us. He was fun and approachable. The staff, including Richard, the Activities Director, were friendly and helpful. Just one person had an "attitude" we didn't appreciate. The stage entertainment ran the gamut. Some poor, most mediocre and a few memorable. Individual singers tend to be poor. The variety was good however. RCL held a nice Meet & Mingle for us on Day 3. At my suggestion they had a few Bridge Tour door prizes for lucky members. Quest is a big hit and was held on the ice rink. Great adult fun. Ship's Staff: Captain Patrik Dahlgren is probably the best we've encountered on all the ships we've cruised on. He stopped at all the dining room tables for conversation and photos during the cruise. Very engaging. He's an asset to RCL. Enrichment: Did not enjoy Joe Condrill's lectures or Hohn & Donna Mollan's presentations very much. I've see much better on other cruises. We missed Jack Cochrane's (Cruise Critic member) lecture about water on day 7 because of a conflict. Don't believe it was taped either. We were disappointed we missed him. Facilities: The Internet Cafe is too expensive and too slow to use often. Library was average for cruise ships. Fitness facility was very good but no TVs on the equipment. Smoke in some of the lounges and part of the casino is still problematic. Champagne Bar was expensive. The Wine Bar on the promenade was way overpriced. Way too much selling on the floors all day. You ran into tables set up to sell goods and services everywhere. It is quite annoying. Seems that after early dining, your opportunity for after dinner dancing lasts just 30 minutes. No venue existed that played dance music from 7:30-9:00 PM for us. Ports of Call: We were happy to visit Tenerife for the first time. Ship's excursions were too expensive for the full day (5 hr.) tour ($99pp). A Cruise Critic member organized a longer tour on a private basis for just $21pp. We enjoyed it. Mallorca and Ajaccio were somewhat interesting. We prefer the Azores. The printed port information provided by the ship is almost useless. We bring our own maps. Debarkation: Needed luggage tags for an earlier time and had to wait in line at Guest Relations to move up 1 hour earlier. We walked off and found our (damaged) luggage in little time. There was no time to report a claim. The taxis would only take passengers for Rome and not local destinations like Civitavecchia. We took the FREE port bus to the port entrance and then walked to the rail station. Took about an hour. Overall: We notice RCL quality going downhill each year. Both for food quality and service. Cruise rates are stable but onboard charges keep going up. Ours was $950 this trip. Ouch! We may not use RCL again next year. Regards, Florida Rich... Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We flew down from Dulles to Ft. Lauderdale on the morning of the cruise.Embarkation was efficient and friendly.The buffet spread for the boarding passengers was very good.Our room steward, Soma, was great. He did everything we asked of ... Read More
We flew down from Dulles to Ft. Lauderdale on the morning of the cruise.Embarkation was efficient and friendly.The buffet spread for the boarding passengers was very good.Our room steward, Soma, was great. He did everything we asked of him, and we probably were more demanding, at least at first, than average in terms of robes, amenities, ice. His towel animals were nice to come home to.Our balcony cabin was perfect for us. Plenty of room to put things for two people. The bed was very comfortable. The room was quiet and our neighbors were very nice. In fact, in general staff and passengers were great. There were few gripers.The library was well managed, and we were able to get interesting books to read. We had Kindle backups, if that hadn't been the case, but we mainly used the library.Because of time changes, we had six 23 hour days. That uncomfortably compressed our food consumption and we skipped lunch several times, or went very light on lunch because we were at the 5:30 seating for dinner. However, changing time at noon was the best approach. The people working on the ship work very hard and need what little sleep they can get.The ship was very clean and well maintained.At the social function, wine and mixed drinks flowed more than I'd experienced on other cruises.The cruise critic mix and mingle was a huge event. It was wonderful. We spent a lot of time with another couple for Herndon, and I departed tipsy on champagne.Although the quality of the shows varied some, every evening show was worth attending. Because the ship was almost full, it was a good idea to go early. We attended the 8:30 shows. The band was very good, as were the guest performers. The ship's dancers seemed shaky at the first show on May 2, but were quite good at every other performance.Entertainment was good around the ship, especially the Latin Express.The ice show was fabulous.The fitness center ran smoothly and was well equipped.Because of wave motion and maintenance, the pools were often not available, but the hot tubs mostly were.The quality of the food in the dinning rooms was very good, and the buffet was good. Definitely above average.Our waiter, Daniel, and assistance waiter, Dasran, were the best.We were a rowdy group of 8. Captain Patrick came by one evening and said with a smile, "So, this is the noisy table!" As to the captain in a social sense, despite his youth, he was as good as it gets on a cruise. The fictional Love Boat Captain pales in comparison. The 8 of us at our