121 Rome (Civitavecchia) Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Nov. 3 we boarded the Navigator of the Seas for the sixth time. The difference, this time it's 21 days and every day was fantastic. The staff and crew were so friendly and helpful from our wait staff in My Time Dining, Francisco & ... Read More
Nov. 3 we boarded the Navigator of the Seas for the sixth time. The difference, this time it's 21 days and every day was fantastic. The staff and crew were so friendly and helpful from our wait staff in My Time Dining, Francisco & Carlo, probably the best we've had in over 20 cruises. On the first 7 day cruise we had a small problem with a bar server in the Two Poets but she was going home at the end of that trip and her replacement was the very best. Guest Relations staff managed to be pleasant and helpful through it all, and just everyone on board went out of there way to be helpful and share a laugh with any of the nine people in our group. I do have to say the Nav. is getting tired but should be addressed come January when she goes into dry dock for a major overhaul. Something we've found on the last few cruises is the entertainment in the theatre is not what it used to be in the early days (5 to 7 years ago). I would have to say that this back to back cruise would have to be right up there in the top (favorite) three cruises we have been fortunate to have taken. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We love cruising and we love Royal Caribbean but we did not love our experience on Navigator of the Seas! Embarkation at Civitavecchia was straight forward and efficient, as was disembarkation at Barcelona, any problems we encountered ... Read More
We love cruising and we love Royal Caribbean but we did not love our experience on Navigator of the Seas! Embarkation at Civitavecchia was straight forward and efficient, as was disembarkation at Barcelona, any problems we encountered were in between. We had the soda package but most of the fountain soda machines were broken and the bars were serving soft drinks from large bottles meaning they were warm and had no carbonation unless you were lucky to get the first glass from the bottle! When we complained about it we were treated really badly as apparently we should have complained sooner - we were giving them a chance to fix it. I think there was a staff corridor above our cabin and it was so noisy from the sounds of trolleys being rolled up and down, day and night. We can sleep through pretty much anything but this was a pain in the neck. We had one sea day and were looking forward to lunch in the MDR but when we got there they were closing even though there was still over an hour to go according to the Cruise Compass. Food in the Windjammer wasn't as good as other cruises - it was lukewarm at best. Overall we were actually happy to leave the cruise - a first for us :( Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Took a short cruise from Rome to Barcelona stopping at Naples. Malta, Sardinia, Mallorca, and ending in Barcelona. The stop in Malta had to be aborted due to foul weather and was replaced by a stop at Messina in Sicily. Navigator was ... Read More
Took a short cruise from Rome to Barcelona stopping at Naples. Malta, Sardinia, Mallorca, and ending in Barcelona. The stop in Malta had to be aborted due to foul weather and was replaced by a stop at Messina in Sicily. Navigator was large, clean and in pretty good shape given that is was heading across the ocean after the Barcelona stop for its refit. The ship was full but handles its capacity very well. There never seemed to be bottlenecks or crowding even in the Windjammer. It was my first time on this size of ship having cruised several times in Radiance and Vision class ships and I think that overall I prefer them. The theater is stunning though and the ice skating rink kind of neat. The main interior promenade will appeal to folks who like hanging out at the mall but it didn't appeal to me. The crew was well organized and friendly from my steward to the bar staff to the front desk. My dining room waiter seemed to lack confidence and got flustered easily but the assistant waiter and the section captain picked up the slack. Food was generally well presented and tasty though not gourmet - good quality banquet fare and now standardized across the fleet which probably pleases the cost accountants but bores the regular RCL cruisers like me. Likewise The Windjammer was fine with good curries though soups were salty and thinly flavored. Proper Bangers at breakfast were a surprise. An extra cost meal at Portofino was very tasty and well worth the $20 surcharge though the service was rather robotic and automatic. To that note Royal Caribbean needs to end the hokey practice of wasting our time and patience by making their waiters "describe my menu" whether the diners want it or not. We have repeatedly said "Its not necessary" but they forge on relentlessly obviously obeying some strict rule. Just ask "Would you like me to describe the menu?" and let us decide. We enjoyed drinks at the Champagne Bar and atop the ship in the Viking Lounge. The dungeon nightclub (a disco) was loud but amusing for a late night tipple. My inside cabin seemed a bit smaller than its brothers on the smaller ships but has the standard Royal Caribbean fittings and fixtures. The bed was comfortable and the climate control and all the plumbing worked fine. My unobtrusive steward kept it all clean and tidy and left me wanting for nothing. It being a port intensive cruise we didn't bother with too many of the ships activities or being tired at the end of sightseeing, the entertainment so I cannot comment on either. What Royal Caribbean is perfecting is getting people on and off the ship both at the beginning and end of the cruise and at the port stops. Embarkation took about 5 minutes. Disembarkation? If you can haul your own suitcase, leave when you want up to 9:30 am. Ports? Never a lineup or logjam off or on. They really are good at this. All in all a fine cruise from a company that has their product down pat. As a tip, we took the fast train that leaves Termini Station in Rome about noon to the port at Civitavecchia which takes about 38 minutes flat. It cost 9 euros each (we got the lowest fare possible). The walk from the train station to the port entrance along the seafront is a pleasant 10 minutes. You won't get lost - two dozen passengers like you are making the same trek. There are regular free shuttle buses from the port entrance to the ship itself. Cheap and simple! I will be back with RCL again for sure but I think I prefer their smaller ships over the larger.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Spent one night in the Port town of Civitaveccia (Rome) pre cruise at the hotel San Gorgio. Embarkation was very quick & efficient & found ourselves on board by lunchtime. The ship is very large & beautiful. It is maintained ... Read More
Spent one night in the Port town of Civitaveccia (Rome) pre cruise at the hotel San Gorgio. Embarkation was very quick & efficient & found ourselves on board by lunchtime. The ship is very large & beautiful. It is maintained very well with only small wear & tear marks here & there. We had a large balcony room on the hump on Deck 7. The location was very handy to the lifts. The design & storage areas of the room made for a very pleasant cabin. Entertainment was good overall, not as good as I have seen on other cruises but still enjoyable. The times or nights of the week they chose to do some of the main shows didn't seem to flow well with this particular cruise. Food in the Buffet was quite good with plenty of choices & little to no lines to wait for food. Looking for a table in peak times seemed to take longer than getting your food. The dining room is a large beautiful room however we thought the food was just ok. Not bad in any way, just not brilliant either. This is our second cruise on RCI & in my opinion we have enjoyed the dining room experience more on other lines such as Carnival, Costa, & Celebrity. We had My Time Dining as we usually do on most cruises & the waiters on this cruise were good but not as good as we have come across. The Promenade café was good & handy for a snack & Johnny Rockets is always a bit of good old fun. Most of the staff seemed fairly friendly & approachable. The captain was often seen at events however he always seemed to speak like he was reading from a script he had rehearsed many times before. I realise English was not his first language but his speeches didn't always seem to come from the heart. Didn't use the pool as weather was bit cold for it but did make use of Hot Tubs, as well as enjoy other outdoor facilities like mini golf, walking track, etc. Disembarkation in Barcelona was also very quick. We just walked off with our own bags & once outside of the Terminal we paid to have our bags taken to the airport for us by a local company while we jumped in a Taxi & explored Barcelona on our own for a few hours before going to the airport later in the day. This was a very Port intensive cruise so we did not get to enjoy the ship to it's fullest but with the right Itinerary I would sail this ship again & overall we had a great cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This review was for the back to back transatlantic cruises November 3 - November 24, 2013. I have traveled several times with Royal Caribbean as well as six other cruise lines but this cruise was the worst for grumpy staff, maintenance ... Read More
This review was for the back to back transatlantic cruises November 3 - November 24, 2013. I have traveled several times with Royal Caribbean as well as six other cruise lines but this cruise was the worst for grumpy staff, maintenance issues, poor service, poor quality of food, and staff that had no clue on how to perform their basic duties. However, there were some outstanding individuals that always went above and beyond what was their job. Those individuals were Mikhail and Jaime table 318 in the main dining room, Carlo Bangkas - server in My Time Dining and Windjammer, and No No - Maitre d' in My Time Dining. Each one of them always had a smile on their face and were willing to solve any problem. They gave over 100% ever single day. Royal should be proud of these individuals. The cruise overall was just okay but one had to deal with issues on a daily basis that really took away from the cruise experience. Some of these issues are as follows: 1. Ran out of Diet Coke for the final 4 days of the cruise at several bars, Windjammer and at the Diamond and Concierge lounge. When asked when Diet Coke would be available the staff would just shrug their shoulder and tell you to try another bar. I finally had a supervisor go get me a Diet Coke as I was in the Windjammer (deck 11) and I had enough of searching for my drink that I had paid for in the drink package. The supervisor had to go to deck 3 before Diet Coke could be found. This is not acceptable. 2. Internet connection was so slow it took over 6 minutes at 75 cents a minute to connect in. No one from Royal around to help anyone with their connection problems. I did help several people as some of the computers were not working. I finally went to Guest Services and explained the problem and asked for a full refund. No problem was the answer but upon checking my bill Guest Services only gave me credit for the unused internet. 3. I received an invitation to a top tier Crown and Anchor event. However, upon arriving at the venue I was refused entry! The staff was down right nasty and rude stating that I did not belong at that event and to leave. The next day I received another invite to another top tier Crown and Anchor event for 2:30 pm that day. However, I only received that invite at noon and I was off the ship as it was a port day. Furthermore, I then received a letter apologizing for the problems with the top tier event and to come on down at 2:30 pm the next day. I did not bother at that point as the staff had treated me so rudely that I just did not feel like Royal really cared about this customer. 