38 New Orleans Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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 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
Sail Date April 2013
Embarkation in New Orleans was quick and easy. From drop off till boarding was about fifteen minutes. Be sure to arrive a day or two before your cruise to enjoy the many offerings of New Orleans. The music, food, and vibe are well worth ... Read More
Embarkation in New Orleans was quick and easy. From drop off till boarding was about fifteen minutes. Be sure to arrive a day or two before your cruise to enjoy the many offerings of New Orleans. The music, food, and vibe are well worth the extra time and money. This was our first cruise on the Navigator, so we were excited about exploring the ship. Each Voyager class ship is the same layout, but different in venue names and colors. We were also excited to see the stage shows and the ice show. The shows were very well done. The casino was actually in a Mardi Gras theme...very fitting! All in all, the appearance of the ship was very pleasing. The glitch came on the day we ported in Jamaica. We got off the ship to do some t-shirt shopping and just explore the new Falmouth terminal. After all the walking, we were hot and sweaty and looking forward to getting back on the ship, going to our room, and taking a shower. Didn't happen. We got back on the ship, got to our stateroom and found the door propped open and the smell of paint overwhelming us, and workers out on our balcony. I have no clue to the kind of paint they use, but it burns your nose and eyes. They had masks, we didn't. We were not asked if workers could come into our cabin while we were gone, nor were we informed this was going to happen. We were upset that anyone could have come into our cabin and taken anything they wanted because the workers had no clue who belonged there. On top of that, we were unable to shower and change clothes. When they finally left our cabin, we discovered that the fumes were impossible to ignore. We were so angry. After some heated discussion (us), RC gave us a nice on board credit and a new room of equal quality. After we packed, they sent some people up to move everything. It was refreshing for a cruise line to acknowledge their mistake and then fix it. Thank you. Yes, I will cruise RC again. I also tell others to cruise RC. The food was very nice on this ship. Room service was friendly and quick on the three occasions we used it. We really loved Portofino's. The Filet Mignon was perfect and the Risotto was yummy. Cruise staff and cruise director were really great. My favorite was Roberto from Mexico. He was so funny and full of personality. I usually don't like Karaoke, but he made it all worthwhile. Debarkation was smooth and fast. Even with our glitch, our cruise was a positive experience. I hope to sail RC again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I traveled with my husband and two kids (12 and 15) on the March 23, 2013 sailing. After reading most of the reviews, I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised overall. We booked two junior suites - 9238 and 9234. ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and two kids (12 and 15) on the March 23, 2013 sailing. After reading most of the reviews, I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised overall. We booked two junior suites - 9238 and 9234. With these two rooms, we had nearly 600 square feet and 150 square feet on the balconies. Originally, we had booked one balcony room, but a couple of weeks before the cruise the junior suites were reduced significantly (if you see a better room available at a better rate after you book, you can call and get it switched - I looked at rates and available rooms every week after I booked). We would have had a difficult week with just one bathroom, so it was well worth the additional cost. Embarkation - Because we had junior suites, we had our own security line and check-in line. We arrived at 10:45 and did not have a line anywhere. We were on the boat within minutes. This is one of the perks of a junior suite - many of the other suite perks are not for junior suites. Rooms: The junior suites are just large. One would have been fine for my family of four, but the junior suites left when I changed were only for two people because they did not have bunks. When I booked, I was told they were next door but did not connect. I questioned this because they said they connected on Royal Caribbean's site, but the map did not show that they did. I called customer service, and they checked with several sources and finally told me they were not connected. When we entered the first room, they did indeed have a connecting door. I felt much better being able to open the door because I was worried about having my kids in a completely separate room. Unfortunately, the dividers do not open on the balconies between rooms, though. The rooms were really clean - I still used sanitizer wipes on hard surfaces, and I did not have any worries about cleanliness all week. The junior suites have flat screen televisions (lower categories still have the big old television sets). Not that you are on a cruise to watch tv, but the flat screen television seemed to give the room a more up-to-date feel. Our rooms each had a queen bed, full-size couch, chair, ottoman, and a vanity. Plus, we had a large walk-in closet in each room. This was nice because it also doubled as another changing room when the bathroom was being used. My only complaint with the connecting rooms is that there is no lock on the door between rooms. Once they are unlocked by the room attendant, there is no way to lock them again unless you ask the room attendant. Balconies: We had plenty of room on each one - two chairs, a table, and a lounger. I was concerned because I had read many reviews that said the smoke smell was terrible on the balconies, and I can't stand the smell of smoke. I thought we would not be able to use it - I only got a smell of smoke once or twice and it did not linger. We were out on our balconies a lot. It might have helped that we were in the front of the ship on the 9th floor. Bathrooms: They were a little larger than a standard room. They have a full-size bathtub and shower combo. Everything in the bathroom was clean and updated. Food: Many of the reviews I read stated that the food was okay and nothing special. I would agree with this - we didn't eat anything that we will dream about after the cruise. We were satisfied and pleased but nothing was extraordinary (with that said, we were never hungry). We ate all dinners in the dining room, lunches in Windjammer and breakfasts were split between buffet and dining room. The Windjammer could get a little hectic during busy times, and it was difficult to find a table at times. We just started going at non-peak times. Dinner - The starters were some of the best things we had all week. Most nights we ordered a couple of them each - good corn poblano chowder, scallops, olive/eggplant tartare, appetizer salads. The main courses were okay - we didn't have anything that we hated or even disliked. My son ordered two fillets (14.95 each) from Chops. Both times, they were cooked medium rare instead of medium well. They both had to be sent back, and we were not charged for them. This didn't make me want to pay and surcharge and pay $30 each to eat at Chops when they couldn't cook the steaks correctly that were ordered in the main dining room. Also, it seems like there are not as many choices each night, but there are always certain items available each night (pasta, steak, chicken) if there isn't something on the nightly menu you like. Our waiter, Zaheer, did a great job. Our daughter is picky, so he remembered exactly what she wanted each night even though it is not on the dinner menu. She ordered a special salad each night, and after day one did not have to ask for certain items. Lunch - Again, it was okay in the buffet. The choices changed a little from day to day, but there were mostly the same items. Johnny Rockets - we ate there one day for lunch, and it was surprisingly good. There is a $4.95 charge for each person and includes sandwich and sides (they are unlimited - we were asked if we wanted a second burger). You do have to pay for the shakes and drinks if you don't have the unlimited soda. We sat in a booth outside and could watch the water. Breakfast - it was better in the dining room because we didn't have to be around the crowds. Many of the same items are available in the main dining room. There is a menu to order off of, and they have a small buffet set up with fruit, cereals, and some hot items. Ports - We almost did not make it into Grand Cayman because of the rough seas. We were one of a few ships who finally made it in - several left and had a day at sea. There was no problem getting a tender, but after we got on one we wondered if we really should have. The waves were very large and the boat was whipped around. Many of the excursions were cancelled because of the weather = we made the most of it, though. We did the Dunn's Falls and Bob Sled in Jamaica and had a great time. We did the Jungle Buggy and snorkel in Cozumel - also would recommend. Entertainment - this was the only area of real complaint. The shows were not good - I have been to better high school performances (actually all high school shows I have seen have been better). There were two comedians, and they were the best. We left early during the musical shows. I read many reviews that said the shows were not good, and they were all correct. The ice show was okay - many of the performers fell or dropped their partners during our performance. There was a "Broadway" type show one night - they put a lot of numbers together form different shows. If you weren't familiar with all of the shows, you had no idea what was going on. I would rather see one complete show so that I understood the songs. If you like good shows, do not expect much on the Navigator. Other items: The ship is really enormous and is in good shape. It was hard to get an elevator at peak times, but we learned to either walk or go down to go back up. We always got a lounger, and found that it was quiet and empty on the back deck. You can always find somewhere quiet it that is what you are looking for some days. We really enjoyed the sanitizer man in the buffet area. He has a different song and dance everyday - just ask to see it. We had the early seating - 5:30 PM for dinner. On port days, it was too early because we needed to shower and change for dinner quickly. Also, we had a table right by the Captain's table, and no one ever used that table during our service. It would be nice if the Captain ate at the early seating for one formal night instead of eating late all nights. I love diet coke, so I bought the soda package for my entire family. It only includes Sprite, Coke, and Diet Coke. I like fountain sodas, and most of the bars used two liters. There are two machines in the Windjammer. You just show the juice people your card, and they give you cups with ice to get your own soda. I had to search out places to get fountain drinks - when the buffet was closed it wasn't easy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have been on over twenty cruises on eight different cruise lines and are platinum members with Royal Caribbean. We are in our early sixties and very active. I am very picky when it comes to food and service on a ship, so I will not ... Read More
We have been on over twenty cruises on eight different cruise lines and are platinum members with Royal Caribbean. We are in our early sixties and very active. I am very picky when it comes to food and service on a ship, so I will not hold back. Fortunately I have very few negative comments about this cruise. The check in process was short and easy, but the young man checking us in was not very pleasant, so things got started off poorly.(one bad comment). We boarded the ship about 12:15 and had to wait until 1pm for our cabin, but that is stated in the paperwork. We had a superior balcony #8548 which was in the front of the ship. It was a great cabin with plenty of drawers and closet space. The only thing I would change next time is the location. This ship only has four elevator banks which are located far forward and far aft. Most of the action on this ship happens aft, so I would choose aft next time. If you are located by the elevator area it can be noisy. Not from the elevators, but from the Promenade area on deck five where they play music late and have street parties. It echos up through the ship. Our room steward Angel was great. We did have a problem with the toilet (one time) and with the shower (one time). The shower got stopped up and flooded the bathroom, but they fixed both immediately. They also had to fix the refrigerator. This ship is going to dry dock next year for a refit, but it still looks great with very little wear. The dinning room is beautiful and I thought the food and service was excellent and much better than many of the other lines we have been on. The only problem we had was the fact that they moved our dinner time from 6pm to 5:30pm which really rushed us in the afternoon, and left a lot of time in the evening. There is very little to do on this ship between 8pm and 9:30pm if you don't go to the show or gamble. There is some dancing between 7:15 and 8pm and then again around 9:30. We like to dance and found the dance floors to be very very small and crowded, but the music was pretty good. We did eat at Portofinos which was good, but I am not sure we would eat there again since the food in the dinning room was so good and our table mates were very nice. In fact I must say the people on this ship were some of the nicest I have ever met. The age range was probably 40 to 65, and a lot of nice southern people. We also ate at Johnny Rockets where the burgers were really good, but the charge is $4.95 for food and $6 for a shake!!! Our waitress was terrible, but we got a good laugh out of it. The ports were very good. In Cozumel we went on the Tulum beach break excursion which was very interesting. The private beach was beautiful and the lunch was great, but there is no time to shop. In Jamaica we went on the Dreamer catamaran with snorkeling and drinks. I highly recommend that excursion, it is a blast and the reef is beautiful. In Cayman we snorkeled at Edan Rock dive shop which is a short walk from the tender pier. We did that on our own and it is free if you don't have to rent equipment. For our cruise, the sea days were very long because it was to cold and windy to enjoy being outside. That is a chance you take going out of New Orleans in the winter, so be prepared to do something other than lay by the pool and be sure to take a jacket. We also spent a day and night in New Orleans, which is always a lot of fun. We stayed at the Embassy Suits, which is right by the port. You can park your car there while you cruise for $15 per day. The disembarkation was very fast and easy with no problems except we could not find our luggage in the designated spot. Right as I was about to panic, the porter suggested we look in a special area, which it happened to be in. (the tags had been torn off). Other than a few minor problem we had a great time on a really beautiful ship with great service and great food. I would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
After cruise #4 we're still loyal to the Royal! The Port of New Orleans is wonderful. We've sailed out of Miami, Tampa, and New Jersey and this was the fastest and easiest. Clean, nice looking, efficient, & friendly port ... Read More
After cruise #4 we're still loyal to the Royal! The Port of New Orleans is wonderful. We've sailed out of Miami, Tampa, and New Jersey and this was the fastest and easiest. Clean, nice looking, efficient, & friendly port staff. Also, porters weren't NEARLY as pushy about taking our luggage as they have been in other ports. We arrived at 10 and were on the ship by 10:45. It's a large port - we left out of Julia Street, #2. Do your homework before you drive there. When we arrived at 10, cruisers were still disembarking from the previous cruise, so we asked a port employee when we could expect them to start to allow us on. She told us to go shopping across the street at the RiverWalk! Luckily we knew not to do that, and soon enough they called for us. Very nice to have a separate desk for suite and C&A guests. Cookies and water for all while we waited. Security and x-ray scanning while getting on board was a breeze - they didn't say a word about our 2 bottles of wine. Even though this is allowed now we figured they'd be a lot more stringent about counting them and making sure you're following the policy, but it was easy! Navigator is beautiful. Yes, she's due for some upgrades, but that doesn't mean she's not a beautiful ship. They see 3000 people every week, so she's bound to have some wear. Loved the decor - beautiful opera & dance art work! - We had the 5 bottle wine package and free drinks in the concierge lounge from 5-8:30. Because of that we only spent a total of about $250 on alcohol over 7 nights. As in the past, most cocktails were priced between $6.75 and $9. The liquor package would have been a waste for us, based on those factors. - Solarium rules WERE enforced - it was a LOT more peaceful than last time we cruised - Windjammer had a crayfish bar going out of NOLA! - Ricardo Mock is a WONDERFUL concierge. Great cappuccino/coffee machine in the lounge. We've changed to an 8:30 dinner time from now on so we can spend a few hours in the lounge drinking! - Spa is great, as always. Loved the Couples Massage and the Rasul (1-hour steam room, salt scrub, seaweed wrap, etc.) for couples to do together, unsupervised). BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT RIGHT AWAY. At-sea days fill up instantly. - Beautiful fitness center - just as nice as the Y at home. Free weights, machines, elliptical, treadmill, space to stretch, etc. - Chops and Portofinos ARE worth the extra money. The food is delicious, the staff are thoughtful, and it's very romantic and peaceful. - The Mystery Dinner is fun! Kind of cliche, but cute, good food, and fun camaraderie with the rest of your team. - We changed an excursion at the last minute - the staff at guest services was more than happy to refund us for the first excursion and book us on a new one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My husband and I returned yesterday from a fabulous 7-day cruise on Navigator of the Seas. We left from New Orleans on March 2. Embarkation was not bad - it took about 2 hours total. We stayed at the Wyndham, Riverfront, which was ... Read More
