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

Embarkation: The port of New Orleans was pretty organized but not as organized as Oasis and Allure. We were checked in and on the ship within 45 minutes. Cabin: We had a Superior Balcony cabin on deck 7 forward. The room was in good ... Read More
Embarkation: The port of New Orleans was pretty organized but not as organized as Oasis and Allure. We were checked in and on the ship within 45 minutes. Cabin: We had a Superior Balcony cabin on deck 7 forward. The room was in good shape except for some of the droors that were pretty knicked up, but it didn't bother us much. Also it still had one of the older Tvs. We were very close to the elevators and it was very convientant to the promenade. Dining: We ate in the main dining room 5 of the 7 nights. Food was overall good, with a few bad dishes. Our servers Ali from Turkey and Iwanai were great and very personable and not forced. We were a group of 2 and we were at a 4 top but the other 2 never showed. Ports: In Grand Cayman we did the Dolpin adventure (push, pull, and swim) which was excellent. The facility was very nice and very modern. In Falmouth we did a Mountian Valley Rafting tour was overall okay. The bus ride was a good hour, which was longer than expected. The rafting part was very fun and relaxing, while the activities afterward drug on. Shows: We saw all of the shows in the main theatre along with the ice show. The production shows were All Access and Ballroom Fever. All Acess was a fast paced pop and rock show which I really enjoyed. Ballroom Fever was okay, there was minimal sets, plus we don't really ballroom dancing. The guest entertainers were good except for the juggler. The other guests were the Platters and Vox Audio were both excellent. Crew: We felt like overall the crew seemed more confortable and more friendly than on Oasis and Allure. Like I already said our wait staff was awesome. We gave our wow card to our server Ali. Overall a fantastic cruise, and we would return to the Naviagtor any day! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
A little background: ADA cruiser lugging medical support stuff. We arrived at the terminal at the time stated on the documents (11am) and were told rather rudely we couldn't get into the terminal until 1pm. So here I am, an ADA ... Read More
A little background: ADA cruiser lugging medical support stuff. We arrived at the terminal at the time stated on the documents (11am) and were told rather rudely we couldn't get into the terminal until 1pm. So here I am, an ADA (Americans with Disiabilities Act) person, having to stand outside in the cold for two hours. RCCL to the rescue: one of their agents heard the discussion and went inside and brought me a chair. When we finally boarded, we were told it would be another hour before we could go to our cabins. Went to the Windjammer;it had a line out to the pool area. FINALLY got to the cabin, luggage had arrived--but not the medical supplies (finally located at 11pm). This ship is not for older persons. It's a long way from the forward elevators to the dining areas and from the dining areas to the showroom. (And anywhere else for that matter). Dining: Food has slipped a few steps on RCCL. So has service. Waiter was ok. Assistant waiter was very good. Housekeeping:Best feature of the ship (considering my medical requirements), he just rolled with the flow and was REAL nice about it. Windjammer wasn't like the Windjammers of old on the Rhapsody, Sovereign, and others. Food wasn't as good, presentation wasn't as efficient, area wasn't as clean, and dining area manager was not as nice. Neither was the manager of the forum sandwich shop (NEVER saw him smile once during the entire week. (Sandwich shop was was GREAT for a snack or quick coke or coffee or tea). Shore tours? Efficiently handled and good. Shows? WOW! One bad one out of many! Ice show was REALLY good. Casino? It's a casino, but very comprehensive (needs another poker table imho!) Bars and Bar service? Very good. Especially late night jazz in the Crown and Anchor and the Schooner Bar. It sounds like we had a terrible time, but I'm being critical here. Summary: I never thought I would ever say that RCCL has slipped a few notches, but they have. But it's still a FAR better cruise experience than the big "C." Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Last July when deciding where to go for our pre-Christmas vacation my wife and I looked at several options we finally decided to try a Western Caribbean cruise and after looking at several ships and intenerates we decided since we have not ... Read More
Last July when deciding where to go for our pre-Christmas vacation my wife and I looked at several options we finally decided to try a Western Caribbean cruise and after looking at several ships and intenerates we decided since we have not been to New Orleans and after not getting the response we wanted from Carnival we decided to book our cruise on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas. Since our departure was in mid-December and we were not sure of what the weather would be and we wanted to see some of New Orleans before leaving on our cruise we decided to fly in the night before our cruise. After leaving our home at 11:00 AM on Friday, December 14, 2012 we arrived in New Orleans around 6:30 PM and were in our hotel room at the Drury Inn by 7:30 PM. We found the Drury on the forums on the Cruise Critic. The hotel was excellent and after waling over to the French Quarter to have dinner at the Bourbon House and stopping at a local CVC to get some last minute items that we needed for our trip we had a nice night. On Saturday morning we had a wonderful breakfast we went out and walked around the French Quarter where we visited Jackson Square and stopped at Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets then it was back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and to check out. At 12:15 PM we were in a cab and heading to the Julia Street cruise ship terminal. By 12:30 PM and after waiting in line we were at the entrance to the terminal and since we had all ready tagged our bags we dropped them off with the porter and made our was in side the terminal where we waited on four lines was to show our ticket and id to enter the second line which was for security these lines went pretty fast the third line was to enter to line for check in to combat the Norovirus everyone had to use hand sanitize before proceeding to the line for check in as part of the check in process both my wife and my self had to fill out a heal form stating we were not exposed to the flu or any flue like virus after that was done we received our SeaPass cards and it was off to the gangway where the cards were activated and welcome photo were taken. We then headed to deck 10 where our cabin was ready and we found our shore excursion tickets, tickets to Sundays Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle. After dropping off our carry on bags we went up to the Windjammer on deck 11 for lunch around 2:00 PM. Before heading to the buffet I bought the unlimited soda package. However it should be noted that the soda selection are limited on the Navigator has the ship has not been outfitted with the new Coke machines that Royal Caribbean is rolling out through out its fleet. After checking out the menu for Chops the ships steakhouse it was off to the buffet which featured two identical lines beginning with Jade the ships Asian buffet then the Windjammer line which featured a salad bar, pizza, sandwiches then an area with various hot foods and desert bar. We found that some of the hot food was not has hot as it should have been. I had two Hot Dogs that were nicely grilled but that the ship used sandwich rolls instead of buns for the food. After lunch we headed back to our cabin where we found our bags had been delivered so we began the process of unpacking. The closet in the cabin had plenty of hangers and there was ample space all of our clothes the only problem was storing our luggage since the storage space in the cabin was limited so one our carry on bags were stored in one of our larger pieces of luggage. At 4:00 PM we headed to our muster station for the life boat drill. Unlike our previous two cruises attendance was taking at the drill I could not determine if this was done in response to the Costa Concordia disaster. At the conclusion of the drill the ships Captain Frank Martinsen gave a briefing on the ships course and departure time we then processed up to deck to get some photos and to watch the ship depart. Since we had to wait for the Carnival Elation to depart and to get down river. We finally pulled away and were underway at 5:05 PM about thirty five minutes after departure the ship used it reversers to pull away from the dock it then made a 180 degree turn in the Mississippi River to head south to the Gulf of Mexico after watching New Orleans disappear in the distance we went down to the Royal Promenade on deck 5 to have a drink and watch the Circus Parade which featured the ships entertainment staff and Jimmy Rhodes our cruise director. After reviewing the menu for dinner and being tired we had dinner at the buffet and went to bed early since we were both tired. Before going to bed I did check out the ships on board TV which was quite limited and was really geared to times when the ship is cursing the medterian since it had 4 different channels for moves in foreign languages and no CNN International in English. Sunday was the first of three Sea days we both got up and were well rested after getting dressed we then headed to the Windjammer deck where we had a nice breakfast but what we also found was that the Omelets were premade and most of the hot food was not hot at all which was a pattern that continued for the rest of our trip. After breakfast we wanted to work our on the treadmills in the fitness center but all of the treadmills were in use so we walked on the walking/jogging track on deck 12. At 9:30 AM I left my wife to wait on line to get tickets to one of the 4 Ice shows in Studio B the ships Ice Rink. After working out we changed and did some shopping along the Royal Promenade for souvenirs which we bought. At 11:30 AM we headed to the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle which was in the Dungeons the ships disco which was rather small and cramped for the size of the crowed and there were not enough food or gifts for every one who attended. Since we arrived late our gifts were derived a day later to our room. After the meet and mingle and having made our way to the bow of the ship on deck 5 we went and has a delicious lunch in the Nutcracker Dinning Room after lunch and checking out that evenings dinner menu we returned to our room while I checked the lone NFL game available on the TV then we had a delicious snack at the Cafe on the Royal Promenade. We then got dressed for the first of two formal nights on the cruise where we went to the Captains Reception and got our photos taken with the Captain along with several of the other photo stations before going to dinner and that