4. I went into the General Store and prices on the liquor were not displayed. Upon speaking with a supervisor as to how one finds out what the price is I was told to go ask the guy behind the counter as they were doing a reset. Keep in mind that this store was closed the first week of the cruise and that prices never did appear for the rest of the cruise. The supervisor was also very rude and said go call Royal as it is not his problem. 5. The majority of the staff appeared as if they just did not want to be on this cruise ship. Several passengers that I talked to stated the same thing. The big joke on the ship was ask for something three times before you will get an answer other then a NO! 6. I did go to Sabatini's specialty restaurant and was highly disappointed. The dinner took over three hours and the service was not up to standards. Dirty dishes were not cleared for over twenty minutes and my Diet Coke was never refilled. I could make some allowances if they were busy but there were only 4 tables being used. I was not impressed at all. 7. The spa was always running out of towels for the men's and women's locker room. I had to ask several times for a towel and waited one time for over ten minutes. 8. In the men's locker room there are six showers. Out of the six showers, four were broken where the temperature could not be adjusted. This was reported several times by various cruisers. Maintenance did try to do a fix but they never did get it right until the very end of the cruise. There were still two showers that were broken even after fixing them. Also, the showers would not be properly stocked with soap. This was a problem throughout the cruise. 9. I could not disembark the ship on my final day as there was a problem with my account even though I had been down to Guest Services the night before to ensure there were no problems. The problem with my account is that no credit card was on file for the two week cruise even though I had filled out the paperwork for both cruises. This seemed to be a problem for a lot of back to back cruisers in that information was not properly transferred. Upon going back down to the gangway all disembarkation had stopped. After waiting twenty minutes people tried to cut in line several times due to the poor crowd control. Finally I was able to get off the ship and upon arriving at Customs they wanted to know what the hold up was as they have been sitting around not doing a thing for the last twenty minutes. Once again Royal staff had no clue on how to perform their duties. I was on the Navigator of the Seas in April, for the Transatlantic crossing, and I did not run into these problems at all. The quality of staff on this ship has gone downhill so far that I will not be back on this ship. Keep in mind that I had a good time on the cruise but the problems I encountered is not what I paid for. I would hope someone from Royal would contact me regarding these problems but I seriously doubt Royal cares about the customer anymore. This is the attitude that I received from the majority of staff. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I say second "Cruise of a Lifetime" because this is our second trip to The Mediterranean! Our first was our 25th Anniversary Cruise just two years ago. Who knew we would be returning so soon. (We did throw a coin in Trevi ... Read More
I say second "Cruise of a Lifetime" because this is our second trip to The Mediterranean! Our first was our 25th Anniversary Cruise just two years ago. Who knew we would be returning so soon. (We did throw a coin in Trevi Fountain!) This trip was with my brother and sister in law and since we had been before we were nominated as trip planner. I made all the reservations direct through various sites on the internet - Flight, hotel, cruise, tours, etc. Of course Crusie Critic was my Number One source of information. We flew to Rome via Atlanta two days early to enjoy a little more sightseeing. Good thing as Delta had computer problems and all regional jets were grounded Thursday mid-day and we missed our connection to Rome by about 15 minutes. Delta agents were helpful and the four of us were put on a later flight that stopped briefly in Paris. We got to add another city to our "bucket list of places to visit". I had arraigned a private transfer with "Rome Airport Transportation" and was not sure they received my notice about the delayed flight but once we cleared customs there they were with our name on a sign. What a welcome relief! The trip from the airport to our hotel was uneventful but we did get to see some sights on the way. We had reservations at the Hotel Colosseum. The hotel was very adequate, very clean and in a good location. (I was a little worried as other reviews painted it in a somewhat negative light as being close to a gentlemens club. There was one at the end of the block but we never saw anyone going or coming and had no problem at all.) As I mentioned the rooms were clean and well cared for. Breakfast was a selection of breads, cheeses and meats. It was adequate unless you were looking for a full American breakfast of all the eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage and cereal you could eat! They did keep our passport to register us but they were returned to us our first trip down to the desk. The keys are on a giant brass key ring that weighs a pound but they kept the keys for you at the front desk as you went out. The elevator was small - enough room for two pieces of luggage and two people. If you don't like tight places take the stairs! We went to a small restorante pizzeria just down the street that was recommended to us - La Mela D'Oro. Our waitress wasn't much although some of the other staff seemed friendly. We really didn't like the food and would advise seeking out another place. The sound of thunder awoke us on Saturday morning but by the time we finished breakfast the storm was clearing. We broke out our umbrellas and hit the street. After a few minutes of getting oriented we made our way to Termini Station and purchased an all day Metro pass. We had reserved tickets to the Vatican Museums and so bypassed the lines and walked right in. After spending the morning touring the museums and St. Peter's we found (or it found us) a small mom and pop restaurant - Trattoria Al Cuppolone. It had good food and good service at a great price. From the Vatican we took the Metro back to Barberini Station and started our walking journey. We began at the corner of San Carlo Quattro Fontane and made our way to the Quirinale. From there a short walk to the Trevi Fountain and it hordes of people! Onward to the Pantheon, Pizza Navona and back along the Vittorio Emanuele to the Forum area and its wonderful ancient ruins. The Colosseum was the end of our walking tour with a short jaunt back to our hotel. After a short time to cleanup from all the walking and exploring we headed back out for some real Italian food at the Hard Rock Cafe! Day One - The next morning Rome Airport Transportation picked us up at the hotel and delivered us to the pier at Civitavecchia. Upon arrival at the port RCL personnel greeted us and escourted us into the registration area. It took less than 20 minutes from our arrival at the port until we were aboard the ship. Although only Gold members of C&A we were treated like royalty! We went to the Windjammer for a delicious lunch and while there the announcements that the rooms were ready was made. Arriving at our cabin (#7221) we found it ready and our cabin attendant nearby. Although the cabin was cleaned regularly we hardly ever saw the attendant. He did a fair job but nothing special. At 4:30 pm we went to the Guest Assembly Drill. It’s amazing that people don’t think they really mean everyone has to attend. After rounding up the strays we were dismissed. Sail away took place at 5:00 pm and the high seas beckoned! After cleaning up a bit we headed to the Welcome Aboard Show. It was OK but it seems that the entertainment has gone down hill a bit. The orchestra was great but most of the other entertainment just didn’t WOW us as in the past. We had Second Seating for our meals so we wouldn’t have to rush back from shore every day. It worked well for us. Out Wait Staff (Natalia and Sachim) were EXCELLENT and showed excitement every night. We had two couples from California traveling together as table mates and enjoyed great conversation each evening. Day Two we awoke to find our ship pulling into Messina, Italy. We had opted for a RCL excursion "Taormina on Your Own”. This fit us well as we were able to enjoy the town at our own pace. After getting back to the ship we made the Headliner Show - The East Coast Boys - not a bad group. We enjoyed their songs and then made our way to dinner. After dinner a stop in the Casino was mandated by the wife. After making our contribution we strolled the deck and then turned in for the night. Day Three was a Sea Day. Nothing to do but kick back and relax. I had brought along a book to enjoy on deck so after a quick stop at the Café Promenade for some hot chocolate I retired to a chair on Deck 4 to begin my relaxation! The Production Showtime was "Now and Forever” featuring Broadway numbers. We did not enjoy the show and forced ourselves to sit through it. Afterwards it was off to dinner - our first Formal Night. Day Four we found ourselves in Athens. I had arraigned a private tour through Nikos Loukas (privategreecetours.com) to see the sights of Athens. We were met at the port by our driver, Demitris. He had a vast knowledge of Greek history and shared it with us as we toured the city at our pace. The Acropolis and Mars Hill had to be the high points for me. We never felt rushed or pressured at the suggestions he made and had a wonderful time. We had lunch in the Agora area and stopped for dessert on the way back to the ship. That evening we went to the Ice Dancin’ Spectacular - and it was! This was the best entertainment of the entire cruise. It is amazing what these people can do in such a small area while the ship is moving!!! After the show, dinner, the casino and bed. Day Five we arrived at the port of Kusadasi, Turkey. Again, I had arraigned a private tour through Tayf Tours. Our guide and driver (Yesim and Hasan) were waiting for us as we exited the ship. We quickly boarded our van and were whisked off to the House of Mary. We arrived before the tour buses and so had a rather peaceful time there. We then beat the crowds to Ephesus and toured the ruins and the Terrace Houses. From there we went to a local pottery store and yes we bought some pieces. They were absolutely beautiful. Our journey then took us into the mountains to Sirince. We spent just enough time here to pick up a few items and then back to the valley for lunch. Everyone warns of the "carpet factory” tours! I was hesitant but did stop at one for lunch and a quick tour. Looking back I would have let them know up front that we had no intention of purchasing a rug. Although they were beautiful they moved outside of our price range very quick. It was an interesting stop and story and the lunch was very good. Arriving back at the port we had some time to look around and purchase a few more items! The Headliner Show was Chilli Gold, a British singer, and she was actually pretty good. We enjoyed her show as it was full of familiar songs and high energy. Dinner was casual. My wife and I actually ate alone as my brother and sister in law went to the Mystery Dinner. They had a great time and said the steak was some of the best that they had ever eaten. More casino and deck strolling before turning in for the night. Day Six we arrived in Chania, Crete. We took the three Euro bus into town and spent the day wandering about. More shopping about town and then back to the ship for another show and dinner. Day Seven was at Sea so we could unwind before arriving back in Rome. The Farewell Show was pretty good and dinner was sad as we bid farewell to our new found friends. Sunday our ship arrived back in Civitavecchia. Disembarkation was as painless as checking in. We had no more arrived at the C&A waiting area when they announced we could leave the ship. Transportation was again through Rome Airport Transportation. The were waiting when we left the ship and had us on our way to our airport hotel in no time. Because of flight schedules we chose to stay Sunday night and fly back to the US on Monday morning. Our hotel, the Courtyard Rome Airport had our rooms ready when we arrived about 9:30 am. We checked in, had lunch and a nap and then went out exploring. A walk into downtown Fiumicino led to a street fair and seeing how the locals spend their Sunday afternoons. Monday morning was a shuttle bus ride to the airport and our flight back to the US. All things considered this was a great vacation. We’re already planning our next cruise to either Northern Europe (the Baltic) or New England (to see the leaves change). Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We took our second cruise Oct 2013 out of Rome to Eastern Mediterranean (our first cruise was to Caribbean Feb 2012 with Freedom). We come from Turku, where many RCCL cruise ships have been built - along with Navigator. So we actually had ... Read More