My husband and I returned yesterday from a fabulous 7-day cruise on Navigator of the Seas. We left from New Orleans on March 2. Embarkation was not bad - it took about 2 hours total. We stayed at the Wyndham, Riverfront, which was in a perfect location to get on the cruise boat, right across the street. Our room was charming, clean, and had high ceiling, but it did not include any sort of breakfast or even coffee in the morning. We paid about $150 for the room, which came to about $180 including taxes and fees. We were able to walk across the street in the morning to embark. The boat is amazing - it really is a floating town on the sea, with a promenade down the middle of the boat. The architecture and flow of the boat is amazing. It felt that someone put love and thought into the flow of the boat, so that it never felt crowded. The only exception was lunch at the Windjammer on the first day. There was always something to see or do, including putt putt, work out (great gym with free weights, numerous cardio machines overlooking the ocean, aerobics/yoga classes, sauna, and hot tub in the gym), dance, go to the festivals on the promenade, get in the hot tub or pools, and of course, eat. The cruise went to Cozumel, Falmouth, Jamaica, and Georgetown, Cayman Island. We did not do any tours while at these locations, but instead we tried to be cheap. On Cozumel, we took a taxi to Playa Mia, which our Guest Relations person on the boat said was the closest beach. The taxi cost $16 each way, and there was a $30 dollar per person entrance fee to this beach (ouch). We could have taken the tour to Playa Mia and would have come out about even. The beach was beautiful and felt safe, and they had a buffet lunch available for an additional fee. The bartender poured very heavily, which was nice, and I had my picture made holding an iguana. The only detriments were that the beach was a bit crowded and had a steep entrance fee. We were able to walk to the beach at Georgetown, which was great. Not only did we save money, but we were able to get to know the island more intimately. We ended up at a beach with the other Royal Caribbean cruisers, where we were able to get two chairs and an umbrella for $20 total. It was a gorgeous beach, and I was really happy there. At Falmouth, we got off the boat, entered into a fabricated gaited area with all sort of stores and shopping (standard tourist traps), and then ventured out beyond the gates. It was intense out there, with cops patrolling everywhere. We went around the block and came back in the gates. Next time, we'll probably do a tour, although I've done the Dunn River Falls climb before, and found it to be less than exciting. The food on the boat was fantastic. I like to eat, and the food was generally EXCELLENT. My husband and I were blown away at the quality of the food. Of course, there were a few less than excellent items here and there (and the white wine was consistently served less than chilled), but overall, the food was amazing. My favorites were the lobster served on Thursday night and the lamb shank served on Friday night. The food in the Windjammer was always excellent. I have no idea how they manage to make so much food consistently taste so great. Our interior cabin was as good as an interior cabin without a window on a boat could be. Waking up in the dark was made easier by the room service delivery. See the ice show!!!!!! It is wildly creative and fun! They kicked up the activities by the pool and on the promenade on the last two days on the boat, the days at sea. We had a blast! When we returned, we did a tour in New Orleans because we had 8 hours before our flight left. It was great - very worthwhile. I recommend it. Overall, this was a wonderful cruise, and I wish I were back on the Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was my Girlfriend and I first cruise as adults(I cruised when I was 6 years old, she never has). Let me start by saying the cruise was AWESOME! We were on Navigator Of The Seas. The biggest thing that made the trip enjoyable was ... Read More
This was my Girlfriend and I first cruise as adults(I cruised when I was 6 years old, she never has). Let me start by saying the cruise was AWESOME! We were on Navigator Of The Seas. The biggest thing that made the trip enjoyable was how clean everything was on the ship. no bugs, no smells, no overflowing garbage, no smudgy surfaces.....ever. nothing worse than a dirty atmosphere to ruin the mood. The food was top notch, the worst thing we ate was just "OK" and that was poor selection of meal on our part. I would rate the food 9 out of 10. We ate in the MDR all nights except one and had My time Dining. we had one of two waiters every time. The other night Wed night we ate at Chops, I give it an 10 out of 10 for taste, performance, value, and presentation. I had the Porterhouse and my GF had the Filet Mingon. All AWESOME and The Mud-pie for dessert was worth the extra 30 alone. The one downside to the cruise were kids were not controlled. They invaded the pools and we roudy and parents did nothing and cruise staff were busy doing other things to babysit(not their responsibility). Kids took up space in the elevators and would ride up and down for hours, this is fine until they take up half the elevator when people are in line to get on and they dont move or when several times you get in to see they just pushed every floor button to ride for fun and you get out because you dont want to go to every floor when your trying to get lunch. Every port was Great! Grand Cayman was the best. Cozumel was very nice, has rough beaches because of weather coming in, and Falmouth was rich in culture, and as in many reviews about that port.... STAY in the gates unless you book a tour or plan on taking a cab out of town, the locals outside will pursue you until you come to their shack, they do this by chasing up the street after you yelling and screaming. We did the ATV safari at Good Hope Estate and this was amazing, defiantly a cruise highlight. Our stateroom was basic interior and to our liking, we slept in their and that was it, we were busy vacationing and not being couch potatoes. The Solarium was our place of choice to hang and drink, mostly in the whirlpools . We spent 2 days after in New Orleans and was a very good choice on our part, great city with Awesome food, culture, and sights to see. Embarkation was a breeze and so was debarkation. We self serviced our bags off. We enjoyed the cruise immensely and we booked our next with RCCL on board already. WE recommend RCCL to anyone! Navigator was a great ship! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We sailed on Navigator out of New Orleans on the March 30, 2013 sailing. There were 4 adults and 2 kids, both under the age of 12. It was spring break. We drove to New Orleans a day early because my wife and kids had never been there. We ... Read More
We sailed on Navigator out of New Orleans on the March 30, 2013 sailing. There were 4 adults and 2 kids, both under the age of 12. It was spring break. We drove to New Orleans a day early because my wife and kids had never been there. We arrived at the port about 10:00. We parked in the "whale lot" at the pier, at a cost of $16 per day. We were onboard by 11:00a. This is our 3rd cruise with RC. We have sailed on Monarch and Liberty. The ship was in good condition as far as we could tell. We had no complaints. The food was as good as our previous cruises. The dining and wait staff were great! They went out of their way the entire cruise to make sure we were pleased. The entertainment was just ok. I guess we were spoiled by the quality on Liberty last year. The singers were average. The entertainment was average. The cruise director was bland. We skipped a couple of the shows. The ice show was great. Last year on Liberty our kids would not stay in Adventure Ocean. This year, they begged to go every day. There is not "kids area" on the pool deck of this ship, which was a bummer. The chairs by the pool deck were "taken" by 8:00a every day and the pool area was very crowded. We did have a couple of instances of very pushy and borderline rude staff on board. One guy in the photo gallery and one lady in the salon where my mother in law had her hair done while on board. These were isolated instances. The crew and staff on board are great! At Cozumel, we did Paradise beach. We thought we were getting a good deal as Paradise Beach has good reviews on this site. What we didn't know was the mandatory $10 per person food purchase. Grand Cayman is beautiful. We did not do an excursion. We did a private excursion with Barrett Adventures in Falmouth. It was great! We went tubing down the White River and then climbed and swam in the "secret falls". Carolyn Barrett and Company are great! All in all we had a great time! We are already planning our next trip for August. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Hubby and I met his brother and family for a week long get away. We flew to New Orleans from Oklashoma City on Friday before embarkation on Saturday. Taxi fare from airport to Embassy Suites cost $35 for us both and took about 25 ... Read More
Hubby and I met his brother and family for a week long get away. We flew to New Orleans from Oklashoma City on Friday before embarkation on Saturday. Taxi fare from airport to Embassy Suites cost $35 for us both and took about 25 minutes. Saturday, we drove two blocks from the hotel to the cruise ship terminal parking lot, parked, went thru the check in lines (previous RC cruisers have faster lines) and were on board within an hour! We were NOT allowed into our cabins until 1:00 even though we tried to get in at 12:15. A polite, yet firm RC employee was guarding the area. At 1:00 an announcement was made that the cabins were ready. Lunch was in the Windjammer dining area which is buffet style. Total chaos finding a table but the employees were very helpful clearing dirty tables and helping us find a seat. We ate in the WJ several times for lunch during the week and once at night. Overall, the selection of food was good, but the quality was so-so at best. Day 1 was a chilly, rainy day at sea. Nothing much to report. Dinner was formal. We saw a mixture of people dressed very formal (tuxes and long evening gowns), dressy (suits and cocktail dresses) and nice (slacks and sundresses) Days 5 & 6 were sea days. Day 7 was disembarkation. We used the self assist departure program which means we took all our luggage and left when we needed to. It took about 45 minutes to get off and thru customs. No problems there. We were at Cafe du Mond by 10:00 which was crazy crowded! Overall, I'd give this cruise an 8 out of 10. I missed the in-cabin robes I was used to on Carnival. Room service for breakfast was average but always arrived on time. Breakfast in the Nutcracker two mornings. One morning, it was super fast and the next day it took forever! Our cabin steward did a nice job, but we hardly ever saw him. We used my time dining and LOVED our waitstaff. We tipped them extra the last night because we felt like they worked their tails off to keep our table of 6 (including 2 teenage girls) happy all week long. The refrigerator in the cabin was stocked with soda, snacks and water. There's a price list inside. No alcohol was included. We tried to visit every bar at least once and have to say this ship has many of them! Plenty of places to sit and relax. A few of them are smoking including one in the Royal Promenade that allows the smoke to drift into the public areas. I didn't much enjoy that. The only downer of the week was our noisy neighbors. They opened the door between their two balconies and the four of them sat outside talking so loudly we felt like we should join in the conversation! We love to cruise and will choose the next cruise based on itinerary and cost. We honestly didn't see much different between RC and Carnival. My port reviews are below. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Our cruise was from March 23-30 on the wonderful Navigator of the Seas. I traveled with just my husband. This was our third cruise together, and we couldn't have chosen a better ship. I have read several reviews about the carpet ... Read More
Our cruise was from March 23-30 on the wonderful Navigator of the Seas. I traveled with just my husband. This was our third cruise together, and we couldn't have chosen a better ship. I have read several reviews about the carpet being worn, things missing, etc. I did not see any of that. Nothing caught my eye that was out of ordinary on the ship. The televisions in the rooms are older, but the ship is due for a re-vamp in January, so I am sure this will get addressed...although it was not that huge of a deal for me and my husband. The food was excellent on this ship. The only thing that I found a little discouraging was on the last night, I ordered the New York strip from the main dining room. It came out a little tough, but it was not anything to send back. The desserts were fabulous. Our favorite place was the Cafe Promenade. We loved the sandwiches there. Also, we liked the fact that we could get fresh fruits and coffee, hot chocolate, etc, any time of day. The choices of water were good too...watermelon water with real watermelon? Yes please!! Sea days were very windy. I found it hard to sit by the pool and "bask" in the sunlight. Probably because MOST deck chairs were saved with towels. There are signs posted everywhere to not do this, but no one pays any attention to this rule. We did witness one pool attendant removing towels once, but an angry man stormed up to him and told him he was saving those. The attendant just threw his hands up and left. I guess at that point, what could you do?? The entertainment was pretty good. The only thing, I enjoyed the singers, but I would have liked to watch something that had somewhat of a plot. The Broadway tribute was okay, but I didn't know any of the songs. I think I was spoiled from the Liberty of the Seas because there we were able to see Saturday Night Fever the musical, which was fabulous. I know the Voyager class ships don't offer the Broadway plays, but I think they could have told a better story with the song choices. The most entertaining things were the game shows. The Love & Marriage game show was a riot, along with "The Liar's Club", which consisted of the cruise director and three of her staff. They were given words to define (adults only!) and three of them were lying while one would tell the truth. It was hysterical! Also, the Quest game show was a good time had by all! (Another Adults Only Show). I won't give that one away because you definitely need to participate in it on the next to last night. Also, the Karaoke was very entertaining, although I did not think the "judges" picked the right "Karaoke Superstar Finalist". Jamaica: Falmouth is a quaint little town, but book an excursion through Royal Caribbean!! Do NOT book through the "tour guides" that roam outside of the gates. You will get bugged to death. If you don't enjoy telling people "No" constantly, don't venture outside the gate, because it is inevitable and you will. We made the mistake of venturing outside the gate, and we were bugged so much that we almost turned around to go back until we saw our dinner friends, and they invited us to take their "City" tour with them. We were grateful for that, because people then stopped talking to us. The people will pressure you into looking in their "tents" at their "goodies". Basically, everyone has all the same stuff. It gets annoying also to hear people yelling at you to "braid your hair". Um, no. I don't want you braiding my hair! I even had a lady rudely say "I saw you here before. Why did you put that hat on?" I replied with "Because it's hot, and I need shade" She then says "Take it off and let me braid your hair." You just have to walk away, but it's difficult when they will literally FOLLOW you for blocks. After our "city" tour, my husband and I went back to the Royal Caribbean port and did a little shopping inside. Next time, if we visit Falmouth, we WILL take an excursion through the cruise line. Grand Cayman: We were the only ship in port that morning until later that afternoon. The others that were supposed to dock, decided to spend a day at sea. Our captain wasn't scared though, and just kept finding smoother waters. The tendering process was a little scary, but other than that we were fine. We had booked through the cruise line a glass bottom boat and island tour. The boat had been cancelled due to weather, but the island tour was great.We received a 30% refund. (With that we were able to get the shirt and hat we had been eyeing in the shops on board). It was a NICE 180 from Jamaica. No one haggling you. I felt safe walking around everywhere. Cozumel: Always my favorite port. We rented a car and drove around the island. This is our second time doing that, and I think next time we will book an excursion...I kind of want to get in the water there!! Also, you will feel safe. No one bothering you. An occasional street vendor yelling at you, but nothing like Jamaica. There are plenty of things to do on board for all ages. I did spend a lot of time sleeping...which was fine by me! We will definitely take another cruise with Royal Caribbean again. Probably not on the Navigator because this was her next to last cruise from NOLA. She then moves on to Europe, gets the re-vamp in January, and then she will be stationed in Galveston, Texas. That's a far drive for us, so I am very happy we cruised out of NOLA on her next to last cruise! The ship is beautiful, the cruise director is great, and the staff will do anything to serve you. Wonderful spring break cruise! :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
First a little about me. This will be my 22nd cruise. It is my eighth cruise on Royal Caribbean and for the first time in 22 cruises I am repeating a ship. I was on the Navigator of the Seas back in August 2004. At the request of ... Read More
First a little about me. This will be my 22nd cruise. It is my eighth cruise on Royal Caribbean and for the first time in 22 cruises I am repeating a ship. I was on the Navigator of the Seas back in August 2004. At the request of someone who wanted more details, I decided to write my review while on the ship when things were still fresh in my mind. Then, at the request of several, I loaded photo editing software on my laptop so that I could edit the photographs and add the photographs to the review on the main boards. I also post my review to the review section, but I cannot include the photographs in the review section. I post to the review section so that those searching for a review can find it easily. I post to the main boards so those that want to add comments or ask questions can. I am bringing three cameras with me. I have a Nikon D5100 that I will use mainly on the ship, a Canon A1300 that I will use mainly on dry land off the ship (I call it my travel camera because it is much smaller than the DSLR so it is much easier to carry around on shore excursions) and a Canon D10 waterproof camera that I will use in the water, such as in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Thursday, February 28, 2013 -- Travel day I am currently at LAX waiting for my flight to New Orleans. I made reservations for a taxi to take me to the Fly-Away Bus which will take me to LAX. Total trip cost - $26 including tip. It comes to about $100 if I take the taxi all the way and about the same amount if I drive and pay for parking. I'll use a share-the-ride van to return home, which costs about $48 because the Fly-Away Bus takes a long time to show up and when it does, since United is the last stop, sometimes it is full. At any rate last night I called the taxi company to confirm my reservation and verify that they have the special instructions I gave them. They wanted to know if I was ready to go (what twelve hours early -- NO!). The next morning I get a quick call, "The taxi has arrived" CLICK. I run outside -- no taxi. I call and I'm told the taxi is on his way. Ten minutes another call, "The taxi has arrived" CLICK. I've been standing outside all this time and still no taxi. I call again. This time I get someone who is rather rude. Still no taxi. Then another call to me. This time the person says she has the driver on the phone. Once again the special instructions I gave them are ignored. This happens every time because I am not physically located on the same street that is my street address. I've got to give a different taxi company a try. I go through this every time with this company, though this is the first time I ended up with someone who was rude. All that said and done, I make it to the bus on time and despite the famous Los Angeles traffic, we make it to the airport in a reasonable amount of time. The security line was not too bad except my lower right leg need a pat down. Just the lower right leg, nothing else. What does my right leg have that my left leg doesn't