23 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Western from New Orleans

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
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 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
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
You can never blame the cruise line for the weather. That being said I will probably not sail out of New Orleans again. We have always sailed out of Florida ports and Florida is always warm...even in February. But New Orleans was cold ... Read More
You can never blame the cruise line for the weather. That being said I will probably not sail out of New Orleans again. We have always sailed out of Florida ports and Florida is always warm...even in February. But New Orleans was cold and drizzly. Just yucky. We were in NOLA 2 days before to take in some sites and enjoy the local flavor. It is a great fun and historic city, I would have enjoyed it more if it was warmer. But like I said, no one's fault. We arrived at port around noon and were on the boat by 12:15. They had an awful lot of stations to get you processed quickly. I counted roughly 35 attendants. The boat is beautiful. We were on the Independence a few years ago and they are both very similar. It was shorts weather the day we left though. I was anxious for the boat to get moving to a warmer climate. The itinerary called for 2 days at sea, 3 days in port and 1 day at sea going back to New Orleans. Sunday, the first day at sea, it was a bit warmer, but the winds on the pool deck were ferocious and I probably got more windburn than sunburn. The weather didnt really start to warm up until Monday though, the 2nd day at sea. Once we got to the Caribbean the weather was wonderful. The 3 ports are all fine and I think what you do while in port is a matter of personal preference. The first port was Falmouth Jamacia and it really is a nice little port, but it appears to be new and there was a lot of contruction still going on. And the area just outside the port is non-exisitent, so you really needed transportation to get around if you wanted to leave the little port area. Grand Cayman is an awesome port and so is Cozumel. The thing with Cozumel though is that they have a few different cruise terminals and it seems as though the Disney ships get the better terminal. Punta Langosta. Thats really where you want to be when you go to Cozumel. I had to take a taxi to get there from the International Pier. Regarding the ship and the food and the service. The service on the ship is awesome, you cannot complain about that. But the food. We didnt go to any of the specialty restaurants. We ate in the main dining room every night. The food is good. Not great, not memorable, not stupendous. The idea of going on a cruise to get amazing food is long gone I think. UNLESS! UNLESS you want to pay the extra money and go to a specialty restaurant. There was a time when you could go on a cruise and every dinner would be the top quality amazing memorable meal that now you can only get if you pay for dinner. That saddens me quite a bit. And I get it too....I mean how can they justify giving the same amazing meal to the ones that are paying extra in the specialty restaurants to the people who are not paying in the main dining room. So the food in the dining room while it is certainly better than any meal i might cook for myself at home is not amazing and memorable like you want oon a cruise. None of it. The last cruise I took that had amazing memorable food was on the Disney Magic in 2003. Since then if you want a memorable meal, you should plan to pay extra and go to one onf the specialty restaurants on board. One more note about food, and I made a point of talking about this in my review about the Independence of the Seas. The juice they serve in the morning at the Windjammer should not be called juice. In fact it should not even be consumed by anyone. It is truly horrid and not only is it different every day, it is different from glass to glass. If you grab 3 glasses of OJ from the serving area in the Windjammer each one will taste differently and all 3 should be thrown away. They give you these horrible juices because if you want something really good, you have to pay $3.95 per glass to get it....I didnt do that, but I would bet it would be real good if I did. We lost pool day on the last at sea day because it was so cold as we sailed back to New Orleans. No one was at the pool. No one. Not a soul, when usually on an at sea day you cant get a chair by the pool. It was in the 50s. and in New Orleans when we got back is was 48°. So like others who also reviewed this cruise, it was okay. Nothing great. We may also try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
While this was our eighteenth cruises, it was the first with our extended family consisting of five married children and their 15 children ranging in ages from 1 to 11 years. Overall the embarkation process was extremely smooth once in ... Read More
While this was our eighteenth cruises, it was the first with our extended family consisting of five married children and their 15 children ranging in ages from 1 to 11 years. Overall the embarkation process was extremely smooth once in the terminal. However, traffic around the port was terrible boarding on gridlock. We last cruised from New Orleans several years ago and felt the traffic situation deteriorated rather than improve. We had requested the early dining room seating. Prior to the cruise, seating for the group was arranged through travel agent. We had three tables on the outside edge of the dining room away from the flow of traffic and great for the children. We had two waiters assigned to our three tables. Both were great and extremely flexible in accommodating our needs. The supervisor of our waiters was particularly helpful in arranging for the needs of my daughter one year old child. RCCL originally told us they did not puree food for babies and that we could buy baby food on-board. However, every evening the wait staff supervisor served our baby a three course meal. We were not sure if it was processed baby food or pureed but the baby loved it. We were a little disappointed with the menu. RCCL recently introduced a new menu that offers escargot every night. However, escargot was never available. Our waiter told us that it has not been available due to a "world shortage" of snails. It must be a "world shortage" that is limited to RCCL! This was our first time visiting Jamaica. What a disappointment! The port that RCCL built in Falmouth is great but outside the boundary of the control port area is a nightmare. We only made it about a 100 yards beyond the fence. We were bombarded by locals selling, begging, harassing and just be annoying. We really felt unsafe and returned to the port. Disembarkation went smoothly until we got beyond security. The exit was on the opposite site of the terminal. We were herded down a corridor like cattle. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
RCI delivers a very good standard in about everything across the board. People who don't like the food are too picky in my opinion. People who think it's great are not discerning enough...it's good. Same with the rooms ... Read More
RCI delivers a very good standard in about everything across the board. People who don't like the food are too picky in my opinion. People who think it's great are not discerning enough...it's good. Same with the rooms (hotel operations), service, presentation of the ship etc. It's all very good. Considering you pay a very good rate on a cruise like this one, you get a very good value. Price plus quality = value. Don't be scared away by any picky reviewers...look for what you want and if RCI says they have it, they will deliver! Embarkation: NOLA was cold, so I liked departing out of Miami much better...not RCI's fault at all. I just want to leave winter and feel like I'm on vacation, and New Orleans was 47 degrees as we left, brrrrrr! Getting on was easy, smooth, and took about 45 minutes start to finish. Cruise: Took my 11 yr old son for some one on one time. Great time. However a tip to RCI...there are things for kids (adventure ocean) and things for adults, but not much for both during the day in terms of planned or coordinated activities. We did everything from scavenger hunt, to rock wall, to mini golf, to ice skating, to roller blading, to ping pong, to swimming to lots of basketball and shuffleboard...so make no mistake we found plenty of fun! Meals: We ate in the Windjammer all but three meals and found it quick and easy. Food choice were good, and on par with any buffet. Again, good, not great, not bad. Never went hungry. Ate at Portofino, GREAT! Ate at Johnny Rockets, very good! MDR for one meal on lobster night, satisfactory...takes to long and lobster was only average so a bit disappointing. Room: Having a balcony for ocean breezes and hearing the waves from the boat...ahhhhhhhh now that is what you cruise for. We loved it and escaped the cold Iowa winter by spending lots of time on our balcony. Room was plenty spacious, clean, bed was medium comfort but plenty workable. Ports: Great time swimming with dolphins in Cozumel at chankanaab and fun time watching the sea lion show and walking their fun trail for the "ancient ruins" as well as some decent snorkeling with easy access. Great time swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman with a reef snorkel stop and the tiki beach break. Great time at Doctor's Cave beach in Jamaica. We took a bus to Doctor's cave and back, worked fine...I'd do all of them again. Snorkeling was good at all three places, but the best in Jamaica. People complain about leaving the safety of the port in Jamaica...I'm cautious...esp with an 11 year old...and we had no problems and no worries Mon! Go with a group or stay in main tourist areas in all three ports and it seems plenty safe to me. Tips and Overall: Great time, we didn't want to be back. I'd cruise on RCI again and on Navigator again! We'd highly recommend the ice show...the shows in the main theater were hit and miss. There are hidden shuffle board courts on the very back of Deck 4! Hang the card on your door for room service breakfast delivery and enjoy it on your balcony...although windjammer for breakfast was great as well! Hot chocolate is available next to the regular coffee in the snack place on the Royal Promenade...my son loved it but the water is very hot so we put some cream in as well. 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 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