evenings show Ballroom Fever which my wife enjoyed but I found to be rather slow. Before going to bed since the ship was heading into the Eastern Time Zone our clocks had be set forward one hour. Monday was also spent at sea since I wanted Eggs Benedict and it was not available in the Windjammer we had a much better breakfast in the main dinning room. After breakfast we checked out our photos from forma night and bought a water camera. After setting up the new camera we went to the sports deck where we played some minnture golf. After playing golf I had lunch at Johnny Rockets which was well worth the $4.95 cover charge since I had a meal that if I bought it on shore would have cost me around $10-12.00 including tip was a great deal. Since I had Johnny Rockets my wife had her lunch at Jade and had a massage at the ships spa. While she was at the Spa I went and checked out the observation window into the bridge where there was not very much activity going on since we were just cursing along at sea and I went to the Viking Crown to have a drink in the lounge. After picking my wife up at the Spa we had a snack on the Royal Promenade and went to the evening's show which was El Gaucho which was a little bit of music, comedy and some work with the rope. We then had dinner and later that evening we went to the 70's disco party on the Royal Promenade which we found since the shows were sill open to be rather small and cramped for a party which may have been better to have had on the upper deck by the pool. It was then to bead as the next day was the first of three port days. Tuesday was the first of three days in port after breakfast went up on deck to watch our arrival at the Royal Caribbean built dock at the historic town of Falmouth, Jamaica this time the ship was backed into the port. Once we were cleared to debark we got off and proceeded to join our shore excursion which was an excellent trip to the Duns River Falls our guide Charm and our driver Peter were terrific as they brought us to the Falls where we were introduced to Tamara Douse who is the only female guide at the falls who brought us up the falls safely and it was a memorable experience on the way back to the ship we stopped at Columbus Park for a chance to have some Jamaican Barbeque. The excursion returned us to the ship by 2:00 PM which gave us time to clean up and get off the ship to check out the shops returning to the ship at 4:30 PM. At 6:00 PM we went up on deck to watch the ship sail off. Although we had tickets for the 9:00 PM Ice Show that would have meant having diner at 7:00 PM and we were not yet hungry so we went to Studio B where we were permitted to attend the 7:00 PM show since it was not "sold out". While it was strange to be watching a skating show while sailing the Caribbean the show was outstanding was the best show we attended on the entire cruise. Then we had dinner and went to bed since it was going to be an early arrival at our next port of call. Wednesday morning had us getting up early since it was an early arrival in our next port which was on Grand Cayman since the island doe not have a port our ship had to anchor off shore and every one was brought over in small ferries. It was here we were joined by sister ship Jewel of the Seas and Holland America's Westerdam. unlike the Holland America's ship which carries it's own tenders we had to use local ferries that tendered everyone to shore in groups of 200. Even tough our shore excursion was not until 10:00 AM we came ashore early so that we could do some shipping in the port. The shore excursion was Turtle, Stingray Land and Sea Adventure. Our guide LeRoy was good the trip started with a visit to a place called Hell that was only worth visiting due to it's unique name we then vested the Tortuga Rum Cake factory which was basically a store where you can try Rum or Rum Cake and was very crowded. The next stop was the Turtle farm which was very interesting. The last stop was at our excursion boat which took us out to Sting Ray City which is a sandbar where you can get in the water and encounter the Sting Rays after about an hour we returned to meet our guide who got us back to the port to get in line to be transferred back to the ship after getting cleaned up we went up to the Windjammer to get some lunch as we watched the Caymans Sail off into the horizon. For our sail to Cozumel we were joined by the Jewel and Westerdam. That evening we attended the concert by a band called Revolution which was a" Beatles Tribute" band that was very good since we did not want to get dressed as it was smart causal night and did not like the selections in the dining room we decided to have dinner in the Windjammer and at 11:00 PM we went to the pool deck to attend the deck party and to have snacks. Thursday we woke up got dressed had breakfast and as the ship was arriving in Cozumel, Mexico where in addition to the Jewel and Westerdan we were joined by Carnival's Triumph. We repotted to the Metropolis Theater where every one who was going on an excursion was given a sticker so they would no who was being transferred to the mainland we were then escorted off the ship first and transferred to a dedicated ferry which brought us the Play Del Carmen where we met our tour guide Andres who brought us to our motor coach for our 90 minute drive to Coba which was one of the many Mayan cities located through the Yucatan Peninsula it was very interesting as we were given a tour of the ruins than we got back on the coach and brought back to Playa del Carmen where we were brought to a restaurant that was in a former cave for lunch and a Mayan Cultural Show and were than brought back to the ferry for transfer back to the Navigator. The trip would have been better if the lunch and show were replaced with a stop where we could have had lunch have done some shopping. The dedicated ferry got us back to the ship a little after 5:30 PM which gave us time to get ready for the last formal night where we attended a show called All Access and then had dinner in the main dining room where we asked by our head waiter and table waiter to make sure you give the food service good rating on the survey. Friday we were at sea and we had planned on going to the pool however the ship had encountered a frontal system with high winds and rough seas and as a result the pools and the upper decks were closed. This also resulted in the Walk for Whishes to be cancelled. After breakfast we did one last round of shopping on the Royal Promenade we went a played some bingo. After lunch in the Windjammer we completed our packing and prepared our bags to be picked up, we gave our room steward his tip and returned our surveys. We then went to the farewell show featuring the comedy of Bud Andersen which was terrific and the final farewell number featured the entertainment staff and some of the ships crew along with a taped farewell message from the Captain we then had one final dinner returned to our room to put our bags out had one last drink in the Cosmopolitan Club and then it was off to bed as it would be an early day. Saturday was another early wake up as we were scheduled to arrive in New Orleans at 6:00 AM. We had one last breakfast in the Windjammer then returned to our room to make sure we had packed every thing grabbed our carry on's and since we decided to take a New Orleans City tour with an airport transfer we reported to the Metropolis Theatre where were given a stick identifying us as taking the city tour and were escorted off the Navigator one last time. When we arrived in the baggage area only one of our bags was in the designated area. I then approached a porter who said that some times the tags come off the bags and directed me to the area where the bags without tags would be left I went there still no bags I then approached anther representative with the port agent who was basically of very little help sting they would only assist once all the bag's were off loaded while waiting I noticed a large number of bags under zones whose passengers would have all ready debarked from the ship so I started looking and found our other bag without tag placed in a different zone location instead of in the area for bags without tags. We then proceeded through customs and out to where our motor coach was our guide Chris was ok but the tour gave us a chance to see the rest of the city by 12:00 Noon we were dropped at the New Orleans Airport for our flight home. Overall we thought the cruise was good but was not as good as Carnival which offers better food service than Royal Caribbean would we sail again on Royal Caribbean we would but only if Royal Caribbean was the only option. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ... Read More
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ship but that was a minor inconvenience. We were a party of 4, in two staterooms and none of us caught the bug. :) Yeah! Royal Caribbean notified us of the virus before we left for the port and that there was a delay boarding. They were professional and everything was super clean. Us two couples travel together cruising and on land and we had a great time. We drove to the port and spent one night in New Orleans, boarding was late but efficient considering the extra precautions due to Norovirus. The windjammer was not open at the time of boarding which I thought was poor planning. They opened the windjammer (buffet dining) at 2:00 which meant everyone was on board and very hungry. Norovirus on board meant that they had to serve us in the buffet lines and the biggest problem was rude inpatient cruisers. We were all in the same boat (so to speak) and they had plenty food, people were just impatient, these people complained and were impatient the entire cruise, even though the Captain and crew were working hard to keep us all healthy. I had no complaints except chapped hands from an allergic reaction to hand sanitizer. Food was good but not great, I found it was not as good as our first cruise on Navigator of the seas in 09. NOS Captain was highly concerned about the virus and it was handled well. The port of New Orleans is nice for the New Orleans experience. The port itself was like navigating through a maze. Navigator is in the voyager class, has plenty to offer- multiple pools one of them an adults only pool with large hot tubs in the area, spa, beautiful 3 level dinning room, casino,clubs, and 24 hour cookie and snack shop on the Royal Pramenade. I had heard there are no quiet spots on mega ships, not true, there are numerous seating areas you can quietly sit back and relax. We found one next to the sky bar and played cards when we had extra time or wanted to unwind, just the 4 of us. We also had our private balconies. Our cabins we were on deck 8, room 8603, balcony room, great clean room, comfortable bed and quiet location. We were around the corner from the elevators but had no noise from that,we have booked same general area and we will continue to book this area, close to elevators and the internet cafe. I did not pack my own computer but enjoyed a few minutes to check on my family back home from the internet