64 New Orleans to Caribbean - Western Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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
Spent three days in NOLA prior to cruise allowing us a vacation before the vacation and we had a wonderful time, there is so much to see and do there. Checking in was fairly easy - although confusing as to which line we were supposed ... Read More
Spent three days in NOLA prior to cruise allowing us a vacation before the vacation and we had a wonderful time, there is so much to see and do there. Checking in was fairly easy - although confusing as to which line we were supposed to go in. Sail away was cold and windy, weather really does come to play into enjoyment level, we were so excited to be cruising again but it was no fun being on deck at that time. Ship is very pretty - decorated with the Mardi Gras theme. Overall it's a beautiful ship with some signs of wear such as rust on the balcony and faded carpet and plastic plants on the mini golf course. Our cabin was great, we had a junior suite at the back of the boat, although not the view we had hoped for as there is an extension off the back of the balcony that blocks your view of that beautiful water churning. Would opt for cabin on the side next time. We had two sea days up front which was nice coming off of busy days prior in NOLA, but this being our 4th cruise on this class we were finding a lot of the same old same old and not a lot to do. Weather was just not cooperating with us and sitting outside was not much of an option. We ate in the dining room every night and the waiter and assistant waiter were friendly, attentive and very helpful. Could not say anything bad about the service we received in the dining room. We were told they were working with a new menu, each night centered around a different spice. Food was fine but I never really had a meal I was excited about, even the lobster just seemed fine. I was feeling however that there were some cutbacks - for example - at our first crown and anchor event cocktails were served but no hors d'oeuvres. This was even brought up by one of the guests to the captain at the second crown and anchor event. I'm not sure the captain understood the question though. We used to get nice tote bags delivered to our cabins and now it is a box with some dried fruit and cookies, which is nice, but again, feels like a cutback. First port was Falmouth. We had purchased the day pass to the Iberostar resort which included the transportation. Lovely resort, did not realize that alcohol was included with this day pass but you can enjoy the resort and all food and drink is included. Beach was ok, water was not the pretty blue color and was not that clean, may have just been the day we were there. The area outside the terminal shopping is very iffy - I would not feel safe on my own there at all. Next stop was Cozumel. We had pre booked the Cozumel Bar Hop and I would highly recommend this. I am forever grateful having been able to experience the other side of the island - mostly untouched and so beautiful. Our tour guide was very friendly and nice and funny. There are four stops, each "bar" has a different personality and we thoroughly enjoyed each one. I would do that again in a heartbeat. Cost is 54.00 pp, includes a small drink at each stop, buy as they say, have enough cash because there is no electricity, you cannot use credit cards and there is no ATM. We did not have as much cash as we needed and found ourselves penny pinching - we ordered tacos at the second stop, one plate to share two tacos but we were fine. I highly recommend this tour. Grand Cayman - we took a taxi to seven mile beach, the water was beautiful. Decided to each lunch at Margaritaville, our first visit to this franchise and it was a lot of fun. Our last sea day we did something we have never done - we woke up early and went down to the Solarium to put our towels on two chairs and ran to the Windjammer to eat a quick breakfast and went right back. We were there so early we had the chance to watch those who plunk their towels down and our gone for hours. We watched a woman come in and save eight deck chairs in a row and she said alone for hours. Four of the chairs never did get used but her party, eventually they packed their stuff up and left, it was another chilly, windy and cloudy day with periods of rain. So disappointing for the last day. We tried to do the shows - but mostly I think they were horrid. Kenny James was the guest artist and I enjoyed every minute of his show, but the ones featuring the RC singers and dancers were sad. We would sit at the back so we could exit when we had had enough. Overall - we really did have a wonderful time, looking back - we decided maybe it would be better to try the second dinner so we could lay down a bit before dinner. We found ourselves so tired by the end of the day it was hard to stay up late. Leaving the ship seemed like it was going to be easy until we got to the section our luggage was supposed to be in and all four pieces were missing as were a handful of other cruiser's. We filled out a form to have it shipped to our home so we could get to the airport but my husband caught a glimpse of one of our luggage tags on a cart that hadn't been unloaded yet and lucky the others were with it. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
I took the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans on Feb 2nd ( super bowl weekend) 2013. Flew in and cab took us to the pier with no problems. Checked bags and took the trolley to French Quarter and walked back to the ship. If you want ... Read More
I took the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans on Feb 2nd ( super bowl weekend) 2013. Flew in and cab took us to the pier with no problems. Checked bags and took the trolley to French Quarter and walked back to the ship. If you want to buy a couple of bottles of wine before getting on the ship walk one block over down Julia street. You can carry on 2 bottles. We had room 6611 a inside cabin with a bay window looking onto the Promeneade. This room and the 3 or 4 next too it does not look down on the part of the Promeneade where the shops and the parades are held. The room look right onto the sculpture that goes from the top to the bottom of the ship. It is directly across from the Customer service desk. You can't see this from their deck plans. The bed is also cross ways in the room. You have to work your way around the end of the bed to get to the main part of the cabin by the window. Over all it was just ok but I would not get that room again. Never did get cold in the room. Ship is showing it age and needs to be remodeled soon. This cruise had the new menu rolled out earlier this year. My wife liked it but I was not impressed. Food in the dining room was ok. Service is great. Everyone working on the ship says hello and really tries to please. The cruise director Simona is easy on the eyes and you see her everywhere. Production Showes are disapointing. Live entertainer Kenny James was really good and the comedians were funny. Ice show is fantastic, saw it twice. Don't miss The Quest!!! Cozumel for beaches, Grand Cayman for reefs, Falmouth port only. Don't go into town or even outside the fence. Falmouth for shoppping. The End. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Embarkation was a complete mess, the NFL had taken all the local parking lots and the cruise line failed to make arrangements for cruiser to park. We spent 2 hours in traffic getting parked. Had to drag the luggage to the corner of the ... Read More
Embarkation was a complete mess, the NFL had taken all the local parking lots and the cruise line failed to make arrangements for cruiser to park. We spent 2 hours in traffic getting parked. Had to drag the luggage to the corner of the lot to load onto a wagon, were really concerned about seeing it again but it did show up in the room and fairly quick. Once in the New Orleans terminal it went very quickly, assuming everyone was still outside looking for parking spaces, anyway we were on the ship in pretty quick order. Fantastic ship, very well kept and there is no place on board that does not catch the eye. Very clean and RCC program of hand sanitizer stations everywhere and staff directing guest to use them worked well. Within 1 day everyone was trained to hit the hand sanitizers when they saw them or when entering a restaurant. We did the prepaid alcohol, this is a coin toss on value, we will likely not do it again, basically as a couple we would need to have 8.5 drinks rounds between us each of the 7 days. Now to be honest there were a couple that this was no problem but tough to accomplish on other days. Guess it is really how much of a drinker you are and whether you can get your money's worth. Our suite was killer, on the center of the hump and very clean, the steward did a great job taking care of us. Food was typical cruise ship fare nothing crazy good except when we ate in Portofino, well worth the extra 20 bucks and it was a really nice evening with excellent food. Great service staff, very nice and always ready with a smile, all of the evening spots were fun and there was always a place to sit. Problem spots, I have 2 words for RCC, "Soap Dish", we were in a suite and there was none so we used a drink glass. The room had fabulous granite counters in the bath and they were being ruined with the soap residue left because of no soap dish. Deck Chairs, this seems to be an issue on all cruise ships, they need to figure out how to resolve. Sat and watched dozens of loungers go unused with a towel on them, being "reserved"... Overall, great time and ship, we will go again on the Navigator, except hoping next cruise the Captain does not decided to outline the entire cruise after the safety drill but while we are all still standing there.....The return saw more issues with getting out, Mardi Gras, we will watch when we cruise next year out of New Orleans and avoid these times. 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