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
Based on reviews from other websites of the 7 day Western Caribbean cruise on Navigator of the Seas departing from New Orleans during the latter part of 2012, my expectations for our Jan. 12, 2013 departure were somewhat reserved. ... Read More
Based on reviews from other websites of the 7 day Western Caribbean cruise on Navigator of the Seas departing from New Orleans during the latter part of 2012, my expectations for our Jan. 12, 2013 departure were somewhat reserved. Discussion with a co-worker who has sailed RCI and competing cruise lines did not help my expectations. There were many stories of cold food in both the regular dining room and buffet areas. Also prevalent were comments that the entertainment shows in the main theater paled in comparison to other cruise lines, with the "Ice Dancing" show being the lone exception. This was my fifth cruise, but the first with RCI and I found the decor inside the Navigator of the Seas to be as good as I have ever experienced on a cruise. I found the ship easy to navigate after exploring it the first day. The staff was also as friendly and accommodating as any I have experienced, from the room steward to the waiters to the ship's officers. A technical problem was experienced on my first wifi internet connection, but a quick visit to the customer service desk provided a quick and quite satisfactory resolution. Here are my views regarding the food onboard. I found the food to meet, and in many cases exceed, the quality of my previous cruises. I was never served cold food and a couple of the meals in the main dining area was nothing short of excellent. I would gladly accept the quality of the food I experienced this cruise on any future cruises I might take. All eight members of our party were very pleased with the food served. I found the Windjammer buffet area to have equal or better quality food as any of my previous cruises. The staff in the Windjammer provided the best service I have experienced in a buffet environment on my cruises. Mr. "Sanitize" who greets everyone entering the buffet and gets them to "sanitize your hands" is a treat itself. This man enjoys his job, and it shows. In my opinion the reviews I read about the "Ice Dancing" show were pretty much on target. I would consider it a "Don't Miss" just like many other previous reviews. You do have to get complimentary tickets, but the distribution process was quick and painless. I agree with many other reviews that most of the costumes for the Navigator of the Seas singers and dancers leave something to be desired, as compared to other shows I've attended on cruises. However, the singer's and dancer's talents were very comparable to the others I have experienced. The two stand up comedy shows were excellent and I overhead many favorable comments from other guests while leaving the main theater after both of these shows. "The Unexpected Boys", a musical show based on the music of Frankie Vallie was very entertaining with excellent harmony and vocals. Since I really enjoy music, I thoroughly enjoyed this show. That brings me to the musical acts stationed around the ship. Initially I was a little disappointed, not based on talent, but on styles of music. I really enjoy music and it is a big part of my cruise experience. My favorite music is 70's rock and there was not a cover band playing this type of music. There was a solo guitar performer, Scott Perham, in The Two Poets Pub on the promenade who played a lot of songs I like, even some Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZTop, but the venue was small and hard to get a seat. He had his own style and influence, but a lot of guests seem to enjoy it, as he had a loyal following. The Caribbean Force band played in the pool area, very talented, just not my style of music. The Tumbao Trio, a latin band, performed in Boleros on Deck 4, and seemed to have a good crowd gathered most of the time, but once again, not my style. There were at least two piano players on board, Rizaldy and Patrice Doucet. Both were very talented and a pleasure to listen to. The Cosmopolitan Club is located on Deck 14, offering great views and is one of the wifi hotspots. The Cosmopolitan Club is home to the Sunlight Band. The Sunlight band members are from the Ukraine. As far as music is concerned this band was my favorite on this cruise. They covered several styles of music and even though none of it was my favorite 70's Rock genre, I spent a lot of time listening to them, and really enjoyed it. Maria, the vocalist, naturally sings with a Ukranian accent, but it seemed to grow on everyone, as it certainly did on me. With each passing night the crowd in the Cosmopolitan Club grew larger. The band consists of Igor on keyboard, Anastasia on bass guitar, Yevhen on drums and Maria. All three of the musicians are quite talented. Anastasia is technically the best bass guitarist I have seen on any of my cruises. Maria is quite energetic and interacts very well with the guests while performing. It is obvious that she really enjoys singing. Guests had a great time dancing to Sunlight's music, and there was a dedicated crowd there every night. For me, the Sunlight band is the "Don't Miss" of musical acts currently on the Navigator of the Seas. Not to take anything away from the other musical acts, but, based on my taste, I would have been disappointed with the music experience on this cruise if not for the Sunlight Band. 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
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
We so looked forward to cruising over the New Years. One of the big selling features of this boat was the golf simulator for my husband. Well it was broken. They had no idea when it would be fixed. We absolutley loved our dinner staff! ... Read More
We so looked forward to cruising over the New Years. One of the big selling features of this boat was the golf simulator for my husband. Well it was broken. They had no idea when it would be fixed. We absolutley loved our dinner staff! Carolina, Galen, Custudio and Rohan. Top notch! Sincerely lovely people. My husband bought the alcohol package and was frustrated because he couldn't get the same drinks at different bars. They didn't know how to make them, or didn't have the right ingredients. My kids loved the Windjammer. The guy doing the "sanitize sanitize" dance was a little too much for me before my coffee, but an effective addition to ensure that extra layer of contamination safety. So Id rather he keep up his good work. There were some big issues with language barrier, which suprised me because Id think most of the workers would know just a little English. Our excursions were wonderful! In all honesty I think some of our disappointments were our travel agents fault. She misrepresented the boat. My kids were expecting the Flo Rida, Zip Lining, and a big outdoor screen. She also did not give us accurate info about the general weather in New Orleans which effected the beginning of our trip in a huge way. I honestly felt like I had to really seek out the kids programs, and pry for information. My kids request Carnival next time. The Navigator could clearly use a little sprucing up. If I could take our dinner staff with us, I'd agree. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Our cruise began December 15, 2012. It was our first cruise and I was nervous about cruising with kids (ages 11 & 6). We got through the security lines in less than an hour and were able to walk to the suite check-in with no line. ... Read More