cafe. Speaking of internet is is slow, all ships have slow internet, you just expect that from a ship internet. The entertainment was a comedian who was very good his name is Scott Record but and an Elvis impersonator, he was talented guy but I do not enjoy a tall skinny Elvis as my headliner entertainment. The ship crew shows were OK, usual show for RCI. We always do the Ice Show, which is excellent, Love and Marriage show (always a blast) and the QUEST!!! A MUST SEE! (for adults ONLY!) There are two formal nights on the 7 night cruise, some still wear Tuxedos and Gowns, I prefer a nice cocktail dress. Our ports were Falmouth Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel. Falmouth is still a port being developed and there is not that much do to there. Grand Cayman is beautiful and rich, which is why it stands out from other islands. Cozumel is typical tourist local with plenty to offer. We docked at Falmouth and Cozumel and had to tender to Grand Cayman. The tendering process was easy even though we were doing it during a storm. No problems at the ports getting on or off the ship. The Navigator is showing her age a little bit, I believe she is on the list to be refurbished, I think this was more apparent since we were just on a newer larger ship 6 months before this cruise. I would recommend this ship for a family, couple, or group of friends who want an affordable enjoyable week away in the beautiful Blue Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We picked this cruise to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary; we were married onboard Enchantment of the Seas 12/15/07. Decided to sail on Navigator because she was sailing out of New Orleans, which allowed us to drive down from ... Read More
We picked this cruise to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary; we were married onboard Enchantment of the Seas 12/15/07. Decided to sail on Navigator because she was sailing out of New Orleans, which allowed us to drive down from Missouri. The drive was not bad, split up into a couple of days. Stayed at Springhill Suites by Marriott in NOLA the night before the cruise (rate $80 by using hotwire.com). Parked at Fulton Place Parking Garage for $12/day, which was walking distance to hotel. So, parked at the garage when we arrived on Friday and there was a little confusion with trying to locate the parking garage office but finally figured it out. Ate dinner at Cochon which was just a few blocks from the hotel. Saturday morning walked over to Riverwalk to see the sites and view the ship as it was too early to go to the pier for pre-boarding process. Around 11am made our way back to the parking garage to catch the shuttle to the pier. Upon arrival, our check-in process went pretty quick and we were onboard eating lunch at Windjammer by noon. Got to our stateroom at 1 and at 1:30 our luggage was delivered, quickest delivery ever! Many of our dinner mates told stories about delays at the pier and still hadn't received their luggage by 6pm. I think our key to success was arriving around 11:30, later than the early birds but earlier than the later arrivals so it worked well for us. This is the largest ship we have been on and it was at first overwhelming. But thanks to the maps near the elevators we were able to "navigate" Navigator fairly easy. I thought it was comical that the carpet in the elevators had the day of the week on it, until around Tuesday when I was thankful to know which day it was. Afterall, every day is Saturday when you are on vacation! Our stateroom attendant, Russell, was great! We requested an ice bucket and every day he filled it with ice during the day and at night. When he was out and about and saw us walking toward the cabin, he had his key ready and opened the door for us - so helpful! Only ate in the main dining room the first two nights, then ate at windjammer, Johnny Rockets, and Chops on the other nights. Pre-paid gratuities so didn't have to worry about handing out the envelopes on the last night. Had room service delivered (free!) every morning, just coffee, oj, and milk. This is a great service and we tipped the delivery person a few bucks each morning. I really miss that coffee delivery, it was great to wake up & have some coffee while getting ready for the day. Then, had real breakfast at windjammer a little later in the morning. One afternoon we had lunch in the dining room, they have a fantastic little salad bar where you pick the ingredients and they mix your salad for you. So good. Other days we had lunch in the windjammer, Johnny Rockets, and/or on shore while in port. We registered for the meet & mingle in advance and participated in the roll call threads prior to the cruise. Met a great, fun couple at meet & mingle that we ended up hanging out with throughout the week, and we feel we have made friends for life! Falmouth, Jamaica - the pier area was nice and we took excursion to Red Stripe Beach ($24 per person). Nice beach area but the drive there shows a bit of the real Jamaica. The staff we encountered at the pier and during the excursion to the beach were super nice. I would not, however, feel safe just out and about walking around the town. The pier area is a gated, guarded compound as was the beach area. Grand Cayman - fantastic! On one of our previous cruises the port call was cancelled due to rough seas (can't tender if waves are too rough) so I was so excited to finally make it onshore at the cayman's. We met another couple during the meet & mingle on Day 2, so the four of us decided to get together and hire a driver to show us the island for the afternoon. Saw some great sites, stopped at the rum cake factory for rum cakes & rum, as well as the brewery for a beer. Ate lunch at a restaurant just outside the pier area before getting back on the ship. Stopped at Margaritaville for some t-shirts. Cozumel - our new friends that we met at meet & mingle told us about Nachi Cocom, a private beach club that costs around $55 per person for the day. All-inclusive drinks & food, it was a bargain. You don't reserve Nachi Cocom onboard the ship though, you have to reserve online before you arrive. Our friends added our reservation for us the day before, once we arrive at Grand Cayman. Took a cab to the beach club, taxi cost was $15 each way for our group of 4. Upon arrival to Nachi Cocom, drinks were ordered and delivered to our spot often. We rented one of those large rafts that's tethered in the water just off the beach for $40 for the day. Had a fantastic authentic Mexican lunch, also included in the daily fee. Try the dirty monkey drink if you visit Nachi Cocom, it's similar to a mudslide. Drank way too much but didn't have to drive so all was good. Took taxi back to the pier and our new friends did some jewelry shopping while we went back to the ship. All in all, this was a great cruise on Navigator. Would definitely sail again from NOLA on this ship or any other ship from that port, as it is an easy drive from our home in Missouri. Will still consider Florida sailings as well though. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Part I - Precruise A. Inception We are avid Caribbean cruisers. Two years ago, we spent Christmas and New Year's in the Caribbean on the Celebrity Mercury (which, sadly, sailed for the last time under that name in February 2011); ... Read More
Part I - Precruise A. Inception We are avid Caribbean cruisers. Two years ago, we spent Christmas and New Year's in the Caribbean on the Celebrity Mercury (which, sadly, sailed for the last time under that name in February 2011); last year, we spent Christmas in the Caribbean on Celebrity's Millennium; and this year, we wanted to do it again. We looked at all cruise lines, and wanted another 14-day cruise, but the way that Christmas and New Year's are on the calendar this year, a 14-day cruise would've taken our son out of too much school, so we booked a 7-day cruise. We settled again on either Royal Caribbean or Celebrity (the only lines we have cruised on) because of their itineraries and schedules. We prefer to drive to the East Coast for our cruises, but that wasn't an option this year. B. Cruise Critic We use the community chat boards on cruisecritic.com extensively for cruise port hints and information. This review is my way of sharing. Thank you to everyone who shared in their reviews and roll calls. C. Choice of Route Our route was out of New Orleans (very excited about that again. New Orleans is a wonderful city!), to Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman. We have been to most of these ports of call before, but not in a while, so we were excited about seeing them again. We have been to Jamaica before, but not to Falmouth, so that should be interesting. D. Choice of Cruiseline and Ship We selected Royal Caribbean because we found out during our Celebrity Cruise last year that if we spent even 1 day on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, we would be Diamond members. Navigator, a Voyager Class ship, is a 138,000 ton ship with 15 decks, 10 pools & whirlpools, and 16 bars, clubs & lounges. It has a rock wall, a basketball court, an ice-skating rink, and a mini-golf course. Capacity is 3,114 passengers plus a crew of 1,185. It was launched in 2002, is registered in the Bahamas and has a CDC score of 96. E. Choice of Airline This was pretty easy. We picked the cheapest, most direct flight from Milwaukee to New Orleans. I have lots of miles on Delta, so we used them to book the 4 tickets, so they cost us only $40 out of pocket total. Flying hints: 1. Don't fly if you have a choice. I suggest driving if you can. 2. Go non-stop if you fly. Each connection increases the possibility of lost luggage and additional flight delays. 3. Consider flying in to your departure port one day early. This can be a major stress reducer! 