We had a wonderful time and my expectations were exceeded frequently. The food in the dining room was really good and some was excellent. The buffet was good, but I didn't eat there much because the dining room was so good and so ... Read More
We had a wonderful time and my expectations were exceeded frequently. The food in the dining room was really good and some was excellent. The buffet was good, but I didn't eat there much because the dining room was so good and so relaxing. Our water and asst water (Ahmet and Alelie) took exceptionally good care of us. Our cabin steward was great, she took care of our special requests and did an excellent job. In fact, the whole crew made me feel like royalty, they really took great care of us and made us feel welcome and special. This ship is very large and had everything. The shows ranged from OK to really good. The gym was very good. I went there every day and it was sometimes busy but I was always able to do whatever exercise I wanted. Got my haircut and my DW said it was the best haircut I ever had. The promenade is really nice with shops and a 24 hour coffee/tea/sandwiches/pastries and cookies area. It also had a mini Starbucks. Royal Caribbean really won us over. Our Junior Suite on the aft of the ship was spectacular and we really enjoyed it. I could go on about how wonderful our cruise was. I really can't think of much they could have done to make it any better. I few minor items they could improve on would be to have brewed iced tea instead of made from concentrate, allow tips to be adjusted on your account instead of the all or nothing method and give receipts for tips put on your account so you can present them to the people you tip. They have a large selection of good quality tea bags available everywhere, but if you get the iced tea, it is from a concentrate. The coffee was brewed. It was a little strong for me, but that is just my preference. You have to ask for cream at your table, they just put milk on the table for your coffee. I only had one major complaint-smoking. I understand that RC tries to make both smokers and non-smokers happy, but I think they don't appreciate that you can't have it both ways. If you allow smoking in places that connect to, or are open to other areas, the smoke will naturally go to all the places. Just because you designate someplace as non-smoking doesn't mean it will be smoke free unless you don't allow smoking in areas connected to or open to that area. Balconies are part of the rooms and are connected (through the rooms) to the hallways. The bars on the sides of the promenade have large openings and doorways that open onto the promenade. The casino has a staircase leading from the middle of the casino up and onto the promenade. The casino also opens into the art studio/photograph area. The casino and bars also open onto or near the elevators and stairs. Smoking is allowed on balconies, bars and the casino. The smoke from these places doesn't stay there, it goes wherever it wants to. So when the bars and casino are open, the promenade can become smokey. When people are smoking on their balconies the smoke sometimes drifts away from the ship. Other times it goes into a neighbors balcony and other times into the hallways. If people smoke on their balconies with the balcony doors open, it can go into the room and from the room into the hallways. Many times while walking down the hallways by balcony rooms, the hallways were smokey. I was disappointed that I had to put up with smoke in the hallways and promenade. I read the smoking policy before I purchased this cruise. It gave me the impression that I would not have to put up with smoke, because it is only allowed in a few areas. I didn't expect these areas to be so connected and open to many other areas. They try to minimize the intrusion of the smoke with good air circulation and lots of air fresheners, but that just makes much of the ship smell like a casino. Royal Caribbean would have won me over as a loyal customer, if it had not been for the smoke. The trip was wonderful, but the smoking "left a bad taste in my mouth" and made me search for another cruise line for my next trip. Royal Caribbean has the departure ports, the itineraries, the ships, the staterooms and so much more that I am completely sold on. I hope they change their policy soon to be like Princess or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My wife and I live in the Chicago area, and last summer we started planning a winter escape for January 2013. We were mainly interested in Caribbean itineraries, but didn't care which port we cruised from. A search on the RC website ... Read More
My wife and I live in the Chicago area, and last summer we started planning a winter escape for January 2013. We were mainly interested in Caribbean itineraries, but didn't care which port we cruised from. A search on the RC website showed some very attractive pricing on the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans. These 7-night cruises included Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. The order in which the ports are visited varies from sailing to sailing. We selected an itinerary that started with two sea days, allowing us time to decompress and switch into cruise mode. To keep the costs low (and just to try something different), we decided to ride the Amtrak train from Chicago to New Orleans. We have been on Amtrak several times before, but never on an overnight train. This would be a new experience. If you purchase either a roomette or a bedroom on Amtrak, the fare includes meals in the dining car. The combination of an overnight train ride plus a night in New Orleans plus a 7-night cruise and finally another overnight train ride back resulted in a 10-night vacation with all but two meals included in the cost. Our train rolled out of Chicago's Union Station at 8:00 PM on Thursday Jan 10. We were in a roomette in a sleeper car. A "roomette" is a rather generous name for something that can described as two chairs (which can be converted into beds) and a sliding door. At least we were cozy and had privacy. We arrived shaken (but not deterred) in New Orleans at 3:00 on Friday afternoon, which was 30 minutes ahead of schedule. A nice thing about train travel is that the stations are usually located right in the downtown areas of their respective cities. Therefore, it was an inexpensive taxi fare to go the one mile to our hotel. We stayed at the SpringHill Suites at 301 St. Joseph Street. Breakfast was included in the room rate. The hotel was clean and well maintained, and we had no complaints with the quality of service. This hotel does not have free shuttle service, so took we a cab to the French Quarter for dinner. New Orleans is an amazing city for visitors. We had dinner at The Gumbo Shop, a very touristy restaurant, but the food was good and reasonably priced. Afterwards we walked around the French Quarter. There were several street performers out and about. I had a Hurricane at Pat O'Briens and we enjoyed the dueling pianos. My wife was both amused and appalled by all the bizarre souvenirs for sale in the shops. We sampled only a fraction of what New Orleans had to offer, but we managed to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. We were back at the hotel before things got too wild. The weather forecast was predicting heavy fog for the next morning, and I went to bed worried that our ship would be delayed. I woke up around 6:00 AM to the sound of a deep ship's horn in the distance. I looked out the window, and it was indeed foggy. I heard the horn again. I couldn't be sure that it was the Navigator of the Seas, but I had a feeling it was. From that point on, I knew it was going to be good day. We were in front of the hotel and loading ourselves into a cab at 10:30 AM. The fog had burned off, and it was sunny and around 70 degrees. The ride was short, and we were at the port at 10:37. The drop off area has a nice view of the ship. We breezed through security and check-in with no lines at all. We were on board at 10:58. The security person said there were a lot of people lined up at 9:30, but they were all processed by the time we arrived. The Windjammer did not open until 11:30, so we walked the Promenade and had a quick snack at Cafe P. Some members of the Navigator of the Seas orchestra were just starting to play their Welcome Aboard set when we arrived. By 11:40 we were comfortably settled into the seats of a window table in the Windjammer. For the next hour, we ate and chatted and looked forward to our cruise. The ship was parallel parked on the side of the Mississippi River, right behind a smaller Carnival ship. In front of the Carnival ship was a large double bridge carrying a highway over the river. With the skyline, the river, and the bridge, interesting views were to be had from anywhere on the ship. This was our first time sailing out of New Orleans. Many people are unaware that New Orleans is not actually on the ocean. It is about 60 miles upriver from the mouth of the Mississippi, which means that a ship spends eight to nine hours cruising the river before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. During this time, New Orleans sales tax (9%) is added onto all purchases (including drink purchases) and the onboard shops are closed. The Cruise Compass refers to this tax as a "VAT" (value added tax), but that is just a fancy international term of a sales tax. Once we were in the Gulf, no