have? Who knows? So here I am, in the United Club (thanks to a day pass I have) at LAX typing this and boarding will begin in about ten minutes. So I'll get back to you after my arrival in New Orleans. Unfortunately I'll be spending a long time at the New Orleans Airport before the return flight (working on this) and there is no United Club in the airport. Well the flight to New Orleans was uneventful. The in-flight entertainment was Chasing Mavericks, a film about a surfer named Jay Moriarity, a very good film in my opinion. I am in an Economy Plus seat. I've been in first class and it is not worth the extra cost. All I want is the extra legroom and Economy Plus offers that for a very reasonable price over the cost of knees in the back of the seat in front of you coach. My two seat mates are great. One is from New Orleans but now lives in Southern California and the other is also taking a cruise on Carnival. My one checked bag is one of the first to come of the plane that is not marked priority (first class and those willing to pay extra for the service get their bags marked priority). One mistake I made was to exchange my camera bag (with the camera in it) for my computer bag, after the movie was over. So now the camera bag is in the overhead bin and I have a window seat with a great view of New Orleans -- RATS! I have a Sudoku book in the computer bag that I used to pass the time until we land which is why I made the switch. I must admit, I was surprised at what I saw of the Mississippi River. I was expecting a very wide blue tinted, fairly straight river. Instead what I saw was much narrower than I expected the color of mud, full of barges and with more switch backs than a steep mountain road. No wonder it takes eight hours to get from the gulf to the city, the ship has to travel three times further than a crow would fly making the same trip. On the way out of the airport I see a hotel shuttle service. It costs $20 one way ($38 round trip -- I'm taking the ship's shore excursion tour back to the airport). I estimated a taxi would cost $100, so I try it out. Each van holds fourteen people and I am number seventeen in line. Ahead of me is someone else from Southern California and someone from Australia. We chat for a bit which helps fill the time until the next van arrives. All in all I spent 45 minutes in line. It is the price one pays to save $80. I'm not in any rush, so the delay is not that big of a deal. But then I get lucky. I'm last one dropped off, so I get a free tour of the downtown / French Quarter area. I'm in the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown. It used to be the Iberville Suites. It is a two room suite and a very nice hotel room. I highly recommend it. I "won" it in a bid on one of those sites where you don't know what you are getting until you get it (picture the former captain of the Enterprise and you'll know which site I used). It is located one block from Bourbon Street and one block from Canal Street, so it is a great location. There is even free Internet access. Usually the more the room cost, the more the Internet access costs. I drop off my luggage, grab my travel camera, and head off to a nearby (walking distance) steakhouse. I get a 24 ounce rib eye (I haven't eaten except for a sandwich on the plane) all day, so I have no problem finishing off a very good steak. The steak, ice tea, three good sized shrimp (the term large shrimp is an oxymoron) and a pecan pie plus tip comes to $77. Expensive, but well worth it. The steak house is Brennan Steak House and it is about two blocks from the hotel. After dinner it is about 7:30pm and I decide to checkout Bourbon Street at night. The street is blocked off from traffic, so people can walk down the middle of the street. For the most part the street is filled with bars, restaurants, jazz halls and places where you can learn some new pole dancing moves (if that is what you are into). They all say no cover charge, so watch out for the drink prices. Finally I head back to the hotel to check out one of the two large wide screen TVs in the large sitting room. Discovery Channel and the History Channel offer some things to keep me entertained until it is late (here -- my body is still two hours behind) and then I update this. Well, tomorrow I am meeting several people I have been corresponding with for the last six and a half years on one of the cruise forums I belong too. We will meet, for the first time, for a two hour tour, on the Steamboat Natchez. So, until tomorrow morning, well, actually later this morning, good night. Friday, March 1 -- Visiting New Orleans Since I stayed up late, I slept in late, getting up in time to shower and still have time for lunch and then off to the 11:30am lunch tour on the Steamboat Natchez. I decide to catch quick lunch at McDonalds. Unfortunately I arrived at 10:25am and lunch is not until 10:30am, so I have breakfast. I went to McDonalds because I know where it is, it is close (just down the block) and it is quick. I know there is another McDonalds just around the block from the one I am in. However, upon arriving back at the hotel I realize there is also a McDonalds across the street from the hotel. I grab my camera, catch a cab and head over to the Steamship Natchez. It is an $8 cab ride including tip. I board the ship no problem. I meet up with some of the people I'll be cruising with. Then I head out to take some pictures. But the camera refuses to take the picture. A quick check reveals the problem. When I uploaded the pictures last night I took the memory card out of the camera and put it in the computer. Unfortunately I forgot to reverse the process -- stupid mistake. I have over one hundred gigabytes on over ten memory cards. Unfortunately they are all currently in the hotel room. Fortunately one of my future fellow passengers had an extra memory card. The tour is great. First I check out the ship and they let us into the engine room. One of the people in the engine room sees how interested I was in the goings on and gave me an information sheet on the ship. Then I head back to the person who lent me the memory card to tell him about the engine room. Soon we are both touring the engine room. Then suddenly it seems half the passengers on the ship show up in the engine room. About the time I finish checking out the ship it reaches the halfway point. The ship turns around and I get the chance to see the goings on around the river on the way back. After departing the ship I check out the river walk. There is an IMAX Theater and an aquarium. I would check them out but they are $20 plus each, and I don't feel like spending that kind of money right now. My little walk has lead me to the Cable Street street car. It is only $1.25 to get back, but I end up waiting about twenty minutes until one of the electric trolleys, going in the same direction I want to go, shows up. Back at the hotel I just relax until it is dinner time. Tonight I am going to try an Italian restaurant I found last night when walking up and down Bourbon Street. One thing I notice when walking to the restaurant is that Bourbon Street is more crowded tonight (Friday night) than it was last night. I end up ordering lasagna with a shrimp appetizer. I also had ice tea, but the tea was pre-sweetened. It was too sweet for me; I ended up having to water it down with water. Total cost, including the tip is $44, and that is the problem. Once a week I get an equally good Italian dinner at a restaurant home for half this price. This is why I tend to avoid the Italian restaurants on the ship. For the most part pasta is pasta. However, there are different qualities of meet (select, choice and prime) and methods of cooking that do make a difference so I do like to go to the ship board steakhouses. After dinner I am back in the hotel room watching TV, uploading my photographs and working on this. I've enjoyed New Orleans and would not mind coming back here again in the future. But for now it is 2am (again) and I've got a very important meeting I have to make later this afternoon, so until later this morning, good night. Saturday, March 02, 2013 -- Embarkation day I'm up at 8am. I check out the Internet for the last time. I don't do Internet on the ship unless there is a lot of interest in the ship, and there isn't that much interest in this ship at this time. Then I pack. Just before I am ready to shower and dress housekeeping knocks on my door. It is only 10am and I am planning to leave at 10:30am. Checkout time is noon, so I tell her I'll be leaving pretty soon. I've learned to bar the door from the inside when I am showing because these people (on land or sea) knock, and if they don't get a reply they use their pass key. Well, if I'm in the shower I am not going to hear them knock. At any rate I leave the hotel at 10:30am, just like I planned, and catch a cab. My plan is to get to the port at 11am and hopefully board by 11:30am. To my surprise, the cruise ship that was there yesterday (the Oriana) is still there. We are directed to a different location to unload and board. The driver was great, so I ended up giving him a 33% tip. He was asking about the recent cruise ship problems and I we eventually compared plane crashes to ships sinking. I ended up telling him that there were a lot more planes in the ocean than ships in the sky. He laughed and then said he had to agree with me on that. We keep up this back and forth the whole trip, it was quite entertaining. Well, at any rate I start walking toward the terminal and it looks like people are already boarding. I am both diamond and in a (mini) suite. It is the suite line that is boarding and fifteen minutes after giving my checked bag to the porter I am on the ship. It is a strange feeling, as this is the first time I have ever repeated a ship. In 2004 all I had was a 3.2 mega pixel camera with a two to one zoom. Now I have a DSLR (16 mega pixels) and the lens I am using to photograph the ship has a six to one zoom (plus I have an even more powerful zoom giving me a total zoom range of about eleven to one). At any rate, I sneak into my cabin, find my cabin steward, tell him I am dropping off my carry-ons, and go about photographing the ship, and this time I know what I want to photograph and where it is from experience (I took over 500 photographs today). Just as I get to the Windjammer they announce that the cabins are ready. What luck, with everyone leaving the Windjammer I have no problem getting a table. By this time I have photographed everything I want on decks eleven through fourteen. So after lunch I head back to the cabin to see if my luggage has arrived (not yet). So I head over to the cabin of the guy who lent me the memory card. I knock -- no answer. I start to leave and look who is coming down the hall (my timing seems to be perfect today). I give him the memory card (with the pictures still on it) plus interest (I gave him an extra one I have -- don't worry, I still have ten or eleven with me totaling well over one hundred gigabytes). After that I go to the common areas on the lower decks (decks three, four and five). After all of that it is back to cabin where I find my luggage waiting for me. I put it in the walk-in closet and sit down and rest for a bit. Then I see the sign that if I want ice I have to ask for it and my room steward is nowhere to be found. So I have to drink the not so cold water from the tap. Just in case I put a glass of water in the mini fridge and then photograph the cabin. Once I finish that it is time to unpack. Now it is after 3pm and I figure the muster drill is at 4pm (I was right). So I decide to just rest and have some more water. To my surprise, the water in the cabin refrigerator is cold. For the first time in my cruising history I've got a refrigerator that actually works. Soon the dreaded seven short and one long horn sound. I put my shoes on and open the door just in time to find my room steward checking up on me (they put a red card in the card key slot to indicate that the cabin has been checked. Why, they take roll at the muster drill. At any rate I ask for ice, which he says he will get for me after the muster drill. At the muster drill I am told to stand in a place that allows me to be the first one in the door when the muster drill is over (like I said, my timing is great today -- too bad they don't sell lottery tickets on the ship). We are having our sail-away in the Viking Lounge, so I take an elevator from deck four to deck fourteen. At the sail-away I have a mudslide (complete with state sale's tax) and watch as the captain uses his thrusters to move away from the dock and then spins the ship so that we can go down river. At this point the Mississippi River is only a little wider than this ship is long. So we are headed down river, a trip that will take about eight hours. As the sun sets I can no longer tell were the river banks are and soon land and river blend into one. I'm not sure how the pilot can tell, since ships don't have headlights. Finally I leave the sail-away to take a few night time shots (it is dark outside and the lights are on inside, making photography through the windows of the Viking Lounge a bad idea. Then back to the cabin as dinner will be ready soon (I have late seating). I turn on the TV and what do I see, a program on the George Smith incident. At first I wonder why Royal Caribbean is showing this when I realize this is just a regularly scheduled program (Nancy Grace Mysteries). I don't know if she solved the mystery of how George Smith died (though she seems to be leaning toward blaming the Russians) because I had to leave to go to dinner. There were lots of good choices, so I decide to have both the chicken and the extra cost, cooked to order, filet from Chops (which comes to $18.54 including tip and tax). The chicken was good and the steak was excellent. My tablemates, as well as those at the table next to me, are all part of the group I am in. Great group by the way. After dinner I am dead tired and head back to the cabin to upload the pictures and work on this. I decide to venture out on my balcony to see what I can see (which is not much) when I notice a big ship headed toward us. It is the Carnival Conquest on its way to New Orleans. I run back into the cabin to grab my camera and I take a few pictures. Then back in the cabin to upload the pictures and continue to work on this. The next time I look up there are a whole bunch of balconies just outside my window. I grab my camera again and run outside again. This time it is an NCL ship. I didn't get the name, but I am guessing it is the NCL Sky. All of this occurred between 11 and 11:10pm. Given we are still in the river, the ships are passing each other at about two hundred feet apart (my estimate -- at the Captain's Corner I learns that the ships are actually 400 feet apart). It is now midnight and it is too dark for me to tell if we are still in the river. Oh wait a second, there is a clue. The pilot boat is right below me. Okay, we must be ready to say goodbye to the river pilot and set a course in the Gulf of Mexico for, well Mexico (Cozumel to be exact). At any rate, it is late, I've covered the highlights for today (now yesterday) and I am tired. So, until later today -- good night. Sunday, March 3, 2013 -- Day at Sea I wake up at about 6:35am and suddenly realize my mistake. I forgot to check on the status of the sunrise when I first opened my eyes earlier. Still, I do get a couple of good sun risen photos, just to show I was there. Also, either the river has become extremely wide, or we are in the Gulf of Mexico, doing about 17.5 knots on our way to Cozumel. We were going about 15 knots in the river. However, the reason we didn't make much progress in the first eight hours is that the river has many switch backs. Now in the open ocean we are on a straight SSE course and have traveled much further in the last seven hours then we did during the first seven hours. According to the ship's information channel, we have traveled 243 miles since leaving New Orleans. We are only about one and half miles from land; though that land is straight down (we don't want to go in that direction). The ship's information channel gives all sorts of good information except for one very important bit of information -- the air temperature. Still it felt nice when I was taking the pictures, at least ten degrees warmer than what we were experiencing in New Orleans. I expect we will see temperatures in the lower seventies soon, as the sun is quite warm (though there is a lot of cloud cover). Okay, that was the 7:30am forecast. The 9am revised forecast is nice and cool due to heavy cloud cover. Most of the passengers will not be happy, but I am, I like it cool. It is single t-shirt weather for me, which is good, because I'm wearing my favorite cruise ship t-shirt. It shows a deer in a forest with arrows stuck in all the trees. The caption reads vegetarian, Indian word for lousy hunter. I bought it on my first cruise in Sitka, Alaska in 1999. Last night I was so tired I forgot to begin charging my camera batteries. No matter, this junior suite has two plugs. Now all I have to do is find my little camera bag. I don't see it and I do remember packing it when I left the hotel. After double checking all the places I remember putting things in it suddenly occurs to me that behind the side mirrors on the desk is some storage room that is the perfect size for my small camera bag. Sure enough that is where it is. Well, it is 8am now. Time to shower, get dressed, perhaps get some breakfast and maybe a short video from the bow. Then at 10am we are having a gift exchange followed by a Meet and Mingle at 11:30am in the Dungeon (the disco). What a terrible place for a Meet and Mingle as it is dark down there. I decide to bring my breakfast of bacon, eggs, rice and milk back to the cabin to eat on the balcony. And yes, that is a banana in my pocket, except it is in my back pocket. The plates are big, but there are no trays, so things like silverware and the banana have to be transported in my pockets. After breakfast I update this and then it is off to the helicopter pad for a short video. On the way I take more pictures of the Royal Promenade. I also check out the stores. This is not a good time to go to the stores because this is when they first open and EVERYBODY wants to check them out. Though I'm not going to buy anything, I do get to see what I might be interested in, and it's not much. This of course is a problem with the number of cruises I have taken. I pretty much have everything I want. Maybe later in the week they will have something that interests me. Now it is 9:40am and time to get ready for the gift exchange. First I tried to give away some of the discount coupons that I received in my diamond coupon book. I couldn't give away all the coupons I had no intention of using. One coupon is good for a fifteen percent discount on $1,000 or more jewelry purchase. If you really like your bedding, I've got a fifteen percent coupon if you are interested in purchasing it. I didn't find any takers either of those two coupons. However, I was able to get rid of my free spin and match play coupons. After the gift exchange I ended up with a mug from Minnesota, which just happens to be the location of the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Then we went to the stairs near the Metropolis Theater for a group photo. Many of us then went to the Dungeon for another Meet and Mingle event. Though I knew the time and place, I did not receive the invitation -- until I returned to the cabin with my friends AFTER the Meet and Mingle. There was also an invitation to a behind-the-scenes Theater Tour. I did this on the Enchantment of the Seas and I did not find it that interesting. I'll wait until I'm diamond plus when more interesting tours are offered. Finally there is an invitation to