4. Don't select your airline seats without first visiting SeatGuru.com. They have detailed airplane seating plans and hints about each seat for almost every plane flown by major airlines. F. Choice of cabin Generally, the lower your cabin and the more central its location, the less you will feel the movements of the ship. We love rocking and so did not mind being closer to the back of the ship. We always stay in inside cabins (unless something strange happens) because it is nice to be able to sleep in without worrying about the sun shining in the window. A recommendation to anyone in an inside cabin is to bring a clock. It can be very disconcerting to wake up and have absolutely no idea what time it is. We were in cabins 7345 & 7347, both interior staterooms (N). My husband and I were in one and our 17-year-old son and his 15-year-old friend (a first-time cruiser) was in the other. Royal Caribbean allows minors to stay together in a cabin if it is adjacent to their guardians' cabin. It took a few requests to ensure that we were in the right cabins (they originally wanted to book one adult and one minor in each cabin), but it ended up working out. G. Price We went to a local Travel Agent who specializes in cruises (as we always do for cruises). The cost, because it was over the holidays, was high at just over $1,000 per person. The flights were $40 for all four of us because I used my Delta miles to pay for them. Additionally, because of when we booked, we received a $100 on-board credit (OBC) for each cabin, so that was nice. I also use the Royal Caribbean Credit Card, so we got another $250 OBC from that. H. Passports We all have passports and encountered no problems. I did bring extra documentation for my son's friend. I brought a detailed (notarized) letter from his parents saying that we could take him on this specific ship, that we could take him into these specific countries, that we could make medical decisions for him, that we would supervise him, and that we would be able to sign for permission for onboard activities (like climbing the rock wall). I got all of this information from the RCCL website, but it wasn't easy to find. I. Insurance We also purchased travel insurance because we never know when our son might wind up in a cast or one of our aging parents might have a health crisis. J. Prebooking Excursions We booked all of our excursions on our own. I did research beforehand and we decided what to do from there. I do not like using the ship's excursions because they are usually expensive; I do recommend them, though, for novice cruisers. K. Packing We packed for 2 formal nights (we all brought nice outfits -- the boys wore what they wore to their Homecoming dance, my husband wore a shirt and tie (and pants) and I brought nice clothes), and the rest at various levels of casual (non-jean pants and nice shirts for all of us). Additionally, we brought enough clothing to cover us during the day for 7 days. This is less than you think because clothing rarely gets really dirty and we tend to re-wear clothes a few times before it goes in the "to be washed at home" luggage. (NOTE: My son has apparently outgrown the "re-wear your clothes" phase and decided to pack different clothes for every day. We made him carry them all in his luggage.) Among the most helpful "extra items" we packed were: extension cords and power strips for each room (usually, there are only 2 outlets in the room and we have lots to charge), alarm clock, bug lotion, sunscreen ranging from 100 to 15 spf, highlighters, beach bag, and water shoes. We also brought Christmas decorations for each room, as well as Cruise Critic door signs printed off of the roll call lists. Part II - Embarkation A. The Port We flew into New Orleans via Atlanta and arrived at 3:30pm the day before the cruise departed. You have a choice of buying transfers from Royal Caribbean, catching a taxi or hiring a car. We used taxis to and from our hotel (in the French Quarter). B. Security Processing and Boarding We arrived at the pier at 2:30pm, hoping that there would be no wait, but there was a long line for security screening. But because we were Emerald Club members, we bypassed all of that and had absolutely no line. Once through security, there were separate lines for non-Crown & Anchor Society (C&AS) members and Gold C&AS members, and all other C&AS members. All lines were kinda long and fed into a table of folks processing your boarding documents. Assuming you had already completed all the documents requested online, signing in and getting room keys (which is also your cruise ID, and ship credit card) took no more than 10 minutes. There was a quick wait for the embarkation cruise photo (which we skipped). On-board and our cruise cards were quickly data-encrypted with our images at one of three stations. Once they handed us our cards we found ourselves on the 4th floor aft lobby of the ship. It took a total of 60 minutes from the time we arrived at the pier to our arrival in our cabins. I was surprised that I was never asked for the paperwork for my son's friend. At no point in the cruise (embarkation, disembarkation or anywhere in between) did anyone ask for it. However, I have heard from others that this is not always the case, so I would recommend that anyone taking a minor non-family member get the required paperwork. C. Explore The Cabins We were in cabins 7345 & 7347, side-by-side, inside category N cabins in the back of the ship. The cabins are each 150.7 square feet and were set up for my husband and I to sleep in one big bed and my son and his friend to each have their own. The bathroom has enough room, and the shower was very nice. Our bathroom had a reasonably large shower (no bath), hair dryer, large mirror, sink, toilet, and some pretty decent storage. Something new since the last time we were on a ship: a nightlight we could use in the bathroom or main cabin. We used it in the bathroom so we wouldn't have to turn the lights on at night. Hangers were provided in the cabin, as was a welcome gift: a bottle of Evian water, some key lime cookies and a small package of candied fruit. The room safe is located in the cabinet. In the closet there are shelves for organizing your stuff. The desk featured a number of informational brochures including that day's event newsletter. The cabins also have a TV, thermostat, phone (but no clock, although you can set your phone for an automated wake-up call), and a mini-bar (small refrigerator). Being Emerald Club members, we requested and were given robes for use on board. We also received a discount booklet with coupons for beverages, Johnny Rockets, photos, internet, laundry, casino, bingo, gift shop, art, jewelry temporary tattoos, the spa, etc. Having signed up for the Meet & Mingle party, we received invites to the following day's gathering. Being members of the C&AS, we were also given invitations to a number of different events during the cruise. Our stateroom attendant, Orson from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, did a wonderful job throughout our cruise. D. Tour of Ship and Search For Food We almost found sustenance in the Windjammer Cafe on the deck 11 for a 3:45pm buffet lunch, but the Cafe closed for the 4:00pm Muster until 6:30pm. This was inconvenient as I hadn't eaten lunch and now could not find any until later in the evening. It is possible that the Promenade Cafe (on Deck 5) was open, but I wasn't aware of it at the time. The ship is well laid out with ample sets of stairwells and elevators. I tried to take the stairs as much as possible (and pretended that this was sufficient exercise to cover my food intake). E. Muster/Sailaway About one hour prior to leaving port, we participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill. The drill went smoothly and lasted 40 minutes. We are very happy at the changes that have been made in the muster drill as we no longer have to get our lifejackets and wear them to the muster, but we did have to stand outside waiting for everyone to show up. It was a good opportunity to meet people. We had a Cruise Critic get-together at the Sky bar right after muster. I asked people to wear red so that we could identify each other. I also brought nametags. About 10 people showed up -- it was a great opportunity for some of the teenagers to meet each other and start hanging out. It takes 7 hours to get through the Mississippi River from NOLA to the Gulf. The scenery was magnificent on the way out. F. Dinner -- 8:30pm Late Seating We selected the late seating. We were seated at table 366 with seating for 8 at an oval table on the lower floor (3) of the Nutcracker Restaurant. Our server, Vipin from India, and his assistant, Kiara from Peru, did a very good job throughout our cruise. Our tablemates were a dating couple (in their 20s) and their parents who spend ½ the year in Wisconsin (which is, I suspect, how we were paired up because we are from Wisconsin). They were delightful people and dinner conversation never lagged. The two-story restaurant has a seating capacity of 1,000+ passengers at each seating. Of note: jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, swimsuits, robes, and bare feet are prohibited in the Dining Restaurant at all times. Shorts are permitted at lunch only. However, we did see a number of people wearing jeans (our teenagers did on a regular basis), shorts and t-shirts for dinner even on formal nights. Part III - Food! Royal Caribbean's meals met our expectations. There was good variety. There are 2 specialty restaurants on the ship--Chops Grille Steakhouse and Portofino Italian Restaurant. There is a per-person fee for these restaurants. There is a for-fee Johnny Rockets and Ben & Jerry's. Free food is available in the main dining room, The Windjammer, Jade, Cafe Promenade and room service (for-fee late at night). We did not feel the need to eat at any of the specialty restaurants for dinner because the food in the main dining room was sufficient. A. Always Available On the Vitality menu every day were the following items: Traditional Caesar Salad, Linguini with Pomodoro Sauce, Broiled Filet of Atlantic Salmon, Grilled Chicken Breast with Rosemary, Grilled Black Angus Steak, Top Sirloin with Herb Butter, and sides of Mashed Potatoes, Rice, and Vegetable of the Day. B. Our Favorite Breakfast Items I enjoyed the fresh-squeezed orange juice (US$4), but I also loved the availability of English muffins and corned beef hash at the buffet. There was a large variety of foods, including many Asian foods, for breakfast. I liked the Mango Water, too. C. Our Favorite Lunch Items I enjoyed tremendously the Indian food at the Jade restaurant. There was also hamburgers and mashed potatoes, and chicken. D. Our Favorite Appetizer My son liked the Onion Tart, while I appreciated the wide variety of salads. We all loved the escargot and the endless supply of bread that day (to sop up all of the garlic butter!). E. Our Favorite Soups My son loved the cold soups, while I liked the warm ones. My son's friend declared the Potato with jalapeo to be a winner. F. Our Favorite Salads All of them. Honestly, the focaccia and tomato was great, but so were all the others. G. Our Favorite Entrees Any fish -- including the sea bass and the sole -- was great. The linguine was appreciated by the boys, as was the lobster tail. I loved the lamb shank and the Christmas Day turkey dinner. H. Our Favorite Desserts Cherries jubilee, crème brulee, and anything chocolate. I. Buffet I loved the warm scones available in the Windjammer. They were usually only there around 2:30-3:30pm. I also enjoyed the small sandwiches available in the Cafe Promenade on the 5th floor. The availability of Indian food was appreciated. J. Room Service We didn't use room service. Part IV - Entertainment A. Movies All the movies were shown in the Cinema. They were mostly releases from about a year ago. We did not watch any movies in the Cinema. B. Shows The Celebrity Theatre is gorgeous, with comfortable seating and good sight lines. We did not see any shows in the theater. C. Casino Large casino filled with the usual. We did not use the casino. D. Spa I did not use the spa. The prices are just too darn high. E. Outdoor Pools and Hot tubs. They were busy all day when we were at sea and the air was warm. The pools are chlorinated salt water. The hot tubs are fresh water. There are fresh water showers near each pool and hot tub. We liked that