more sales tax, or VAT, or whatever you want to call it. Note that the casino was open for business the first night. We were in an outside cabin (category F) on Deck 6. This cabin faces forward, toward the bow, with a view of the helipad. The head of the bed is against a side wall, leaving enough space beyond the bed to look out the window. It was something new for us to look out the window and see where the ship was going. I preferred this view to the side facing cabins we stayed in on previous cruises. A sign near the window explained that we had to close the curtains at night in order keep the bow dark so the bridge officers could steer the ship. I really liked this room. The walk to the elevators was not too long, and the forward elevators seemed less crowded than the aft ones. Being on Deck 6, it was only one flight of stairs down to the Promenade. On Navigator, the cafe is at the forward end the Promenade, which was very convenient. The room was quiet, and there were no issues with the plumbing or the ventilation. Our cabin attendant was competent, efficient, and cheerful. On the first day, we watched sail away with some friends who were staying in a junior suite. It was wonderful to relax on their balcony and watch as the ship left port. First it pulls away from the dock, then it has to turn completely around before starting down river. After the turn, we had a dazzling view of downtown New Orleans at sunset. At last we were cruising the Mississippi, river of legend, the Father of Waters. We sailed along, unvexed, to the sea. We had all of our dinners in the main dining room, early seating. We were at a table for four on Deck 3, actually not too far from the Captain's table. The food was good to excellent every night, and the service from our waiter and assistant waiter was superb. We had the same bar service person all seven evenings, and I was impressed with her performance. When we arrived, she was there to take our orders, and our drinks came out within minutes. When our drinks were running low, she promptly appeared to ask if we wanted more. This was a big improvement over our previous cruise, where the MDR bar service left much to be desired. Another nice thing about our dinners (at least in our section) was that the head waiter came over to chat with us every evening, and sometimes multiple times the same evening. I have been on cruises where I never even met the head waiter until the last night. Overall, I have the highest praise for our dinners on Navigator. Note that the formal nights were Day 2 and Day 6. All of our breakfasts were in the WJ. Lunch was in the WJ on port days and the MDR on sea days. I made good use of the custom salad bar in the MDR every day it was open. It had a great selection of ingredients and toppings, and getting a salad properly tossed with the dressing is a always a treat. Overall breakfast and lunch in the WJ were fine: plenty of items, a few things not that warm, but most of them okay. While most WJ selections are the same from day to day, some things do change so it pays to check carefully. One day (and one day only) I noticed Cajun pulled pork in the burger line, so I took some buns and made a couple of tasty sandwiches. By the way, each day in the Windjammer we were greeted by the most energetic and fun character on the ship. He made up songs and dances on the spot to urge people to sanitize their hands before entering. He brightened our day whenever we saw him. My wife and I made a habit of going to the WJ at 4:00 for afternoon snacks. In addition to sandwiches, they had plenty of cakes and dessert treats, and they always had one or two types of scones. It made for a nice afternoon break. I used the wireless internet every day. It was not available in the rooms, at least not in ours. The strongest signal was in Cafe P in the Promenade. One of the handouts mentioned that it should be available in the Cosmopolitan Club (AKA the Viking Crown Lounge), but I found the signal to be marginal up there. Overall, the internet speed was slow and the price high. I found it best to work offline and keep connection time as brief as possible. As for entertainment, on the first night, there was only one show in the main theater. This was at 7:45 PM. We were a bit late getting there, but found some decent seats on the side of the balcony. This was billed as the "Welcome Aboard Variety Show." It featured the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers, the Navigator of the Seas orchestra, the ballroom dancing couple of Olga and Dmitry, and the comedy of Jim McDonald. It was a nice show with a little of everything, but the dancing of Olga and Dmitry was a highlight. They are a talented couple, and they appeared in another show later in the week. They also gave ballroom dancing lessons during the cruise. On most nights, there were usually two main shows in the theater, and all of the shows were well done. Overall, the quality of the shows was above what I have seen on previous cruises. I would like to single out the Gemini Duo, who are two twin sisters who play piano and violin. They sometimes appeared in the main dining room during dinner (where it was difficult to hear them) and at other times in Bolero's. They played mostly classical music, but it was usually the livelier and better known pieces, essentially the classical top forty. At times during their set they asked for requests. Of course, listening to them in Bolero's has its drawbacks, as they had to play over some very loud conversation and the sound of the crushed iced machine. Still, they were a pleasant discovery on this cruise. We caught as many of their sets as we could. Patrice Doucet (the "Piano Man") in the Schooner Bar was good, too. He did a bit too much Neil Diamond for my taste, but he seemed to draw a fine crowd most nights. The Two Poets Pub was way too smoky for me, but as I walked by I could hear Scott Perham in there. He is a one-man bar band whose bread and butter is the Margaritaville type of ballad. I never made it to the Dungeon, nor did I get to hear the Latin flavored Tumbao Trio. The poolside band was Caribbean Force, and they did a decent job. Overall, the musical entertainment and choices were very excellent. Day 3 was the 70's disco party in the Promenade. It starts with live versions of songs by a couple of the RC singers. Then it shifts to recorded music and lip-syncing, with the heavy lifting being done by a group of faux Village People, who were amazingly energetic. Of course, the ice show was amazing, as expected. Tickets were distributed at 9:30 AM on Day 2. Our Cruise Director was John Perry, who did an acceptable job, but he didn't really stand out in any way. I was drinking mostly beers on this trip. I recall enjoying Newcastle, Corona, Becks, Red Stripe, Boddington's, Spaten, and a few others. I would advise people to keep an eye out for the beer cart. I first noticed the beer cart in front of the WJ buffet on Day 1. I also saw it several times in the lobby of the main theater before a show. It is essentially a cart with a nice selection of bottled beers, all of them priced at $3.50. After including the automatic 15% tip, that works out to $4.03 a beer, which is a great deal for a cruise ship. At the bars, the prices were higher. Our fellow passengers on this trip seemed friendly and well-mannered. I think the percentage of European passengers is less when cruising out of New Orleans than from the Florida ports. The south central states were well represented, and there were plenty of LSU T-shirts and caps to be seen. We also recognized a few passengers who were on our train from Chicago. We did not do any of the port excursions, although we walked around in each port. The ship turned its clocks back one hour to match local time in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. I was impressed with the size of the shopping compound in Falmouth, and I was glad that it included a covered area where local craftspeople can sell their wares. My wife and I purchased some inexpensive carvings directly from the artisans who made them. Grand Cayman is the only port in which we had to tender. It was a short tender, perhaps only five minutes. I was surprised at how expensive it is to get a drink in Grand Cayman. We stopped at a restaurant called Breezes, and our two Red Stripe beers (plus tip) cost us $17. Wow! Of course, there were seven cruise ships in port that day, totaling around 20,000 passengers. I hope the prices go down when the ships leave. The real bargain of Grand Cayman is the Post Office (Cardinal Ave. and Main Street), which is only a few blocks from the tender drop off point. Most of the souvenir stores wanted $1.25 to $2.50 for one post card. The Post Office was selling nice looking cards at much lower prices. I purchased six cards, plus postage to the US, for a total of $3.80, and they accepted US dollars. I wrote the cards in the restaurant and mailed them at the Post Office. I can confirm that all of them were received, with an average delivery time of eight days. I made it to the fitness center every morning for a good workout. The fitness center is on Deck 11, facing forward, with large windows that provided fantastic views ocean. I used mostly the treadmills and the cycling machines, and I never had to wait for a machine. My only criticism of the fitness center is that it includes a large whirlpool hot tub. That in itself is not a bad thing, but the tub is in the same room as the workout equipment. It raised the humidity level so that cardio workouts became much more challenging than usual. My wife enjoyed the line dancing activities. Most of these were poolside, except one day when the weather was bad. They included a lot of fun Latin dance moves, and they even included