table, Bonnie, David, Peter, Helen, Diana, Diane, Lynn and I got along. Four of us were UUs, so we "got" each other on several levels. David, Bonnie, Lynn and I were in Cruise Critic, so we "got" each other. Helen is from Alexandria, next to Fairfax County, where we live. Like Lynn and I, Peter also spent a lot of time with David and Bonnie. The ship activities were mostly well run and interesting or fun. The staff on board was very good overall.Our excursions on Tenerife, Mayorca, and Corsica were good and our free time in those places were good too. They are all beautiful islands with fabulous scenery, history, culture, and towns.Only 60 of the 3000 plus passengers were kids, but the ship tried hard to make it a good cruise for them. I think they mostly were happy with how it went.This was our first Transatlantic cruise, and I just can't say enough good things about it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2011
We have just got back from a 13 night transatlantic on the Navigator of the Seas (Fort Lauderdale to Rome). There were 3 of us, myself, my wife, and our 3 year old daughter, and we got a good deal on a Grand Suite (1278). This was our 10th ... Read More
We have just got back from a 13 night transatlantic on the Navigator of the Seas (Fort Lauderdale to Rome). There were 3 of us, myself, my wife, and our 3 year old daughter, and we got a good deal on a Grand Suite (1278). This was our 10th cruise, and our daughter's 4th, previously we have cruised on QE2 (x2), QM2, QV (x2), IoTS, Voyager, Mercury, and the Seabourn Spirit. We are Brits (only around 60 of us onboard).The ship called at Tenerife, Mallorca, Corsica, and finally Rome. Check In Check in was quick and efficient, as suite guests, we did not have to queue and were on board within 10 minutes. Non suite guests seemed to be checked in quickly also. We received our gold coloured sea pass card (only GS and above get this) which carries a number of privileges (discussed later). Also in FLL that day was the Equinox, which was also doing a transatlantic, although a more northerly route to us. We checked in at 12:45, but our bags did not arrive until around 5pm. The lifeboat drill was held outside, and seemed to take aged. Many people were complaining that they needed to sit down. 3 days prior to check in, we received an e-mail from Karen (the Concierge), introducing herself and outlining the perks of travelling in a suite. The Suite The suite exceeded our expectations, looking much better than in the photos on the RCI website. It was very clean and spacious; with a flat screen TV, Bose hi-fi, DVD player, video player. Also, there was a coffee maker and a kettle (on the Navigator, only suite guests get a kettle). The bathroom was spacious, with a double sink and a bath with shower over - plenty big enough for us. I preferred the suite to the Queens Grill suites on the QV as it was more open plan, we could utilise the space more effectively with our daughter. The balcony was very nice (as the suite was double the width of a standard balcony cabin), and had a sun bed and also a rattan table with 2 chairs - very nice for having breakfast on the balcony when coming into Corsica. The double sofa turned into a bed where our daughter slept. There was also a full dividing curtain separating the bedroom area from the rest of the suite. We also had a complimentary bottle of Evian (only one though), and a leather bound folder which highlighted the suite perks, and contained the full menu for the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, extended cocktail and wine menu that was afforded to suite guests. The dinner menu was updated daily. Our suite steward was excellent (we have been lucky never to have had a bad room steward) - the room was made up whilst we were at breakfast, and turned down when we were at dinner. Ice, coffee, tea etc. topped up twice a day (or as requested) Suite Perks: Basically, the main suite perks were: 1) Reserved seating on the pool deck, ice shows, main theatre, therefore we never had to worry about having anywhere to sit, or having to get to the shows early to guarantee a good seat 2) Use of the Concierge Lounge (deck 9) where there was a coffee machine, continental breakfast, afternoon sandwiches and cakes. Also, Karen was there at certain times during the day (and always contactable by phone) to give any help and advice and answer any queries - suite guests therefore never needed to queue up at guest relations as Karen could take care of everything. In addition, she had the keys to the DVD and CD library. 3) Free bar and nibbles in the Ixtapa lounge from 4:30pm to 8:00pm - the lounge was open only to Suite guests and (I think) C&A members that were Diamond and up. Unfortunately, children were not allowed in here, so we only used this facility twice 4) Behind the scenes tours - we went on a tour of the bridge (you could also tour the engine control room and the galley, but space was limited and we did not sign up early enough), and also were invited to a reception where we went to the staterooms of the Captain, Chief Engineer, and Hotel Director - lots of free drinks and a very nice food presentations being made available 5) Invitations to 2 suite only receptions with senior staff, again with lots of free drinks and a very nice food presentations being made available 6) Quality toiletries (well, the same Gilchrest and Soames that you get with Cunard), and chocolates on the pillow (nice ones) 7) Someone knocked on the door one day with a very nice cheese plate - not sure if they only deliver this if you are in as we only got this once, but it was excellent. 