the hot tubs stayed open late -- after midnight. F. Indoor Pool and Hot Tubs The indoor pool is for adult use only. The pools are chlorinated salt water. The hot tubs are fresh water. There are fresh water showers near each pool and hot tub. We liked that the hot tubs stayed open late -- after midnight. G. In-room TV There were a number of closed-circuit ship channels and satellite stations (Global CNN, ESPN, Eye on CBS, Sky News, and a few others) available on the TV in the cabin. Pay-per-view movies were also available. You can also order room service and check your current account on the TV as well. H. Holiday Stuff The ship was decked out in its Christmas finery with a large (huge!) tree on the Promenade on deck 5 and wreaths hung there, as well. There was a large Christmas display (complete with running toy train) at the entrance to the Windjammer. There were parades every evening and Santa arrived on Christmas Day with toys for everyone from age 0-17. On Christmas Eve day, we, as Emerald members, received a plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries and cookies in our room. It was a pleasant surprise. Part V - Cruise Critic Get-Togethers A. Sailaway Party As a group, the Cruise Critic folks had arranged (on the boards) to get together at sailaway at the Sky Bar on Deck 11. About 10 showed up and we had a great time. B. Meet & Mingle Party We signed up for the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle gathering on the RCCL web site. We received an email confirmation that a party would take place. Upon our arrival in our cabin, we received an envelope containing an invitation to the party, set for 11:30 am on Sunday (our first day at sea). At the appointed time we arrived at the Dungeon. In total, about 40 folks attended. We had a great time meeting and greeting our fellow cruise critics. Light refreshments were provided. C. Slot Pull We did not arrange a slot pull. D. Cabin/Poker Crawl We did not arrange a cabin/poker crawl. Part VI - Health Concerns A. Smoking Smoking was permitted in certain areas on the ship. Although we are very sensitive to smoke, we could not detect any smoke smell in our cabin. The only place that the allowed smoking really disturbed me was in the Two Poets pub on Deck 5. Because this is an enclosed space, you could smell the smoke in many places on the Deck 5 Promenade. They had every right to smoke in the appointed areas of the ship, and unfortunately they did. B. General Cleanliness of the Ship In a word: impeccable. You could not take a stroll without witnessing some type of cleaning going on at all hours. The ship was constantly being cleaned: floors, walls, fixtures, everything! C. Viruses Although some other ships were hit with Norovirus (and it made the news) over this time, I heard of no such outbreak on our ship. E. Seasickness The seas were choppy on the last day, but I didn't notice anyone in distress. Part VII - Ship Notes A. Ship and Crew We were very impressed with the ship and crew and they were all very friendly and competent. The ship and furnishings were in very good shape. She was very clean. B. The Shops There was something on sale each day. Realize that if you forget something, you can buy it on the ship, but necessities are expensive. Deodorant, mints, dental floss, candy bars are all available, but not at a price you might want to pay. My advice: remember to bring the essentials, even if that includes M&Ms! C. Internet Service The good news: there are plenty of computer terminals with internet access on the ship. The bad news: it is expensive. D. Children Being a holiday cruise, our ship had a number of children on board. They behaved very well. Part VIII - The Ports We visited three ports. A. Falmouth, Jamaica There really is not much to do in Falmouth. Falmouth is good only in its proximity to both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Because we did not want to sit on buses or in taxis for a long time, we did not schedule an outing. Instead, we wanted to help the local economy by shopping in the straw market just outside of the gated and fenced-in port. We wandered and bought a few things. I was not feeling well (too much heat) and so I went back to the ship early and my husband and the two teens kept shopping. At some point, my husband noticed a Jamaican police officer (there were dozens in view all around the port) taking too much interest in how much money he was carrying. Fearing a confrontation with an armed man, my husband took the boys and their shopping inside the port. We did get many Jamaican craft items before then and did enjoy the port. B. George Town, Grand Cayman We tendered off the ship at about 10:30am in Grand Cayman and found a bunch of people selling Stingray City tours. We booked one for US$40 per person, including transportation to and from the boat, 45 minutes at Stingray City, 45 minutes at a coral reef (snorkeling), snorkeling equipment, and non-alcoholic beverages. We left at 11am and were back by 2pm. It was a good trip with great experiences. C. Cozumel, Mexico We were late getting into Cozumel because of a medical situation on the ship that forced us to return to Grand Cayman immediately after leaving the port. We stayed an hour later in port, though, in an attempt to make up the time. We left the ship and caught a taxi to Paradise Beach. There, we hung out for about 4 hours. The cost to get to the beach was US$14 for a taxi of 4 people. The cost to get in was US$2 if you just wanted a chair and access to the beach, toilet, changing rooms, and pools; it was US$14 if you wanted to also play on their floating climbing things in the water, kayak, and bungee jump on the trampoline. No one bothered us on the beach and I enjoyed myself sitting under the palm trees. We had lunch which was US$91 including 15% tip (already included). Lunch was 2 smoothies, 1 daquiri and 1 margarita, ceviche platter, nacho platter, and 2 large chicken burritos. It was easy to catch a cab back (US$14) to the International Pier and then shop a bit (Los Cinco Soles has a branch at the pier now, along with many other shops) before we got back on the ship. I. Days At Sea Between ports, we had three at sea days. They were good, although the first and last days were a bit chilly (in the 70s) and windy, so sunbathing wasn't a given. J. Speakers/Entertainment We really didn't pay much attention to these on this trip. Part IX - Tipping The service personnel on Royal Caribbean receive meager wages and rely on your tips for income. While Royal Caribben says it is customary to offer gratuities to the ship's personnel who service you on the voyage, it really is expected, and it's something you should figure into your cruise budget. Our tips were paid on our cruise charge which was what our personnel preferred (we asked) rather than cash. We did tip extra to everyone for their good work. On our evaluation, we also included the names of people who had gone that extra mile for us. We have heard in past cruises that this is a great way to recognize people and it can result in a monetary bonus for people whose names are written down often. Part X -- Crown & Anchor Society On this cruise, we were select members and so we received a "Welcome Letter" which invited us to a events on the cruise. If you have taken a previous voyage and are not a member of the Crown & Anchor Society, sign up. It's free. Benefits include a express lines at embarkation, priority disembarkation, some small cabin welcome gifts, very minor casino, wine and spa discounts, a cocktail party, and upgrades (whenever possible). Some exclusions apply. Part XI - Disembarkation and Customs A. Disembarkation Disembarkation ("exiting of the ship at the end of your cruise"). Breakfast was served on the buffet and in the restaurant. Disembarkation went smoothly. Earlier in the week, everyone completed surveys which were used to prioritize passengers. Clearly those folks needing to catch plane and train connections or who were on escorted tours in New Orleans had highest priority. Crown & Anchor Society members had priority within their color group. Color-coded disembarkation luggage tags were issued to all cabins, and passengers were instructed to place the tags on their luggage and put it outside their cabins prior to 11:00pm Friday night. We were self-disembarking which meant we carried all of our luggage (not easy with 4 backpacks, 5 carry-ons and only 4 people, but we made it. We met on the 4th floor at 7:45am after breakfast and were off the ship, through customs and immigration and outside the pier by 8:30am. B. Customs US citizens are permitted 1 liter of alcohol and $800 worth of Duty Free goods per person. If under the limit, all you needed to do was to declare the total value. Anything greater had to be itemized (declared) and a duty paid, if requested. C. Transportation Options to Airport There were transfers available through the cruise line which would take you on bus to the local airport, taxis were available, as were hotel shuttles. We chose to take a taxi and it was $62 (with tip) for 4 people from the cruise terminal to the airport. D. New Orleans Airport Upon arrival at the airport, we proceeded to the Delta check-in. It took us less than 15 minutes to turn in our bags and less than 10 minutes to clear security. Delta charges $25 per checked bag (of less than 50 lbs) for the first checked bag per person. We checked 1 bag for $25. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We arrived in NOLA 2 days prior to our December 29th sailing aboard the Navigator of the Seas. We enjoyed our time in NOLA despite the rain and cold weather. We went to the cruise terminal a little early on the morning of our departure ... Read More
We arrived in NOLA 2 days prior to our December 29th sailing aboard the Navigator of the Seas. We enjoyed our time in NOLA despite the rain and cold weather. We went to the cruise terminal a little early on the morning of our departure but it really paid off because there were no lines and we quickly boarded without a hitch. Once aboard we had to wait a little while for our cabins but that was no problem because the Windjammer opened and we enjoyed a nice lunch while we waited. Although we didn't leave the port until around 5:30 that afternoon we took that time to become aquainted with the ship. By the time we left it was time for our dinner. We found the main dining room and the dining room personnel to be top notch. We enjoyed every meal we ate there and the service was superior. The staff did everything they could to make our dining experiences as perfect as they could and we had no complaints. We also ate breakfast and lunch there a couple of times which were also delicious! Our cabins were interior and served us well for the time we spent in them. The first couple of days were spent at sea and they were windy and cold. Once we arrived in Jamaica the weather warmed up and was nice for each port day. The ports of call were nice and we enjoyed visiting Jamaica, The Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Jimmy our cruise director was the bomb and tried to fill every day with something that appealed to everyone. The enterainment was excellent! The parade, street party and NYE celebration were so much fun. The Navigator is a beautiful ship and her crew works hard to ensure fun, good health and safety for all! We hope to sail again with RCI! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I am writing this review to help others that were so helpful to me during my planning as well as to give RCCL a nice Thank you - we loved our trip. I hope the cruise lines read these reviews. This is my first attempt, so please bear with ... Read More