a Gangnam Style dance. There was also line dancing at the White Night poolside party, which occurred late in the evening on Day 5. It was a great deal of fun. The Navigator of the Seas is in great shape. If I looked closely, I could see a little wear and tear. For example, on one of the elevators, the button for Deck 11 was well worn. Our room had an older style TV, but our friends in the junior suite had a nice flat screen model. The quality of service was excellent (as expected), and all of the staff I interacted with were friendly and helpful. For disembarkation we ignored the announcements and just hung out in Cafe P and the Champagne Bar until 9:40 AM, when it was clear that they wanted everyone off the ship. We walked off, got our luggage, went through customs, and were in the cab line in less than 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the cab line moved slowly, and we waited in that line for about half an hour. By 10:35 we were at the Amtrak station, where we checked our bags. Then we took another cab to Harrah's to gamble and to get some lunch, as the only dining option at the station was a Subway sandwich counter. We got back in time to board our train, which left at 1:45 PM. We were back in Chicago (a very cold Chicago) at 9:00 AM on Sunday morning. We enjoyed just about everything on this trip. New Orleans is great city to cruise from, and the Navigator is a wonderful ship to sail on. Best wishes to whoever sails on her next. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We flew to New Orleans and got there around 1:30 to meet a huge group of people. I didn't like going through 3 rooms of wait lists. Went to eat at Jade and didn't realize there was a better restaurant at the Windjammer just ... Read More
We flew to New Orleans and got there around 1:30 to meet a huge group of people. I didn't like going through 3 rooms of wait lists. Went to eat at Jade and didn't realize there was a better restaurant at the Windjammer just behind it. Hot dogs and greasy chicken was not very good for our first meal. We got a great price on a room on the 3rd floor. It did have a bad odor getting to it in the hallway, but our room was fine. I was worried about noise from the nightclub, but we heard nothing. Toilets and shower worked fine. Carpeting on all floors to cabins needs replaced. Main areas of the ship were very nice and well maintained. I got to thinking at the last minute, that perhaps what we saved, we could get a drink package. The price was $630 for two for the week for wine and beer. Each cabin member had to get the package. It was nice to not have to worry about the money and perhaps we did drink more than we would have normally. The wine was bottom of the barrel cheap. Ironically, the merlot tasted okay, but by the end of the week, my body didn't like it. In hindsight, buying a better glass of wine may have been better. Hubby liked his beer package. Then on the last day of the cruise, I got the norovirus. I was up all night long, and very worried about the double plane ride home. Fortunately that went well, and the $10 extra per flight was worth advanced seating on Southwest. Very weak the next day. Laundry had to wait. The food was adequate. I can't say we had bad food but nothing to write home about. Breakfast on Celebrity's buffet was always an adventure. Very creative every morning! The food was the same every day on RC. Lunches were okay. Lots of salt though, as my face and fingers were swollen from the start. Dinners in the main dining room were okay. Steaks were tough, fish was fine, lobster was small. I guess we just got spoiled on previous cruises, and I know the ships have to cut somewhere with the price of fuel. Now the good: I liked the ship layout, service was good. There was more entertainment aboard ship than Celebrity, which I liked. A crazy mardi gras night dancing to oldies in the Promenade was a lot of fun. We were close to the Seattle coffee shop so that was great. I would have to say it was more of a fun ship. The entertainment musical groups were pretty good. The weather got very hot in Jamaica, cloudy in Grand Cayman, very windy in Cozumel, and down right cold and windy on last sea day. So our weather was not the best, and very little tan for me. We did the river raft in Jamaica which was good, and Passion Island would have been better had it not been so windy. But they did a nice buffet on Passion Island and guacamole & mahi was great. The beach was nice to walk on barefoot. I was disappointed in the little things you got on Celebrity that was missing here: No beach bag, no Q-tips & cotton, no cream rinse, no lotions, no midnight chocolate, no water pitcher. Also, on Celebrity you didn't need to lug your towels all week so you didn't get charged. So, I had to buy a beach bag. I probably shouldn't compare, but being the same parent company, I thought it would be the same. But looking back on our photos, yes, we did have fun. It was a nice getaway, but we spent too much. Sigh, I guess that is to be expected. Bottom line, you should try Celebrity as the captains club points are combined. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Four of us were on a "package" which was made up of 3 days in Memphis seeing Elvis (who alas had left the building), a day on Amtrack and 3 days in New Orleans all of which was superb, we all had a great time especially New ... Read More
Four of us were on a "package" which was made up of 3 days in Memphis seeing Elvis (who alas had left the building), a day on Amtrack and 3 days in New Orleans all of which was superb, we all had a great time especially New Orleans and boarded the ship for what was hopefully going to be our 2nd great week. The ship itself is superb, it is well laid out, clean, tidy and a joy to cruise on, the food in the Windjammer at Lunch was very good and you were never left wanting for choice - however :- Boat drill was done without lifejackets (a first) and the combination of a foreign accent and a bad tannoy system meant that anyone in B13 station would have gone down with the ship for lack of direction. The "Wine package" offered on the first night was done without telling you that there was a New Orleans sales tax added AND then 15% as well, if done on the 2nd night then you saved 8% plus a bit for the service. No transparency on this and when questioned the Sales tax was credited. The food in the main dining area was for the first 5 days poor and we took bets on whether there was actually a chef on board. One steak was so tough we invited the waiters to attempt to cut it while 4 days later another was rare on the inside and cindered on the outside. The last 2 days were much better although while the lamb shank was great it suffered from a lack of mint sauce. We were offered a kind of mint jelly but it somehow looked radio active in colour so we declined. As a "Gold" member we were invited to a special meeting done to maybe try to sell us more cruises. This consisted of 30 minutes listening to the band, a speech by an Eastern European Officer in maybe his own language and around 100 words from the Captain who then cleared off pronto, end of reception, all clear off ! Did it sell more cruises ? I doubt it. The Captain boasted that he had around 70 different nationalities on board the ship looking after us all which was good, however the fact they all spoke in what can be called "broken English" meant that on many occasions we hadn't a clue what many of them were saying and I doubt they did either when talking to each other. Finally, we did take part in some of the quiz times which were in the main good fun. Whatever you do do not believe the answers as some of them are wrong. Alas since 1912 everyone believed the Titanic sailed from Southampton however RCI seem to think it was Liverpool - maybe if it had then it would not have sank ! The ship was great, the ports of call were very good except Jamaica (which as one person said "if it sank without trace no-one would miss it")and overall the cruise was not bad. It is a pity that the running of the ship is so dysfunctional making lines like P&O and Cunard stand head and shoulders above this company. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids age 12 and 14) had a great experience on the RC Navigator! Our only real cruise experience before this was on Disney. It really depends on the ages of your kids, but for mine, I would pick Royal Caribbean ... Read More