We took our second cruise Oct 2013 out of Rome to Eastern Mediterranean (our first cruise was to Caribbean Feb 2012 with Freedom). We come from Turku, where many RCCL cruise ships have been built - along with Navigator. So we actually had been onboard Navigator while it was brand new, before it sailed away from Finland. We managed to get a great deal for JS so we had plenty of space, as it was just the two of us this time (both 44yrs). Our cabin was just lovely, very spacious with a walk in closet and bath tub with amenities on deck 9. The ship is in good shape although the carpets are a bit dusty and some furniture (especially chairs in MDR) is worn out. Other than that, we found the ship to be in very good condition. We flew out from Helsinki directly to Rome, and had booked a transfer with Civitavecchia Cab. The driver was waiting for us with our name tag, so we found him very easily. This was a shared ride, so there was another 2 persons already waiting for us. So no wait time for us, but about 20 mins for them they had arrived from Romania, and spoke very limited English, so there was no conversation in the car. It took about 45 mins to arrive to Civitavecchia port. The driver took us directly to the door where we left our luggage, after which we walked to check inn and to ship  all this took less than 5 minutes at about 11am. Cabins were ready by 1 pm and first piece of luggage had already arrived followed by the second piece in about 20 min. I had 2 bottles of wine with me one in check in luggage and the other in carry on neither of them caused any questions. Nobody seemed to care. We enjoyed everything on our cruise very much. We ordered breakfast twice to our room and the rest we had in Windjammer. We also tried out room service a couple of times, sometimes there was a good waiting time before the food arrived, but it was nevertheless delicious. We ate lunch at windjammer, in our room, at Johnny Rockets or at Café Promenade. We only had MDR dinner, which we both enjoyed very much. Service was good  especially the drinks waiter was hilarious. We had prepurchased Premium Drinks Package. Originally we wanted just soft drinks package with a wine package, but after doing some serious calculating we decided to upgrade to Premium Drinks Package since the difference was after all not that bad. Oh boy did we fully utilize it! I do not remember having been drinking for 7 continuous days since college/university. But neither of us was really drunk at any occasion  nor did we feel hung over at any morning. We were just on a "happy cruising mood” every night. We tried out so many different drinks - almost fully through the bar menu, and only 2-3 drinks we left unfinished either because we did not like them or because we felt that we needed no more drinking and headed to cabin. I admit that we drank much more than what we would have done without the package. It was lovely to try out drinks we would not normally try for example I had never had a Pina Colada before. Also the bar menu was much different from the drinks that are offered in Finland much more adventurous. House white wine as well as house sparkling was okay to us we are not fussy with our wine as long as it is dry enough. Would I have the package again? Probably yes, if there was just the 2 of us, but if our daughter was with us never. I’d then stick to just soft drinks and wine at the dinner. We did not do any paid excursions although we did find our way out of the ship at every port to do sightseeing on our own. In Athens we took a taxi from the port directly to Acropolis with 20 euro (fare was 18 euros, but we tipped 2 e) and were there at 9 am before most of the cruise ship crowds. When we walked to Plaka, it started raining and eventually after a quick lunch at a café we decided to return to ship with metro. We unfortunately decided to continue walking at Pireus, and it took really really long until we reached the ship which was at the far end of the port. We should have taken a taxi from the metro station. We had been to Efesos twice so we only shopped around the Kusadasi bazaars in Turkey. It was very windy so we had waited for almost 3 hours at sea before we could safely dock. So captain prolonged our stay with 1 hour so everybody was able to return from their excursions. In Chania we utilized the 3 euro bus to Chania city and came back early to enjoy the pool. Loved the solarium pool on sea days so quiet and without music or noise. We saw some shows like the ice show (good!) and Celine Dion impersonator (very good indeed) and found out the Navigator entertainment team to be not so good. The musicians were talented, but the dancers and singers only moderate. Simona was the cruise director. Overall the staff was friendly. But we did meet some individuals who clearly should not have been near customers. For example I accidentally knocked over my full coke glass spilling it entirely on pool deck at solarium pool. And I know how sticky it becomes when it is half dry. I asked a staff member (Pool patrol) for something to clean it with and the answer was "Don’t bother”. Well I do bother if I were to mess my bare feet on someone’s coke spills. Disembarkation was smooth out of the ship. But the line for the shuttle was long we waited about 30 mins in queue. Then we walked to train station, and took a regular train to Rome where we stayed a day. If you are traveling by train, please remember to VALIDATE your ticket. There was an inspector on the train and we saw several people getting fined although they had purchased a ticket. They had failed to validate it before entering the train and that is considered traveling without a valid ticket. So they had to pay upfront to the inspector. There is also not much space for your luggage, so as our pieces were standing in the walkway, we got nasty looks and words which we pretended not to notice/understand as we speak no Italian! Well, what can you do? Overall we had most wonderful cruise most of it has to do with us being just together we could speak Finnish together without others understanding as there was only few other Finnish passengers which were easy to spot but also because of the lovely cruise ship. I fell in love with cruising during our first cruise, so I am very much sure that we’ll be back, someday, somewhere and hopefully very soon!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We are seniors and this was our very first cruise. I have to say right at the start that it turned out to be more than I expected. We had a wonderful time, and we will do it again. We were on the Navigator of the Seas, and our departure ... Read More
We are seniors and this was our very first cruise. I have to say right at the start that it turned out to be more than I expected. We had a wonderful time, and we will do it again. We were on the Navigator of the Seas, and our departure point was Chivitecchia (Rome). This port is located about 45 minutes north of Rome Airport. We chose to take a limousine from the airport to the port. I am glad that we did because it was cheaper that taking the coach and much more comfortable. The limousine took us right to the departure area located on the quay. We also upgraded to a stateroom with a balcony and we are glad that we did this. The room very spacious for a cabin and having the balcony was nice to be able to sit out in the evenings. The boarding procedure went smooth and being as we were from Canada we had to surrender our passports for the duration of the cruise. On our arrival at our cabin we were met by our cabin steward who explain everything to us and looked after us well during the trip. The cabin was spotless I noticed that the steward even dusted the walls every day. This is without any doubt the cleanest hotel room that I have been in. The entire ship is spotless. During the voyage the Captain explained that they are very conscious of any kind of bug or infection being brought onto the ship by passengers. The crew will not shake hands, and passengers were asked to use the Purell hand sanitizer machines that were located all over the ship. When you went to board the ship the machines were at the gangplank. There was an officer pointing out the machines for you to use. While the passengers were on shore the crew spent their time wiping every hand rail, they even vacuum on the top of the signs over the stores. The whole ship is kept spotless. Ports Our first port of call was Massena we took the Red bus tour of this port. I cannot say it was a very nice place the buildings were drab, and there was a lot of graffiti on the buildings. Athens was our next stop and this is a big tourist city. We chose to take the afternoon tour because there was not too much waling. Athens is a nice city and there was lots to see. Ephesus was a shopping stop we did not take the tour we just went to the market. It was interesting they sell lots of gold and silver in these markets. The last port of call was Chania and we took the tour the scenery was lovely and we had a very pleasant day. The two days we had a sea were different the first one we had thunderstorms and it was wet and overcast. The second one was clear and sunny. It does not matter what the weather is like there is so much to do you cannot get bored. Activities are well organized and you get a copy of what is going on the day before. We dined at the Windjammer. This is the buffet restaurant and I found that there was Indian food, Chinese food, Japanese food and North American or European food. There was always something different available. In general I must say it was a wonderful trip and the crew on this ship were excellent. The ship is going to Galveston in December for a re fit. I did notice some of the carpets in high traffic areas were low on pile. Not dirty just showing signs of wear. The one thing that I would do different next time is. We had to fly overnight from Canada to Italy. We arrived in Rome the morning that the ship departed. Next time I would go a day earlier and stay in a hotel for the night and overcome the jet lag before starting a cruise. My next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean I found there service prior to the cruise and after the cruise to be excellent.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Getting to port: Don't listen to whoever says it's not so bad dragging your luggage from the Civitavecchia train station. Btw, getting to Civitavecchia by train from Rome Termini station was very straightforward. We paid the 20 ... Read More