Our cruise began December 15, 2012. It was our first cruise and I was nervous about cruising with kids (ages 11 & 6). We got through the security lines in less than an hour and were able to walk to the suite check-in with no line. Be sure to look for it if you are staying in a suite, as it took the people who were in front of us an additional hour to get on the boat. By then, we had already unpacked, and started checking out the boat. We went to the Windjammer for a late lunch and finished just in time to get to or muster zone for the drill. After the drill we went to our room and finished setting up our room and getting ready for dinner. I was beginning to the see a pattern! My son decided the theme of our trip was: Eat. Sleep. Repeat! Our stateroom attendant, Yara, came in and met the kids, asked us questions about some of our preferences, and gave us some tips and ideas. We were doing the 6 pm first seating dinner for the week, the food and service were great. It was nice to be able to look out and watch the sea as we started dinner the first night but before dinner arrived my youngest was not feeling well so I took him to the room and we both went to sleep. Thankfully that was the only time we experienced any uneasy feelings during our cruise. Our waiter prepared our food and let them bring it up to us. It wasn't necessary but very appreciated when I woke up starving. We had room service deliver breakfast every morning so that we could get ready at our own pace. On the days we were at sea we had a late breakfast and on the days we were in port it was earlier depending on what time we had to get off the boat. We were at sea for the first three days and my kids ended up spending a lot of time in the Adventure Ocean program. The youngest loved it and would cry when I would pick him up. This was especially shocking for us as we thought that he would not want to be away from us. We even ended up letting him stay for the late night events twice. For $6 per child they can stay until 2 AM. We were never able to stay up quite that late but they did get to stay until midnight. One night they had an adorable pirate parade and they painted their faces and walked through the promenade chanting. It was very cute and they all were having fun. They had events planned for them the entire cruise. On the last day at sea they hosted a talent show in the Cosmopolitan Bar for them and I swear it was the cutest thing ever. My oldest had fun the first few days, but I didn't want him to be a self signer so he decided he would spend more time hanging out with us. We didn't spend nearly as much time at the pool as I thought we would, we only ended up going swimming once. The pools were to deep for my youngest to reach the ground. The ice skating show was a hit with everyone in our family. We played bingo and even won a little money. We enjoyed the entertainment each night and the morning show was funny. We even sent a few shout outs to other family members that were on board. Next time we will probably do two beach days and one adventure day for excursions. Maybe zip line or a dolphin encounter? Some of the things I was very glad to have were: air deodorizer, highlighters for the daily compass, pens, waterproof camcorder (go pro), and good walking sandals. I used the packing list found on cruise critic and we found ourselves very well prepared. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We sailed out of New Orleans on December 15th one day after our twin 19 yo old daughters finished up finals at college! We spent the night at a La Quinta in Mobile, AL. Nice inexpensive room. Boarding: The lines were pretty long but ... Read More
We sailed out of New Orleans on December 15th one day after our twin 19 yo old daughters finished up finals at college! We spent the night at a La Quinta in Mobile, AL. Nice inexpensive room. Boarding: The lines were pretty long but kept moving. We finally realized we could move over to a "suite" check in area as we booked a jr. suite with balcony. At that point we were checked in very quickly. Room: As mentioned we booked a jr. suite. I am SO happy we did this as there were 4 of us in the room. There is a nice walk in closet and plenty of storage for all of our things. The closet was great as it became our "dressing room" when we were all trying to get ready at the same time. We loved our balcony and spent a lot of time out there...just wish they had a chair that reclined! Drink: I would say only "complaint" about this cruise was that you were not allowed to have a bottle of alcohol in your room. They only will allow you to purchase single drinks from a bar or room service. We have sailed on other lines like Holland American that allow you to purchase a bottle for your room. We enjoy sitting out in the evening on our deck and having a drink before dinner. Food: We had "my time" dining. Which is a bit deceptive in the name as you really need a reservation. If you tried to walk up, they would tell you when you could come back and for us it was always "after 8pm". So several nights we just went upstairs to the buffet or ordered room service. We did go to Chops one night and it was excellent. Shows: I only went to one show and the ice show...both were well done! Dancing: My husband and I like to dance and took the on board dance lessons....lots of fun...but then in the evening it was very difficult to find music to dance to. They played dance music from 7:45 to 8:30pm and then would play more starting at 10pm....we just wondered why they didn't offer music all night long. Gym: Excellent...my daughter and I went almost everyday...nice machines. Overall, we loved this cruise. Very friendly staff, ship was beautiful and many decorations up for Christmas. Loved our room and balcony and I would sail with RC again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Part I - Precruise A. Inception We are avid Caribbean cruisers. Two years ago, we spent Christmas and New Year's in the Caribbean on the Celebrity Mercury (which, sadly, sailed for the last time under that name in February 2011); ... Read More
Part I - Precruise A. Inception We are avid Caribbean cruisers. Two years ago, we spent Christmas and New Year's in the Caribbean on the Celebrity Mercury (which, sadly, sailed for the last time under that name in February 2011); last year, we spent Christmas in the Caribbean on Celebrity's Millennium; and this year, we wanted to do it again. We looked at all cruise lines, and wanted another 14-day cruise, but the way that Christmas and New Year's are on the calendar this year, a 14-day cruise would've taken our son out of too much school, so we booked a 7-day cruise. We settled again on either Royal Caribbean or Celebrity (the only lines we have cruised on) because of their itineraries and schedules. We prefer to drive to the East Coast for our cruises, but that wasn't an option this year. B. Cruise Critic We use the community chat boards on cruisecritic.com extensively for cruise port hints and information. This review is my way of sharing. Thank you to everyone who shared in their reviews and roll calls. C. Choice of Route Our route was out of New Orleans (very excited about that again. New Orleans is a wonderful city!), to Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman. We have been to most of these ports of call before, but not in a while, so we were excited about seeing them again. We have been to Jamaica before, but not to Falmouth, so that should be interesting. D. Choice of Cruiseline and Ship We selected Royal Caribbean because we found out during our Celebrity Cruise last year that if we spent even 1 day on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, we would be Diamond members. Navigator, a Voyager Class ship, is a 138,000 ton ship with 15 decks, 10 pools & whirlpools, and 16 bars, clubs & lounges. It has a rock wall, a basketball court, an ice-skating rink, and a mini-golf course. Capacity is 3,114 passengers plus a crew of 1,185. It was launched in 2002, is registered in the Bahamas and has a CDC score of 96. E. Choice of Airline This was pretty easy. We picked the cheapest, most direct flight from Milwaukee to New Orleans. I have lots of miles on Delta, so we used them to book the 4 tickets, so they cost us only $40 out of pocket total. Flying hints: 1. Don't fly if you have a choice. I suggest driving if you can. 2. Go non-stop if you fly. Each connection increases the possibility of lost luggage and additional flight delays. 3. Consider flying in to your departure port one day early. This can be a major stress reducer! 4. Don't select your airline seats without first visiting SeatGuru.com. They have detailed airplane seating plans and hints about each seat for almost every plane flown by major airlines. F. Choice of cabin Generally, the lower your cabin and the more central its location, the less you will feel the movements of the ship. We love rocking and so did not mind being closer to the back of the ship. We always stay in inside cabins (unless something strange happens) because it is nice to be able to sleep in without worrying about the sun shining in the window. A recommendation to anyone in an inside cabin is to bring a clock. It can be very disconcerting to wake up and have absolutely no idea what time it is. We were in cabins 7345 & 7347, both interior staterooms (N). My husband and I were in one and our 17-year-old son and his 15-year-old friend (a first-time cruiser) was in the other. Royal Caribbean allows minors to stay together in a cabin if it is adjacent to their guardians' cabin. It took a few requests to ensure that we were in the right cabins (they originally wanted to book one adult and one minor in each cabin), but it ended up working out. G. Price We went to a local Travel Agent who specializes in cruises (as we always do for cruises). The cost, because it was over the holidays, was high at just over $1,000 per person. The flights were $40 for all four of us because I used my Delta miles to pay for them. Additionally, because of when we booked, we received a $100 on-board credit (OBC) for each cabin, so that was nice. I also use the Royal Caribbean Credit Card, so we got another $250 OBC from that. H. Passports We all have passports and encountered no problems. I did bring extra documentation for my son's friend. I brought a detailed (notarized) letter from his parents saying that we could take him on this specific ship, that we could take him into these specific countries, that we could make medical decisions for him, that we would supervise him, and that we would be able to sign for permission for onboard activities (like climbing the rock wall). I got all of this information from the RCCL website, but it wasn't easy