I am writing this review to help others that were so helpful to me during my planning as well as to give RCCL a nice Thank you - we loved our trip. I hope the cruise lines read these reviews. This is my first attempt, so please bear with me. I will try to be fair - if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Stayed in New Orleans 2 nights at the Royal Sonesta - great hotel. I was given the name of Henry Lee Tennessee for shuttling purposes that was so helpful. His email is: h.tennessee@gmail.com He made our trips to and from the airport, hotel and port wonderful. He picked us up at the Royal Sonesta promptly at 11:00 am for the short trip to the port. His prices were the same as cabs but with a personal touch. Check in was effortless and easy - no lines - walked right on to the beautiful Navigator. Cabins: We had the Royal Family Suite 9394 with six adults - DM, DF, DH, DD, SIL and myself. DD and SIL slept on the pull out couch and it was a queen size pullout - very nice size. Our room steward put bed toppers on the pull out couch and the bed in the second bedroom. We had breakfast on the balcony in the mornings - weather permitting. Breakfast was fabulous, eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, coffee, fruit, ect. Other Suite perks that were enjoyed: eating lunch quietly in Portofino's (food from Windjammer),drinks in the Concierge Lounge (as well as special tender loving care from Concierge Ricardo - he was fabulous), having clothes pressed free formal nights and priority seating for the ice show - which was a nice. I cannot say enough good things about this cabin. It was more than enough room for all 9 of us to gather. My DS, DIL and Granddaughter (18 months old) were in 9397 just around the corner. Her baby monitor worked from 9394 to 9397 which was nice when she was napping. Pack-N-Play fit nicely in the corner after moving the bed and couch down a little. We celebrated New Years on the balcony together which was memorable. Never encountered any soot on our balcony, so it must have a lot to do with the wind. We did smell sewage on day 2 in the hallway aft but it was gone the next day. The balcony railing was safe for our granddaughter and she loved the room to play and walk around. Note: Nigel our room steward did a fabulous job with our suite. Our bathrooms were always sparkling, we always had plenty of towels, always plenty of ice for cocktails, and he always had a wonderful smile on his face. Ports: Falmouth Jamaica - We shopped at the port then decided to explore outside the gates. We just didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling on the outside of the gates so we went back to the ship and enjoyed the empty pool on-board. It was a beautiful warm day. Grand Cayman - the kids went to Seven Mile Beach and DH and I took our granddaughter shopping in town. We enjoyed the roosters walking around town and had Dairy Queen - doesn't take much to make an 18 month old happy. Cozumel - did a beach excursion with RCCL - Playa Mia Beach Break. It included drinks (alcohol and non)all day and the use of all of their facilities. We ordered off the menu right from our beach chairs and the food was good. We did a cab to and from and it was $30.00 plus tip for 6 adults and child each way. We will do this beach break again when we are in Cozumel as it fit our family well. Children's pool and play area was so much fun for B but she also loved the sand and swimming in the ocean. Food: We did MTD. I think I didn't do enough research on this area. I thought that 5:30 was too early and 8:00 pm to late with our granddaughter so I went with MTD. I thought that we could get a 7:00 or 7:15pm but that was not to be. They tried very hard to accommodate us and every night we had 6:15 or 6:30. Our granddaughter did very well in the dining room but we did bring an IPAD so she could watch her favorite video (low sound of course). We never had to wait for our table and as we left every night, we just schedule for the next night. Food was good. The first nights pork was terrible but the lobster night was great. We had shrimp cocktails every night and they were wonderful. The steak that was offered nightly was not great but one night they offered Filet of Beef and it was delicious. Overall, I think the food was a little better than Carnival but a little less than Princess. Note: Roxanne and Americo our table stewards were wonderful. Roxanne always had chicken tenders waiting for our granddaughter which was a huge help. Americo made sure my coke was never empty and knew which roll I wanted after the second night. Just sweet, warm, gracious people working so very hard to make sure our vacation was wonderful. We had pizza and cookies nightly after gambling which was fun. Carnival's pizza is much better. Breakfast on the balcony was fabulous. The food was always hot and delicious. They always called before delivering which we really liked, as we used that as a wake-up call. Coffee was very good but very strong. Toast was terrible - not sure where that bread comes from but the bagels were great. We never found a crowd in the Windjammer and I thought the choices were great. Love the salad bar. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets - the milkshake was wonderful. We had level 2 for departure and it went smoothly. Wheelchairs were available for my parents and porters were easily available. My parents would have been fine without the wheelchairs but we just didn't know how long we would have to stand and wait. Henry Lee Tennessee was waiting for us and we were off to the airport. We didn't get to have a Bridge Tour which was one of my parents special requests. Due to the Noro Virus that the NAV had been battling lately they were not offering them. We did not see or hear of anyone sick with the Noro so whatever they had been doing to combat that bug was working. My parents did receive a beautiful glass frame from RCCL/Ricardo for their 65th Wedding Anniversary. That was a lovely gift and they loved it. I will be happy to answer any questions concerning babies, seniors, ect. This was the second cruise for our granddaughter - we took her last year on the Carnival Miracle when she was 6 months old. She has cruised both trips without any problems. We did not use the in-room babysitting or children's programs on either cruises due to her age. Both Carnival and RCCL were more than accommodating with our granddaughter. We have been on Carnival 3 times, Princess 2 times and this was our first RCCL as well as our first suite experience. We will definitely cruise on RCCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date Nov 17, 2012. Our group was my wife, myself, our children (ages 20, 12, and 12) and my wife's (mid 70s) parents. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ... Read More
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date Nov 17, 2012. Our group was my wife, myself, our children (ages 20, 12, and 12) and my wife's (mid 70s) parents. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ship will make or break the entertainment value of the vacation. The crew on the Navigator just didn't seem to care and weren't trying to hide it. We are a pretty laid back, self-entertaining group and don't expect to be waited on hand and foot, so we can and did have a good time despite the crew. That said I could not in good conscience recommend this ship/itinerary to someone. I don't like reviews where someone just says a cruise or hotel room is bad or good. I need to know *why* you thought so. If I know the why then I can better determine if that would be good/bad for me. So I want to provide a review where I detail what was good/bad along with some of the 'why.' Boarding: We flew in the day before and spent the night at the Embassy SUites. At 12:30pm We walked the two blocks to the whale lot where there were porters loading luggage onto carts. There was a bit of confusion because some folks who were Carnival passengers were trying to give them luggage. Our bags were already tagged so it was a quick drop and go situation. The porters tagged you bags if you didn't already have them. Note that the Riverwalk access to the cruise ship walkway (it's still marked like that) is closed. The doors have a heavy chain and padlock on them. It's easy enough to walk in the street, about 1 block from the whale lot to the terminal. There was a police officer (where the port road turns onto Julia street) managing the vehicle and pedestrian traffic. At this point organization took a vacation. We didn't know it at the time but a lot of the embarkation problems were related to the fact that the Navigator had just come trans-atlantic. I was later told that because the ship was previously trans-atlantic and "new" to the port all the various authorities were being more detailed in checking things out. This applied not only to disembarking passengers, but also checking out the crew. (Imagine Coast Guard, and Immigration and CUstoms officers diligently following the rules.) I'm not saying anything is wrong with this, just making note that it cause a lot of confusion and delays. I hope this experience was not indicative of a normal boarding in NOLA, because it was hands down the worst I've experienced out of 7 cruises. I'll give an example: One RCL employee was telling embarking passengers to go back the other way because there were still 500 passengers from the previous cruise still disembarking. We ignored him along with a few others and asked a bit further down and another RCL employeed told us to continue ahead as they've been boarding passengers for the last hour. We then were able start the boarding process. Entertainment: Nightly shows: The dancing shows were fine. (Nothing spectacular or particulary impressive.) There were two different comedians which were both very good. There was a Platters group that was fantastic. Daily entertainment: Our group agreed that overall this was weak. This was compounded by the fact that the first two days were sea days. There was just very little going on those two days. This was especially disappointing to me since I enjoy having a drink on the pool deck and watching contests or listening to music. Two days at sea and the highlight of the pool deck was the ice cream machine. The bingo was run well The trivia and sudoku contests in the schooner bar were okay The movie selection in the theatre was geared towards a 20-40 crowd. I would liked to have enjoyed more movies there but the seats were were so incredibly uncomfortable I couldn't make myself go back. My father in law went once also