8) Breakfast and lunch in Portofino's - you could avoid the crowds in the Windjammer and eat here, where tables were laid out properly (table cloths, nice cutlery etc.), and waiting staff, however you needed to go to the Windjammer to get your own food (there was fruit, cereal and pastries in Portofino's for breakfast though). 9) Extended in suite dining menu - also room service was always on time and as ordered. Everything that should have been hot was hot. On a 13 night cruise (especially with the first week at sea), these perks were really appreciated, and well used. Especially as the suite was not that more expensive than a D1 balcony cabin (£800 if I recall). Condition of the Ship The ship was in very good shape. Some signs of tiredness (some scuffs here and there), and some areas did have an unpleasant odour - the amusement arcade, and the walkway to the Aquanaut's play area for example. The ship was very stable (although we did have good weather for the crossing). This was the first cruise that I have not needed sea sickness tablets (my 10th cruise). The ship was nearly full but felt nowhere as crowded as the IoTS last November - you could always get a seat for a quiz for example, where you had no chance on the IoTS unless you arrived very early. There were also an impressive number of events where free 'champagne' was made available. There was no vibration from the engines (something that we have experienced on QM2 and QV), and the suite was very well insulated from external noise. The air conditioning around the ship did not seem to be cold enough and we did find ourselves quite hot in the theatre. Service The Captain (Patrick) was excellent, very visible and approachable. Also very humorous. We saw him on a number of occasions having breakfast / lunch in Portofino's and he made a point of speaking to everyone. The Cruise Director (Mike) was ok, but we never saw his sidekick. Our best cruise director was John (and Steve as the sidekick) on IoTS last November - Mike just did not seem to do much. The cruise was made up of c80% Americans / Canadians, so this may be what they like (only around 60 Brits). Dining Room - excellent staff - James (waiter) and Alner (assistant) were fun, knowledgeable and interacted really well with us and our little girl. Aston, the Head Waiter was also excellent, visiting us at least twice each meal - our daughter took a real shine to him. Bar staff - all very pleasant Entertainment staff - very good, especially Timmy and Rio ('from Rio') who were a lot of fun running the quizzes Children's facilities The Navigator catered very well for children. There were about 15 people in my daughter's age group (3-5) and there were lots of free activities every day. It was a real shame that our girl only went to a couple of sessions (she flatly refused any more). The problem is that we (as parents) were not allowed into the play area to settle her, it was a case of dropping her off and that was that. With Cunard, you can go in and make sure they are settled before leaving. As with Cunard we were given a pager in case we were needed back at the play area. There are also a number of occasions where children can have lunch with the staff (with a charge), or dinner (no charge) - but there are financial penalties if you are late, loose / damage a pager, or want your little one to stay after 10pm. Overall, I would say that Cunard's children's facilities (QV) are more modern and more personal, but still, those on the Navigator were very good and there was an excellent variety in the programme (which was delivered each day to the room). Shows The Ice Show was, as always, excellent Some of the entertainers were tailored to the American market - one comedian and a Celine Dion tribute act was not our cup of tea. Once again, Jonathan Kane was on board (Elton John tribute) and we were not going to go (this was the 4th time he has been on a cruise of ours), but we did see him in the end, and I have to say he was excellent - the Americans loved him and at least 100 of them got up on the stage to dance to Crocodile Rock, the audience participation really made his performance a memorable event (and he had slightly changed his act since we saw him last). The singers and dancers were good, but very loud, and the band were ok, however not as good as on the IoTS band last November who had the most amazing drummer. Food Food was excellent - lots of choice, always hot and very tasty. My wife was very happy that they served English breakfast tea throughout the ship. Another positive with RCI is that tea, coffee, water, iced tea, lemonade and fruit punch is always free in the Windjammer (and in most other places throughout the ship). Also, waiters throughout the ship are more than happy to get you the free drinks - I get the feeling on Cunard that if you want a free drink, you have to get it yourself...no such feeling with RCI. Disembarkation Very smooth - we had a tour of Rome then to the airport, so were off the ship by 7:30 (so up at 5am). This all went really well. Summing up I would have to say that this was the best cruise we have been on. I would highly recommend a transatlantic crossing on the Navigator and the Suite accommodation and perks were outstanding (especially with a 3 year old and the extra space required). Crew and staff were excellent, although cruise director was only so so. Read Less
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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