a diamond event tomorrow late afternoon. As I suspected, the Dungeon was not a good place for the Meet and Mingle as it is dark down there. There were a few small prizes given out, than then a friend won the grand prize, which was one of each of the prior prizes in a small backpack. We then spoke for a long time and then went to my cabin followed by my friend's grand suite for our own private, and limited, cabin crawl. They then headed to the ice show and I went back to my cabin where my lack of sleep caught up with me. But prior to that someone came by to check the mini-fridge see if I had used any of the items. I showed him that I moved things too make room for my orange juice and glass of cold water. However, nothing was missing. After a much needed two hour nap I went up to deck twelve to catch the sunset. I was not the only one there for that purpose. However, the sun set behind the clouds. In short, the sunset was a bust. Then it was time to get dressed for formal night. I posed for three pictures and then used one of my two for one drink coupons. Then I got in line to have my picture taken with the captain. I was the third or fourth person to have my picture taken with the captain and thus ended up on the DVD, so I paid the $30 for the DVD. After the introduction of the senior staff by the captain, it was time for dinner. I had the chicken salad with apple slices and walnuts as an appetizer and ravioli with shrimp as the main course. Both were very good. After dinner I decided to just go back to the cabin, upload my photographs and work on this. It is now a little after midnight and I am going to be swimming with a manatee in about ten hours. So until later today, good night.Monday, March 4 -- Cozumel It is 5:30am and even though the sun will not rise for half an hour, I can already tell sunrise will be a bust. Not only are there no clouds overhead, but just to make sure, there are clouds on the horizon. Sunrise is shortly after 6am. We are scheduled to arrive at 7am, which is fairly early. But in the distance I can see a Disney ship already docked. Docked at 6am -- that is really early. It occurs to me that this is the fourth time I have been to Cozumel and all four times on Royal Caribbean. Tomorrow it will be the fifth time I have been to Grand Cayman and that has been on three different lines (Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean). It is 7:10am and the captain says we have been cleared to go ashore. The current temperature is 68 degrees and is expected to rise to 79 degrees later today. At 8:20am the Carnival Dream showed up. Given the time, it is time for me to get ready to go ashore, but first a quick breakfast. I just grab a couple of slices of ham and a banana and eat in the Windjammer as I am a bit behind schedule. In August 2004 I was aboard the Navigator of the Seas and I took a ship sponsored excursion to Chankanaab Park to swim with a dolphin. While there we were offered the chance to swim with a seal for only $59 more, which I took advantage of. Today I took an independent tour to Chankanaab Park to swim with a manatee. It cost $50.15 online. The taxi from the International pier (where we docked) to Chankanaab Park is $11 each way (if you have five it is $16 for the group or $3.20 each). I didn't think the cost of the swim included admission to the park, but they let me in for free, so I guess it did. While the dolphin swim is usually a group of ten people with one dolphin, there were only three of us (all from this ship) swimming with two manatees. A word of caution, don't go swimming near manatees with your salad, because they eat lettuce -- lots of it. It was great. Swimming with the dolphins is very popular and a lot of fun, but so was swimming with the manatees and we got a lot more inaction with the manatees than one gets with the dolphins (though the manatees will not pull you through the water like the dolphins do). Unfortunately they don't allow cameras any more (I had a water proof camera with me in 2004 and still bought the video and the pictures). The pictures are one for $35 or all of them (in my case 41 of them) for $79 on a CD (there was no video). I bought two pictures and saved a whole nine dollars. Okay, not really, I bought all 41 of the pictures. Before swimming with the manatee I took ten pictures with my waterproof camera at Chankanaab Park. After swimming with the manatee the camera stopped working (oh ship!). I recharged the battery back on the ship, but the camera still did not work (double oh ship!!). There is no evidence of water intrusion in the camera, so I'll have to get the camera checked out when I return home. This will make swimming with the turtles tomorrow less fun, but life has its ups and downs, even when one is on vacation. At least it is not as bad as forgetting to make sure there is a memory card in the camera. Oh wait a minute, what am I saying, it is worse -- much worse and a lot more costly. And, I did it again today when I was running around the ship taking pictures of the other ships docked in Cozumel -- I left the memory card in the computer again. The only difference is I had my camera bag with me, which means I had all the spare memory cards with me. And while running around I stopped for some of the free ice cream available on deck eleven. There is also a Ben and Jerry's on deck five, but that ice cream cost extra. While enjoying my ice cream I ran into one of my group mates. He went scuba diving today. In between running around the ship and swimming around Chankanaab Park I took a short nap. The sun is a little stronger here, especially since there are no clouds in the sky. We departed right on time, so I guess everyone made it onboard, as I didn't hear any names called. We are moving our clocks ahead one hour so that the ship's time will be the same as the local time. At 4:45pm we had the welcome back party. I told the captain that he could save a few hours if he cut a few corners on the Mississippi River. He said there weren't too many corners that could be cut. I said, well, if you are going fast enough and you build a ski ramp -- he laughed. I bought four pictures today, all eight by ten at $16 each. I think the price of the eight by ten photographs has gone down a little bit (I think they used to be over $20 each). Fortunately, as part of the group booking I received a $100 on board credit (OBC). It is about time for me to create a spreadsheet to keep tract of my spending. Yes, this information is available on the TV, but I also use it when I am filling out my custom's form. And for those that are interested, I have uploaded over 1200 photographs to my computer taking up over 6.6 gigabytes of disc space so far. Tuesday, March 05, 2013 -- Grand Cayman I am up in time for sunrise. Good cloud cover overhead. It is looking good. Oh no, we are headed directly into the sun. So I head up to deck twelve. Even worse, there are clouds on the horizon. So I go down to deck five and then to the helicopter pad for a good forward view. It is windy but nothing I cannot handle. Unfortunately the clouds at the horizon are getting worse (we are moving, so things change). I take a few pictures and a couple of short videos, but nothing worth writing home about. But all is not a total loss, as hardly anyone is up (we lost an hour this morning changing to local time Eastern Standard Time) and the Royal Promenade is empty which makes for good picture taking. The only problem is the firewall above the bridge over the Royal Promenade is closed for some reason. So photographs from the forward end of the Royal Promenade are worthless. However, I get a few good photographs from the aft end of the Royal Promenade. Then I put away my camera and head over to the Windjammer for some take out breakfast, which I enjoy on my balcony. I grab a couple of pre-made omelets, assorted meats, some cheese and a banana. The sign for the ham and cheese omelets and the sign for the vegetable omelets are reversed. I tell them and they switch the signs. It is now almost 8am and we are two miles from land, though once again that is straight down. At our current speed of 17.7 knots (about 20 MPH) and the captain's estimate (from yesterday) that we will arrive at 9:45am, I would guess that we are about thirty miles from Grand Cayman. I've decided to give my Wow card to Sandeep, our waiter. He makes dinner feel special. Well, we are a few minutes late, however, we are the only ship in town today. Two other ships were supposed to be here, but cancelled due to the swells. What swells??? I've seen bigger waves in a swimming pool. The tender ships are the local tenders that hold at least twice as many as the ship's tenders. According to the captain the temperature will be in the upper seventies. We are using a different tender dock than I am used to. We are using the one closer to the middle of town. I went up on deck to photograph the other ships before the captain said there weren't any (he was right). It is strange, we are floating above half mile deep water, yet a quarter mile in front of us is dry land. Grand Cayman is basically the top of a rather steep mountain. My plan is to wait a bit for the tender crowd to thin out, then take a taxi to Boatswains Beach (aka the Turtle Farm), spend two to three hours at the park, then do some shopping in town and catch a tender back to the ship before the big crowds start to appear at the tender dock at the end of the day. Well, I'm back and I learned a lesson in independent shore excursions. Sometimes the ship's excursions are a better deal because of quantity. The admission to the Turtle Farm, online, was $36. I simply decided that I would take a taxi there and back. So when I got off the tender I went looking for a taxi. I found several. None were all too happy to take one person one way, all the way, to the Turtle Farm and all wanted $30, each way. That would bring the total cost of the trip to $100. Fortunately for me, the Turtle Farm had some issue with my credit card and the charge did not go through. So by not going I lost nothing. So I did a little shopping and on the way back to the tender dock was offered a tour for $15. $15 for a tour - that is not a bad deal. Lesson number two, tour operators like to fill up their bus. So I had to wait fifteen minutes until she found others to go, that was not a big deal. As we walked to the van I stayed at the end, hoping to get the front seat. It looked good until right at the van she found two more people. The front seat holds two and she gave the front seat to the two new people. Then she made some five year old sit on his parent's lap so I could have his seat. I didn't like taking the kid's seat and I told him I was sorry. He didn't seem upset by what had happened, but I still did not feel it was right. I decided I would buy him some small gift to make amends. Our first stop was Hell. If you are not familiar with Grand Cayman, there really is a town, with a post office, called Hell. I have never been there before, and see no reason to ever go back. The best part of Hell (in my opinion) is that you can buy cold water and shirts that say things like I've been to Hell and back. I bought one of each (cold water and a shirt that has the word Hell on it). However, there was nothing suitable for a five year old stranger. Our next stop was, are you ready for this, the Turtle Farm. All we had to do was tell them we were in Chocolate's taxi and we could get a limited admission for $10. By limited I mean there were places in the park we could not go. Basically we were limited to the turtle tanks and we were only there for thirty minutes. But still, what was $100 was now only $25 ($15 tour plus $10 admission). That is when I realized that two things were happening here. The Turtle Farm is near the hotel area. So they get lots of tourists. They charge the tourists full price. But they also get a lot of quantity business from the tours, so they charge the tour operators a reduced price. As for the tour operators, they make their profit off of the quantity. If a taxi can make a profit taking one person there and back for $60, then a tour operator can make a bigger profit by taking thirteen people there and back even if only $6.00 is allocated to transportation. At the Turtle Farm you can buy Turtle Food (it looks like dog kibble and no, I didn't taste it) for $5.00 for a small bag. Perfect. I gave the kid half my bag. He was happy, his parents were happy, and even though I never wanted to take his seat, I was now happy besides, I wasn't really all that interested in feeding the turtles). Everybody wins. The tour had all the quality you would expect from a $15 tour. However, it was worth $15, so I am not complaining. Next time I come here by cruise ship, I'll likely just take a ship's tour. But now at least I can honestly say I've been to Hell. On the way back to the ship, on the tender, something strange happened. I had my SeaPass card in my shirt pocket. It is a typical shirt pocket that opens on the top. To the best of my knowledge gravity was working properly at the time, yet somehow the card few out of my pocket. Fortunately it landed on the tender and someone saw it happen and alerted me to it (I did not know my card flew out of my pocket). Now that I know what happened, I still don't know how it happened. While on the tour I learned that yesterday the wind was really blowing hard and no ships stopped. I now realize that the other two ships were probably due in Grand Cayman early and that at that time the weather may have been worse, so they chose to cancel the port stop. We arrived later after things had calmed down a bit and we were able to enjoy our day at Grand Cayman. Back on board I decided to shower and rest up after having spent quite a few hours in the sun (and fifteen minutes in Hell -- sorry, I couldn't resist). The captain made an announcement at 5:30pm that the last of the passengers were on the final tender and that after offloading a medical emergency (the second one of the day) we would be off. Hopefully those people will make a full recovery and hopefully they have insurance to cover the cost of the medical care, their lost vacation and the cost of the flight home (and a passport so that they can fly home). After the captain's announcement I decided to get some ice cream and a snack. The ice cream was no problem, but the Windjammer didn't reopen until 6:00pm, so I went to Johnny Rockets for a snack. I thought Royal Caribbean was only charging for the shakes, however, my hamburger and fries and shake cost $11. $5.20 for the shake and $4.95 as a cover charge (plus tip of course -- which I added an extra dollar to). But hey, at least the hamburger and fries were free. Well, it is twenty minutes to dinner, so I'll catch you after dinner. I was on deck ready for a great sunset. Unfortunately we were moving and as I said before, when you are moving things can change. By the time the sun was at the horizon it was now behind some thick clouds. In fact, one person who was also looking to photograph the sunset had turned away to speak to his friends and had to be told where the sun was, that is how think the clouds had become in less than fifteen minutes. On Sunday we had taken a group picture. The picture was supposed to be ready on Tuesday. However, after asking to see the picture before dinner, the picture could not be found. The photography staff agreed to look while I was at dinner. After dinner the picture still had not been located. The woman I was speaking to wrote something up and said I could see the picture after 7pm the next day. There were only two of us at dinner, as most of our table had chosen that night to go to Chops because someone who had been on this cruise earlier had said that Tuesday dinner was the weakest of the week. So the two of us had a nice talk and a quick dinner. I wasn't very hungry, so all I had was a couple of beef sliders, which is basically a small hamburger with a small premium beef patty, and ice cream. After dinner I was very tired and lay down for a little rest before working on this. Around 11pm I woke up and realizing that I was still tired just decided to go to sleep and work on this the next morning. Wednesday, March 06, 2013 -- Falmouth, Jamaica The captain said that we would back in. I thought that mean we would spin before docking. But instead we spun before backing down a fairly narrow channel. We docked with my balcony facing the dock and the village created by Royal Caribbean. So I was at the back of the ship taking pictures of the dock as we approached the pier. The Freedom of the Seas arrived soon after us. Per the captain, we can expect temperatures between the upper seventies and lower eighties. We are also warned that the crew is having a safety drill and that the passengers should ignore the call to muster stations and other safety drill related announcements. I have my only ship sponsored shore excursion (Jamaica Swamp Safari Village) that meets on land at 10:15am, so I am in no rush. I go back to the cabin to upload the photographs, work on this and back everything up. Then I shower, dress and grab a banana for breakfast. I head down to the dock to explore the village on my way to where the tour meets. I pose for my only gangplank photo and the woman who I spoke to last night about the missing group photo is there and informs me that the group photo book has been found. The village is a really neat area with all the usual trappings (Diamonds International, Tanzanite International, Del Sol, hair braiding ...). However, the prices are high, which leads me to wonder what percentage of each sale goes to Royal Caribbean. Also, the tax rate is something else. I bought a hot dog for $5 and with tax it came to $6 (that is 20%). However, that was a cash transaction. Based on a printed credit card receipt I have, a $5.15 drink includes an eight-five cent GCT tax. That comes to 16.5%, which is double the sales tax I pay living in Los Angeles. I am going to the Swamp Safari Village. I signed up for the tour a while ago and don't remember exactly what it is, but I do remember it sounded interesting. It turns out to be a place crocodiles are brought to when they are captured after threatening people or pets. There is also a bird aviary, snakes and rodents, but mostly crocodiles. It is also the place where the famous crocodile-jumping scene in Live and Let Die (James Bond) was shot. They also have a pet baby goat named shampoo which follows the person who gave him his milk around just like a little puppy. That was an enjoyable tour. It gets my recommendation. To get back into the village next to the ship every single one of us, while still on the bus, had to show our room key. Yet I am surprised to find at least two school groups inside enjoying the day. I have no problem with it, but if it is only for cruise ship passengers, then why are non-cruise ship passengers allowed in? At any rate I decide to enjoy some jerk chicken at the Spice Chicken and Bar (the only restaurant I saw inside the fenced in area). Back on the ship I decide to shower rest and work on this, except I get wrapped up in a couple of programs on the TV and don't get much of this done. Before dinner I go get the group picture before they lose it again. At dinner the other table is empty (tonight they all went to Chops). If I recall correctly, our group has one first seating table and three second seating tables, all next to each other. I ask for an appetizer portion of the pasta and order another steak from Chops (which cost less this time as I don't have to pay the Louisiana sales tax). However, I ended up with the full dinner portion of the pasta. In addition I used another one of my two for one drink coupons. After dinner I head back to work on this, upload my pictures and back everything up. We are moving our clocks back one hour (back to central time) tomorrow morning. I also