Our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids age 12 and 14) had a great experience on the RC Navigator! Our only real cruise experience before this was on Disney. It really depends on the ages of your kids, but for mine, I would pick Royal Caribbean over Disney big time. Our check in was very easy-we basically just walked on board! We did take a few 12 packs of soda and a case of water in our bags, and they made it on board no problem! Our rooms were great-kids had an inside cabin, my husband and I had a balcony room. We actually didn't even see our kids much on our days at sea because they were so busy with all the activities in the teen room. The 12-17 activities were very well organized-the kids even had their own activities planner/director and she was GREAT!! My kids rate this cruise 5+++. They enjoyed Disney, but this was a whole different ballgame, and it was GREAT. My husband and I enjoyed ourselves very much. We loved our late dinner seating, we LOVED the Quest, the Casino, the bars, and the pool. We actually went to bed pretty much after dinner most nights because we hit it so hard during the day-especially on the port days! Our dining room experience was great-we had a 4 top table and would have enjoyed having others at our table-especially since our kids ditched us most nights to hang with their friends. We did end up meeting friends and sitting with them! We literally talked all the way home (10 hour drive) about our cruise and really couldn't come up with too many things we would change! It was that good! Here are the only small complaints we came up with: Hard beds, crowded elevators, and The Windjammer was a bit of a nightmare...decent food, but mob quality crowds, lines (especially for breakfast), no place to sit, and the same food for breakfast and lunch every day. We avoided it by eating in the dining room, or fighting the crowds to fill a couple plates, and enjoying our breakfast in our room off our balcony. We ordered room service once-but selections are very limited so a quick run thru the Jammer, and back to the room was best! Same thing for lunch-fill a plate, head to the pool!!! In the beginning of the cruise, I had a fabulous salad every day for lunch. Later in the cruise, I would get a huge plate of fry's, cover it with cheese, bacon, and ranch dressing, HA! I hated how crowded the elevators were but being forced to take stairs was good for me. Bottom line, we loved our RC vacation, and can't wait to do it again next year!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I was on the RC Navigator Jan. 5-12, 2013. It was fantastic! I had so much fun. I went to Sea Grape Beach in Grand Cayman, which is the most beautiful swimming beach I've ever been to. I stayed in the water for hours, and enjoyed my ... Read More
I was on the RC Navigator Jan. 5-12, 2013. It was fantastic! I had so much fun. I went to Sea Grape Beach in Grand Cayman, which is the most beautiful swimming beach I've ever been to. I stayed in the water for hours, and enjoyed my beach chair and umbrella for only $10. I hired a private guide with a few other people to take us around Jamaica. It was a very good tour, and he was very knowledgeable and fun, but Jamaica is kind of a depressing place. I took RC's island tour of Cozumel, which was interesting but also slow and a bit boring. We ended up at Playa Mia beach, which I liked, and wound up staying there late and taking a taxi back to the ship. I recommend in each of these islands finding out which are the best beaches and simply going to a beach for the day. The service on the ship was impeccable. My stateroom attendant was fabulous and kept my room spotless. The food was very good the first few days, then went downhill for two days, then went back up the last few days. The had a delicious BBQ by the pool the second to last sea day. I loved my balcony room and slept with the window open every night. I traveled by myself and did MyTime dining, so I met a lot of people. MyTime is a great way to get to know other cruisers. I highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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
I previously sailed on the Mariner of the Seas which has the identical floor plan to the Navigator, and I really enjoyed that cruise, but I was disappointed that the Navigator was not as good. I'll comment on a few areas that made ... Read More
I previously sailed on the Mariner of the Seas which has the identical floor plan to the Navigator, and I really enjoyed that cruise, but I was disappointed that the Navigator was not as good. I'll comment on a few areas that made the most impression. Embarkation: We got to the terminal around 11:30 am and there was practically no line. We were on the ship and in the buffet in maybe 30 minutes. That's the way to go! Food: Just average at the beginning of the week, but it got better as the week progressed, especially in the MDR. Desserts were generally good there, better than at the buffet. We had first seating which was a bit early for us some nights. One annoyance was that they only had white bread rolls at the meals, which I almost never eat. We tried to ask for whole wheat or whole grain rolls and were met with confusion (and more white rolls). Finally the headwaiter got some nice bread from the buffet (why did they only have it there?), which was just what we wanted, and from then on we had a few slices available every night. In the buffet the vegetable selection and salad bar could have been better. We were surprised that the buffet closed so early every night (9 pm). On Princess we could go do a run through the buffet after the show and see if we missed anything that we wanted to try. We liked Cafe Promenade but they needed more variety in their food offerings, especially the desserts. Lounges: This was the biggest disappointment. My boyfriend and I do a lot of partner dancing (ballroom, nightclub 2-step, swing, Argentine tango) and we love to dance on cruises. This ship had HORRIBLE floors for dancing. Nearly all of them were tile instead of wood, and every single floor was incredibly sticky so you couldn't turn or pivot on them; very bad for dancing since forcing turns can cause injuries. This was not the case on the Mariner so I don't know what they did to those floors. We and other dancing couples we met on the cruise complained about it but nothing was done until the last night. Also, the bands didn't start playing until quite late most nights, after 10 pm sometimes, and they all seemed to take breaks at about the same time. Also, the bands repeated their music a lot, especially the one up at the Cosmopolitan that seemed to play the same set of music every night. We were pretty tired of the songs by the end of the week. They also played too many of the same type of music in a row. Every good dance band knows that you need to vary your music! Cabin: We had an inside cabin, and with the beds pushed together, there is almost no room to get around the end of the bed due to furniture being right up against the end of the bed. I've never had that problem on any other cruise ship before. I like the shower with the shower doors though; much nicer than the curtains on Princess. Overall a good cruise, but I think we preferred our last cruise on Princess to this one due to the above issues. It was nice to get a chance to visit New Orleans though. We stayed 4 nights after the cruise and enjoyed seeing the sights there. 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
We arrived about 10:30am, parked at the Port of New Orleans, which is a bit of a challenge to find and were on the ship by 11:00am. Btw, parking at the port is on a lot surrounded by a chain link fence. It is not covered and cost $16 a ... Read More
We arrived about 10:30am, parked at the Port of New Orleans, which is a bit of a challenge to find and were on the ship by 11:00am. Btw, parking at the port is on a lot surrounded by a chain link fence. It is not covered and cost $16 a day. It was fine for us since we only had to walk across the lot and hand our luggage to the porters and when we disembarked, made for a quick exit. The ship is absolutely beautiful, the staff attentive and friendly and we thought the food and service were quite good. We brought 2 bottles of wine onboard (in my backpack so it was easy to find when they scan your stuff on embarkation) so that was lovely to have a glass on our balcony. We also poured a glass a couple of nights and took to the dining room - no problem. We ate at Chops Steakhouse one night to celebrate my husband's birthday. They give you way too much food and yes we took half our steaks and both our desserts back to our room and never did eat them. Such a shame - but throwing up at the table wouldn't have been nice either :) Next time I am going to nix the appetizers and save myself for entree and dessert!! We did not think it was as romantic a setting as some of the other specialty restaurants we have eaten at. It is located right next to the Windjammer so we could hear the tea cart rolling over the floors and the clatter of dishes. Our cabin 9294 was a junior suite with a walk in closet, an electric tea kettle which we used for hot chocolate and hot tea, and a small coffee maker that we didn't use. The balcony had a lounger, 2regular deck chairs and a small table. That made it a tad crowded for us so we moved one of the chairs inside the cabin to give us more room outside. The chair and ottoman inside the cabin was quite nice for reading since it was a little chilly when we left New Orleans. As to service - our cabin steward forgot to come back and perform her turn down duties one night early in the cruise. We didn't mention it to her because really I have been turning my own covers down for years without any assistance, and while I mourned the towel animal surprise, it was the lack of clean towels that I grieved! However, she asked the next morning if she had forgotten us and we did tell her yes, but it was okay. That night she put a bucket of champagne in our room - a gift from our cabin steward!! That was a first for us but a lovely surprise!! Service example 2: Our bathroom was nicely equipped with a bathtub and shower head but unfortunately, it smelled like the sewer for the entire ship had backed up in there. Let's just say that everyone became involved in this problem. Our cabin steward called everyone she knew, my honey talked to the chief engineer and his whole staff, people were in and out of our room for the first 24 hours BUT they did get the problem fixed AND our bathroom smelled WONDERFUL :). In addition, the very next night, the Room Services Manager sent us a bottle of...you guessed it, champagne thanking us for our patience etc. Imagine our surprise when the 4th night of our cruise rolled around and no one showed up with any champagne :)We ate in the dining room every night except for the one in Chops. Our wait staff was superb - Darius and Jamie we think of you every night we come home to an empty kitchen with no dinner awaiting us! Our table mates were hilarious and we all had a really good time. So good in fact that we were often the last ones to leave the dining room, yet Darius and Jamie never rushed us out instead offering us more coffee, wine or whatever anyone was drinking. A shout out to newly weds Rachael and Michael Chance, Margaret and Bill Leggett and Nancy Jacuzzi. We miss your wit and humor at our non-existent dinner table :) We have visited these same ports before so check out the port page if you need suggestions. Cruise Critic won't let you down. One observation - my husband bought some liquor in Cozumel. We found out that it was CHEAPER in the Carnival terminal than the RCCL terminal. $5.00 a bottle cheaper for the Balvenie he bought but unfortunately, they wouldn't sell it to him because he was on RCCL. We thought that was crazy! We found some folks at Fat Tuesday who offered to flash their Carnival sail card and let us just pay cash but we had a credit card so ended up at the RCCL terminal for our purchase. We walked our luggage off so that took about 20 minutes. Would definitely go again. More please!! Sunshine Mullins Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My wife and I have taken seven cruises which included Carnival, NCL, and Celebrity. This was our first with RC. We were celebrating our 40th anniversary. Embarkation: We arrived at the baggage drop-off by 11:00, parked in the whale ... Read More