to find. I. Insurance We also purchased travel insurance because we never know when our son might wind up in a cast or one of our aging parents might have a health crisis. J. Prebooking Excursions We booked all of our excursions on our own. I did research beforehand and we decided what to do from there. I do not like using the ship's excursions because they are usually expensive; I do recommend them, though, for novice cruisers. K. Packing We packed for 2 formal nights (we all brought nice outfits -- the boys wore what they wore to their Homecoming dance, my husband wore a shirt and tie (and pants) and I brought nice clothes), and the rest at various levels of casual (non-jean pants and nice shirts for all of us). Additionally, we brought enough clothing to cover us during the day for 7 days. This is less than you think because clothing rarely gets really dirty and we tend to re-wear clothes a few times before it goes in the "to be washed at home" luggage. (NOTE: My son has apparently outgrown the "re-wear your clothes" phase and decided to pack different clothes for every day. We made him carry them all in his luggage.) Among the most helpful "extra items" we packed were: extension cords and power strips for each room (usually, there are only 2 outlets in the room and we have lots to charge), alarm clock, bug lotion, sunscreen ranging from 100 to 15 spf, highlighters, beach bag, and water shoes. We also brought Christmas decorations for each room, as well as Cruise Critic door signs printed off of the roll call lists. Part II - Embarkation A. The Port We flew into New Orleans via Atlanta and arrived at 3:30pm the day before the cruise departed. You have a choice of buying transfers from Royal Caribbean, catching a taxi or hiring a car. We used taxis to and from our hotel (in the French Quarter). B. Security Processing and Boarding We arrived at the pier at 2:30pm, hoping that there would be no wait, but there was a long line for security screening. But because we were Emerald Club members, we bypassed all of that and had absolutely no line. Once through security, there were separate lines for non-Crown & Anchor Society (C&AS) members and Gold C&AS members, and all other C&AS members. All lines were kinda long and fed into a table of folks processing your boarding documents. Assuming you had already completed all the documents requested online, signing in and getting room keys (which is also your cruise ID, and ship credit card) took no more than 10 minutes. There was a quick wait for the embarkation cruise photo (which we skipped). On-board and our cruise cards were quickly data-encrypted with our images at one of three stations. Once they handed us our cards we found ourselves on the 4th floor aft lobby of the ship. It took a total of 60 minutes from the time we arrived at the pier to our arrival in our cabins. I was surprised that I was never asked for the paperwork for my son's friend. At no point in the cruise (embarkation, disembarkation or anywhere in between) did anyone ask for it. However, I have heard from others that this is not always the case, so I would recommend that anyone taking a minor non-family member get the required paperwork. C. Explore The Cabins We were in cabins 7345 & 7347, side-by-side, inside category N cabins in the back of the ship. The cabins are each 150.7 square feet and were set up for my husband and I to sleep in one big bed and my son and his friend to each have their own. The bathroom has enough room, and the shower was very nice. Our bathroom had a reasonably large shower (no bath), hair dryer, large mirror, sink, toilet, and some pretty decent storage. Something new since the last time we were on a ship: a nightlight we could use in the bathroom or main cabin. We used it in the bathroom so we wouldn't have to turn the lights on at night. Hangers were provided in the cabin, as was a welcome gift: a bottle of Evian water, some key lime cookies and a small package of candied fruit. The room safe is located in the cabinet. In the closet there are shelves for organizing your stuff. The desk featured a number of informational brochures including that day's event newsletter. The cabins also have a TV, thermostat, phone (but no clock, although you can set your phone for an automated wake-up call), and a mini-bar (small refrigerator). Being Emerald Club members, we requested and were given robes for use on board. We also received a discount booklet with coupons for beverages, Johnny Rockets, photos, internet, laundry, casino, bingo, gift shop, art, jewelry temporary tattoos, the spa, etc. Having signed up for the Meet & Mingle party, we received invites to the following day's gathering. Being members of the C&AS, we were also given invitations to a number of different events during the cruise. Our stateroom attendant, Orson from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, did a wonderful job throughout our cruise. D. Tour of Ship and Search For Food We almost found sustenance in the Windjammer Cafe on the deck 11 for a 3:45pm buffet lunch, but the Cafe closed for the 4:00pm Muster until 6:30pm. This was inconvenient as I hadn't eaten lunch and now could not find any until later in the evening. It is possible that the Promenade Cafe (on Deck 5) was open, but I wasn't aware of it at the time. The ship is well laid out with ample sets of stairwells and elevators. I tried to take the stairs as much as possible (and pretended that this was sufficient exercise to cover my food intake). E. Muster/Sailaway About one hour prior to leaving port, we participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill. The drill went smoothly and lasted 40 minutes. We are very happy at the changes that have been made in the muster drill as we no longer have to get our lifejackets and wear them to the muster, but we did have to stand outside waiting for everyone to show up. It was a good opportunity to meet people. We had a Cruise Critic get-together at the Sky bar right after muster. I asked people to wear red so that we could identify each other. I also brought nametags. About 10 people showed up -- it was a great opportunity for some of the teenagers to meet each other and start hanging out. It takes 7 hours to get through the Mississippi River from NOLA to the Gulf. The scenery was magnificent on the way out. F. Dinner -- 8:30pm Late Seating We selected the late seating. We were seated at table 366 with seating for 8 at an oval table on the lower floor (3) of the Nutcracker Restaurant. Our server, Vipin from India, and his assistant, Kiara from Peru, did a very good job throughout our cruise. Our tablemates were a dating couple (in their 20s) and their parents who spend ½ the year in Wisconsin (which is, I suspect, how we were paired up because we are from Wisconsin). They were delightful people and dinner conversation never lagged. The two-story restaurant has a seating capacity of 1,000+ passengers at each seating. Of note: jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, swimsuits, robes, and bare feet are prohibited in the Dining Restaurant at all times. Shorts are permitted at lunch only. However, we did see a number of people wearing jeans (our teenagers did on a regular basis), shorts and t-shirts for dinner even on formal nights. Part III - Food! Royal Caribbean's meals met our expectations. There was good variety. There are 2 specialty restaurants on the ship--Chops Grille Steakhouse and Portofino Italian Restaurant. There is a per-person fee for these restaurants. There is a for-fee Johnny Rockets and Ben & Jerry's. Free food is available in the main dining room, The Windjammer, Jade, Cafe Promenade and room service (for-fee late at night). We did not feel the need to eat at any of the specialty restaurants for dinner because the food in the main dining room was sufficient. A. Always Available On the Vitality menu every day were the following items: Traditional Caesar Salad, Linguini with Pomodoro Sauce, Broiled Filet of Atlantic Salmon, Grilled Chicken Breast with Rosemary, Grilled Black Angus Steak, Top Sirloin with Herb Butter, and sides of Mashed Potatoes, Rice, and Vegetable of the Day. B. Our Favorite Breakfast Items I enjoyed the fresh-squeezed orange juice (US$4), but I also loved the availability of English muffins and corned beef hash at the buffet. There was a large variety of foods, including many Asian foods, for breakfast. I liked the Mango Water, too. C. Our Favorite Lunch Items I enjoyed tremendously the Indian food at the Jade restaurant. There was also hamburgers and mashed potatoes, and chicken. D. Our Favorite Appetizer My son liked the Onion Tart, while I appreciated the wide variety of salads. We all loved the escargot and the endless supply of bread that day (to sop up all of the garlic butter!). E. Our Favorite Soups My son loved the cold soups, while I liked the warm ones. My son's friend declared the Potato with jalapeo to be a winner. F. Our Favorite Salads All of them. Honestly, the focaccia and tomato was great, but so were all the others. G. Our Favorite Entrees Any fish -- including the sea bass and the sole -- was great. The linguine was appreciated by the boys, as was the lobster tail. I loved the lamb shank and the Christmas Day turkey dinner. H. Our Favorite Desserts Cherries jubilee, crème brulee, and anything chocolate. I. Buffet I loved the warm scones available in the Windjammer. They were usually only there around 2:30-3:30pm. I also enjoyed the small sandwiches available in the Cafe Promenade on the 5th floor. The availability of Indian food was appreciated. J. Room Service We didn't use room service. Part IV - Entertainment