and said it was like sitting on a board. Dining: MDR: The food was good, the service decent. Nothing spectacular. The service of course varies from table to table. For some odd reason they served the Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday night. Windjammer: Only once did I find the Windjammer crowded. It was a sea day right at noon. Any other time we have no trouble getting a table or having to wait in line for food. The food itself was fine and well kept up. The only issue I had with Windjammer was it closed at 9:30 pm every night. Which would not have been a problem except there were no late night buffets, so you were left with room service or the Cafe Promenade (See below.) Cafe Promenade: This place was just downright awful. I've seen it well done on the Freedom of the Seas, so I know it can be done. I was served the worst Starbucks latte I've ever had. I threw half of it away. The worst part though was the service. I'll give an example: There is a sign with the available kinds of pizza. (Only once was I ever there and they actually had all 3 kinds listed on the sign.) I asked the woman at the counter what kind of pizza they had since I could see there was only 1 pan under the heat lamp. She gave me a dirty look and gestured at the sign. So I play along and ask for pepperoni which was listed on the sign. She turned around and looked at the pan, turned back around and told me they only have cheese pizza. Which wouldn't be so bad except that cheese pizza wasn't one of the kinds listed on the sign. Bar Service: I've been on some ships where I felt like I was constantly getting mobbed by bar service folks. That was definitely not an issue on the Navigator. Soda Package: In my opinion, the soda package on the Navigator is a complete waste of money. They have apparently changed how this whole situation is handled because if you have the soda package you either get fountain soda or soda poured from a 2 liter bottle. The problem with the 2 liter bottles is every time I got it, it was flat. I'm convinced others figured this out as well which further aggravated the problem. What then happened is people would not get soda at the places that had the 2 liters which caused long lines at the other places. Most often those places were the bars, which then angered the bartenders and others waiting for alcoholic drinks. I honestly believe you could solve the issue by not having the bottles at all or marking them with a timestamp. Note that if you didn't have a soda package they would whip out a cold can of soda and provide glass. (I'm tempted to write letter to the Coca-Cola company about the issue.) I'm not sure I will ever buy the soda package on RCL again because of this. Wifi: This ship does not yet have wifi throughout the ship. I was able to get a very weak signal in our room on deck 9 forward but never enough to actually get a internet connection. I never had any trouble getting a connection on the pool deck, windjammer, royal promenade, or of course in the internet cafe. Teen club: My twins went to the 12-14 club and activities. My daughter didn't enjoy it and gave it up after the second day. My son kept going throughout the entire cruise. Most of the activities did seem more boy oriented. The only issue I had was once when I went to check on him in the teen club room. I stepped inside the room and the RCL woman freaked out and ran over at me. She kept telling me that I couldn't come in there. She wouldn't shut up so I started talking over her and said I came to check on my son. She kept saying I can come in there. I asked how to I get a hold of him, and she said I would have to talk to her and she could get him. I then asked how if she was also in the room how could get a hold of her without coming into the room? At that she stopped talking and just stood there with her mouth open like that had never occurred to her. By that time we had the attention of all the kids in the room. I just talked to my son quickly and then left. (I've never had a problem stepping into the room to get the attention of staff on the Carnival kids club.) Excursions: Our excursion in Grand Cayman was cancelled due to high wind. We had left early to catch the tender and shop a bit so we didn't find out it was cancelled until we were standing there waiting for the group to show. I did discover that the excursion desk had left a message on our room phone indicating the cancellation. So I give them props for trying to contact us. Disembarkation: It wasn't as bad as embarkation, but having been through many others this experience was consistent with rest of the voyage. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Embarking was HORRIBLE- parking directions from Royal Caribbean were wrong, then parking filled up. Traffic getting to parking was horrible. We walked in the doors of the terminal at 2 p.m. becuase RCI sent an email saying not to come ... Read More
Embarking was HORRIBLE- parking directions from Royal Caribbean were wrong, then parking filled up. Traffic getting to parking was horrible. We walked in the doors of the terminal at 2 p.m. becuase RCI sent an email saying not to come before 1:30 p.m. We waited 60 minutes in long line to get up to security which really wasn't that bad because the line was moving pretty frequently. But the real kicker was waiting ANOTHER 90 minutes in the security line after they split us from the main line and into one of five security lines. Our line just didn't move. Other people walked into the terminal building and right through security because they were directed to another line. We were just unlucky and the security personnel seemed oblivious to the problem. Because we were one of the final few to board the ship, it was pure chaos on the deck because people were mingling about after the security drill and no one provided us any direction as to what to do or where to go once we stepped aboard. We were so worn out by the process we skipped formal dinner, grabbed a bite in the Windjammer (yummy) and spent the evening settling in to our cabin. The rest of the cruise was wonderful, thank goodness. We were especially pleased with our cabin overlooking the Promenade. It would not be good for those who want to fall asleep early, though, as the sound from the evening's entertainment was pretty audible in our cabin. The upside was we could watch the parades and entertainment from our room. We were quite pleased with the wide variety of activities and entertainment on the ship. And the cruise director (Jimmy) and Activities Manager (Tom) and their staff were highly entertaining. Our first two days aboard were at sea and we were never at a loss of something to do. The ship was large, but not so large that you couldn't get to where you needed to be relatively quickly (if you didn't mind taking the stairs.) Main dining room was good, particularly at dinner. Though we were a little surprised to be seated with a large party of 10, seeing as it was just me and my husband. We figured they would sit us with other couples or smaller parties. Oh well, we had a great time. We did eat lunch one time in the main dining room and decided it was too slow of service and the food was not any better than the Windjammer Cafe. Windjammer Cafe had a lot of variety including plenty of healthy options and plenty of comfort food and sweets. The only downside was going during peak times meant it could be difficult to find the type of seat we preferred and the buffet lines could be a bit chaotic at times. We signed up for the Murder Mystery party in Portofino (specialty restaurant.) Well worth the $$$. Tons of fun and great menu! We were warned about Jamaica so we didn't have high expectations. Turned out to be our favorite port. We went on horseback ride and climbed Dunn River Falls through Yardie Tours which we booked through Cruises Only's Marriot Rewards web site. Grand Cayman was gorgeous - we did stingray city plus 2 snorkle stops with Captain Marvin's tours. Cozumel we took advise from Trip Advisor and hired a private taxi driver for the day who gave us a great tour of the island including a tour of a small chocolate factory and a tequila tour/tasting. Turned out to be an expensive day because we bought jewelry, chocolate, and tequila in addition to paying for 5 hours of a private taxi but it was nice to get out of the crowds. We look forward to our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We booked a cruise from cheapcruises at the end of August for sailing immediately after Thanksgiving. When we booked the cruise, there was some back and forth e-mails with the agent. About a month before departure, we got an e-mail telling ... Read More
We booked a cruise from cheapcruises at the end of August for sailing immediately after Thanksgiving. When we booked the cruise, there was some back and forth e-mails with the agent. About a month before departure, we got an e-mail telling us we needed to preregister. I delayed acting on this e-mail because I was traveling for work, but registered about 7 days in advance. The website said we missed the 10-day cut off to have luggage tags mailed to us, but that a porter would help. (We later found that no one got luggage tags mailed to them regardless of how early you registered). Then about 3 days before the cruise, we realized we never received details on the cruise, no communication from RC what so ever. We are experienced cruisers, but wanted some specific details. My wife called the 1-800 number for RC and talked to a lady. We asked about the number of formal nights so we would know how to pack. The service lady told us that Navigator exclusively had "My Time" dining and that it was all casual. My wife asked that we had requested late dining and was told that no longer an option. The lady again confirmed there was no other option other than my time dining. We also asked if we could bring a bottle or two of wine. We were told that absolutely no alcohol or any beverages of any kind could be brought on board. We get to New Orleans and board the ship. As we were waiting in line to get our Sea Passes, we noticed another family with two large cases of water. Not sure if he made it on board, but we had already been though several checkpoints at that time. Anyway, we get on board. Since we don't normally spend much time in the stateroom, we normally just get inside staterooms on a lower deck. But, this ship had a promenade and we though we would give it a shot. We loved the room. Anytime, day or night you could look out and see people walking buy and enjoying drinks at the pub right below our windows. The artificial light in the promenade is matched to the real light outside. We thought it was really neat. The room is also the largest we have ever had with a 2 person loveseat in front of the window and a 2nd loveseat on the side of the room between the bed and the window. We were very impressed. One disappointment. New Orleans is quite a ways up the Mississippi river from the Gulf of Mexico. I think we spent about 6 hours each way cruising the Mississippi. All of the travel was at night. I think it would have been cool to see the cruise