My wife and I have taken seven cruises which included Carnival, NCL, and Celebrity. This was our first with RC. We were celebrating our 40th anniversary. Embarkation: We arrived at the baggage drop-off by 11:00, parked in the whale lot, and were enjoying lunch in the Windjammer by noon. The boarding process was similar to most cruises we have taken with minimal waiting in line. This, of course was dependent upon the early arrival. Cabin: We had an inside cabin on deck 9. Convenient and quiet. It was smaller than some we have been in, but very comfortable. It was a good choice for us since we spent so little time in the room. Storage space was well designed and adequate for our needs. The bathroom was roomy enough except for the shower. It would probably be a tight fit for anyone over 250 lbs. Food: We ate breakfasts in the Windjammer throughout the voyage. Because we are early risers it was not overly crowded. The breakfast food choices were extensive, but tended to be the same all week. The same was true for lunches at the Windjammer. We ate suppers in the Nutcracker (MDR). Choices and quality were comparable to Carnival and NCL, but inferior to Celebrity. Service: Waiters were attentive and helpful. Even in the Windjammer, waiters regularly circulated to offer beverages or provide assistance. Our room steward, "Speedy" was exceptional. He recognized us coming down the hallway, immediately went to our cabin, and opened the door for us. That's "royal" service. Entertainment: Special guest performances were quite good. The ice skating show is a "must see". Tickets for the ice show are available the first night at sea in the Promenade. Don't procrastinate. Certain performances "sell out" quickly. Disembarkation: Because we chose to carry our own luggage off the ship, we were allowed to leave at our convenience once docked. I would recommend this option to all who are able to carry their luggage. The only caution is to be patient. The elevators become very congested during this time. Specific commendations: The ships decor is very beautiful (not gaudy like some). There is a constant emphasis on cleanliness. Gheorge, the "sanitizer man", makes your entrance into the Windjammer a fun experience. The head waiter of the Nutcracker was noteworthy, circulating and greeting every guest. Recommendations: Search out recreational and entertainment options. The Compass (the daily info sheet) could be more helpful identifying these options. We enjoyed the putt putt golf on deck 12 and the shuffleboard on decks 4 and 5. There are also classes such as quilting, etc. available on deck 2. In general: The Navigator is a fine ship. It does not seem old or worn, and I would happily choose this vessel for another cruise. Royal Caribbean provides a lot of bang for your buck, its strongest feature being service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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
We did RCL's New Year's Trip RT out of New Orleans. We live in the area right now, so we drove to the port. We have left out of 3 other ports including 1 outside the US and this port was the worst the leave out of. It took us a ... Read More
We did RCL's New Year's Trip RT out of New Orleans. We live in the area right now, so we drove to the port. We have left out of 3 other ports including 1 outside the US and this port was the worst the leave out of. It took us a long time to get to the parking lot, we then had to wait in a very long line (even as Gold members), and it took nearly 1.5 hours just to get on the ship. We spoke with other travelers who have experienced other ports and shared the same frustration at embarkation in NOLA. It seemed they had much fewer guest service people checking everyone in, since we sailed thru security rather quickly (once we got to that point!). The ship was decked out in holiday regalia. We absolutely hate the holidays and often try to escape to a non-christian country to avoid the cold, Christmas caroling, and what not. We were pleased that even though the ship was dressed to impress for the holidays, we did not hear any Christmas music and it was toned down the further we got into the cruise. The 3rd night, the main dining room was free of Christmas stuff entirely, and by the end of the trip the only item left visible was the tree in the Promenade. We were so grateful for that!All our days at sea were crappy weather. I know the cruise lines cannot do anything about this. They moved the majority of events from the outside into the inside or cancelled them all together. We never had a lack of something to do onboard, but would have appreciated 1 day sitting by the pool, but alas it was beautiful once we were down in the Caribbean! Our cruise directors were hilarious, personable, and we had a great time on 70's night, NYE party, and a few sail away parties camped out in the outdoor hot tubs watching the sunset. We did go see several of the shows, the Platters brought down the house! Not a dry eye in the place! The juggler was okay, the comedian was mostly funny (we were both sober, so maybe some alcohol helped). Formal nights were fun and orderly. I took 1 of the photography classes while onboard and the staff down there were wonderful. Two of the photographers were very gifted and we bought all the photos these 2 took, with the rest being rather lack luster. We really enjoy the portraits as they are framed fun memories of our adventures. The people onboard were by far the friendliest we have encountered. We met many people from all over the US. I met a fellow photographer onboard and we spent an hour on the pool deck showing me how to work my new fancy camera. We met another couple NYE night in Boleros bar near midnight and had great conversation, laughs and dancing. The celebrations on the Promenade were fun to be had by all and even though it was insanely crowded and loud, people were still nice and willing. We tolerate the Windjammer when we are too tired or don't want to think about where to round up food. (Isn't the point of a cruise to not think for a week?). Some things in the Windjammer were good, others awful, you just kind of learned what to avoid. The hand santizer guy at the Windjammer won employee of the month for his insane amount of enthusiasm in the morning getting everyone to sanitize their hands. He was awesome to wake up to every morning! We buy the soda package on these cruises and between him and the caffeine, you were moving in the morning! We did eat at Johnny Rockets 1 day for lunch, we didn't need to eat anything till our 8pm dinner and even then we weren't really hungry. Johnny Rockets is so much fun, loud, and food is good for diner food. Love the cheese fries and chocolate milk shakes. I would eat there every day just for those two things, but I would have gained 10 pounds on a weeklong cruise doing that! Lol. We also ate at Chops Grille on NYE night. We had a 6:30pm seating, and the place was empty when we got there with a few couples wandering in by 8pm when we rolled ourselves out of there. Our steaks were good, dessert phenonmenal, and we even got funky hats for NYE celebrations later. Our waitress was nice but not super informative. The very first time we had Chops on an RCL line (Serenade of the Seas in 8/09), we got "the steak talk" from our waiter. They went over the kinds of cuts, how best to cook them, etc. We have not been able to get "the steak talk" since then, and only for that reason would not rate it as the best Chops experience we have had. I would have enjoyed more interaction with our server, the host was very friendly and pleasant and spoke with us several times throughout our meal.Now the main dining room. We had the best waiter we have ever had on any ship, ever. Volcun (seriously, that's his name), was happy, energetic, happy to talk to us, polite, joked with us, and overall just a wonderful person. We never wanted for anything. We were in a back room from the main dining room, which we were initially upset about, but he more than made up for it. After we found out that RCL no longer does the Caribbean dance through the main dining room with the waiters dressed in kitchen accutreman, it didn't matter we were not in the main dining room. Our table only had 1 other couple at it, and they too helped make dinner very enjoyable each evening. We had so much fun talking to them and learning about each other. We