A. Movies All the movies were shown in the Cinema. They were mostly releases from about a year ago. We did not watch any movies in the Cinema. B. Shows The Celebrity Theatre is gorgeous, with comfortable seating and good sight lines. We did not see any shows in the theater. C. Casino Large casino filled with the usual. We did not use the casino. D. Spa I did not use the spa. The prices are just too darn high. E. Outdoor Pools and Hot tubs. They were busy all day when we were at sea and the air was warm. The pools are chlorinated salt water. The hot tubs are fresh water. There are fresh water showers near each pool and hot tub. We liked that the hot tubs stayed open late -- after midnight. F. Indoor Pool and Hot Tubs The indoor pool is for adult use only. The pools are chlorinated salt water. The hot tubs are fresh water. There are fresh water showers near each pool and hot tub. We liked that the hot tubs stayed open late -- after midnight. G. In-room TV There were a number of closed-circuit ship channels and satellite stations (Global CNN, ESPN, Eye on CBS, Sky News, and a few others) available on the TV in the cabin. Pay-per-view movies were also available. You can also order room service and check your current account on the TV as well. H. Holiday Stuff The ship was decked out in its Christmas finery with a large (huge!) tree on the Promenade on deck 5 and wreaths hung there, as well. There was a large Christmas display (complete with running toy train) at the entrance to the Windjammer. There were parades every evening and Santa arrived on Christmas Day with toys for everyone from age 0-17. On Christmas Eve day, we, as Emerald members, received a plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries and cookies in our room. It was a pleasant surprise. Part V - Cruise Critic Get-Togethers A. Sailaway Party As a group, the Cruise Critic folks had arranged (on the boards) to get together at sailaway at the Sky Bar on Deck 11. About 10 showed up and we had a great time. B. Meet & Mingle Party We signed up for the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle gathering on the RCCL web site. We received an email confirmation that a party would take place. Upon our arrival in our cabin, we received an envelope containing an invitation to the party, set for 11:30 am on Sunday (our first day at sea). At the appointed time we arrived at the Dungeon. In total, about 40 folks attended. We had a great time meeting and greeting our fellow cruise critics. Light refreshments were provided. C. Slot Pull We did not arrange a slot pull. D. Cabin/Poker Crawl We did not arrange a cabin/poker crawl. Part VI - Health Concerns A. Smoking Smoking was permitted in certain areas on the ship. Although we are very sensitive to smoke, we could not detect any smoke smell in our cabin. The only place that the allowed smoking really disturbed me was in the Two Poets pub on Deck 5. Because this is an enclosed space, you could smell the smoke in many places on the Deck 5 Promenade. They had every right to smoke in the appointed areas of the ship, and unfortunately they did. B. General Cleanliness of the Ship In a word: impeccable. You could not take a stroll without witnessing some type of cleaning going on at all hours. The ship was constantly being cleaned: floors, walls, fixtures, everything! C. Viruses Although some other ships were hit with Norovirus (and it made the news) over this time, I heard of no such outbreak on our ship. E. Seasickness The seas were choppy on the last day, but I didn't notice anyone in distress. Part VII - Ship Notes A. Ship and Crew We were very impressed with the ship and crew and they were all very friendly and competent. The ship and furnishings were in very good shape. She was very clean. B. The Shops There was something on sale each day. Realize that if you forget something, you can buy it on the ship, but necessities are expensive. Deodorant, mints, dental floss, candy bars are all available, but not at a price you might want to pay. My advice: remember to bring the essentials, even if that includes M&Ms! C. Internet Service The good news: there are plenty of computer terminals with internet access on the ship. The bad news: it is expensive. D. Children Being a holiday cruise, our ship had a number of children on board. They behaved very well. Part VIII - The Ports We visited three ports. A. Falmouth, Jamaica There really is not much to do in Falmouth. Falmouth is good only in its proximity to both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Because we did not want to sit on buses or in taxis for a long time, we did not schedule an outing. Instead, we wanted to help the local economy by shopping in the straw market just outside of the gated and fenced-in port. We wandered and bought a few things. I was not feeling well (too much heat) and so I went back to the ship early and my husband and the two teens kept shopping. At some point, my husband noticed a Jamaican police officer (there were dozens in view all around the port) taking too much interest in how much money he was carrying. Fearing a confrontation with an armed man, my husband took the boys and their shopping inside the port. We did get many Jamaican craft items before then and did enjoy the port. B. George Town, Grand Cayman We tendered off the ship at about 10:30am in Grand Cayman and found a bunch of people selling Stingray City tours. We booked one for US$40 per person, including transportation to and from the boat, 45 minutes at Stingray City, 45 minutes at a coral reef (snorkeling), snorkeling equipment, and non-alcoholic beverages. We left at 11am and were back by 2pm. It was a good trip with great experiences. C. Cozumel, Mexico We were late getting into Cozumel because of a medical situation on the ship that forced us to return to Grand Cayman immediately after leaving the port. We stayed an hour later in port, though, in an attempt to make up the time. We left the ship and caught a taxi to Paradise Beach. There, we hung out for about 4 hours. The cost to get to the beach was US$14 for a taxi of 4 people. The cost to get in was US$2 if you just wanted a chair and access to the beach, toilet, changing rooms, and pools; it was US$14 if you wanted to also play on their floating climbing things in the water, kayak, and bungee jump on the trampoline. No one bothered us on the beach and I enjoyed myself sitting under the palm trees. We had lunch which was US$91 including 15% tip (already included). Lunch was 2 smoothies, 1 daquiri and 1 margarita, ceviche platter, nacho platter, and 2 large chicken burritos. It was easy to catch a cab back (US$14) to the International Pier and then shop a bit (Los Cinco Soles has a branch at the pier now, along with many other shops) before we got back on the ship. I. Days At Sea Between ports, we had three at sea days. They were good, although the first and last days were a bit chilly (in the 70s) and windy, so sunbathing wasn't a given. J. Speakers/Entertainment We really didn't pay much attention to these on this trip. Part IX - Tipping The service personnel on Royal Caribbean receive meager wages and rely on your tips for income. While Royal Caribben says it is customary to offer gratuities to the ship's personnel who service you on the voyage, it really is expected, and it's something you should figure into your cruise budget. Our tips were paid on our cruise charge which was what our personnel preferred (we asked) rather than cash. We did tip extra to everyone for their good work. On our evaluation, we also included the names of people who had gone that extra mile for us. We have heard in past cruises that this is a great way to recognize people and it can result in a monetary bonus for people whose names are written down often. Part X -- Crown & Anchor Society On this cruise, we were select members and so we received a "Welcome Letter" which invited us to a events on the cruise. If you have taken a previous voyage and are not a member of the Crown & Anchor Society, sign up. It's free. Benefits include a express lines at embarkation, priority disembarkation, some small cabin welcome gifts, very minor casino, wine and spa discounts, a cocktail party, and upgrades (whenever possible). Some exclusions apply. Part XI - Disembarkation and Customs A. Disembarkation Disembarkation ("exiting of the ship at the end of your cruise"). Breakfast was served on the buffet and in the restaurant. Disembarkation went smoothly. Earlier in the week, everyone completed surveys which were used to prioritize passengers. Clearly those folks needing to catch plane and train connections or who were on escorted tours in New Orleans had highest priority. Crown & Anchor Society members had priority within their color group. Color-coded disembarkation luggage tags were issued to all cabins, and passengers were instructed to place the tags on their luggage and put it outside their cabins prior to 11:00pm Friday night. We were self-disembarking which meant we carried all of our luggage (not easy with 4 backpacks, 5 carry-ons and only 4 people, but we made it. We met on the 4th floor at 7:45am after breakfast and were off the ship, through customs and immigration and outside the pier by 8:30am. B. Customs US citizens are permitted 1 liter of alcohol and $800 worth of Duty Free goods per person. If under the limit, all you needed to do was to declare the total value. Anything greater had to be itemized (declared) and a duty paid, if requested. C. Transportation Options to Airport There were transfers available through the cruise line which would take you on bus to the local airport, taxis were available, as were hotel shuttles. We chose to take a taxi and it was $62 (with tip) for 4 people from the cruise terminal to the airport. D. New Orleans Airport Upon arrival at the airport, we proceeded to the Delta check-in. It took us less than 15 minutes to turn in our bags and less than 10 minutes to clear security. Delta charges $25 per checked bag (of less than 50 lbs) for the first checked bag per person. We checked 1 bag for $25. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