down the river. A summer cruise where the sun sets later would have allowed this, but in November, the sun set as we departed port. As we were sailing on the Mississippi, my wife was talking with another passenger and confirmed that traditional dinning was still available. She noted on our Sea Pass, that we did indeed have late dining and pointed out our table number. So, at this point we knew, the 2 formal night would be enjoyed in my "Formal Polo Shirt". RC lie #1. When we do get to dinner, we are seated at a 6-top table with 2 other couples similar in age to us. One of the wives, Sue, was telling us about the wine she brought on board. I guess you are allowed 1 bottle per person (or stateroom not sure which). You just have to show it to security when boarding. RC lie #2. Towards the end of day #2, a sea day, the captain got on the PA system and said that overnight 25 people had reported Norovirus symptoms, and that if we experienced vomiting and/or diarrhea, that we should call the desk for further instructions. By the morning, they were up to 50 cases, and at that point, we could no longer serve ourselves food at the buffets. As soon as you got up from a table, they cleared the dishes and cleaned with this stuff in a purple bottle. There was a crew of maybe 10 people that just roamed the ship, day and night, wiping down elevators, hand rails, and anything that might get touched. By the end of the cruise, they had 180 cases (not all active at the same time). Here are my thoughts. They told us the carrier was tracked down to a family of 5 that came from Australia. So, if you are sick, be honest with the cruise line. There are 4-5000 passengers and crew in a small confined area. Illness spreads exponentially. Out of respect for fellow passengers, just be honest. It is possible that they got infected on the flight and didn't know they were sick prior to boarding, so I can't blame them if they honestly didn't know. Royal Caribbean, I think, did a great job of containing this. I enjoyed being served food at the buffets. This cruise had an older crowd and so many people would stand in front of the pan of fried chicken, for example, looking for that perfect piece. I thought the lines moved quicker because you got the piece of chicken they gave you. We had one of the couples at dinner get quarantined, two different people at an adjacent table, and at least 4 staterooms in our hallway had quarantined passengers (yellow square over their door). So, people were getting sick all around us, but luckily, we avoided it. One thing I think RC did not do a good job of, was providing details of the illness, like how it is transmitted, incubation time, etc. If you are going to take a cruise, I would print out details from the internet on Norovirus and take it with you. I would also recommend watching the movie "Contagion". It is not the best movie I have seen, but it really drives home how these things spread. The first two nights of dinning, none of us through the food was that good. There was some kind of seafood skewer that most of the table got one night, and the sauce on it tasted weird. However, friends of ours got that in early dining and thought it was fantastic. Apart from that, the food wasn't bad, it was just below average. The head waiter stopped by and asked how everything was going, and we mentioned that the food was sub-par. He apologized. For the remainder of the cruise, the food was very good. So, I don't know how all of that transpired, but they definitely took care of the situation. Overall the on-ship staff was fantastic. The entertainment was very good. One thing most of the passengers noted was that there was no way the ship was full. Usually we get to the shows early to make sure we get a seat, but we never saw the theater more than 1/2 full. We never waited in line for food and never had problem getting a lounge chair by the pool. One thing I have said is that every cruise we have taken is worse than the one before. As the ships keep getting bigger and bigger and there are more and more ships, coupled with a declining economy, the cruise lines have to deeply discount fares, and that can only mean that have to cut corners. I am happy to say, this cruise broke the trend. It was not the best, but it did land somewhere in the middle, and cost about 20% of what the best cost us. The last couple cruises, the staff has been downright aggressive in pushing alcohol and photos, and they scaled back to an acceptable level. A bartender was available if you wanted a drink, but if you just wanted to lay by the pool and read or sleep, they weren't interrupting you every 5 minutes to see if you wanted a "Bahama Mamma" or whatever. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
The food on this cruise is the worst that I have ever experienced on a cruise. There was not food available on the pool deck and swim suits were not allowed in the Windjammer buffet, so you would have to get dressed to go eat. They ... Read More
The food on this cruise is the worst that I have ever experienced on a cruise. There was not food available on the pool deck and swim suits were not allowed in the Windjammer buffet, so you would have to get dressed to go eat. They were extremely slow about clearing tables in the buffet. There was a lot of socializing among the crew when they should have been working. Supervisors would join in on the socializing. Who was minding the store? The food in the dining rooms was not good either. We ate at Johnny Rockets and Chopps a couple of times. The food in these venues was good, but it should have been because you pay a premium to eat there. If you wanted a late night snack and did not want to eat in your room there was only one place to get something. They had pre-made cold sandwiches, pizza under a heat lamp sponge cake and cookies. The pizza was not even grocery store quality. The bars where there was live music were small and so smoke filled you could not enjoy it if you were even able to find a seat. The ship was hot in all areas even the stateroom. Two days into the cruise there was a Norovirus outbreak. There were over 102 reported cases. This put a damper on the cruise for fear of catching it. The staff had to be pulled from other duties to constantly disinfect the public areas. The service on the ship suffered. I spoke with several seasoned cruisers and they expressed the same complaints that I had, so I feel I was not being over critical. Now please do not get me wrong we had a great time on the cruise but it was not to the standards that we are accustomed to. We were told that other ships in the RC line were great, that it was just the bad management of this ship. I may give one of their other ships a try but I could not recommend the Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We did this same cruise at the same time last year but on Voyager instead of Navigator, so the ship layout was same. Once again we stayed at Hampton Inn, Metarie, where we left our car for no charge for the week. Embarked before noon and ... Read More
We did this same cruise at the same time last year but on Voyager instead of Navigator, so the ship layout was same. Once again we stayed at Hampton Inn, Metarie, where we left our car for no charge for the week. Embarked before noon and headed for Two Poets for drinks and food from Cafe. Our jr suite included a coffee maker, robes, and walk-in closet. Very clean and tidy. Dinner was early seating in MDR at ten top with very congenial tablemates. Ate all dinners and several lunches there. One meal in WJ was enough. Missed pool grill that is on other ships. Never went to shows(music usually too loud), casino, or pool. Mostly ate, drank, and slept. These were same ports we had done twice before. In Cozumel we enjoyed the chocolate factory tour that we booked on-line. In Georgetown we took an independent tour of rum cake factory etc. In Falmouth we stayed in port and shopped. Norovirus meant crew was constantly washing railings and not allowing passengers to serve own food. The last night all glasses were removed from our room until I bitterly complained about having nothing to use while taking pm and am pills. Why could they not leave us paper cups? The last morning we left our cabin early for the written promise of refreshments in dining room while waiting to disembark. No food available. Were they afraid we would get sick while leaving ship? Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We sailed on the Navigator of the Seas, RC on 11/17 out of New Orleans. Our Embarkation was not good. Parking was impossible. But getting off the ship was very good. So I think the Port of New Orleans cleaned up their act by then. The ... Read More
We sailed on the Navigator of the Seas, RC on 11/17 out of New Orleans. Our Embarkation was not good. Parking was impossible. But getting off the ship was very good. So I think the Port of New Orleans cleaned up their act by then. The ship was FANTASTIC. The Promenade which is designed like a Main Street is great. There was a Disco Party there one night and the Circus Parade was Amazing. There are lots of activities on the ship, from jewelry making to napkin folding. There was always something to do. The shops on Main Street are okay, nothing special. The food is good at the main restaurants and buffet. The food is excellent in the specialty restaurants. We did the Mystery Dinner, which was lots of fun. The Gym on the ship is great, lots of machines and weights, but it does get crowded at certain times. The Casino is good. The Solarium, the adults only pool is fantastic. 2 whirlpools and one medium size pool. The other pool area is great, 2 larger pools and at least 4 whirlpools. They had line dancing, a disco party and various contests. The ports, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel were okay. Grand Cayman was beautiful. We did the Captain Bryan's Snorkeling trip in Grand Cayman. It was not great snorkeling, the reefs are not spectacular, but the ship and crew were Great. The snorkeling in Jamaica, Dream (booked thru the ship) was not worth the money. Snorkeling was just off the beach. But the ride on both catamarans was wonderful. We shopped in Cozumel, which although hectic with all the vendors shouting at you. But, you can get some great deals. I bought a necklace and I know it was 50% off as I checked the US price. I would give the Navigator 5 stars. The food is not perfect, but I didn't expect it to be. The Ports were not breathtaking, but I didn't expect that either. The ship is spotless, they received a 100% grade from the Health Inspector before we left the Port of New Orleans. The best part of our cruise was the ship. There was ALWAYS something to do. Bingo, exercise classes, dance lessons, mini golf, dodge ball, skating or in line skating. The bars and lounges are great. Our favorite was the Cosmopolitan. The ship never felt crowded even though it was fully booked. The Staff on every level was wonderful. All the staff we encountered on the entire cruise was courteous and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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