check out the movie offerings on the TV and find one I might watch on Friday. Thursday, March 07, 2013 -- Day at Sea Today is a nice relaxing day at sea. My plans are to leaving the cabin long enough for the room steward to do his thing, attend the Captain's Corner at 1pm, do a little swimming and attend a Top Tier event (which I assume is for Diamond and up). Diamond members also get invited to a behind the scenes chit-chat with the entertainers. I did that on the Enchantment (where I was Emerald) and didn't find it all that interesting. I'm waiting until I make Diamond Plus and then get invited to a bridge tour. Also, tonight is the second formal night. I'm up in time for sunrise but can see that there are clouds on the horizon, so I never leave the cabin. Later in the morning I shower and dress, then go to breakfast. I don't bring breakfast back to the cabin so that I am not interfering with the cabin steward. After breakfast I run around taking more pictures hoping to kill an hour before returning to the cabin. My plan works and when I return to the cabin the cabin steward has finished his work. I upload the pictures, work on this and soon it is time for the Captain's Corner. I didn't take notes, but I did ask a couple of questions and I remember one other question that was asked of the captain, who was the only one there (usually the hotel manager, ship's engineer or cruise director also attend). I asked about the vacation schedule of the lower ranking navigation officers. We all know the captain only works 50% of the year and that the rest of the crew works sixty-seven to seventy-five percent of the year. But nobody ever mentioned what the lower ranking navigation officers' schedule was. They also work 50% of the time and I was surprised to learn that there are more than one first officer and second officer aboard this ship. I also asked about the clearance when turning in the river (when leaving the Port of New Orleans) and when passing the other two cruise ships. The captain said that there was about 45 feet of clearance in back and about 400 feet in front when he spun the ship before leaving New Orleans. He says you always want to leave lots of room in front just in case you have to get going in a hurry. He said there was 400 feet of clearance between the Carnival Conquest and our ship, and slightly less between the NCL ship and our ship. The other question I remember was about what was learned from the recent Carnival problems. The captain said the report on the Triumph fire is not out yet. As to the Splendor he said that the Carnival ships and the Royal Caribbean ships are built differently. That the Carnival ships have one breaker box while Royal Caribbean ships have two, so that if a Royal Caribbean ship loses one breaker box for whatever reason, the ship will still have half it power available. That sounds like something that should be a requirement on all new builds (in my opinion). After the captain's corner I asked him if he knew the name of the NCL ship. He said it was the Sky or Star. I've been on the Star and it was not the Star. However, someone else said it was the Spirit and that is a possibility. It is either the NCL Sky or the NCL Spirit, but I don't know which. After that I went swimming. The pools were less crowded than I would have expected. However, the weather is nice, not hot, so that may have something to do with why there were not more people in the pool. After swimming I showered, uploaded the pictures, brought this up-to-date and checked my account balance against my own records. Oops, there is an error. I've been charged for two gratuities today. Down to guest services to have that corrected. I am told that that the extra gratuity is tomorrow's gratuity and that I will not be billed for a gratuity tomorrow (we will see about that). There was a sunset worth photographing today. There were some clouds on the horizon but not enough to totally block the sun, so finally something worth photographing. And the best part was I never had to leave my balcony. Well, time to get ready for tonight, so I'll see you after dinner. Well, the "Top Tier" event was for platinum and above. That is not so "Top Tier" since platinum is the second lowest tier (just above gold which is the lowest tier). Nothing unusual, though the captain did recognize me (I guess I asked too many questions at the Captain's Corner). Still, it was nice event. Afterwards I posed for four pictures wearing my red Caribbean shirt from Hell (the word Hell was covered up by my jacket). Then for dinner I had the pasta as an appetizer (and this time it was an appetizer portion) and prime rib as the main course. Both were very good. In fact, I would have to say that the meals I have had this week are the best I have had on Royal Caribbean and up there with the best I have had on any of my cruises. So, I'm back in the cabin now updating this and uploading my photographs (including some food porn from last night and tonight), and updating my spreadsheet with the all the spending I have done (I also used the last of my two for one drink coupons). Tomorrow I've got a group golf tournament at 10am and a garbage pail party at 3:30pm (I have no idea what that is) and unfortunately I also have to pack. So until tomorrow morning, good night. For those that are interested, I have uploaded over 2300 photographs taking up 12.5 gigabytes of space. This review is currently over nine thousand words taking up sixteen single spaced type written pages. Friday, March 8, 2013 -- Day at Sea Once again I am up in time for a sunrise photo (but only by a few minutes). I look outside and realized that there are clouds on the horizon, so I don't bother dressing to go out on deck (my balcony faces west during the trip back to New Orleans). However, I did shower, dress and eat breakfast in time to join the group's golf tournament on deck thirteen. Then back to the cabin to drop off a few things. I've been out of the cabin for ninety minutes but the cabin steward has not arrived yet. Fortunately I want to look at yesterday's formal photographs and get my DVD and CD. When I got to the photo area I saw a sign that because of the Louisiana tax, the photo shop will close at 8:30pm tonight. The captain said that we would pick up the pilot at 10pm and would pick up the river pilot when we enter the Mississippi River at midnight. When I return to the cabin with four more photographs the cabin steward was just finishing up. It is time to start organizing my packing. I don't have a scale with me and I was up to 43 pounds when I flew to New Orleans. I am leaving my old dress shoes, so that will save a few pounds and I put some of the heavier things I have purchased in my carry-ons. I also check out the debarkation video, upload some photographs, work on this a bit and watch a movie. Soon it is time for the garbage pail party. It is simply a final get together where everyone brings their left over drinks (thus the name). These are a great bunch of people and I am glad I had a chance to meet them all. Back at the cabin I upload my new photos, work on this and checkout the sunset from my balcony. Finally, no clouds on the horizon. However, there were some very low clouds overhead, which kept it from being perfect. Still, it was the best sunset of the week. Well, here we are on the last full day and I realize that I have not really described my cabin. I am in a junior suit on the "hump". I am not in the center of the hump because I wanted a forward facing cabin. So I am in the cabin next to the center, which faces slightly forward. Inside the cabin there is a couch and a stuffed chair with a matching ottoman. In addition there is a small glass table. Otherwise it is a wider balcony cabin with a tub shower and a walk-in closet. It is probably about three feet winder than a normal balcony cabin. There is a post between the sliding door and a smaller floor to ceiling window which would provide a perfect hiding place for a three year old. It is a very nice cabin that would be roomy enough for three or four people (even though this cabin only holds two). I fill out the survey and the custom's form. Waiting for the time to go to dinner my room steward knocks on the door. Doesn't he know I have late dining by now? Also, I have used the make up my room card every single time. So why is the room steward knocking on my door before 8pm? Well, dinner was bitter sweat. Dinner was good as usual for this cruise, but I ended up saying good-bye to new friends, both the group and the waiter. For the first time a group cruise I was on when off with no problems. Two group cruises ago our leader suddenly disappeared (really, no one in the group knew where he was or how to contact him). If that wasn't bad enough, the last group cruise I was on, the leader died before the cruise. This was a good group cruise and I'm glad I had the chance to meet everybody. That said, the cruise was really good - one of my favorites. It certainly made up for a much weaker cruise experience on my last cruise. We left one day late and thus only went to one port instead of two. It wasn't a bad cruise, but it sure did not match the enjoyment of this cruise. I would like to cruise out of New Orleans again in the summer when I will be able to see more of the Mississippi River. Also, I sure would not mind cruising out of New Orleans again. This is one of the more interesting cities to visit and cruise out of. After dinner I went back to the cabin, changed my clothes and put my luggage out to be picked up. I noticed it was 10pm so I looked outside and it did appear that we had slowed down. I checked the TV and sure enough we had slowed down. I went back outside just in time to see the pilot boat take off. I'll try to stay awake long enough to see us enter the Mississippi River. I must also say that our captain was a great person. I assume all captains know what they are doing and do it well. But a captain with a personality like Claus Andersen (our captain) can add to the cruise experience, and he did in a very positive way. Saturday, March 9, 2013 As promised by the captain, we dock at 6am. The Carnival Elation docks in front of us at 7am. I shower and dress and head out for a quick breakfast consisting of a banana and orange juice. Then back to the cabin and over to the Schooner Bar which is the meeting place for those of us taking the City Tour to the airport. Given that there were five busloads of people on this tour, the Schooner Bar was a poor choice for a meeting place. The Ixtapa Lounge, which is right next door, would have been a much better choice. Departure numbers seven and eight were for the shore excursion people. When it came time to debark they called numbers one through twelve. Instantly the situation when from controlled to messy, as one third of the ship suddenly tries to debark at the same time. Why give out numbers if you are going to send more than one thousand people on their way all at the same time? Since we were right next to the exit door we were in the front of the instantly long line. I took this tour not so much because it was interesting, but rather because it would chew up a few hours of time and get me to the airport for half the price of a rental car for the day. Thanks to the traffic I barely made it with seven hours to spare. I spent the first three and half hours inside the airport pre-check in on a nice comfortable couch going through my pictures because I don't think you can check in more than four hours early. Besides since New Orleans was kind enough to supply such a comfortable place to relax, I thought it would rude not to take advantage of it. From where I was sitting I had a clear view of the check in line and thus was able to go check in when the line was very short, like no waiting at all. The security line was less than five minutes and I found a restaurant to sit down and enjoy an early dinner. Originally I was on a 3:45pm flight that went to San Francisco and then I would change planes to get to LAX. However, United cancelled that flight and this one became available. It leaves four hours later, but I only arrive home one hour later because this is a non-stop. I wonder how we exit the plane if it doesn't stop? Do they fly low and just push us out the door? What about the luggage? Well I guess I'll find out soon enough. At any rate I decide to check on the status of my plane. It is on time, but it is coming from Houston. I realize it will not take seven hours from Houston, but United is kind enough to provide the flight number, so I can check on its status. The plane left San Francisco a few minutes early and is heading to Houston, so it is looking good. So now I am inside the secure area at a restaurant. This time my right leg (and the rest of my body), made it through the security check point without any problems. I decided to try the short ribs (and they sure are short). It comes with some small cut up potatoes and other equally small purple things. I pass on the potatoes and purple things. While waiting for my meal to arrive I decide to check on the status of my flight again. Now it is a half hour late. What happened? I check the status and it is still a flight from Houston, but now it is coming from Mexico, not San Francisco and is arriving in Houston seventy minutes late. Oh well, better to have this happen on the inbound flight than on the outbound flight (which was on time). The ribs and pretzel (which I picked up on the way to the restaurant) were okay. But the tax rate of $2.25 for a $19.60 meal works out to 11.5% (about three percentage points more than I pay in Los Angeles). Well, since I am done with my meal and it is not fair to continue to take up a table, I decide to head over to gate. I hope I can make it in time (the plane hasn't left Houston yet). Well I'm at the gate now and there is a very long line. Why, because the plane to Washington DC is running fifteen minutes late. Why then do half the people need to make other arrangements? Fifteen minutes is no big deal. Meanwhile my plane has not landed in Houston yet. Well, it is 6:15pm and the plane just landed in Houston. Someone just made an announcement that the plane will be more than thirty minutes late. If we cannot make our connection in Los Angeles, United will pay for a hotel for the night. I'm only worried about a share the ride van. Hopefully they keep track of the flights and know that the flight is running late. Well, back to proof reading, though I usually only catch about 80% of the errors because it is very hard to proof read your own writing. It is 7:35pm and the plane is on the ground here in New Orleans. Per the schedule we should have taken off two minutes ago. So far I have proof read half of this review (which is over eleven thousand words and 22 single spaced type written pages). So I'll be back at you after I get home. The flight home was uneventful. The movie was Skyfall, which is the latest James Bond flick. After the move I finished proof reading this. I hope I caught all the errors, but most likely I didn't. At any rate we landed about thirty minutes behind schedule. I get my checked bag and have to wait about fifteen minutes for the van to show up. One more lap around LAX with no new customers we are off. There are only two of us and I am the second one dropped off. I made it home around midnight. In summary this was a very enjoyable and much needed vacation. It is simply one person's account of one cruise. Soon the Navigator of the Seas will head back to Europe. It will be replaced by the Serenade of the Seas, which is a different class of ship (the Radiance class which is about two thirds the size of the Navigator OTS). I enjoy writing the review and taking the pictures. Hopefully someone will find something useful and/or helpful in this review. So, until my next cruise, good-by and good night. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We flew into New Orleans the night before the cruise left. Stayed at an Airport Hotel and then had a taxi pick us up and take us straight to the cruiseport. Getting onto the ship was a breeze (platinum class helps) and then we took our ... Read More
We flew into New Orleans the night before the cruise left. Stayed at an Airport Hotel and then had a taxi pick us up and take us straight to the cruiseport. Getting onto the ship was a breeze (platinum class helps) and then we took our first time cruiser on a quick tour of the Navigator of the Seas. This was our third trip on a Voyager class ship so began to feel like we knew our way around. The ship was pretty much full and to our dismay we realized we were on a Spring Break Cruise (forgot to check the dates for all 50 states). For the most part it wasn't a big deal but we did find that many parents allowed their children to run wild throughout the cruise. More on this later. First port was Cozumel and we had a catamaran snorkel and beach adventure planned. Loved the snorkeling could have done without the beach but then I really dislike sand unless I can get it off me immediately. Wild lunch at Senor Frog's won't repeat that experience either. No wonder some people weren't feeling well the next day -- definitely symptoms of the Cozumel Flu. Next day was Georgetown - Grand Cayman Island. LOVED LOVED the double snorkeling adventure on the catamaran could repeat that over and over again. Nothing bad to say at all about Georgetown except our stay was too short. Falmouth Jamaica was the last port. Our original excursion was cancelled so we picked a similar tour, it was ok. We were just dropped off in the middle of Montego Bay and forced to walk past all the shops then hang out in Margaritaville for two hours (better than Senor Frog's at least). Back to two days at sea. I have never experienced such a crowded deck in our previous cruises. To my knowledge I didn't see anyone enforcing the 30 minutes rule on the deck chairs. With the ship so full and so many children (18 and under) on the cruise we did try to find some quiet spots. Several times we made the library our meeting place with our friend and rarely was it treated like a library with some of the families. Children thundered through constantly treating the library like a playground. Then the families that decided it was a great place to play noisy games made it very annoying. I will say on our previous cruises nothing annoyed us like the lack of respect by these young people for the library and even the business centre. I admire the entire crew on these ships but their lack of enforcing some of the rules can be aggravating sometimes. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, loved our wait staff on our My Time dining. Our cabin steward was good but I am guessing their workload as increased because we rarely see our cabin stewards -- I used to love getting to know them. We dined one evening at Portofino and it was fabulous. Our other usual treat is a meal at Johnny Rockets -- my husband looks forward to that meal more than any other on any ship. We just know now to avoid the Caribbean between middle of February to April, maybe next time try another cruiseline to avoid the kids. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We took a cruise with my girl scouts. This was their reward for saving up all that cookie money over the years. So you had four moms and four late teen girls traveling together. We were in 3 interior cabins with the girls all in one room. ... Read More