EMBARKATION: We flew non-stop from Washington,D.C. to New Orleans on Dec.21 and stayed with our children and grandchildren at the Marriott Springhill Suites in the warehouse district. We particularly like Springhill Suites because they ... Read More
EMBARKATION: We flew non-stop from Washington,D.C. to New Orleans on Dec.21 and stayed with our children and grandchildren at the Marriott Springhill Suites in the warehouse district. We particularly like Springhill Suites because they include a free breakfast. The Hotel is close enough to the pier so that our kids just walked with their luggage to the pier. We took a taxi, left our luggage with the porters and were on board the ship within fifteen to twenty minutes..best embarkation ever!! We loved sailing on the Mississippi River..much more interesting than going right into the ocean. SHIP INTERIOR: The Navigator of the Seas is still a beautiful vessel! We sailed a few years ago on her sister ship, Explorer of the Seas, so we knew our way around at once. Our staterooms were on deck three, oceanview..we had four cabins side by side...our daughter and her husband had connecting cabins with their three children which is a perfect arrangement, because, among other things, it allows them to have two bathrooms. The cabins are beautifully designed, with plenty of storage behind mirrors, shelves in the closets and great lighting! Our cabin attendant was fine, and did the towel animals almost every evening which is always entertaining. They were especially cute in our grandchildren's cabin. We really did not ask for anything special except for a bucket of ice each day, however, our grandkids' cabin did require a bit more effort. DINING ROOM: We were at table #291 and table #294. There were twenty of us altogether in our party, all cousins, who had decided to take this cruise. My travel agent was able to link the two tables, so we had two oval tables together on deck three in the Nutcracker Dining Room. Our server, Ivor, and his assistants, Robert and Ruben were FABULOUS!!! This was the best service we have ever had on any cruise and the dining room experience can make or break a cruise! The food is adequate..not gourmet, but tasty! The soups are superb, especially the cold fruit soups, and the desserts were always good. They had lobster tails two nights, which were fine, and they had prime rib, which was also very good. They also offer a menu for those who are trying to be calorie conscious, which is quite satisfactory. We did not use any of the specialty restaurants although one of my grandchildren went to Johnny Rockets, which was just okay! ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment on this ship was my greatest disappointment. I have the feeling that Royal Caribbean is using their entertainment budget to enhance the programs on their newer and larger ships, and are neglecting their older ships. The performers are talented, but the productions were not worthy of their talent. The costumes were cheap, there were no sets and until the third program, I did not even know they had an orchestra. The ice show was the only show that was really professionally done and it was excellent!!! The Schooner Bar also had a pianist with an amazing repertoire and he packed the place every night!! MISCELLANEOUS: The only port we had not been to was Jamaica, which was okay, but the guides never forgot to remind us that they wanted to be tipped. We went to Paradise Beach in Cozumel, which is the best beach of all and the most reasonable for what you get, and in the Caymans we went to the Royal Palms Beach Club, where our daughter had reserved a cabana and four beach chairs in advance for $100. It was expensive but lovely. The hotels on the Caymans do not give day passes at Christmas, so there were not too many options since we had already done the Stingray thing. Our disembarkation was easy. We had an eleven o'clock flight back to D.C. so we arranged for an early disembarkation..the process is not quite as organized as the embarkation, but we purchased transfers for a quick bus ride via Royal Caribbean, and went quickly through customs. This was really our best cruise ever and can't wait to sail again!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I am writing this review to help others that were so helpful to me during my planning as well as to give RCCL a nice Thank you - we loved our trip. I hope the cruise lines read these reviews. This is my first attempt, so please bear with ... Read More
I am writing this review to help others that were so helpful to me during my planning as well as to give RCCL a nice Thank you - we loved our trip. I hope the cruise lines read these reviews. This is my first attempt, so please bear with me. I will try to be fair - if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Stayed in New Orleans 2 nights at the Royal Sonesta - great hotel. I was given the name of Henry Lee Tennessee for shuttling purposes that was so helpful. His email is: h.tennessee@gmail.com He made our trips to and from the airport, hotel and port wonderful. He picked us up at the Royal Sonesta promptly at 11:00 am for the short trip to the port. His prices were the same as cabs but with a personal touch. Check in was effortless and easy - no lines - walked right on to the beautiful Navigator. Cabins: We had the Royal Family Suite 9394 with six adults - DM, DF, DH, DD, SIL and myself. DD and SIL slept on the pull out couch and it was a queen size pullout - very nice size. Our room steward put bed toppers on the pull out couch and the bed in the second bedroom. We had breakfast on the balcony in the mornings - weather permitting. Breakfast was fabulous, eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, coffee, fruit, ect. Other Suite perks that were enjoyed: eating lunch quietly in Portofino's (food from Windjammer),drinks in the Concierge Lounge (as well as special tender loving care from Concierge Ricardo - he was fabulous), having clothes pressed free formal nights and priority seating for the ice show - which was a nice. I cannot say enough good things about this cabin. It was more than enough room for all 9 of us to gather. My DS, DIL and Granddaughter (18 months old) were in 9397 just around the corner. Her baby monitor worked from 9394 to 9397 which was nice when she was napping. Pack-N-Play fit nicely in the corner after moving the bed and couch down a little. We celebrated New Years on the balcony together which was memorable. Never encountered any soot on our balcony, so it must have a lot to do with the wind. We did smell sewage on day 2 in the hallway aft but it was gone the next day. The balcony railing was safe for our granddaughter and she loved the room to play and walk around. Note: Nigel our room steward did a fabulous job with our suite. Our bathrooms were always sparkling, we always had plenty of towels, always plenty of ice for cocktails, and he always had a wonderful smile on his face. Ports: Falmouth Jamaica - We shopped at the port then decided to explore outside the gates. We just didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling on the outside of the gates so we went back to the ship and enjoyed the empty pool on-board. It was a beautiful warm day. Grand Cayman - the kids went to Seven Mile Beach and DH and I took our granddaughter shopping in town. We enjoyed the roosters walking around town and had Dairy Queen - doesn't take much to make an 18 month old happy. Cozumel - did a beach excursion with RCCL - Playa Mia Beach Break. It included drinks (alcohol and non)all day and the use of all of their facilities. We ordered off the menu right from our beach chairs and the food was good. We did a cab to and from and it was $30.00 plus tip for 6 adults and child each way. We will do this beach break again when we are in Cozumel as it fit our family well. Children's pool and play area was so much fun for B but she also loved the sand and swimming in the ocean. Food: We did MTD. I think I didn't do enough research on this area. I thought that 5:30 was too early and 8:00 pm to late with our granddaughter so I went with MTD. I thought that we could get a 7:00 or 7:15pm but that was not to be. They tried very hard to accommodate us and every night we had 6:15 or 6:30. Our granddaughter did very well in the dining room but we did bring an IPAD so she could watch her favorite video (low sound of course). We never had to wait for our table and as we left every night, we just schedule for the next night. Food was good. The first nights pork was terrible but the lobster night was great. We had shrimp cocktails every night and they were wonderful. The steak that was offered nightly was not great but one night they offered Filet of Beef and it was delicious. Overall, I think the food was a little better than Carnival but a little less than Princess. Note: Roxanne and Americo our table stewards were wonderful. Roxanne always had chicken tenders waiting for our granddaughter which was a huge help. Americo made sure my coke was never empty and knew which roll I wanted after the second night. Just sweet, warm, gracious people working so very hard to make sure our vacation was wonderful. We had pizza and cookies nightly after gambling which was fun. Carnival's pizza is much better. Breakfast on the balcony was fabulous. The food was always hot and delicious. They always called before delivering which we really liked, as we used that as a wake-up call. Coffee was very good but very strong. Toast was terrible - not sure where that bread comes from but the bagels were great. We never found a crowd in the Windjammer and I thought the choices were great. Love the salad bar. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets - the milkshake was wonderful. We had level 2 for departure and it went smoothly. Wheelchairs were available for my parents and porters were easily available. My parents would have been fine without the wheelchairs but we just didn't know how long we would have to stand and wait. Henry Lee Tennessee was waiting for us and we were off to the airport. We didn't get to have a Bridge Tour which was one of my parents special requests. Due to the Noro Virus that the NAV had been battling lately they were not offering them. We did not see or hear of anyone sick with the Noro so whatever they had been doing to combat that bug was working. My parents did receive a beautiful glass frame from RCCL/Ricardo for their 65th Wedding Anniversary. That was a lovely gift and they loved it. I will be happy to answer any questions concerning babies, seniors, ect. This was the second cruise for our granddaughter - we took her last year on the Carnival Miracle when she was 6 months old. She has cruised both trips without any problems. We did not use the in-room babysitting or children's programs on either cruises due to her age. Both Carnival and RCCL were more than accommodating with our granddaughter. We have been on Carnival 3 times, Princess 2 times and this was our first RCCL as well as our first suite experience. We will definitely cruise on RCCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ... Read More
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ship but that was a minor inconvenience. We were a party of 4, in two staterooms and none of us caught the bug. :) Yeah! Royal Caribbean notified us of the virus before we left for the port and that there was a delay boarding. They were professional and everything was super clean. Us two couples travel together cruising and on land and we had a great time. We drove to the port and spent one night in New Orleans, boarding was late but efficient considering the extra precautions due to Norovirus. The windjammer was not open at the time of boarding which I thought was poor planning. They opened the windjammer (buffet dining) at 2:00 which meant everyone was on board and very hungry. Norovirus on board meant that they had to serve us in the buffet lines and the biggest problem was rude inpatient cruisers. We were all in the same boat (so to speak) and they had plenty food, people were just impatient, these people complained and were impatient the entire cruise, even though the Captain and crew were working hard to keep us all healthy. I had no complaints except chapped hands from an allergic reaction to hand sanitizer. Food was good but not great, I found it was not as good as our first cruise on Navigator of the seas in 09. NOS Captain was highly concerned about the virus and it was handled well. The port of New Orleans is nice for the New Orleans experience. The port itself was like navigating through a maze. Navigator is in the voyager class, has plenty to offer- multiple pools one of them an adults only pool with large hot tubs in the area, spa, beautiful 3 level dinning room, casino,clubs, and 24 hour cookie and snack shop on the Royal Pramenade. I had heard there are no quiet spots on mega ships, not true, there are numerous seating areas you can quietly sit back and relax. We found one next to the sky bar and played cards when we had extra time or wanted to unwind, just the 4 of us. We also had our private balconies. Our cabins we were on deck 8, room 8603, balcony room, great clean room, comfortable bed and quiet location. We were around the corner from the elevators but had no noise from that,we have booked same general area and we will continue to book this area, close to elevators and the internet cafe. I did not pack my own computer but enjoyed a few minutes to check on my family back home from the internet cafe. Speaking of internet is is slow, all ships have slow internet, you just expect that from a ship internet. The entertainment was a comedian who was very good his name is Scott Record but and an Elvis impersonator, he was talented guy but I do not enjoy a tall skinny Elvis as my headliner entertainment. The ship crew shows were OK, usual show for RCI. We always do the Ice Show, which is excellent, Love and Marriage show (always a blast) and the QUEST!!! A MUST SEE! (for adults ONLY!) There are two formal nights on the 7 night cruise, some still wear Tuxedos and Gowns, I prefer a nice cocktail dress. Our ports were Falmouth Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel. Falmouth is still a port being developed and there is not that much do to there. Grand Cayman is beautiful and rich, which is why it stands out from other islands. Cozumel is typical tourist local with plenty to offer. We docked at Falmouth and Cozumel and had to tender to Grand Cayman. The tendering process was easy even though we were doing it during a storm. No problems at the ports getting on or off the ship. The Navigator is showing her age a little bit, I believe she is on the list to be refurbished, I think this was more apparent since we were just on a newer larger ship 6 months before this cruise. I would recommend this ship for a family, couple, or group of friends who want an affordable enjoyable week away in the beautiful Blue Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date Nov 17, 2012. Our group was my wife, myself, our children (ages 20, 12, and 12) and my wife's (mid 70s) parents. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ... Read More
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date Nov 17, 2012. Our group was my wife, myself, our children (ages 20, 12, and 12) and my wife's (mid 70s) parents. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ship will make or break the entertainment value of the vacation. The crew on the Navigator just didn't seem to care and weren't trying to hide it. We are a pretty laid back, self-entertaining group and don't expect to be waited on hand and foot, so we can and did have a good time despite the crew. That said I could not in good conscience recommend this ship/itinerary to someone. I don't like reviews where someone just says a cruise or hotel room is bad or good. I need to know *why* you thought so. If I know the why then I can better determine if that would be good/bad for me. So I want to provide a review where I detail what was good/bad along with some of the 'why.' Boarding: We flew in the day before and spent the night at the Embassy SUites. At 12:30pm We walked the two blocks to the whale lot where there were porters loading luggage onto carts. There was a bit of confusion because some folks who were Carnival passengers were trying to give them luggage. Our bags were already tagged so it was a quick drop and go situation. The porters tagged you bags if you didn't already have them. Note that the Riverwalk access to the cruise ship walkway (it's still marked like that) is closed. The doors have a heavy chain and padlock on them. It's easy enough to walk in the street, about 1 block from the whale lot to the terminal. There was a police officer (where the port road turns onto Julia street) managing the vehicle and pedestrian traffic. At this point organization took a vacation. We didn't know it at the time but a lot of the embarkation problems were related to the fact that the Navigator had just come trans-atlantic. I was later told that because the ship was previously trans-atlantic and "new" to the port all the various authorities were being more detailed in checking things out. This applied not only to disembarking passengers, but also checking out the crew. (Imagine Coast Guard, and Immigration and CUstoms officers diligently following the rules.) I'm not saying anything is wrong with this, just making note that it cause a lot of confusion and delays. I hope this experience was not indicative of a normal boarding in NOLA, because it was hands down the worst I've experienced out of 7 cruises. I'll give an example: One RCL employee was telling embarking passengers to go back the other way because there were still 500 passengers from the previous cruise still disembarking. We ignored him along with a few others and asked a bit further down and another RCL employeed told us to continue ahead as they've been boarding passengers for the last hour. We then were able start the boarding process. Entertainment: Nightly shows: The dancing shows were fine. (Nothing spectacular or particulary impressive.) There were two different comedians which were both very good. There was a Platters group that was fantastic. Daily entertainment: Our group agreed that overall this was weak. This was compounded by the fact that the first two days were sea days. There was just very little going on those two days. This was especially disappointing to me since I enjoy having a drink on the pool deck and watching contests or listening to music. Two days at sea and the highlight of the pool deck was the ice cream machine. The bingo was run well The trivia and sudoku contests in the schooner bar were okay The movie selection in the theatre was geared towards