made friends with them, and took them to the airport when we disembarked. Again, total blast for the dining room. The food on average was ok. I feel the quality and most certainly the proportions have declined. But if we didn't like something, our waiter quickly brought us something else. We would order different desserts and our waiter would bring us everything on the list just to truly each night since we had an 8 person table with only 4 people at it. I was very unhappy to find out RCL no longer prints the Gratuity Coupons to go into your envelopes on the last night onboard. We have always prepaid gratuities and If we got special attention we would throw some extra cash in there. We always enjoyed passing around the envelopes on the last night, but since we got ho-hum service from everyone except our waiter, he was the only one who got additional cash. I asked the guest services desk if the employees are told who did pre-paid gratuities, and she said no. So we wrote on our envelopes that we did not put cash in "We prepaid your tip and RCL will not print a coupon". So we were rather disappointed at that. Knowing that in the future, we will not prepay our gratuities and do strictly cash for everyone. I don't know if that was RCL's goal or not, but that is what it resulted in.Please DO NOT book excursions through Royal in Grand Cayman. We routinely buy excursions thru the cruise line and pay the higher price largely for the "idiot factor" of not having to think or worry on our trip. Grand cayman is beautiful, civilized, and the port is built to have ample opportunity to get a tour from a vendor there on site or even take a taxi to a local beach w/o a fuss. Our guide here was half an hour late, literally read road signs of local businesses to us for our tour, then rushed us through places to get back on schedule because the boat left at 3pm. Our travel agent warned us against doing a cruise ship sponsored trip and she was totally right. We loved Grand Cayman and cannot wait to go back and "do it right". In Jamaica (our first port day on New Years Day), we signed up to do Dunn River's Falls and Green Grotto Caves. First off, that was a mistake to sign up for 2 very physical activites right after New Years night. We don't drink, but we were still up late and had to be off the ship by 8am for this tour. We were dragging all day. Dunn River's Fall was ok, not sure I would do it again. The perpetual hounding to buy something got very old very quickly. The Green Grotto caves were very neat to see. In Cozumel we chose to go mudding in a dune buggy to the Jade Caverns. Fun, but again not what we expected. We spent a lot of time broken down and only got about 5 minutes at the caverns. They try for these corny photo ops holding an alligator, next to parrots and hawks and the like, but they are far from good photos. Half of them didn't even show up on the screen at the end of the tour anyway. I believe it was termed an X-rails adventure. Bring a bandana, wrap around sunglasses, towel, and a change of clothes. You will get COATED in mud (which is what we wanted). We would do this tour again if given the chance. The facility was nice, the people friendly, and they provided taxis back to the pier (about a 10 minute drive). The pier in cozumel is great for shopping. We went back to the ship, grabbed a quick shower, and went back off to go have lunch at Senor Frogs along the water at the pier. I recommend Senor Frogs! Fun party atmosphere, all their drinks come in tall obnoxious plastic glasses, and the food was really good. I bought a tanzanite ring from Tanzanite International on the pier here, they love to haggle, so never pay the first price they say!After Cozumel we cruised back to New Orleans. We had a wonderful trip even though the weather was awful (cloudy, 70 knot winds on deck, all outdoor activities this day were cancelled including the dodge ball tournament we were looking forward to watching). Next year the ship will be something else and it will go to different ports out of NOLA. We are seriously considering doing another New Years trip out of this city, and would happily return to this port to do more in the future once we are platinum or higher guests because they got on very quickly. The people onboard this cruise were super friendly and we had a great time doing a wide variety of activities! Our room attendant was good, not great, but he did his job. We enjoy inside rooms because they get totally dark, have always been very quiet for us, and we are hardly in the room if we are awake! 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 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
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date December 1, 2012. It was just my wife and I. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ship will make or break the entertainment value of the vacation. Boarding: ... Read More
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date December 1, 2012. It was just my wife and I. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ship will make or break the entertainment value of the vacation. Boarding: We flew in the day before and spent the night at Harrah's New Orleans and had a great time. We took a cab with another couple that we met at the front door and we got taken for a ride ....literally....$30.00 to go 2 blocks!!! The ship had porters there to unload our luggage into the big carts and into the line we went.... Our bags were already tagged so it was a quick drop and go situation. The porters tagged your 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. 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 in with the "NOROVIRUS infection" on board and that they were in the process of "fumigating" each and every public area on board.... It only took about 1 hour to get on board ship but because of the decontamination process we were not allowed to go to our stateroom until after 4:00PM... Once on board that is where the problems started. We headed to the Windjammer and instead of it being a regular buffet they had TWO (2) food servers next to each serving station to serve the guests as NOBODY was allowed to touch the food because of the virus. It took over one hour to make it through the buffet line and by the time you found a seat, the food was cold. We had this problem the WHOLE trip. Cold food....It was not until Friday, on the last day, that the guests were able to self service. Entertainment: Average at best Dining: The food and service in the Main dining room was fabulous and both Waiter (Rakesh) and Assistant Waiter (Americo) were phenomenal. Windjammer: the food was always cold. Room service: The food was decent and on time. Bar Service: Very good Soda Package: In my opinion, the soda package on the Navigator is a complete waste of money. I'm not sure I will ever buy the soda package on RCCL again because of this. Excursions: Our excursion to Dunn's River Falls in Falmouth Jamaica was very good and very well organized. NOROVIRUS: On day 3, I started getting a really bad head cold and by day 5 I was pretty run down. I went to sick bay and spoke to a nurse whose whole interest was whether or not I had a headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea....which were the published symptoms of Norovirus....I had none of the above other than a mild case of diarrhea.....she told me that I had two choices either to get the FREE Tylenol and Imodium to treat it as Norovirus infection or see a doctor for a $100.00 fee....Really??? I opted for the Imodium and Tylenol and was confined (quarantined) to my cabin for 24 hours. That was on Thursday at 11 AM and I was in the cabin for 24 hours....NO FUN!! The following day at 11:15AM the nurse called and asked me "how I felt?" and since I was feeling better she released me from the quarantine and I was free to go anywhere on the ship. ...Out of courtesy for other passengers and our table mates, I decided to abstain from going to the dining room or to the buffet and stuck to room service. Disembarkation: It was very well organized and we were off the ship within 30 minutes. Note: We have now been home for a week and I still have yet to hear from RCCL. No emails or not even a letter asking "How I was doing or whether I was dead or alive?" It was our third cruise with RCCL but it will be a long time before I go on another one... A very disappointed cruiser! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Cruise Review of Navigator of the Seas, December 8, 2012 About me: Love cruising - like to be active. Easy to please. Best thing: service, both housekeeper and waiters Worst thing: casino because of smokiness The cruise: Getting ... Read More