Getting to port: Don't listen to whoever says it's not so bad dragging your luggage from the Civitavecchia train station. Btw, getting to Civitavecchia by train from Rome Termini station was very straightforward. We paid the 20 Euros per person for first class. Next time we'll probably opt to save the money since it was such a short trip (40 min) - it's about 5 Euros for coach class. So... to get from the train station to the port, take the shuttle bus!!! It's free! To avoid the line, we decided to walk it since someone had posted that it's not that far. It's far, even for this marathon walker, especially while wheeling luggage. We survived but avoiding the line for the shuttle wasn't worth the hassle. So... unless you want to burn the extra calories (good reason to binge when you get on the ship), take the shuttle. Embarkation: was pretty straight forward, long line but lemonade/water was provided, a nice touch. And the line moved quickly as there were many agents. They take your passport away for this itinerary. I don't really like that. Something about clearance process being complicated for non-EU residents. There were piles of passports sitting on a table which was roped off but anyone could have leaned over and grabbed them. One person collecting them and no one to monitor the table... doesn't instill much peace of mind... Day 2, Messina, Sicily: Breakfast on day two at Windjammer was insane. We've never experienced such crowding, and people were so rude, cutting in line, nudging, elbowing... it was difficult to find a seat. And there was no one walking around serving coffee, which we're accustomed to, with 4 RCI trips under our belts. The crowding was likely due to the fact that the first port day was the day after embarkation. Next time that happens, we'll definitely use the main dining room or room service for breakfast. Sicily fire and water excursion: not recommended. Information about preparation was poor. If you do choose to do this excursion, dress in layers, long pants. Mt. Etna is cold and windy. And then you're taken to a river park which is warm and humid, with lots of mosquitoes. The bus ride was loooong (I slept most of the time consequently) and the sights weren't worth it, at least to me. I wish I could get my money back. We should have been properly informed about the conditions and how to dress and prepare appropriately. While water was provided, there weren't enough toilet breaks. The only highlight was the farmer's market at the "water" portion of the excursion. They sampled/sold wonderful olive oil, pestos, dessert spreads. I wish we had brought more cash... I'll definitely be googling for these products... Athens: Make sure you wear proper shoes (sneakers) if you're visiting the Acropolis (Parthenon). The steps up to it are marble, uneven and slippery. Especially when wet. Excursion was worth it. Ephesus: Great shopping town. I found the salespeople were not too pushy. If you like shopping, no need for an excursion here. To see the ruins you will need one, or at least a ride. Chania: Beautiful little town with winding alleyways and cafes and arts and crafts at every turn. No need for an excursion here really. Other impressions of the ship: Compared to the other RCI experiences (Liberty, Allure)... not as great. There was no lobster night (has this changed across all RCI?). Hardly any coffee service at breakfast. Not enough areas to get free beverages (coffee/tea were only available 24/7 at Cafe Promenade). No one ever approached us for drink service at the hot tubs. Also at the main dining, there were a couple of nights where we had to ask for bread / drink orders, after waiting at least 15 minutes. Overall: The trip itself was great. The ship definitely needs the reburb in Jan 2014. And service could be improved too. Excursion descriptions were lacking in prep information (clothing required) and indications re: time that you'll be on the bus vs. time spent at the destination(s). Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We enjoyed the ports, Messina, Athens, Kusadasi and Crete. We did independent tours this time instead of using the ship's and really enjoyed it. This seems to be the way to go, we read Cruise Critic for recommendations for the tours! ... Read More
We enjoyed the ports, Messina, Athens, Kusadasi and Crete. We did independent tours this time instead of using the ship's and really enjoyed it. This seems to be the way to go, we read Cruise Critic for recommendations for the tours! This was our first cruise on R.C. and we were disappointed. Past cruises have been on Carnival, NCL, and Celebrity. We had a balcony stateroom which was very nice. This is an older ship, but the dining room and lounges, etc. were lovely. Lots of beautiful wood. The service at bars was great, we especially liked one right outside the casino and had a great young bartender from Portugal. Service in the dining room was also good, but the food left a lot to be desired. No special nights with lobster and filet mignon on R.C. You could purchase it every night for an extra $30.00 per person. Other cruise lines, we've always looked forward to this on formal nights. The buffet on deck was just o.k. Not many choices there either for all three meals. We usually eat in the dining room most nights on cruises, but because we didn't like the choices on R.C., we ate on deck more. To me, the whole dining experience with other passengers and being waited on in the dining room makes the cruise. We saw several shows. Our favorite was the ice show, it was outstanding!! Disembarkation was orderly and went smoothly, no problems locating our bags. We probably won't cruise Royal Caribbean again just because of the food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our second cruise with RC, our first being ten years ago when we cruised the Western Med from Barcelona. This time we opted for inclusive flights, transfers and gratuities. Both the flight to and from Rome and the transfers to and ... Read More
This was our second cruise with RC, our first being ten years ago when we cruised the Western Med from Barcelona. This time we opted for inclusive flights, transfers and gratuities. Both the flight to and from Rome and the transfers to and from the ship were like clockwork. A RC rep met us at Rome and instructed us with labels etc and the transfer to the ship took about one hour. The timing was perfect as with less than 30 minutes on board the staterooms were ready for occupancy. The stateroom during our cruise was kept pristine, with the bed being made twice a day. The food on board is 5 star. It really cannot be faulted, the variety and quality was exceptional. With a full ship we always found a table in the Windjammer "cafe" for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was served at 8.30 in the Deck 3 dining room where we had a great table and great service. There are numerous activities available during the days but we opted for the lazy sun bathing mode as the late October weather was so nice. The ports of call were Sicily, Athens, Kushadasi and Crete. We didnt partake in the excersions, preferring to stroll ashore at our lesiure. The only complaint from the cruise i had was that smoking is allowed in most of the bars on board. In the "pub" is was quite strange to see people being told smoking at the tables outside was forbidden and you had to go inside to light up. All in all a top week, helped by the brilliant service from the staff, a good table in the dining room and lovely weather. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We flew to Rome on flights arranged through RCI which included transfers. This was a good decision and RCI staff were waiting in the luggage reclaim area. After reclaiming our bags we handed them to the RCI staff and next saw them outside ... Read More
We flew to Rome on flights arranged through RCI which included transfers. This was a good decision and RCI staff were waiting in the luggage reclaim area. After reclaiming our bags we handed them to the RCI staff and next saw them outside our room. The journey to the port took about 50 minutes , check in was quick and we were immediately able to deposit our hand luggage in our room before heading to the Windjammer for lunch. Our cabin was an inside on deck 6. The cabin was comfortable and adequate for our needs but was showing obvious signs of wear - paint chipped and peeling, shower screen was cracked and tears in the padded wall near the bed. We only saw our room attendant on day 1 and again mid week when we bumped into her in a corridor. Food. We had 3 breakfasts in the dining room , 3 in the Windjammer and 1 room service. Dining room and room service were good but we felt Windjammer food wasn't as good as we've experienced on other cruises. We had my time dining and ate all our meals in the MDR. I had booked times before sailing but we went in earlier on a few nights which was fine. We had the same friendly wait teAm every night. Food was ok but range seemed more limited and quality average. We bought a wine package but had long waits most nights while the assistant waiter went to the wine store to recover any left over wine. Apparently on this ship wait staff are not given advance notice of bookings and hence the delays which again we have not experienced on other ships. Bar service very efficient and friendly. We liked the schooner bar best. Entertainment was the usual range of magicians, jugglers, RCI dancers and singers and one decent soul singer. The ice show was great. Captains welcome back party was bizarre as it was held in the theatre and everyone sat in rows facing the stage. We were given drinks but no canapés and there was no chance to socialise with passengers or staff. On this boat the officers seemed very distant and didn't make much effort to engage guests. Again this was different to our previous experiences. We mainly spent time in the solarium which was pleasant and comfortable. There are a lot of tannoy announcements on this ship and we'd suggest they consider reducing these as on Celebrity ships. Mainly because it would be less disruptive but also because many of them were so loud it is impossible to hear them! Hand hygiene was not given massive prioritisation. Not visibly encouraged except by a very entertaining waiter in the Windjammer and on a number of occasions all 3 sanitisers at the entrance to the MDR were empty. We reported this but the staff member did not seem interested. Wi-fi is available in a small number of hotspots around the ship but did not appear to be very effective. The ship does not have dedicated IT staff in the Internet cafe and advice is allegedly available at guest relations. We spent 3 days trying to purchase an internet package and made a number of visits to guest relations before giving up and deciding to use free wifi in the ports which was very easy to find. The ports were obviously the highlights of our trip. In Messina we used the ships transfer to Taormina where we pottered around for 3 hours and had a lovely lunch. The public gardens are well worth a visit. Athens - ship docked in terminal B. We walked to the gate - took about 10 mins on a well paved and safe path where we caught a hop on hop off bus . We visited Acropolis and Plaka district before picking up the bus again. 2 bus companies vying for business and we were offered a discount by one of them. Kusadasi - we went on a ships tour to Ephesus. This was excellent and very interesting. Thankfully we'd chosen a trip that visits the terrace houses which are just amazing. This part of the tour was led by an archeologist with 40 years experience of working at Ephesus. The trip included a visit to a carpet workshop back in a Kusadasi but we and others managed to avoid this. Chania - we used the local bus costing 3 euro return to get into town. Interesting Venetian harbour surrounded by lots of cafés and restaurants. We had a relaxing and enjoyable week but this cruise lacked the sparkle and sadly on this occasion the wow factor cards stayed firmly in the envelope.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The Itinerary of ship for 7 nts was very good with all ports worth seeing. The biggest disappointment was how much RCCL nickeled and dimed you once onboard. Charging for orange juice ( fresh squeezed at 4.00 a glass) , Extra if you wanted ... Read More