a 20-40 crowd. I would liked to have enjoyed more movies there but the seats were were so incredibly uncomfortable I couldn't make myself go back. My father in law went once also and said it was like sitting on a board. Dining: MDR: The food was good, the service decent. Nothing spectacular. The service of course varies from table to table. For some odd reason they served the Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday night. Windjammer: Only once did I find the Windjammer crowded. It was a sea day right at noon. Any other time we have no trouble getting a table or having to wait in line for food. The food itself was fine and well kept up. The only issue I had with Windjammer was it closed at 9:30 pm every night. Which would not have been a problem except there were no late night buffets, so you were left with room service or the Cafe Promenade (See below.) Cafe Promenade: This place was just downright awful. I've seen it well done on the Freedom of the Seas, so I know it can be done. I was served the worst Starbucks latte I've ever had. I threw half of it away. The worst part though was the service. I'll give an example: There is a sign with the available kinds of pizza. (Only once was I ever there and they actually had all 3 kinds listed on the sign.) I asked the woman at the counter what kind of pizza they had since I could see there was only 1 pan under the heat lamp. She gave me a dirty look and gestured at the sign. So I play along and ask for pepperoni which was listed on the sign. She turned around and looked at the pan, turned back around and told me they only have cheese pizza. Which wouldn't be so bad except that cheese pizza wasn't one of the kinds listed on the sign. Bar Service: I've been on some ships where I felt like I was constantly getting mobbed by bar service folks. That was definitely not an issue on the Navigator. Soda Package: In my opinion, the soda package on the Navigator is a complete waste of money. They have apparently changed how this whole situation is handled because if you have the soda package you either get fountain soda or soda poured from a 2 liter bottle. The problem with the 2 liter bottles is every time I got it, it was flat. I'm convinced others figured this out as well which further aggravated the problem. What then happened is people would not get soda at the places that had the 2 liters which caused long lines at the other places. Most often those places were the bars, which then angered the bartenders and others waiting for alcoholic drinks. I honestly believe you could solve the issue by not having the bottles at all or marking them with a timestamp. Note that if you didn't have a soda package they would whip out a cold can of soda and provide glass. (I'm tempted to write letter to the Coca-Cola company about the issue.) I'm not sure I will ever buy the soda package on RCL again because of this. Wifi: This ship does not yet have wifi throughout the ship. I was able to get a very weak signal in our room on deck 9 forward but never enough to actually get a internet connection. I never had any trouble getting a connection on the pool deck, windjammer, royal promenade, or of course in the internet cafe. Teen club: My twins went to the 12-14 club and activities. My daughter didn't enjoy it and gave it up after the second day. My son kept going throughout the entire cruise. Most of the activities did seem more boy oriented. The only issue I had was once when I went to check on him in the teen club room. I stepped inside the room and the RCL woman freaked out and ran over at me. She kept telling me that I couldn't come in there. She wouldn't shut up so I started talking over her and said I came to check on my son. She kept saying I can come in there. I asked how to I get a hold of him, and she said I would have to talk to her and she could get him. I then asked how if she was also in the room how could get a hold of her without coming into the room? At that she stopped talking and just stood there with her mouth open like that had never occurred to her. By that time we had the attention of all the kids in the room. I just talked to my son quickly and then left. (I've never had a problem stepping into the room to get the attention of staff on the Carnival kids club.) Excursions: Our excursion in Grand Cayman was cancelled due to high wind. We had left early to catch the tender and shop a bit so we didn't find out it was cancelled until we were standing there waiting for the group to show. I did discover that the excursion desk had left a message on our room phone indicating the cancellation. So I give them props for trying to contact us. Disembarkation: It wasn't as bad as embarkation, but having been through many others this experience was consistent with rest of the voyage. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
The food on this cruise is the worst that I have ever experienced on a cruise. There was not food available on the pool deck and swim suits were not allowed in the Windjammer buffet, so you would have to get dressed to go eat. They ... Read More
The food on this cruise is the worst that I have ever experienced on a cruise. There was not food available on the pool deck and swim suits were not allowed in the Windjammer buffet, so you would have to get dressed to go eat. They were extremely slow about clearing tables in the buffet. There was a lot of socializing among the crew when they should have been working. Supervisors would join in on the socializing. Who was minding the store? The food in the dining rooms was not good either. We ate at Johnny Rockets and Chopps a couple of times. The food in these venues was good, but it should have been because you pay a premium to eat there. If you wanted a late night snack and did not want to eat in your room there was only one place to get something. They had pre-made cold sandwiches, pizza under a heat lamp sponge cake and cookies. The pizza was not even grocery store quality. The bars where there was live music were small and so smoke filled you could not enjoy it if you were even able to find a seat. The ship was hot in all areas even the stateroom. Two days into the cruise there was a Norovirus outbreak. There were over 102 reported cases. This put a damper on the cruise for fear of catching it. The staff had to be pulled from other duties to constantly disinfect the public areas. The service on the ship suffered. I spoke with several seasoned cruisers and they expressed the same complaints that I had, so I feel I was not being over critical. Now please do not get me wrong we had a great time on the cruise but it was not to the standards that we are accustomed to. We were told that other ships in the RC line were great, that it was just the bad management of this ship. I may give one of their other ships a try but I could not recommend the Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We sailed on the Navigator of the Seas, RC on 11/17 out of New Orleans. Our Embarkation was not good. Parking was impossible. But getting off the ship was very good. So I think the Port of New Orleans cleaned up their act by then. The ... Read More
We sailed on the Navigator of the Seas, RC on 11/17 out of New Orleans. Our Embarkation was not good. Parking was impossible. But getting off the ship was very good. So I think the Port of New Orleans cleaned up their act by then. The ship was FANTASTIC. The Promenade which is designed like a Main Street is great. There was a Disco Party there one night and the Circus Parade was Amazing. There are lots of activities on the ship, from jewelry making to napkin folding. There was always something to do. The shops on Main Street are okay, nothing special. The food is good at the main restaurants and buffet. The food is excellent in the specialty restaurants. We did the Mystery Dinner, which was lots of fun. The Gym on the ship is great, lots of machines and weights, but it does get crowded at certain times. The Casino is good. The Solarium, the adults only pool is fantastic. 2 whirlpools and one medium size pool. The other pool area is great, 2 larger pools and at least 4 whirlpools. They had line dancing, a disco party and various contests. The ports, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel were okay. Grand Cayman was beautiful. We did the Captain Bryan's Snorkeling trip in Grand Cayman. It was not great snorkeling, the reefs are not spectacular, but the ship and crew were Great. The snorkeling in Jamaica, Dream (booked thru the ship) was not worth the money. Snorkeling was just off the beach. But the ride on both catamarans was wonderful. We shopped in Cozumel, which although hectic with all the vendors shouting at you. But, you can get some great deals. I bought a necklace and I know it was 50% off as I checked the US price. I would give the Navigator 5 stars. The food is not perfect, but I didn't expect it to be. The Ports were not breathtaking, but I didn't expect that either. The ship is spotless, they received a 100% grade from the Health Inspector before we left the Port of New Orleans. The best part of our cruise was the ship. There was ALWAYS something to do. Bingo, exercise classes, dance lessons, mini golf, dodge ball, skating or in line skating. The bars and lounges are great. Our favorite was the Cosmopolitan. The ship never felt crowded even though it was fully booked. The Staff on every level was wonderful. All the staff we encountered on the entire cruise was courteous and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
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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