Where to start? We just returned from our third Navigator cruise last night. I'll admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for this ship, as this was our first cruise ship we ever booked back in 2009. We were anxious to see her after ... Read More
Where to start? We just returned from our third Navigator cruise last night. I'll admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for this ship, as this was our first cruise ship we ever booked back in 2009. We were anxious to see her after her recent refurbishment and to see how we liked her (or if we still did, considering some of the bad press we'd seen lately). If you don't feel like reading the entire review, I'll save you the time - we still love this ship, and we still love cruising on Regent.
The updates to the Navigator make her seem more contemporary and fresher. I felt that the ship was in superb condition and the new color schemes make her look more elegant and functional. There was a lot of grumbling about the missing drawers in the cabins (we were in a D on deck 8) but to tell the truth, I didn't see it as a problem at all. There were two of us in a cabin for 12 nights and we didn't even come close to using the drawers in the closet, and we didn't really miss the old drawers in the desk area. Maybe it would be an issue on a longer cruise, but I don't feel like anything was lost. The new colors are soothing, and the bed was supremely comfortable. The common areas rarely felt crowded (exception: embarkation was a bit crowded) and we never had an issue with lines for dining or any other venues.
Navigator is the least foodie-friendly ship in the Regent fleet, with only one specialty restaurant (Prime 7) but again, on a shorter itinerary, this wasn't an issue. We felt that the selection and quality of the food was very good to excellent. Included wines were usually good and often very good. Spirit selection could be better (especially in the brown liquor area) but it was fun to experiment with cocktails outside of my normal "scotch in a glass".
I am not a big fan of the shows on board, but I have to admit that the ones I attended on this cruise seemed better than before. My past cruises, I often spent part of the evenings after dinner sitting in the Connoisseur Club with a brandy and a cigar; that's no longer an option on Navigatgor. I did miss it somewhat, but not as much as I thought I would. Maybe that's why I attended more shows, who knows?
With very few exceptions, we found the service on board to be superb. The lows: Compass Rose and Pool Deck sometimes took too long to identify and correct empty glasses. To a person, everyone we came across was friendly, helpful, and knowledgable. Our cabin steward was fantastic, friendly, efficient, and unobtrusive. She went out of her way to help my wife and I with any special requests we had, The bar staff and waiters quickly got to know us and know what we liked. The CD, Jamie Logan, and his wife Dana were seemingly everywhere at once, and you could always see them mingling with the guests and sharing a story or giving advice. They both helped make this a special cruise, too.
Ports and shore excursions - the first half of this trip was mostly ports we'd visited before and we took different excursions to get a different feel. For the most part, they were good, although I feel like they're starting to cram too many people in each tour. We had one tour guide in Malta who was definitely substandard, but all of the others were fantastic. We upgraded probably three or four of our tours to the Regent Choice excursions, and these are always nice; slower pace, fewer guests, and always something to remember. The 'Lunch in a Private Villa' in Taromina is a must-do, we did this one a second time this trip since we had family with us we wanted to share this with. It's definitely worth the upcharge!
The second half of this trip took us to ports we had not yet visited, and they were all amazing. Although this itinerary was changed from Istanbul to Haifa after we booked, we decided to stick with the cruise, and we're glad we did! Israel was fantastic, a definite must-see if you've never been. We spent three days there and barely scratched the surface of what you can do and see there. I'd definitely go back!
As we often do, we booked our air and lodging through Regent Air. Yes, it's a bit more expensive but to us, it's worth it. Knowing that our transfers and lodging are all set up gives us peace of mind in case anything goes south. We had first class transfers, and our hotels were great (Melia Serria in Barcelona, Dan Carmel in Haifa).
This particular cruise had more kids on board than we had expected, but they were mostly quiet and well-behaved. Not 100%, mind you, but not bad. We probably had more issues with cranky seniors than whiny toddlers. :-)
So in a nutshell, my wife and I ranked this as probably our best cruise yet. The price was reasonable, the service was pretty damn good, the ship was in great shape, and the crew was fantastic.
Negatives: My wife didn't get her cranberry juice for breakfast one morning. My water glass sat empty for a good 10-15 minutes on the Pool Deck one afternoon. Destination Services should probably enforce more mobility controls on the tours - i.e. if you can't walk 50 feet in 15 minutes, you probably shouldn't be on a 3-walker rated tour...but they'd probably get sued if they tried to enforce that, so I see why they leave it up to each person. Also, did I mention that the Internet absolutely sucked? Sucked to the point of being unusable? I tried my iPad in my cabin, my iPad in the computer lounge, the computers in the computer lounge, my iPhone everywhere in the ship, and I couldn't ever get a decent connection, and I'd get logged off every 8-12 minutes, right in the middle of a session. Sometimes you couldn't even reach the server to log off. It was bad. Really bad. Hideously bad. Don't expect to work on board if you need to - you're better off taking a tablet ashore and poaching wifi from a cafe or a hotel.
Positives: Pretty much everything else. Service was stellar 99.9% of the time. Food was very good to excellent. The oldest ship in the Regent fleet looks fresh and modern again. And the suites are large in every category, which is a huge plus for us.
Would we sail Navigator again? Absolutely. This was our third trip on this ship, and she's getting better each time we sail her.
Would we sail Regent again? Well, let's just say that we had one more Regent cruise booked when we embarked in Barcelona, and by the time we debarked in Haifa, we had three booked, two on Explorer and one on Voyager.
Hope this review helps you with your cruising plans. Enjoy!!! Read Less