The Itinerary of ship for 7 nts was very good with all ports worth seeing. The biggest disappointment was how much RCCL nickeled and dimed you once onboard. Charging for orange juice ( fresh squeezed at 4.00 a glass) , Extra if you wanted a decent steak or lobster in dining room . Pictures were way overpriced. No wonder no body buys them and they get all trashed. 20.95 for a photo is RIDICULOUS! A couple of shows onboard were worth seeing, including Jersey Boys tunes. and Ice skating. Most were mediocre or not worth the time. Snacks in Promenade cafe good and complimentary. Johnney Rockets fun. Shore excursions pricey. Embarking and disembarking really easy. Specialty dining at PORTOFINOS was excellent. Waiter was good and food excellent. Only bad experience there is they charged both rooms cost for 3 so we were double billed. When trying to correct this at Pursers desk... attendants there are clueless and are less than zero for help. We finally had to go back to Portofinos to get charge fixed. Also I am a travel agent and sent wine to my friends. Good thing I brought receipt because again Pursers desk was clueless and took an hour to get the wine finally!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was out first Med cruise and the itinerary was perfect for us with a mix of amazing history and amazing scenery. We traveled with my parents (their first cruise ever) for our anniversaries. We spent 3 busy days in Rome before the ... Read More
This was out first Med cruise and the itinerary was perfect for us with a mix of amazing history and amazing scenery. We traveled with my parents (their first cruise ever) for our anniversaries. We spent 3 busy days in Rome before the cruise, home-based at the lovely Hotel Maryelen near Termini Station. The location of our hotel was perfect since we could walk two blocks to the metro, the bus or the trains. We used all three (the Roma Pass was great for the bus & metro), ultimately taking the train from Termini to the port at Civitavecchia. The train was a nice way to travel to the boat other than some stairs down then back up to cross the tracks at the end of the ride. There is a short walk to the port gate, then a complementary bus to the ship. The check in process was hectic looking but well run, and we were on board with little delay. Our cabins were ready upon boarding, though we were amongst the last to get our luggage. We dined in the main dining room on all but one night of the trip and thoroughly enjoyed the food and the service. It was rare that we weren't debating multiple choices on the menu and I never had a disappointing meal. We preferred the Windjammer buffet for breakfast and lunch which always had a good variety and some really good veggie/salad selections & desserts. There was plenty of availability for water/flavored water/teas for those forgoing the soda program. The only time there was a shortage of anything was the last day's breakfast when silverware/napkin sets became sparse. We spent one very nice evening at the Portofino restaurant and had a very relaxed and delicious dinner. I was surprised to see that the fine dining venues did not seem busy despite the entreaties to book them early. The public areas were gorgeous. One could see a little wear and tear in a few spots, but the ship was in amazing shape considering it's heading in for refit in the Spring of 2014. Some of the fittings in the cabins showed their age more than the rest of the ship. Our TV was an LCD, awkwardly mounted in a table designed for an old tube TV. We focused on our shore excursions and dining, so didn't use many of the ship's facilities, but I was impressed that places never got overcrowded (except the Promenade during special sales, LOL). The library didn't stock much at all and lacked reference books that would have been nice for looking up maps and information about other countries. Wireless internet access was only available in certain areas of the ship and ran $0.75 a minute, or less with packages (we didn't bother). We loved the ports of call, but chose to do our own excursions and had no regrets. For Messina we chose Taormina Tour (www.taorminatour.com) with our wonderful driver and guide, Joseph. He was gracious, knowledgeable and spoke impeccable English. We drove to Taormina, where he treated us with Sicilian pastries, but even better, up above to Castelmola where we wandered and had a relaxing lunch on a terrace looking out over Mt Etna. Castelmola is the beatiful hillside village that Taormina advertises, with even better views. We did drive back down to see the Greek theater and spent some time there. Definitely get off the main street with all it's crowds and high-end shops ASAP while in Taormina. We also saw some sites in Messina and stopped for a gelato at Joseph's favorite shop. A gorgeous tour! In Athens we had the great experience of touring with Christos (www.athenstours.gr). We had a nice Mercedes taxi for the four of us and headed straight out as the tour buses were slowly loading. There's so much to see in Athens, but Christos did a great job guiding us and adjusting the tour to our preferences. We started at the Acropolis, then worked our way around various sites in Athens, both old and new (well, relatively new). Aside from the Parthenon, one of our favorites was Lycabettus Hill providing breath taking views over the whole of Athens, well above the height of the Acropolis. We chose to forgo a sit down lunch for time in the Acropolis Museum (still tough decisions to make on vacation), but we did have some brief breaks for spanikopita, iced coffee and later souvlaki to help keep our batteries up. Christos then took us on the scenic ride back to the ship, cruising through Athens picturesque portside areas. I can't recommend Christos enough as a great guide, excellent driver and incredibly knowledgable host. Ephesus was a surprise for all of us, being much more impressive than we expected. At Kusadasi, we disembarked and were met by Murat, an energetic, smart and charming guide and this time, a separate driver. This was great as Murat was able to talk with us and show us maps as an introduction to Turkey and Ephesus while we drove to the site from the port. We wound our way down from the State Agora through the main streets to the public agora and giant theater. There were many impressive structures, but the facade of the Temple of Celsus is stunning in person. A side tour of the Terrace Houses (separate admission) is well worthwhile as the preservation of some of the structures and artwork here really brings this city back to life. we did some brief shopping in the mini bazaar after the exit, then moved on to the temple of Artemis, formerly one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, now a rather sad, single stack of column drums. One is able to get some sense of the size of the Artemision in it's day and It also provides the revealing backdrop of the Mosque of Isa Bey, the Basilica of St John and the Ottoman Grand Fortress displaying a diverse span of Turkish history in one vista. We had a relaxed lunch nearby with traditional Turkish foods, then moved over to a carpet making demonstration next door. The demonstration was fascinating, the carpets beautiful, but we skipped on buying something that large and expensive. After returning to Kusadasi, we had a little time left to stroll through the bazaar just outside of the dock area, shopped a little and dragged ourselves back on the Navigator. Murat was awesome as a guide: http://www.privatephesustours.com/ We took it easy on our last stop at Chania (ported at Souda) on Crete. With the early departure there at 2:30, we opted to take the inexpensive city provided shuttle bus into Chania to shop and stroll. The Venetian port is very pretty and the streets in the port area are lined with shops, restaurants and a few museums. We stopped at the Naval Museum (my wife would say we stalled there) where my dad and I had a great time looking at artifacts and models of ships from the Minoans to today. If you are into models, find the room where two gentlemen construct ship models of all sorts from scratch with unbelievable detail - they are happy to show off their handiwork. The old mosque in the middle of the port is no longer in religious use and is somewhat neglected, but still picturesque. the Venetian lighthouse is a standout you can't miss. the old Venetian boathouses are rather rough looking, but still in use as warehouses. There is also a replica Minoan ship on the east side of the port worth a stop if you like that kind of thing. My wife does not. There are plenty of great places to eat and shops to browse making this a good "lazy" port of call. Our last day at sea, we went to our only show, the farewell show which featured a cirque de soleil juggler/physical comedy act that was far, far better than it sounds as I write this. Truly excellent and hilarious, actually. The ice skating and dance shows just weren't our style, nor were the music reviews, so we didn't bother. The casino didn't seem as busy as on a Caribbean cruise, but I just strolled through a few times. we did quite a bit less on the ship than on Caribbean cruises because we were much more tired after our go-go day trips, but I was fine using the ship for transportation and dining purposes primarily. We self disembarked which wasn't bad at all. I thought elevators would be hard to come by, but that wasn't the case. We had a taxi service hired which picked us up shortly after we were off the boat, just outside the disembarkation area. From there it took us to our hotel in Fiumicino, near the airport where we stayed another day before returning home. Last, but not least, the staff worked their tails off for our benefit and were wonderful. Our steward was always on top of room but never obtrusive. Our waiters were very attentive, fun and professional, always ensuring we had a great dinner. Everywhere on the ship, people were gracious and working hard. I had no complaints about any of the Royal Caribbean crew. Even the maintenance guys coming through to fix things had a smile and greeting as we would pass in the corridors. Well done, Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Our party of four left Heathrow at 06.45 bound for Rome airport aboard Alitalia as part of RCI's all inclusive price. At that time in the morning we were expecting to receive a moderate breakfast but no, we only got half a cup of ... Read More
Our party of four left Heathrow at 06.45 bound for Rome airport aboard Alitalia as part of RCI's all inclusive price. At that time in the morning we were expecting to receive a moderate breakfast but no, we only got half a cup of coffee and a small packet of biscuits. Not off to a very good start. The clearance from Rome airport to the ship was very efficient and after collecting our cases they were left with RCI and the next we saw was their arrival in our cabin. Boarding was carried out in a very efficient and speedy manner. After taking lunch we went to our cabins to await our luggage. The first impression on the corridors was not particularly good as the carpets looked very jaded and in places had big stains. The cabin (outside front on deck 6) was quite large with plenty of hanging space. What did disappoint was the lack of toiletries in the cabin. We have been used to having creams, conditioners, liquid bath gel etc.( through Princess), but all we got was Shampoo and bars of soap! To say the least, not what we expected. A big let down was the inability of the Customer Service Area to change the credit card I originally declared to that of my Global Currency Card which is prefunded, I therefore had to endure their bad exchange rate when I paid cash. However, saying that, the customer service area went out of their way to try and retrieve my Kindle E-reader that I left on the outbound flight. Due to the excessive amount that Alitalia wanted to charge me for the return of the device - 157 euro's - as it was cheaper to buy a new one I decided to leave Alitalia with the device. The shows were good except for the girl with the 'scared hair look'. Her singing left a lot to be desired. The Ice Show was very good and we feel there should be at least two on a seven day cruise. The main dining rooms were good as was the buffet area we used for breakfast and lunch. There was a very good selection and nobody should have gone hungry. The only drawback about the buffet area was the inability to accommodate everybody at peak times, such as disembarking for Athens. The 24 hour coffee available on deck 5 was a godsend for me as I do like my early morning coffee. I appreciate cabin service could have delivered but it was nice to have a walk around the deck at that time of day. Did we enjoy the cruise, yes. Would we use RCI again, maybe. We would certainly not use Alitalia again. Their return flight which was at 13.20 (lunch time) only had the ubiquitous half cup of coffee and a small pack of biscuits. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We booked quite late and didn't have much time to review the comments on Cruise Critic etc but did manage to gather sufficient information together to have most things sorted before we boarded. We booked two tours, which after great ... Read More