Cruise Review of Navigator of the Seas, December 8, 2012 About me: Love cruising - like to be active. Easy to please. Best thing: service, both housekeeper and waiters Worst thing: casino because of smokiness The cruise: Getting there. We live nine hours from New Orleans and four hours from a good airport, so we drove. Spent the night at a nice Sleep Inn ($59) near the airport - pick up a coupon book to get this rate. Visited the French Quarter in the morning, and stopped by the interesting old Catholic cemetery. Then used GPS to go to the port's parking lot. That was a mistake. We got a zigzag tour of the underbelly of the port area. Next time I will go back to I-10 and use the road signs to find the cruise port. Parking lot was poorly paved, and cost us $112 (could have saved $28 by parking offsite, but I would be in a hurry to leave New Orleans after the cruise.) We didn't see a porter until we'd walked most of the way to the terminal. Arrived at 2:30 in an attempt to let the crowds get on the ship -- didn't help, there was one slow line after another. Guess I'll go back to arriving early. The first thing we noticed about the ship was the slow elevators. As the cruise wore on, the elevators got slower and slower. Maybe it was because most passengers wanted to ride rather than to walk up or down a single level. Departure. The ship got away two hours late; I'm afraid this was because somebody had heart problems during the lifeboat drill. Kids on a riverboat tour went crazy when we waved at them. Another riverboat gave us a calliope concert. We passed a cruise ship while on the Mississippi River. Being on the river is a great part of a cruise out of New Orleans. Dining rooms. The main dining rooms are on decks 3 through 5, towards the rear of the ship. They are open in the middle, and it feels like one huge dining room. The chandeliers are spectacular. Noise level is low. The cafeteria is on deck 14. It is a no-frills place, with buffet lines in the middle of the cafeteria, but lots of seating near the windows. Breakfast. We always ate in the restaurant; breakfast was quite good, and there was no reason to go anywhere else. The menu had several selections, plus there is a buffet with fruits, yogurt and cereals. The cooks got my eggs right every time. One day my wife sent her Eggs Benedict back because the whites were runny. The host fills up each table, so there are lots of people to talk about the previous day's activities. Breakfast was the best part of most days. Lunch. The restaurants weren't open long for lunch. Since we had late seating supper, and usually ate breakfast fairly late, there was no opportunity to eat lunch in a restaurant. I ate in the cafeteria. The lettuce salads were fine. The hot food was poor, with the same selections every day. Bread pudding was good, but the other desserts were terrible. Supper (late seating, 8:30). Food was excellent. Even the frozen fish was cooked well. Wonderful prime rib, served on two different nights. Lobster was plentiful; one guy ordered and ate three lobsters. The cold, sweet soups were too sweet for my tastes. No escargot during the week. Chocolate desserts were tasty, and the parfaits were good. There were four of us at a table for eight -- we had very attentive service. Cabin. We had a balcony cabin. The balcony itself felt like public space; we couldn't see anyone, but we heard many conversations. Romantic, it was not. The cabin itself was roomy. Lots of sitting space, including a couch. The bathroom was plenty large, and the shower was big enough. Closets had lots of space. The dressers were way too small, but there were several shelves in the closet. The room was very quiet. We slept with the balcony door open on the first and last nights, as the weather was cool near the mainland. In the Caribbean, the weather was way too warm to enjoy being outside on the balcony at any time. Music. Ship band (big band / jazz) was mediocre. Pool band (vaguely reggae) was very good and had a wide repertoire. Jazz combo was pretty good. Violin and piano duo were nice. Other music was not impressive. There was little live music for such a large ship. Comedians. Azeem was hard to understand, so I didn't laugh much. He did a late night, "adult" set which I missed (poor reviews from people at breakfast.) The other comedian told the stalest of jokes; but a young lady sitting near us thought they were hilarious. Ice skating program. Surprisingly good. I'd rather pull out my fingernails than watch ice skating on television. But these were real people doing honest ice dancing. If they missed a jump or had to recover from an awkward lift, it just made the show all the better. Musician Travis LeDoyt. Elvis impersonator. He performed as the young, rockabilly Elvis. He also did some Jerry Lee Lewis style music. Crazy entertaining. El Gaucho. Musician, visual artist, and loon. Fun to watch. Ballroom Dancing show. After being pleasantly surprised by the ice dancing, LeDoyt and El Gaucho, we decided to try this show. The ballroom dancing couple was very good, but the show was boring. We left early. Casino. It is the last refuge for cigarette smokers, and almost every gambler sported a lit cigarette. The exhaust system was overwhelmed. Only people who seriously love second hand smoke should go to the casino. Usually on a seven day cruise, there are stories about somebody who won a bunch of money. Only one rumor reached my ears -- at breakfast a guy said he saw someone doing okay at some roulette style game; the other diners at my table were incredulous. Activities. My wife went to a belly dancing class; they changed the location, and the class was half over by the time she finally found it. I am a piano instructor, and so went to a piano lesson to see how they teach it; nobody came to the lesson. The ship also offered one hour classes in napkin folding, ballroom dancing, Spanish speaking, and other things. My wife enjoyed the belly flop contest and the sexy man contest. Bingo on the ship was way over-hyped, and that was my clue to do something else. Poor art auctioneer could barely speak English, and he didn't sell much the one time I watched. CruiseCritic Meet and Greet. Had an invitation in the cabin that the get-together would be held at 11:30 PM on the third day. Then someone called and said it was changed to 11:00 AM on the second day. We had a good time visiting with other people who got that mistaken message. When it actually started at 11:30, it was disappointing. There were too many people in a room with no windows. They served us seriously bad Kool-Aid. Walking track and jogging track. Deck 4 circles the ship outdoors. Toward the front of the ship, this track detours to deck 5; that is an added bonus to serious walkers. There were several shuffleboard courts that were well used. Many deck chairs were available, but were mostly vacant. This track is above and beside public areas, so early morning walkers don't disturb anyone. The jogging track is on deck 12, above the pool. It is fairly short, and wound around the chairs which faced the pool; and so, jogging is difficult during daylight hours. Promenade. Artfully laid out. Besides obligatory liquor store and cruise clothing store, there were small bars -- coffee, ice cream, beer, and champagne. Only problem was that wide tables (used to sell trinkets) blocked traffic through the area. And a huge Christmas tree blocked traffic at the other end. On formal night, graceful stairways were used as a photo prop. To travel between front and rear of the ship, we usually avoided the deck 5 promenade and used the walking track or casino on deck 4. Recreation. The rock climbing wall was more of a competition venue for teens than a recreational area. It was only open during short hours. The basketball court was good. The miniature golf course was difficult because there were no walls against which to carom a shot. There were side by side pools; somebody told me that one was fresh water and the other salt. Lots of hot tubs. Another pool and hot tubs were in a part of the ship that was supposed to be child-free; the walls were so close that it seemed more like an indoor swimming pool. An in-line skating track was very short. The ice skating rink had open skating only a few times during the cruise. Getting off the ship. There were no debarkation announcements in the cabins or restaurants. We didn't know that it had been delayed for an hour and a half. Breakfast was slow, even though we were in the restaurant when it opened at 6:30. Once in the terminal, the waiting line for people carrying all their luggage off the ship was incredibly slower than the line for people who had checked their bags; so people with early exit times were out the door before the self-porters. Summary. Many RCI customers have a notion that Royal Caribbean is some kind of luxury line. Maybe it is. Those people were disappointed by the Navigator. The Navigator has some very nice things, but it is definitely not luxurious; it is a little nicer than ships of the same size from Carnival and Norwegian. I'd go again on an RCI ship, especially if they continue to cruise out of New Orleans & Galveston. But there is no reason to pay more for a Navigator cruise than for any of the mass market cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Arrived from Austin,Texas stayed in Baton Rouge the night before and arrived at Port at about 11:00 A.M. I was going to park at the Ship's parking but saw a parking garage directly across the road from the ship for $ 12.00 a day so ... Read More
Arrived from Austin,Texas stayed in Baton Rouge the night before and arrived at Port at about 11:00 A.M. I was going to park at the Ship's parking but saw a parking garage directly across the road from the ship for $ 12.00 a day so parked there and took a free shuttle to the ship. I was going to check my one suitcase, but did not exactly see where and no one volunteered to take it so ended up boarding with it. Check-in was fast and smooth and being in Emerald Class boarded right after a wedding party and was in the Windjammer eating a delightful lunch by 12:30 Went to my cabin at 1:30 with my sole piece of luggage and was in the Pool by 2:00 P.M. Ship was very bright and clean and noticed staff almost everywhere tidying and polishing all the time all week long. Food was excellent without exception in the main dining room and Windjammer. Ice show was first class as were the main shows. Other Acts were in my opinion very poor. I used my time dining and had no trouble getting a seat with others whenever I went to the dining room with no reservations. No waiting but I did tend to go between 6:00 and 6:15 which may have helped. 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
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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