We took a cruise with my girl scouts. This was their reward for saving up all that cookie money over the years. So you had four moms and four late teen girls traveling together. We were in 3 interior cabins with the girls all in one room. The cabin was surprisingly spacious and comfortable for two adults, but did get cramped for four girls. There really wasn't enough closet space for them, but that's to be expected in all honesty. The nightly dining was delicious and it was fun to have eight people ordering so we all got a sampling of nearly everything on the menu. We did have one vegetarian in the party and her choices were limited. The ice skating show was the best show of all of them, though the comedian was quite good. We played a lot of bingo and enjoyed the karaoke, and we all actually got up and sang. The girls were a little disappointed in the "teen" options, probably because they were just shy of 18 and felt too old for the most part, but were too young for the adult disco. We could have stayed on the ship, there was so much to do, but we had to investigate the ports of call. It is cheaper to tour on your own, but since it was just us "girls" I was more comfortable booking the excursions and it worked out very well for us because the girls could stick together with only a single chaperone, while the moms were able to get away to other, adult excursions. Cozumel, Mexico: The girls chose to swim with the dolphins and the stingrays and had a blast. They were able to spend time on the beach as well as shop and delighted in the freedom they had to barter and buy alcohol as they were over the drinking age in Mexico. We took the Salsa, Salsa, Salsa "class" which was a hoot. We were beach side, with a great view of the Caribbean, ocean breezes blowing in our little covered balcony while we learned to make margaritas, salsas, and salsa dance. Great fun. Georgetown, Grand Cayman: We took a drive it ourselves, jeep tour around Georgetown. We got to explore the area, visit a preserve and dip our toes in the pristine beach, visit the Rum Cake Factory and even go to Hell, ending up on the beach for an hour or so. It was fun to drive on the wrong side of the road (for us Americans) and our guides were great guys from Jamaica. Highly recommended. Falmouth, Jamaica: We did the river tubing and beach excursion. It claims to be more strenuous than it really is. You walk a little ways while carrying your tube, but you're fitted with a helmet and life vest (the helmet was completely unnecessary) and the floating is very serene with a few "rapids", then you take a powered raft to a beach which was beautiful, perfect sands and water and very uncrowded. It even had a stand for beer and jerk chicken, which was delicious. All in all this was a great experience. It was great to leave from New Orleans because we'd never been there, either, so we toured Bourbon Street before left. I'm considering doing it again, taking my husband this time.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was a very relaxing cruise for us. Took a taxi to port at 10:30am and spent over 1/2 hr. stalled in traffic waiting in the terminal to be dropped off. Not fun. They could work on that. Once inside, it went fast, as we are Gold ... Read More
This was a very relaxing cruise for us. Took a taxi to port at 10:30am and spent over 1/2 hr. stalled in traffic waiting in the terminal to be dropped off. Not fun. They could work on that. Once inside, it went fast, as we are Gold members. No champagne welcome that we have been used to. It was cold so we just went to eat and get aquainted with the ship layout. Our luggage didn't get to our room until after 4, which is much longer than any of our other cruises. Our balcony room was very nice. LOVED LOVED LOVED the quality bedding! Like the rounded shower door as opposed to a shower curtain. Very clean room. Plenty of storage. Asked our room steward to have 4 towels each day and a bucket of ice. TV was old, and they were still showing a film telling about the largest ship, Freedom of the Seas, which is OLD (2006) news! Definitely not the largest ship now! The ship looked very good, and was sparkling, except for the carpet in the hallways. We had my time dining and ate at Chops the first night. Delicious! I had the filet mignon and it was amazing! The other nights, we were usually seated between 6 and 7. We carried on 2 bottles of wine and a corkscrew, so we took glasses of wine from our room to dinner. You can't take the bottle without paying extra. The food in the dining room was very good. We usually had 2 appetizers (soup, salad), entree and dessert. Very satisfied with it all. The lobster night (second formal night) was the largest we've ever had on a cruise! A treat! About the formal nights...most didn't really dress formal. You won't feel out of place if you like do formal, because there were some who did, but mostly it was just dressy, cocktail wear. Not all the men wore jackets. Ate breakfast, lunch and one dinner in the Windjammer. A little hard to find seating, but the food was always good. They have iced tea, lemonade and water, so we didn't buy the soda package. Desserts in the Windjammer were more "European" as in not real sweet. Made use of the ice cream machine often! Ate at Johnny Rockets once and most nights had a piece of pizza at the snack place on the promenade. DH appreciated that they always had a pitcher of milk out to go with the cookies! A plus to the Windjammer is the fella who welcomes you and "makes" you do the hand sanitizer! I didn't get his name but he was full of life! :D Don't miss the ice skating show! Very good! Went to a couple other shows...normal ship shows. Did a ballroom dance class, which was fun! Used the gym most days. Tip: we only take the elevators the first and last day with our luggage and always take the stairs the rest of the trip...a pretty good workout! We had lots of children on this cruise, which we think was due to vacation over Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They were all well behaved. Was actually fun to see many of them dressed up and eating dinner in the dining room! Enjoyed the 70s party in the promenade, as well as the Mardi Gras parade. Other times it is just fun to sit there and watch people! It's fun to shop the cheap stuff as well as the expensive. DH bought me a beautiful ring (from the expensive shop :)! Enjoyed browsing all the different stores. We thought the staff was very friendly and helpful. There were lots of hand santitzer stations that I saw many people use. No sickness on this ship as far as I know. Don't really know what we would add to make the ship or the cruise better. Just a very relaxing time and thoroughly enjoyable! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Ship: Navigator of the Seas..Date: Feb 9th 2013. Port: New Orleans. This was our first cruise out of the Port of New Orleans. Normally we go out of Port Canaveral, but because we live closer to New Orleans we decided to try it. My wife ... Read More
Ship: Navigator of the Seas..Date: Feb 9th 2013. Port: New Orleans. This was our first cruise out of the Port of New Orleans. Normally we go out of Port Canaveral, but because we live closer to New Orleans we decided to try it. My wife had sailed on Navigator before, but I had not. We have only sailed on Royal Caribbean, because we have always had excellent results..in other words, "if it isn't broke don't fix it..". Once again Royal Caribbean lived up to our expectations. Port: Because Mardi Gras was still happening in New Orleans, the directions given to us for Port Parking were slightly incorrect. I felt this was not Royal Caribbean's fault but the city of New Orleans for not giving the last minute changes to Royal Caribbean. For normal departure dates..directions are right on. The New Orleans port is more congested than say Port Canaveral but even then I felt the process went relatively smoothly. I recommend you arrive to board around 10 am..Later you might have some waits..Overall good job.. Condition of the Ship: The Ship was in excellent condition and I never saw any trash etc laying around. All areas very clean and I saw no areas needing repair. Room: We always book a promenade room, and we did here. We knew what to expect from our two sailings on Freedom of the Seas and our rooms were exactly what we had on Freedom. Very clean and nothing need of repair. Bathroom was excellent and we had no issues..Size of our room was exactly what we had on Freedom. Ships Personnel: Excellent and very Friendly. Many times I always had a crew member say good morning or hi before I could. I could tell they enjoyed their work. Dining: Navigator had just changed their menus a few days prior to our sailing and I must admit..I really enjoyed the selections. We ate all our evening meals in the main dining room and always did lunch in one of the dining rooms rather than the Windjammer. All our meals were excellent.. We had no complaints about the food on Navigator. We also experienced Johnny Rockets and once again the crew members serving this area were fun and enjoyable. (one observation: My wife sensed that the dining room personnel were rather new and were "learning the ropes", however, not to the point that our service was ever compromised. Excellent Service..and Food...Portions were more than abundant..We ate one meal in the Windjammer and found it to be good. My wife prefers to not do the "buffet thing".. Drinks: Excellent and felt prices comparable to what you would find in any bar in the U.S. Gratuity always included in the price of your drink. Beer selections were excellent. For those of you who enjoy wine..I would recommend you buy one of the wine selections and once you purchase..go ahead and reserve your bottles. If you wait to choose your bottle at every meal you may run the risk of that selection being sold out..We saw this with our dining companions. Entertainment: Outstanding: If you have never seen Kenny James then you must. This gentleman put on a show that was unbelievable. All other shows excellent and enjoyable. 70's night on the Promenade was fun and rousing.. Shore Excursions: Ports of Call: Falmouth Jamaica..Gran Caymans and Cozumel. Falmouth is a rather new port and we only did a bus tour to Montego Bay.. Gran Caymans..Loved walking around and shopping.. Enjoyed the atmosphere of Georgetown..Margaritaville in the Cayman's was fun.. Cozumel: Had fun within the port area and for those who want to party..Senor Frog right their within the port area.. Just look for the water tower with the XX on it.. The Cruise lines have done a wonderful job of developing an excellent, and clean environment at their immediate port areas at both Falmouth and Cozumel.. Shopping within these areas was excellent and you can bargain. I would not recommend walking on your own outside of the immediate port shopping area at Falmouth. Cozumel and Caymans OK do so.. Overall: Outstanding Cruise and Ship. Once again Royal Caribbean did not disappoint and we will be back.. Our next ship: Oasis or Allure.. We have sailed on Royal Caribbean 8 times and have never been disappointed. We have sailed on Monarch..Freedom..and Navigator..We look forward to the Oasis or Allure..For those of you concerned about the sailing down the Mississippi..it was fun.. When you awake after your first night you will be in the Gulf of Mexico. It was fun on the return to go to the bow of the ship at night as we entered the Mississippi.. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We have sailed with Royal Caribbean previously and it's always a very enjoyable trip. Their service is always phenomenal! Our room steward, waiter and assisant waiter were attentive and added so many personal touches. They made it so ... Read More
We have sailed with Royal Caribbean previously and it's always a very enjoyable trip. Their service is always phenomenal! Our room steward, waiter and assisant waiter were attentive and added so many personal touches. They made it so enjoyable for our daughter and were so sweet to her. We loved them! We sailed last year on The Liberty of the Seas. The Navigator is a bit smaller but is set up very similarly so it was very easy to find our way around. The Liberty has a bit more to do and sometimes we felt overwhelmed and like we had to fit it all in. So the Navigator was nice if you are really low-key and like to just relax at the pool on sea days. We had the later dinner seating and on a few nights we had to go to the show before dinner. Would have preferred to go after dinner as there wasn't much to do after dinner for families. We also weren't really able to use Ocean Adventure club for our daughter because by the time dinner was over we usually just decided to go to bed. Plus it was into the time frame for which you had to pay for the childcare - we couldn't get her there in time after dinner for the regular hours. We felt like the entertainment was just average. The production shows were well-performed but were "old school" cruise ship shows. All of the headliners were pretty good. The ice show was outstanding. Wished there were more family friendly evening activites. Last year on the Liberty we did family karoake. Navigator only had adult karoake. Also,my daughter was so excited to attend the White Party again this year and the Navigator version was not family friendly. There was no food (Liberty had fruit carvings, ice cream, etc.). The beginning of the party had line dancing but by the end of the night there was Tom Cruise "Cocktail" style bottle tossing show by some of the bartenders. It was entertaining for the adults but unfortunately, wasn't family friendly. I ended up taking my daughter and heading back to our cabin. She was disappointed. But all in all we had a wonderful trip. Royal Caribbean definitely has the service thing down. All employees are so well trained in customer service and really "roll out the red carpet" for their passengers. Also,our cabin was very clean and comfortable and we thought the ship was beautiful. We loved our 7 days and we weren't ready to go home! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was our fourth cruise, and first with Royal Caribbean. Getting on board was a quick and easy process. From the moment we parked our car to the moment our keys were unlocking our cabin door took less than an hour. Our cabins were in ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise, and first with Royal Caribbean. Getting on board was a quick and easy process. From the moment we parked our car to the moment our keys were unlocking our cabin door took less than an hour. Our cabins were in level 6, an inside cabin and a cabin with. Window. Both were immaculately clean, with comfortable beds and nice furnishings. Both bathrooms were small, of course. I appreciated the bathroom shelving and good water pressure. Our cabins had 8 drawers and a closet with 7 shelves and room for hanging clothes. The vanity desk in each cabin had vanity lights, 2 electrical outlets, and a good hair dryer. There is also an outlet in the bathroom. The televisions were older models, but decent quality. The temperature, bedding, and everything else I can think of were good quality and comfortable. The service on board was flawless. Every team member we dealt with was smiling, and quick to help. Our room steward, the mechanic who fixed our safe, the service desk, shop keepers, wait staff in all of the eateries, plus any staff member we randomly came across were smiling and pleasant without fail. The batteries in our tv remote died, and our steward had them replaced in a few minutes. Our towel animals were a big treat, especially the kissing swans that formed a heart and included a Valentine from the Housekeeping staff. The food was phenomenal. The Promenade, just a quick walk down one flight of steps from our cabin, was open 24/7, with pizza, pastries, and sandwiches. A nice variety of teas, coffee, and hot chocolate mix are available self serve. Our first meal was at the Windjammer buffet. They offered a good variety of soups, salads, entrees, sides, and desserts. We ate at the Windjammer and adjoining Jade Asian buffet about fifteen times, and we enjoyed new dishes every day. The Indian food was especially nice. There was a chick pea stew and Basmati rice dish that was divine. The list of excellent foods would be too long, so I will only provide our top 5: baked macaroni and cheese, blackened salmon, key lime pie, all of the curries, and honey stung fried chicken, with an honorable mention to the extensive and fresh salad bar, pasta bar, and taco bar. And the chicken ala king was so good we have to mention that as well. We also made use of the three soft serve ice cream stations on board, all on level 11. We always found a good seat, usually by the window. We enjoyed fine dining at 8:30 each evening. The service and presentation were superb. The food was 90% excellent & 10% fair. When our waiters noticed a dish we did not eat, they always offered to bring something in its place. The Grand Mariner vanilla souffle was the best dessert our sons have ever tasted. The fitness facility was very nice, well appointed, and easy to use. I had access to the yoga mats and an exercise ball in the empty aerobics studio a few times, and used the machines as well. The hydro therapy hot tub was huge, beautiful, and inviting, but I skipped it. Did not take a class, though several were offered. We used the walking track on deck 12 most of all. We spent time in the chapel on level 14, lovely and sunlit. Banked with white flowers, it looks made for intimate weddings. Nice that it is open to all who wish to use it, and an un-lead chapel service was advertised for Friday night at 5:30. The rock climbing walk, putt-putt golf, inline skating, ice skating, board games,basketball court, volleyball, dodgeball, and much more looked fun and inviting. Between the four of us we played basketball, board games, and spent time at the pool and the hot tubs,which were always clean and never crowded. We saw a few shows. Two of us saw the welcome variety show, which was okay. The ice show is a must see. Kenny James was absolutely outstanding in every way, the hi light of our cruise! The last show, a comedian and balancing act were good. The disco party on the Promenade was really fun. Ports of call: Jamaica has a city tour by tram we thoroughly enjoyed. It was $20 per person,and purchased off the ship in the nice shop area within the gate. We purchased a tour I. Our own for $30 pp in the Caymans. It was an air conditioned mini bus with a guide that took us to "Hell," the turtle exhibit, and 5 other places. Also bought off ship. We saw Cozumel on our own. A taxi took all if us downtown for $8. We have toured the ruins and snorkeled and such on previous trips, but really enjoyed playing it by ear this time. Getting on and off the ship, even the tender to and from Grand Cayman, was pretty seamless. A few things I appreciated: We were never forced to have photos made. Our fellow cruisers seemed to be nice people. I only saw two tween girls who were loud. The ship was decorated beautifully. I must admit, we were treated "Royally." During our last dinner, our dons asked if we could take the same cruise next year. Best vacation ever:). Disembarkation: We always self assist. We walked out of our cabin at 7:33am, and reached our car at 8:00am. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was my 2nd cruise, and the second with RC so I don't have any other line to compare it to. it was a family holiday, adult children with aged parents. It suited us well. Navigator is a beautiful ship with wonderful decor and ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise, and the second with RC so I don't have any other line to compare it to. it was a family holiday, adult children with aged parents. It suited us well. Navigator is a beautiful ship with wonderful decor and attention to detail. My cabin was spotless and well maintained. Housekeeping was superb. The public rooms are gorgeous. We forgot it was spring break when we booked, so we were surprised to see many kids. However they were well behaved and it was OK. There were a lot of activities but due to our booking time they were totally dominated by kids, so although i wanted to play table tennis and minigolf with my old dad it just was not possible. This was our fault, live and learn. On the one lousy weather day we went to the cinema - the projector needed refocusing! The best thing about the RC ships is the Service. The crew are really great. Smart, personable, attentive, know their job, friendly but not 'servile' it is the service that makes the ship special and I hope RC know that! We did Chukka Beach and the San Gervasio Ruins + beach break excursions. Both excellent value for money. Georgetown was cancelled due to weather. Dining was good: the food was better than I had had on the Voyager in 2009. The dining room lamb shank stands out in particular; the prime rib too. Lovely fresh breads too. Wonderful service. Portions not too big. We had the later sitting which was good - fewer people and more relaxed. The Windjammer was like all buffets - way too much choice and the temptation to pig out. Some folks were doing serious pyramid-ing. But the quality was very good and the provision of low fat and low sugar foods was great. The oatmeal and low fat granola was just amazing! Also impressed by the crisp salads and yes, the fries! We did not try any specialty restaurants since the dining room was very good we did not feel we missed anything. The Promenade snack bar was excellent - I ate lunch there once; had a lovely fresh grilled veg sandwich. The coffee was weak but then I like my coffee strong, French style. There is a starbucks but I don't like starbucks so I just grinned and bore it. Good lemonade. We did not go to any theatre or ice shows, but did visit Bolero's almost every night for the Latin Jazz, and also to the Ixtapa Lounge a few times and to the 14th floor bar. All were excellent. Bolero's was the high point of the cruise, just great cocktails and music. Used the gym twice, great. Although I didn't really want to; I just felt guilty at having too much fun. Had a spa treatment. Very well done though a bit abrupt. I will do RC and this class of ship again, just not in spring break. Embarkation/Disembarkation: New Orleans could make their port a bit more efficient and pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Background Info: We are a family of 4 - we are 40ish and our 2 girls are 9 & 10 years old. This was the 10th cruise (7th with RCI)for my husband and I and 4th & 5th for the kids. We are from Alberta, Canada and usually take a ... Read More