We booked quite late and didn't have much time to review the comments on Cruise Critic etc but did manage to gather sufficient information together to have most things sorted before we boarded. We booked two tours, which after great deliberation we booked directly through RCI, more for ease than anything else. I did look at booking through various recommended companies such as Ephesus Tours and was very happy with their response to my emails and the fact that they only wanted a small deposit upfront. I will certainly consider external tour companies next time we cruise. We also took the soft drinks package option, since this had worked well for us previously. Other than the fact it took ages for us to get our cases on arrival, the transfer from Rome airport to the Navigator went smoothly. The RC staff were clearly marked at the airport and were very assuring when the cases were delayed, advising us all that the coaches were aware of the situation. The actual transfer to the ship was just over an hour. Embarkation also went smoothly and much quicker than on our previous cruise. First we checked out our cabin and since the cases had not yet arrived, we went to the Windjammer and had lunch and lots of drinks. We then decided to explore the ship and worked from top to bottom with the boys guiding us using the many maps available. We made the Kids Club our first port of call to get the boys registered before the rush (worth doing even if you don't know whether they will use it - they give all the children a lanyard to attach their sea pass card to allowing them to keep it around their necks and reducing the risk of losing it - (Suggestion - if you don't like bags take a lanyard with you and ask Customer Services to put a hole in the card for you so you can attach it). I had packed swimming trunks in the hand luggage so my husband was then able to take the boys swimming whilst I unpacked. We then had a leisurely evening meal in the Windjammer, followed by a welcome show in the theatre. Sicily Next day we were in Sicily. We had decided to do this port on our own based on various comments on Cruise Critic. Immediately outside the port we were able to take a tour on a horse drawn carriage (40 euro for 45 mins). There was also the option of a City Tour Bus or a small land train, both of which covered a larger area. The boys loved the carriage, although it was a little cramped since they had to sit on a fold down seat. (I noticed later there were larger carriages too). We then walked back into town to see the clock strike 12. The clock had various levels of mechanical scenes which told a story (though I am not sure what the story was). It was interesting to see, but not as spectacular as I had hoped. There were other sites and we walked a long way, climbed lots of steps and several hills. The views of the ship were great from the top of the hill and we even had a photo stop with Mickey Mouse who we realised was up there waiting for the tourists on the land train. It was a nice enough visit but in hind site we wished we had booked a tour to Etna. The port town was not very special, lots of graffiti and a bit disappointing. Our reason for not choosing the tour was we didn't want to travel the 2 hours each way to Etna with the boys. As it was we were able to go back to the ship, have a late lunch and a swim whilst the boat was relatively quiet, which the boys enjoyed. Day at Sea One recommendation is to get up at a sensible hour if you have young children since the sun beds near the pools get taken very quickly. Despite the policy of not being able to leave your bed unattended for longer than 30 mins we saw lots of beds with towels on which were hardly ever sat on. We were lucky because our boys are good swimmers, so we were happy to be further away. This was also the formal night, which was the only one we made the boys attend. Since they were not too keen on the show the previous night we allowed them to go to the Kids' club after dinner, which allowed us to enjoy a glass of champagne at the Captains' reception and take in the show ourselves. Greece We did the RC half day tour to the Acropolis. It was well organised. This was one that I wanted to do but the boys both enjoyed it too. It was unfortunate that the Acropolis was surrounded on three sides by scaffolding which took away some of the views, but was still worth a visit. We returned in time for a late lunch and a swim. That evening we ate in the Windjammer, since we found this the easiest option with the boys, due to the variety of food available. The boys then chose to go to the kids' club whilst we took in the evening show. Turkey We chose the half day tour to the House of the Virgin Mary and Ephesus. After an early breakfast we went to the tour meeting point. Being one of the first groups ready, we got on one of the first coaches, and were amongst the first visitors at the House of the Virgin Mary, arriving whilst it was still quite cool and before the queues. This was an enjoyable and interesting stop. Ephesus was spectacular and exceeded my expectations. I won't say any more other than in my opinion it is a must see. Although still early, it was very hot and the reason all the tour guides use an umbrella as identification was immediately apparent. There was very little shade to be had. Many tourists also carried umbrellas or parasols and if you have trouble with the heat, or are travelling with very small children or the elderly, I would recommend you taking one. The other essential is the complementary bottle of water provided as part of the tour. Don't forget your camera! I would have liked to see the Terrace Houses, but didn't want to extend our tour to more than half day. I was glad I had made this choice because by lunch time it was exceptionally hot. After the obligatory visit to a carpet store, where we were given a demonstration on carpet weaving and shown many different types of carpet, accompanied by a drink and some kind of pastry, we decided to return to the ship. Fortunately our tour took us to a carpet store near the port, so we were able to make our excuses and return to the ship in time for lunch and a spot of sun bathing. We had our evening meal in the Windjammer, then the boys went to kids' camp and we went to see the show. Crete We did Crete on our own, and since we didn't have long at this port made sure we were ready to disembark as early as possible. This was a very enjoyable morning. There were lots of taxis immediately outside the port should you prefer, however, we caught a bus which was also immediately outside the port. This was very easy to do - there was a kiosk where we bought a return ticket for 3 euro each and the trip took less than 30 mins. They do allow passengers to stand so they can become quite busy, but we were lucky and had seats in both directions of travel. The buses also seemed to be very regular and we had no waiting around. Drop off and pick up was at the same spot, near the indoor market and was easy to find. We were able to explore the town at our leisure. We started by heading to the harbour area where we walked along for a while before stopping for a drink. We then returned to the town/market area and spent some time visiting the many interesting shops and stalls. Crete was a lovely stop, everywhere was clean and tidy, even the back streets. It was a pleasant change after the graffiti and unkempt appearance of the port in Sicily. Once we had finished we found the return bus and went back to the ship. We had a very late lunch after which they boys chose to go to kids' camp. At their request we booked them into camp for tea and agreed to pick them up at 10pm after the evenings show. This meant we were able to relax on deck for a while, and then get ready for the last formal night. It was nice to dress up and eat in the formal dining room and our table companions were great company. This turned out to be one of our more hectic evenings. After a leisurely meal in the dining room, as Crown and Anchor Members were invited to a champagne gathering in the theatre, where they put on a welcome back show for us. Unfortunately, we had to leave this show early because our youngest had spent the afternoon at pirate camp and all the small camp members were to be part of a pirate parade on the Promenade. It was fantastic. They had all coloured in their own pirate bandanas and learnt various pirate songs and shanties. It was really cute and worth the challenge of removing all the face paint when we returned to the cabin. Thank goodness for baby wipes (which I still take everywhere even though my youngest is nearly 8!). Once the boys were tucked up in bed we were then able to go to one of the more adult shows. At Sea After a final exploration of the ship, taking pictures and playing mini golf the boys chose to spend most of the day in the kids' camp. I was able to relax on deck and enjoy my book, whilst various activities went on by the pool below. I spent some time in the afternoon packing, since the cases had to be packed and ready for collection by 11pm the night before departure. That way we could enjoy our last evening together. We then had our evening meal in the Windjammer and the boys asked to go back to the kid's camp, whilst we took in the final show. There was also a farewell circus parade on the promenade, after which we took the boys to bed, before venturing out for a drink. In brief The main reason I have done this review is that during my search I found very little information from a family perspective. My overall opinion is do what works for you. If you prefer the formal dining then do it. For us we only did the formal dining on the two formal nights. We found that eating in the Windjammer was faster, and meant the boys were able to have an evening session in the kids' club, whilst we took in the early show. We were lucky that our eldest is both old enough and was willing to look after our youngest on an evening, so each evening when kid's camp closed at 10pm, we took them back to the cabin got them settled then were able to go out again to some of the more adult and sometimes "cheesy" entertainment and quizzes. It meant that we were able to get as much out of the cruise as the boys. We kept out tours to half day, which meant the boys were able to enjoy them as well as the activities on the ship. It was a good balance that worked well for us. Main advice 1. Whatever their age, if your child likes kids' camps, then enrol them and use it. It will give you some time to relax knowing they are in safe hands. They will look after small children whilst you do the shore excursions, or take them to dinner if you do not think they would appreciate formal dining. 2. Do what works for you. Read Cruise Critic, Trip Advisor etc, gather as much information as possible, then, decide what you want to do. The key to cruising seems to be lots of preparation. Try to book tours and drinks package in advance so you don't have to do this on the ship. One less thing to worry about. 3. If you have cruised with RCI before, or if think you may again, join their Crown and Anchor Society online. You receive discount vouchers for use on board, an invite to a return/welcome reception and other benefits. Also try and find your cruise on Cruise Critic and register for the Meet and Mingle. This can be great way of finding out who is on your cruise and even sharing shore excursions. 4. Be aware drinks are very expensive and I would say the only downside to cruising with RCI. Recommended wine by the bottle in the formal dining room seemed to be upwards of $40 and the wine lists do not have prices so make sure you ask. Check out the drinks packages and decide if you would benefit. In most cases I think the soft drinks package is a must, but if you don't want to commit then there is always water on the bars and free drinks from the Windjammer when it is open (not a big selection - lemon cordial/ice tea/orange). The big question is would I sail with RCI again and the answer is Yes. I would also be more than happy to sail on either of the ships I have being on again. Having read reviews saying the Navigator was tired I did wonder, but the ship was clean and well maintained. There were signs of her age, but then again I am sure anyone travelling on the newer ships will also encounter similar issues.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was our honeymoon cruise. What drew us to it was the itinerary: Rome, Messina (Sicily), Athens, Ephesus, Turkey, and Crete. I had only ever been on a Princess cruise before, but RCI was rated so highly, it was a no brainer. My ... Read More