Background Info: We are a family of 4 - we are 40ish and our 2 girls are 9 & 10 years old. This was the 10th cruise (7th with RCI)for my husband and I and 4th & 5th for the kids. We are from Alberta, Canada and usually take a vacation every winter to escape. Travel to Port: We flew on US Air on January 31, 2013. Our luggage did not make it until the next afternoon which cut into our time we had allotted for sight seeing on Friday, February 1st. Since it was Superbowl weekend we did not get to see much of New Orleans due to our shorten time and crowds. We stayed in Baton Rouge due to the hotel room shortage in New Orleans hosting Superbowl. We dropped off our rental car at New Orleans airport Saturday morning and took a taxi to the pier. Cab ride was just under $60 for 4 people and took about 40 minutes to get there. Hotel: We stayed at Homewood Suites in Baton Rouge. It was just ok but had a wonderful hot breakfast. Embarkation: It was a bit confusing when we first arrived as it was still early, about 10:30am. RCI had recommended getting to the pier early due to the Superbowl traffic. There were still people disembarking and we were in a line to embark right next to the disembark line and both running in the same direction. But it moved quickly and we were checked in within 10 minutes of arriving and on the ship by 11:30am. Stateroom: We had an aft corner balcony cabin (#1388). The cabin is much larger than regular D1 categories due to the odd shape and the balcony is very large as well. There is some structure obstructing the view but you don't notice it really. This balcony also has areas that are in the shade and sun and very little wind. The cabin has a sofa bed but no pull-mans. The balcony has 2 lounge chaise, to chairs and a small side table and still lots of room to walk around. Ship: The ship is very nice but is starting to show some wear - nothing major, just some cosmetic things like some tiles missing around the pool area, scratches and dings on the corridor walls, our balcony flooring was pretty dinged up, etc. She is still a beautiful ship and she is scheduled for dry dock in February 2014 so she will be sparkling new again. There is also a casino and various lounges. Dining: The ship has 3 places to eat that's included in your cruise fare - the main dining room, the windjammer buffet and the Cafe Promenade. The food in the main dining room was very good with lots of selections for special diets such as vegetarian and gluten-free. The service in the main dining room was fabulous. The Windjammer food was average - you could get pizza, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches/wraps and salad every lunchtime and the rest of the buffet was a mixture that changed daily. The windjammer also has a Jade restaurant that offers Asia/Indian food that changes daily and sushi for supper. The Cafe Promenade offer sandwiches, pizza, cookies, deserts (the brownies are delicious here)and coffee & tea and is open 24 hours a day. Room service is also available 24 hours but there is a service charge of $3.93 from midnight to 5 am. The only pay pay restaurant we ate at was Johnny Rockets which was a $4.95 fee per person. It was good. Activities: The ship has an ice rink, rock wall, in-line skating track, mini-golf, full size basketball court, table tennis, outside running/walking track, a fitness center, 3 pools (1 adult only) and, I think, 6 Jacuzzis. There is a Royal Promenade on deck 5 that runs through the middle of the ship (looks like walking through a mall) and it contains cafes, bars and shops. There is also a fairly large casino and many lounges and bars. Entertainment: There are shows every night from Production shows to comedians. The promenade is the venue for various things such as 70s, Welcome aboard party and a Circus parade one night. You will also find live music here during the evenings. There is also an ice skating show that is not to be missed! Children's club: RCI has Adventure Ocean that is a free service. On sea days there are open from 9am to noon and again from 2pm to 10pm. On port days it is open a 1/2 hour before the start of the first shore excursion and closes a 1/2 hour after the end of the last shore excursion. The kids can stay at AO when you leave the ship for a tour and the AO staff will even take them for lunch. There is also an after hours service from 10pm to 1am that cost $6 per hour per child. The AO program is fantastic and our kids want to spend most of their time there. Service: The service staff were excellent. Everyone was very friendly and very willing to help. Port & Shore Excursions: We booked a catamaran snorkel tour through RCI in Cozumel and it was a great experience. ON Grand Cayman we took a taxi to Seven Mile Beach and rented lounge chairs and an umbrella. The beach was beautiful and the water very warm. In Jamaica we just did some shopping inside the secure area as we've been to Jamaica before and did not want to expose the kids to the people trying to sell you "stuff". If we didn't have the kids we probably would have ventured outside or taken a tour of some sort. Disembarkation: This was easy and organized except for the line for customs. We got our bags in no time and walked up to the exit before realizing that the line went all the way back to where er got our bags and then some. Once we got through customs we walked out, flagged and cab and was off to the airport. The drive to the airport only took 20 minutes and we were there by 9:15am. Summary: This was a very nice cruise and I would do it again. The Navigator is a great ship - not too big, not too small. The staff was awesome! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We started our trip in New Orleans. We spent a couple nights at the Hilton Riverside which is next to the port. LOVE that Hilton, and of course, love New orleans. We had a wonderful meal at Brennans. Pricy, but something you should do at ... Read More
We started our trip in New Orleans. We spent a couple nights at the Hilton Riverside which is next to the port. LOVE that Hilton, and of course, love New orleans. We had a wonderful meal at Brennans. Pricy, but something you should do at least once in your life! We did a tour of the city from the Grayline station which is just down the trolly track from the Hilton. You should buy a daily trolly pass for $3 which allows you to ride all day. You can get it from your trolly driver. Here's a tip to save a little on transport to the port. You could actually walk down there by taking the Hilton passageway to the Riverside shopping mall. It's a long walk, though and there are stairs. The port is just past the food court. My son and I walked down there the morning of the cruise and got a great look at the ship from the food court. A taxi driver will charge about $6 or $7 per person, so if you have 3 or 4 in your party, get one person to taxi the luggage to the pier and everyone else walk thru the mall or take the trolly. I like taking the trolly down just to go to the food court. The trolly is just outside the front door of the Hilton. Our taxi driver was visibly disappointed that we were only going to the port (about 1/4 mile), and we were surprised he charged EACH of us. The day of the cruise, after we walked down to the port, we HAD to go to the French Market (also a trolly stop) for more beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde and a little shopping, so we didn't board as early as we could and should have. I think we went down about 1:30-2 pm. Crowded doesn't begin to describe the situation. My knees were killing me by the time we got onboard. The earlier walk to the port and around the French Market didn't help either. Go early! Some of the passengers of the Carnival Triumph that had been stranded for several days were bussed from Mobile to New Orleans, and they were staying at the Hilton. We met several of them and learned that the situation wasn't as bad as the news reports. They said there was plenty of food, and the staff was bending over backwards to be helpful. Other cruisers were taking meat off sandwiches on the line and putting it on theirs, which is why some people had no meat. I will sail Carnival again. I have been on the Triumph before and loved it. But about the Navigator - loved it! Our cabin was much larger that either Norwegian or Carnival balconies. We ordered a case of water, and it was in the room as well as free distilled water for a CPAP machine. For some reason, the carpet was wet in our room, and they had a high-powered fan drying it when we got there. We had to endure the fan for 24 hours, but they gave us a coupon for a future cruise. Probably won't get a chance to use it - it expires in a year, but it was nice of them to offer. Loved the promenade. Loved the shows. Loved the food. Loved the spa. Loved the ports. We wanted to go to Johnny Rockets, but never got the chance - too busy. We asked our travel agent to put us at a large table for dinner, but they put us at a table for 4. My son's wife couldn't go, so her empty chair was a sad reminder. A couple nights my son didn't go with us to dinner, so it was just the two of us. Hindsight, we'd have asked for a different table after the first night, but we didn't. My knees were suffering, and I didn't want to walk to the customer service desk. I was surprised to see so many tables for 4 or even for 2. Maybe newlyweds want those, but in our 60's we look forward to eating with several people - more fun. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My wife and I live in the Chicago area, and last summer we started planning a winter escape for January 2013. We were mainly interested in Caribbean itineraries, but didn't care which port we cruised from. A search on the RC website ... Read More
My wife and I live in the Chicago area, and last summer we started planning a winter escape for January 2013. We were mainly interested in Caribbean itineraries, but didn't care which port we cruised from. A search on the RC website showed some very attractive pricing on the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans. These 7-night cruises included Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. The order in which the ports are visited varies from sailing to sailing. We selected an itinerary that started with two sea days, allowing us time to decompress and switch into cruise mode. To keep the costs low (and just to try something different), we decided to ride the Amtrak train from Chicago to New Orleans. We have been on Amtrak several times before, but never on an overnight train. This would be a new experience. If you purchase either a roomette or a bedroom on Amtrak, the fare includes meals in the dining car. The combination of an overnight train ride plus a night in New Orleans plus a 7-night cruise and finally another overnight train ride back resulted in a 10-night vacation with all but two meals included in the cost. Our train rolled out of Chicago's Union Station at 8:00 PM on Thursday Jan 10. We were in a roomette in a sleeper car. A "roomette" is a rather generous name for something that can described as two chairs (which can be converted into beds) and a sliding door. At least we were cozy and had privacy. We arrived shaken (but not deterred) in New Orleans at 3:00 on Friday afternoon, which was 30 minutes ahead of schedule. A nice thing about train travel is that the stations are usually located right in the downtown areas of their respective cities. Therefore, it was an inexpensive taxi fare to go the one mile to our hotel. We stayed at the SpringHill Suites at 301 St. Joseph Street. Breakfast was included in the room rate. The hotel was clean and well maintained, and we had no complaints with the quality of service. This hotel does not have free shuttle service, so took we a cab to the French Quarter for dinner. New Orleans is an amazing city for visitors. We had dinner at The Gumbo Shop, a very touristy restaurant, but the food was good and reasonably priced. Afterwards we walked around the French Quarter. There were several street performers out and about. I had a Hurricane at Pat O'Briens and we enjoyed the dueling pianos. My wife was both amused and appalled by all the bizarre souvenirs for sale in the shops. We sampled only a fraction of what New Orleans had to offer, but we managed to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. We were back at the hotel before things got too wild. The weather forecast was predicting heavy fog for the next morning, and I went to bed worried that our ship would be delayed. I woke up around 6:00 AM to the sound of a deep ship's horn in the distance. I looked out the window, and it was indeed foggy. I heard the horn again. I couldn't be sure that it was the Navigator of the Seas, but I had a feeling it was. From that point on, I knew it was going to be good day. We were in front of the hotel and loading ourselves into a cab at 10:30 AM. The fog had burned off, and it was sunny and around 70 degrees. The ride was short, and we were at the port at 10:37. The drop off area has a nice view of the ship. We breezed through security and check-in with no lines at all. We were on board at 10:58. The security person said there were a lot of people lined up at 9:30, but they were all processed by the time we arrived. The Windjammer did not open until 11:30, so we walked the Promenade and had a quick snack at Cafe P. Some members of the Navigator of the Seas orchestra were just starting to play their Welcome Aboard set when we arrived. By 11:40 we were comfortably settled into the seats of a window table in the Windjammer. For the next hour, we ate and chatted and looked forward to our cruise. The ship was parallel parked on the side of the Mississippi River, right behind a smaller Carnival ship. In front of the Carnival ship was a large double bridge carrying a highway over the river. With the skyline, the river, and the bridge, interesting views were to be had from anywhere on the ship. This was our first time sailing out of New Orleans. Many people are unaware that New Orleans is not actually on the ocean. It is about 60 miles upriver from the mouth of the Mississippi, which means that a ship spends eight to nine hours cruising the river before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. During this time, New Orleans sales tax (9%) is added onto all purchases (including drink purchases) and the onboard shops are closed. The Cruise Compass refers to this tax as a "VAT" (value added tax), but that is just a fancy international term of a sales tax. Once we were in the Gulf, no more sales tax, or VAT, or whatever you want to call it. Note that the casino was open for business the first night. We were in an outside cabin (category F) on Deck 6. This cabin faces forward, toward the bow, with a view of the helipad. The head of the bed is against a side wall, leaving enough space beyond the bed to look out the window. It was something new for us to look out the window and see where the ship was going. I preferred this view to the side facing cabins we stayed in on previous cruises. A sign near the window explained that we had to close the curtains at night in order keep the bow dark so the bridge officers could steer the ship. I really liked this room. The walk to the elevators was not too long, and the forward elevators seemed less crowded than the aft ones. Being on Deck 6, it was only one flight of stairs down to the Promenade. On Navigator, the cafe is at the forward end the Promenade, which was very convenient. The room was quiet, and there were no issues with the plumbing or the ventilation. Our cabin attendant was competent, efficient, and cheerful. On the first day, we watched sail away with some friends who were staying in a junior suite. It was wonderful to relax on their balcony and watch as the ship left port. First it pulls away from the dock, then it has to turn completely around before starting down river. After the turn, we had a dazzling view of downtown New Orleans at sunset. At last we were cruising the Mississippi, river of legend, the Father of Waters. We sailed along, unvexed, to the sea. We had all of our dinners in the main dining room, early seating. We were at a table for four on Deck 3, actually not too far from the Captain's table. The food was good to excellent every night, and the service from our waiter and assistant waiter was superb. We had the same bar service person all seven evenings, and I was impressed with her performance. When we arrived, she was there to take our orders, and our drinks came out within minutes. When our drinks were running low, she promptly appeared to ask if we wanted more. This was a big improvement over our previous cruise, where the MDR bar service left much to be desired. Another nice thing about our dinners (at least in our section) was that the head waiter came over to chat with us every evening, and sometimes multiple times the same evening. I have been on cruises where I never even met the head waiter until the last night. Overall, I have the highest praise for our dinners on Navigator. Note that the formal nights were Day 2 and Day 6. All of our breakfasts were in the WJ. Lunch was in the WJ on port days and the MDR on sea days. I made good use of the custom salad bar in the MDR every day it was open. It had a great selection of ingredients and toppings, and getting a salad properly tossed with the dressing is a always a treat. Overall breakfast and lunch in the WJ were fine: plenty of items, a few things not that warm, but most of them okay. While most WJ selections