This was our honeymoon cruise. What drew us to it was the itinerary: Rome, Messina (Sicily), Athens, Ephesus, Turkey, and Crete. I had only ever been on a Princess cruise before, but RCI was rated so highly, it was a no brainer. My husband and I got into Rome the day before. I know passable conversational Italian, which saved us money on our cab ride to our hotel (make sure you know common rates before or they will rip you off). On our own, we headed to the Vatican and Colosseum. The next day, we took the metro and then a train to Civitavecchia. You will likely be able to split a cab with others heading to your port; it's a very short ride (10 minutes). Embarkation was very easy. Our bags came fairly quickly and we had a nice meal in the meantime. Not too much else to report on that. We had an interior cabin. Besides being cheapest, my husband doesn't like being woken up by the sun. Perfectly adequate. The food was sensational, especially the desserts (I may have eaten 10 different cheese cakes). We used My Time Dining most nights and had the same waiter and table neighbors on most nights. We sat right next to the window, so we had gorgeous views as we ate. I don't eat red meat or shellfish, but I was always able to find something. I also loved the menus themed on where we were (e.g., caprese in Italy and anything with feta in Greece). This review is being written over a year later, but with an infant son now, my husband would only book another cruise if we were able to take him in the dining room. We aren't huge entertainment on the boat kind of people, but we enjoyed a wonderful couple's massage at the spa. We spent every night in a hot tub, participated in trivia as often as possible, and frequented the arcade (Deal or No Deal was the best game ever). We tried the ice skating, Bingo (which we thought was a rip off), and the Newlywed Game, which was okay entertainment. Also tried the karaoke which was ok. The best part of our trip was the excursions. We did everything through RCI, which was well-worth it. We went to Mt. Etna in Sicily, the Acropolis in Athens and Plaka for a nice lunch, historical highlights of Ephesus, and Crete. I can't stress enough how fantastic these excursions were, especially Ephesus, which completely surprised us. I would absolutely go back in a heartbeat. Disembarkation took a little longer than we thought. We had to stand in line, partly in the sun, to get on a complimentary bus back to the train station. My husband and I were heading to Florence, so we needed to make a certain time. All and all, however, it worked out. Overall, this was the honeymoon of my dreams. My husband and I decided that cruising was going to become a part of our lives, so we booked a Caribbean cruise for the winter. Unfortunately, we had to cancel that because I was pregnant and over 24 weeks at the time, but we were able to move our onboard credit from booking on the boat to a later cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was our first cruise and we had mixed emotions about it. We really did not like the dining arrangements, in fact we disliked them so much, had we known what it would have been like, we possibly would not have booked the cruise. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had mixed emotions about it. We really did not like the dining arrangements, in fact we disliked them so much, had we known what it would have been like, we possibly would not have booked the cruise. We chose the late sitting (9pm) which was fine but we had to share a table of 10 with other people we did not really like/have anything in common with and when I asked if we could have a table of 2 was told nothing was available. We ate at the table only twice for dinner and had the remainder of our meals at the Windjammer which was always horrendously busy albeit the food was very good and plenty of choice. Another thing I did not like was that it was just so busy. It was practically impossible to get a table at the Windjammer and the sunbeds were chained together so no room or privacy which I did not like at all. I did not like the constant tipping either as whilst the service was OK it was nothing spectacular. The positives however were:- Check in and embarkation surprisingly quick and amazingly well organised Transfers to and from airport excellent We had a internal room with no windows which was very small but everything fitted in it. I found it strange not having a window/view but the bed was surprisingly comfortable and we had the most amazing sleeps due to the pitch darkness and how peaceful the room was. The main areas of the ship were very lavish and clean The food was great The trips we did were brilliant and we enjoyed the places we visited (Sicily, Athens, Kusadasi, Chania). We got a very cheap deal on the cruise Negatives as above:- The dining arrangements were just not our thing We had no idea where anything was We were given no information about the captains table/drinks party There were just too many people on board for my liking and everywhere we went was just too busy and I found it all a bit claustrophobic The spa was ridiculously expensive so never booked any treatments   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We flew in to Rome on the morning of the cruise (the flights were included in the package, so no option to arrive the day before). Flights, transfers and embarkation all went smoothly, and we were soon exploring the ship. It was a very ... Read More
We flew in to Rome on the morning of the cruise (the flights were included in the package, so no option to arrive the day before). Flights, transfers and embarkation all went smoothly, and we were soon exploring the ship. It was a very favourable first impression. Our D2 balcony stateroom was comfortable, and spacious, and it was well positioned just before the hump, sandwiched between suites. It had everything we required, and the stateroom attendant was efficient. We had extremely noisy neighbours in one of the suites next door who smoked and talked very loudly on the balcony until 3 or 4am most nights, and this did bother us I have to say. We found the food to be of a high standard, but possibly not quite as outstanding as on previous RCI cruises. The variety and quality of food in the Windjammer was good, but it could get so busy and difficult to get a table at lunchtimes. The waiting staff in the MDR was friendly and efficient, but perhaps a little lacklustre this time. We actually felt that the crew throughout the ship generally wasn't as upbeat and happy in their roles as we have experienced previously with RCI. We noticed this particularly in the shops and at the Pool area. I wondered if this difference in service levels was a result of the automatic upfront gratuities policy which has been adopted? We didn't buy the Drinks package. We just don't drink enough to merit it. We enjoyed the variety of bars and lounges on board, and spent some time in most of them I think. The Two Poets was a bit smoky for us,so we didn't sit inside but it was nice to 'people watch' outside the pub while having a drink. We enjoyed Boleros and also the Schooner Bar, where they had a nightly singalong. It was good fun, but the pianist/singer could perhaps broaden his repertoire, and he isn't a great singer. It was the same stuff each night and got a bit repetitive, although if you hadn't been before it was good fun. There are plenty of alternatives around the ship though if it's not your cup of tea. The entertainment in the theatre was OK, but not great in our opinion. You can't please all of the people all of the time though, and they did a pretty good job of trying to get it right. We really enjoyed The Emperors of Soul, but not so much the Production Shows. The Ice Show was fabulous. We had a tour of the Bridge and the Galley, and a behind the scenes tour of the Theatre etc. All very interesting, especially the Bridge Tour, meeting the Captain etc.We spent more time on board on this cruise than we normally do, but we have been on this itinerary a couple of times before. It is a fabulous itinerary! How else can you see parts of 3 different countries in one week? A highlight was the ship's excursion to Ephesus, which we have visited before,and love it. This time we were on a half day, early visit which was great, because our coach was first to arrive before the crowds, and we were back on the ship for lunch! I would advise anyone who goes on an organised excursion from Kusadasi to be aware that you do NOT have to go to the Carpet Factory if you don't want to! The tour guides give the impression that it is a compulsory part of the tour. Of course, it isn't! It's your vacation and you can do what you like. The fact is that the ship is berthed just a few hundred yards from the Carpet Factory. You can just get off the coach and walk back to the ship. We met several people who said that they didn't like the 'hard sell' tactics at the Carpet Factory (sold as a 'Demonstration')but they didn't know that they could say No and leave the tour when the coach returned from Ephesus. We just always politely but firmly say "No thank you, we will just make our own way back to the ship now" As on previous cruises, we were very impressed by the efficiency of our disembarkation and transfers back to the airport. For us, it's a good idea to have RCI arrange the flights as the price includes transfers to and from the airport. We overheard several people at the Guest Relations desk complaining about the price of transfers when they bought them seperately. I think it was about $90pp for a one way transfer from airport to ship, which is ridiculous. It's a pity that Navigator is returning to the States. We had a great time and would have loved to do another Med cruise on her after the refit :( Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
12 year old Navigator not a sign of its age clean bright almost as new. Two splash pools plenty of sun beds very colorful sun deck , negative points only 2 showers on sun deck the bar prices ( over £5.00 a drink ) the chops grill way over ... Read More