are the same from day to day, some things do change so it pays to check carefully. One day (and one day only) I noticed Cajun pulled pork in the burger line, so I took some buns and made a couple of tasty sandwiches. By the way, each day in the Windjammer we were greeted by the most energetic and fun character on the ship. He made up songs and dances on the spot to urge people to sanitize their hands before entering. He brightened our day whenever we saw him. My wife and I made a habit of going to the WJ at 4:00 for afternoon snacks. In addition to sandwiches, they had plenty of cakes and dessert treats, and they always had one or two types of scones. It made for a nice afternoon break. I used the wireless internet every day. It was not available in the rooms, at least not in ours. The strongest signal was in Cafe P in the Promenade. One of the handouts mentioned that it should be available in the Cosmopolitan Club (AKA the Viking Crown Lounge), but I found the signal to be marginal up there. Overall, the internet speed was slow and the price high. I found it best to work offline and keep connection time as brief as possible. As for entertainment, on the first night, there was only one show in the main theater. This was at 7:45 PM. We were a bit late getting there, but found some decent seats on the side of the balcony. This was billed as the "Welcome Aboard Variety Show." It featured the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers, the Navigator of the Seas orchestra, the ballroom dancing couple of Olga and Dmitry, and the comedy of Jim McDonald. It was a nice show with a little of everything, but the dancing of Olga and Dmitry was a highlight. They are a talented couple, and they appeared in another show later in the week. They also gave ballroom dancing lessons during the cruise. On most nights, there were usually two main shows in the theater, and all of the shows were well done. Overall, the quality of the shows was above what I have seen on previous cruises. I would like to single out the Gemini Duo, who are two twin sisters who play piano and violin. They sometimes appeared in the main dining room during dinner (where it was difficult to hear them) and at other times in Bolero's. They played mostly classical music, but it was usually the livelier and better known pieces, essentially the classical top forty. At times during their set they asked for requests. Of course, listening to them in Bolero's has its drawbacks, as they had to play over some very loud conversation and the sound of the crushed iced machine. Still, they were a pleasant discovery on this cruise. We caught as many of their sets as we could. Patrice Doucet (the "Piano Man") in the Schooner Bar was good, too. He did a bit too much Neil Diamond for my taste, but he seemed to draw a fine crowd most nights. The Two Poets Pub was way too smoky for me, but as I walked by I could hear Scott Perham in there. He is a one-man bar band whose bread and butter is the Margaritaville type of ballad. I never made it to the Dungeon, nor did I get to hear the Latin flavored Tumbao Trio. The poolside band was Caribbean Force, and they did a decent job. Overall, the musical entertainment and choices were very excellent. Day 3 was the 70's disco party in the Promenade. It starts with live versions of songs by a couple of the RC singers. Then it shifts to recorded music and lip-syncing, with the heavy lifting being done by a group of faux Village People, who were amazingly energetic. Of course, the ice show was amazing, as expected. Tickets were distributed at 9:30 AM on Day 2. Our Cruise Director was John Perry, who did an acceptable job, but he didn't really stand out in any way. I was drinking mostly beers on this trip. I recall enjoying Newcastle, Corona, Becks, Red Stripe, Boddington's, Spaten, and a few others. I would advise people to keep an eye out for the beer cart. I first noticed the beer cart in front of the WJ buffet on Day 1. I also saw it several times in the lobby of the main theater before a show. It is essentially a cart with a nice selection of bottled beers, all of them priced at $3.50. After including the automatic 15% tip, that works out to $4.03 a beer, which is a great deal for a cruise ship. At the bars, the prices were higher. Our fellow passengers on this trip seemed friendly and well-mannered. I think the percentage of European passengers is less when cruising out of New Orleans than from the Florida ports. The south central states were well represented, and there were plenty of LSU T-shirts and caps to be seen. We also recognized a few passengers who were on our train from Chicago. We did not do any of the port excursions, although we walked around in each port. The ship turned its clocks back one hour to match local time in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. I was impressed with the size of the shopping compound in Falmouth, and I was glad that it included a covered area where local craftspeople can sell their wares. My wife and I purchased some inexpensive carvings directly from the artisans who made them. Grand Cayman is the only port in which we had to tender. It was a short tender, perhaps only five minutes. I was surprised at how expensive it is to get a drink in Grand Cayman. We stopped at a restaurant called Breezes, and our two Red Stripe beers (plus tip) cost us $17. Wow! Of course, there were seven cruise ships in port that day, totaling around 20,000 passengers. I hope the prices go down when the ships leave. The real bargain of Grand Cayman is the Post Office (Cardinal Ave. and Main Street), which is only a few blocks from the tender drop off point. Most of the souvenir stores wanted $1.25 to $2.50 for one post card. The Post Office was selling nice looking cards at much lower prices. I purchased six cards, plus postage to the US, for a total of $3.80, and they accepted US dollars. I wrote the cards in the restaurant and mailed them at the Post Office. I can confirm that all of them were received, with an average delivery time of eight days. I made it to the fitness center every morning for a good workout. The fitness center is on Deck 11, facing forward, with large windows that provided fantastic views ocean. I used mostly the treadmills and the cycling machines, and I never had to wait for a machine. My only criticism of the fitness center is that it includes a large whirlpool hot tub. That in itself is not a bad thing, but the tub is in the same room as the workout equipment. It raised the humidity level so that cardio workouts became much more challenging than usual. My wife enjoyed the line dancing activities. Most of these were poolside, except one day when the weather was bad. They included a lot of fun Latin dance moves, and they even included a Gangnam Style dance. There was also line dancing at the White Night poolside party, which occurred late in the evening on Day 5. It was a great deal of fun. The Navigator of the Seas is in great shape. If I looked closely, I could see a little wear and tear. For example, on one of the elevators, the button for Deck 11 was well worn. Our room had an older style TV, but our friends in the junior suite had a nice flat screen model. The quality of service was excellent (as expected), and all of the staff I interacted with were friendly and helpful. For disembarkation we ignored the announcements and just hung out in Cafe P and the Champagne Bar until 9:40 AM, when it was clear that they wanted everyone off the ship. We walked off, got our luggage, went through customs, and were in the cab line in less than 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the cab line moved slowly, and we waited in that line for about half an hour. By 10:35 we were at the Amtrak station, where we checked our bags. Then we took another cab to Harrah's to gamble and to get some lunch, as the only dining option at the station was a Subway sandwich counter. We got back in time to board our train, which left at 1:45 PM. We were back in Chicago (a very cold Chicago) at 9:00 AM on Sunday morning. We enjoyed just about everything on this trip. New Orleans is great city to cruise from, and the Navigator is a wonderful ship to sail on. Best wishes to whoever sails on her next. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids age 12 and 14) had a great experience on the RC Navigator! Our only real cruise experience before this was on Disney. It really depends on the ages of your kids, but for mine, I would pick Royal Caribbean ... Read More
Our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids age 12 and 14) had a great experience on the RC Navigator! Our only real cruise experience before this was on Disney. It really depends on the ages of your kids, but for mine, I would pick Royal Caribbean over Disney big time. Our check in was very easy-we basically just walked on board! We did take a few 12 packs of soda and a case of water in our bags, and they made it on board no problem! Our rooms were great-kids had an inside cabin, my husband and I had a balcony room. We actually didn't even see our kids much on our days at sea because they were so busy with all the activities in the teen room. The 12-17 activities were very well organized-the kids even had their own activities planner/director and she was GREAT!! My kids rate this cruise 5+++. They enjoyed Disney, but this was a whole different ballgame, and it was GREAT. My husband and I enjoyed ourselves very much. We loved our late dinner seating, we LOVED the Quest, the Casino, the bars, and the pool. We actually went to bed pretty much after dinner most nights because we hit it so hard during the day-especially on the port days! Our dining room experience was great-we had a 4 top table and would have enjoyed having others at our table-especially since our kids ditched us most nights to hang with their friends. We did end up meeting friends and sitting with them! We literally talked all the way home (10 hour drive) about our cruise and really couldn't come up with too many things we would change! It was that good! Here are the only small complaints we came up with: Hard beds, crowded elevators, and The Windjammer was a bit of a nightmare...decent food, but mob quality crowds, lines (especially for breakfast), no place to sit, and the same food for breakfast and lunch every day. We avoided it by eating in the dining room, or fighting the crowds to fill a couple plates, and enjoying our breakfast in our room off our balcony. We ordered room service once-but selections are very limited so a quick run thru the Jammer, and back to the room was best! Same thing for lunch-fill a plate, head to the pool!!! In the beginning of the cruise, I had a fabulous salad every day for lunch. Later in the cruise, I would get a huge plate of fry's, cover it with cheese, bacon, and ranch dressing, HA! I hated how crowded the elevators were but being forced to take stairs was good for me. Bottom line, we loved our RC vacation, and can't wait to do it again next year!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I was on the RC Navigator Jan. 5-12, 2013. It was fantastic! I had so much fun. I went to Sea Grape Beach in Grand Cayman, which is the most beautiful swimming beach I've ever been to. I stayed in the water for hours, and enjoyed my ... Read More
I was on the RC Navigator Jan. 5-12, 2013. It was fantastic! I had so much fun. I went to Sea Grape Beach in Grand Cayman, which is the most beautiful swimming beach I've ever been to. I stayed in the water for hours, and enjoyed my beach chair and umbrella for only $10. I hired a private guide with a few other people to take us around Jamaica. It was a very good tour, and he was very knowledgeable and fun, but Jamaica is kind of a depressing place. I took RC's island tour of Cozumel, which was interesting but also slow and a bit boring. We ended up at Playa Mia beach, which I liked, and wound up staying there late and taking a taxi back to the ship. I recommend in each of these islands finding out which are the best beaches and simply going to a beach for the day. The service on the ship was impeccable. My stateroom attendant was fabulous and kept my room spotless. The food was very good the first few days, then went downhill for two days, then went back up the last few days. The had a delicious BBQ by the pool the second to last sea day. I loved my balcony room and slept with the window open every night. I traveled by myself and did MyTime dining, so I met a lot of people. MyTime is a great way to get to know other cruisers. I highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Our group of twelve took the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans for a 7-night graduation celebration cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. We arrived at New Orleans a day early and stayed at the Prytania Park Hotel in the ... Read More
Our group of twelve took the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans for a 7-night graduation celebration cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. We arrived at New Orleans a day early and stayed at the Prytania Park Hotel in the Garden District. It was a pleasant place, with easy 15 minute bus ride to Bourbon and Canal streets. The neighborhood was quiet and there are several places for food and drink nearby. VooDoo Barbecue, just a block away, was particularly a hit -- excellent pulled pork and brisket, along with tasty sides, all for a reasonable price. Down the street was the Blind Pelican, another fine purveyor of pub food and inexpensive buckets of beer. We went down to the nearby port for boarding about eleven o'clock. Checking our luggage was a bit of a circus. With eleven of us and others in a fairly confined area sorting out our luggage and tags, it did not get us off on a good leg. The porters had blank tags, no pens, and a bit of an attitude. One of my pet peeves is when customers are expected to bear the inconvenience of a transaction for a service provider. IMHO, as a customer, I should not monkey around printing at home, or bumbling with a pen in a luggage discharge area so the cruise line can save a minor amount. Kudos for the boarding process. Quick and easy. Once done with our luggage, we were on the ship in minutes. Smooth sailing! Rose expertly handled the transaction and we were off. The hits kept on keeping on...everything from lunch to exploring the ship was four-stars. No issues with bringing wine, sodas or water. Our cabins were outside starboard on Deck 2. They were the standard issue, well-kept, and in good repair. Others have reported a sewerage odor in the hall, and it was evident daily. The toilets were having issues, mainly involving flushing. A maintenance guy was there daily tinkering in the plumbing closet. The problem was never fixed completely. Our attendant Lynea was excellent. Some complained about hearing forklifts and other equipment, as well as carts in the hallway, but I did not hear any such noises. Dining was "interesting", from wonderful dishes to ...something less. The roast duck, for example, was the best I'd ever tasted. The skin was perfectly crisp, the meat wonderfully moist and tender, with amazing flavor. Then there was the "Stroganoff" mishmash that tasted like something from a Chinese kitchen better wrapped in a tortilla. Some plates had little but a few chips of beef amid the slurry. There was at least one very good offering each night. The trick was recognizing it. One in our party summed it up well: The difficult dishes were done well; the simple dishes were not. Ask your waiter. He knows what he carries off uneaten time after time. Main Dining Room service was excellent. Eduard and Nicolai were friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, remembering our individual preferences, and appropriately calling us each by name. We were well served, never feeling rushed or put-off. The Windjammer offered good food at breakfast and lunch. Staff reductions were clearly noticeable, but the service actually seemed improved. The food there was uniformly good, hot and well-presented, and our group was very happy overall. The "Egg Harbor" for custom-made egg dishes was well organized and the output top notch for fried eggs and omelets. Tables were generally available at all times, breakfast and lunch. Johnny Rockets was a fun departure, and the food there exactly what you would expect. Excellent malts! Entertainment was the usual mix of cruise line dancers and singers, and hired acts. I thought the production shows were better than previous offerings. One thing missing in action was the ship's band. Until Wednesday we thought the shows were backed with recorded music as no mention was made of any musicians lurking behind the curtain. Unlike other ships, the band made no other appearances that I recall, which I find disappointing. Music in the Viking Crown and Boleros was untracked one night after the pianists both came ill. It is apparent that RCCL is shifting from an elder/boomer-centric model to something more contemporary. Out are the 50s and 60s in terms of music (except at Johnny Rocket's) and the 70's and 80's are in. If disco and club music is your thing, you're in the right place. Otherwise it's the Viking Crown or Two Poets for an evening of softer music and drinks. Thomas did a fine job as a substitute Cruise Director when the original suffered a knee injury early in the cruise. Ship activities included crafts such as painting and scrapbooking. Those who participated enjoyed themselves, and brought home some "interesting" work. If you are participating, the classes generally cut off at 25, and if you sign up early, don't expect to lollygag and show up whenever -- your place will be taken. The twenty-somethings with us enjoyed the many sports activities (both organized and casual) and tournaments, as well as the casino play. We did private/DIY excursions. At Jamaica we met our bus and guide from Marva Shaw's "Know Jamaica Tours." We were very happy with the service provided and recommend her based on the experience. We tubed down river, which included several rapids, then climbed Dunn's Falls before a shopping stop and a Jamaican meal at the Ultimate Jerk Centre before heading back to the ship. The Falls can be strenuous, and progress very slow with crowds - stop, go and wait. Missteps are easy to make on the climb, although it's not particularly treacherous. I stepped in a hole and took a fall, with no harm done. Still, be careful. It costs $20 to walk up or just look along the way from the platforms. The ship itself has drawn some criticism as being "tired". That wasn't my observation. The ship was in good repair. Like any well-used facility, like any luxury resort, there are signs of wear if one seeks to find them. Nothing I noticed detracted from the trip experience. Another area that has drawn criticism is the service level and enthusiasm of the crew. IMHO, the service crew performed well. There were apparent staffing adjustments made that somewhat reduced service, particularly the food venues, but the differences were slight if noticeable in terms of personal convenience. Frankly, I recall times in the past where it was common to see crew socializing rather than working. I did not witness service personnel standing around on this cruise. Even the white shirts were hustling tables in the Windjammer. Disembarkation was very well organized and executed. Customs and Immigration moved the line along, and there was a good system for arranging transportation. The accommodations, service, and overall ship experience were excellent. The itinerary was good for us, including shopping, beach time, touring, and one new destination. Overall, we were well-satisfied with our cruise vacation on Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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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