12 year old Navigator not a sign of its age clean bright almost as new. Two splash pools plenty of sun beds very colorful sun deck , negative points only 2 showers on sun deck the bar prices ( over £5.00 a drink ) the chops grill way over priced , the portafino on the other hand well worth a visit.Food very average in restaurant windjammer self service very good one negative egg station for fried eggs and ommletes very very slow even when little demand people turning away due to amount in line after giving your order taking a numbered ticket up to 10 to 20 people waiting really let down it upset a lot of people. The shows when on great on two night show had one act each time lasting 1 hour on two shows other nights very entertainment team productions. Ice skating only one show all week but great show well worth a visit my first and loved it wow what a show.Finally please be aware when your account bill is left outside your state room last night check it many people being charged for not returning pool towels ( 50 dollars ). Overall good holiday not cruised for a few years noticed drop in standards but cannot complain check out the prices.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Having done the Western Med last year on the Liberty (our first cruise), my husband and I decided to try the Eastern Med cruise on the Navigator of the Seas. We flew from the UK to Rome where RC staff smoothly sorted us and our luggage to ... Read More
Having done the Western Med last year on the Liberty (our first cruise), my husband and I decided to try the Eastern Med cruise on the Navigator of the Seas. We flew from the UK to Rome where RC staff smoothly sorted us and our luggage to the port, by the time we boarded and had a quick drink, our luggage was waiting for us in the cabin. In summary- The ship itself : apparently due a refurb, but we did not notice anything bad, everything was in good order. However, I found the air conditioning slightly too cool around the ship, and sometimes actually quite chilly. Staff : Mostly very friendly and helpful, especially the staff in the Swan dining room (My time dining). Entertainment : Some good, some only so-so, not as good as on the Liberty. There was a duo in the one of the bars which were positively terrible! Dining room: Food quite good, in fact we thought better than the Liberty. I don't eat seafood/fish, but always found something I liked. One thing we thought was a shame was that one the formal nights people were still coming into the dining rooms in T shirts. A lot of people do make the effort to make these nights special, I feel that on these evenings a jacket at least should be enforced for the men - there is always the buffet restaurant if they don't wish to 'dress up' Drinks : Although a bit pricey they were very strong and we enjoyed them! We bought a 5 bottle wine package, but probably wouldn't do that again as we also drinking in the bars after our meal. Excursions : Taormina with the RC 'on our own' - beautiful little town and we loved it. Athens with RC to the Acropolis,Museum,Plaka shopping - a very good trip with sufficient time at each. Kusadasi - Ephesus with RC (with the usual visit to the carpet shop - which luckily was just near the port, so some of us managed to duck out of this!) Crete - local buses are available just outside the port gates and the cost is 3 Euros return to Chania - again a lovely little town/port with some quaint shops and tiny winding streets. In summary excellent ports, and a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My wife and I arrived the day before departure and took the train from the airport to Tiburtina station. We purchased the tickets at the train station at the airport as well as our round trip tickets to and from the cruise port. A bargain ... Read More
My wife and I arrived the day before departure and took the train from the airport to Tiburtina station. We purchased the tickets at the train station at the airport as well as our round trip tickets to and from the cruise port. A bargain at 20 Euros for two people! We took the local bus to a block away from the Best Western Hotel Blu. We found this non-tourist residential neighborhood to be very pleasant, with mostly locals around. There are no major tourist sights here and the locals were out and about shopping (nice little shopping mall, open on Saturday evening and Sunday, a somewhat rare find in Europe) and going out to dinner (nice selection of restaurants within walking distance). The very pleasant man at the hotel desk directed us to the mall and a good cafe for a pizza. Coffee and tea tray were provided on request. Only drawback was that all of the gelato stands had closed by the time we finished dinner and were heading back to the hotel, so have one before dinner! The next morning we took the bus back to Tiburtina station and caught the train to Civitavecchia, changing at Trastevere station. The train was very full and when we arrived at the port we knew why - I counted no less than eight cruise ships in port, not to mention the usual large number of ferry ships. The shuttle to the ship was pretty full but because we only travel with carry on luggage we were able to get right on the bus. The luggage compartment was full but there were plenty of seats available! So we just walked on with our luggage and put them on one of the vacant seats. Boarding went very quickly and we had time to eat, unpack and verify our dining arrangements before the lifeboat drill and departure. The ship was in good condition but there was some evidence of deferred maintenance, probably owing to the upcoming scheduled refurbishment. For example there are usually more table and chair combinations on the pool deck so that you can take your meal from the Windjammer buffet outside and eat. However, there were only three tables and even more astonishingly only three chairs! Needless to say they were in great demand. We have enjoyed all of the ice shows on RCI ships, but we thought that this one was one of the best. The shows in the theatre were mostly average but the classical duo that performed in various lounges was really excellent and they were happy to take requests. We only ate in the dining room two times for dinner but we ate there for breakfast most days. The dinners in the Windjammer buffet were very good and it was easier to eat there in the evening due to the port intensive nature of this itinerary. We generally eat dinner in the dining room on cruise ships, but we were happy to do the buffet on this trip in order to spend more time in the very interesting ports. Speaking of the ports, we were given notice when we embarked that we would be skipping Athens and going to the Greek island of Mykonos instead, due to anticipated problems with strikes and demonstrations in Athens. This was ok with us because we had been to Athens two other times but only once to Mykonos. We felt sorry for the people who had not been there and would not be able to visit that very interesting city. Mykonos is extremely picturesque, all white buildings with blue trim and very well kept up. We took many photos of the iconic windmills and spent some time relaxing at an alfresco cafe, after walking all around town. It was nice to see too that free Wi-Fi was available everywhere. The weather was beautiful the whole trip, sunny and warm but not hot. It was good that it was warm because in Mykonos the winds were strong enough in the open areas that it was hard at times to walk against it, or even stand up. Fortunately the narrow lanes of the town blocked out a good portion of the winds. In Messina we spoke to a very nice woman at the tourist info table in the cruise port and obtained directions to take public transportation to the more scenic town of Taormina. She told us to take the bus rather than the train because the bus went right into the town, but you had to take a taxi from the train station to the town. We walked about 15 minutes to the bus station using the map she gave us. The bus station is next to the train station, but it is a very small office and not easy to spot. There was a little bit of language problem with the ticket agent but we purchased two round trip tickets for just under 14 Euros. The schedule we asked for was surprisingly difficult to decipher. We had some time to kill so we had a cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe next door. The buses loaded on the street right in front of the ticket office and we located the one we needed, being some of the first to board. This was fortunate because the bus filled quickly and no standing was allowed. When it was full the driver closed the door and we departed, leaving behind people wanting to board. So if you do this little adventure on your own allow plenty of time and get in line early. We realized later that there are 2 buses departing within about 15 minutes of each other - one is a non-stop via the freeway and the later one stops along the way taking about twice the time to get there. Same for the return schedule. The bus ride was non-stop and on modern freeways. We arrived in only an hour and disembarked right in the town center. We asked the driver where to go for the return and he pointed down the street. This was a little unclear but we decided to locate it when we were ready to start back. The town of Taormina is very scenic, as evidenced by the throngs of people there in tour groups from the cruise ships. From the little park you have a panoramic view of the ocean and the active volcano Mt. Etna. There is also a Roman era amphitheatre but we did not have enough time left to justify the admission charge. Next time for sure. We sampled canoli in its Sicilian birthplace, ate some gelato and took lots of photos before locating the bus station and catching the bus back. This proved to be another part of our adventure. The road back down from Taormina to the freeway is very narrow, twisty and steep. There are many narrow bridges and tunnels, each with fairly sharp curves in them. Our very friendly driver negotiated all of this with ease, but the tricky bit was the oncoming traffic, which had become much more congested since our drive to the town. Add into this other buses and large trucks and the curves became impossible to negotiate without oncoming traffic backing up to allow the larger vehicles to pass. Our very Sicilian driver accompanied all of this with ongoing commentary in Italian. We were in the first seat and had a bird's eye view as it all unfolded. When we returned to Messina the driver took us right to the cruise port, even though we are pretty sure this was a deviation from the official bus route. What a great personality! We took his picture after we got off and he gave us a big smile and a double thumbs up, which we happily returned. This left us with enough time for a quick walk around Messina and then back to the ship. We had been to Kusadasi before but my wife wanted to see Ephesus again. This is a spectacular archaeological sight and not to be missed. The town of Kusadasi is very lively with shops but not too much else. Ships come here because of Ephesus. We had been to Crete before but that cruise docked at Heraklion, so Chania was a new port of call for us. The city bus from the cruise port cost only three Euros round trip. We walked around the waterfront and the old town and spent some time at a sidewalk cafe before catching the bus back to the ship. There were two sea days mixed into this itinerary. We took the train back to Rome at the end of the cruise and spent the last night at the Mercure Corso Trieste hotel. This hotel is in a pleasant somewhat upscale neighborhood of Rome, with Metro and bus links to the tourist areas. This was the only day it rained, but by noon it was sunny again. We walked around all of the sights. The street between Piazza Venezia and the Coliseum is closed to traffic on Sundays and it was filled with people out walking, including many locals. It is easy (and free) to look out over the Roman Forum along the way. We also walked to Campo de Fiore, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and points in between. We had a pizza at a sidewalk cafe and gelato from Giolitti's for dessert. Yes we like sidewalk cafes! We decided to splurge on a car arranged by the hotel instead of the train for our airport transfer, early the next morning. This proved to be a good idea as we were awakened at 4:00 am by a severe thunderstorm and some of the strangest sounding thunder we have ever heard. This made the car in the rain a very nice perk compared to walking to the Metro station from the hotel, even though it was nearby. This was a great trip and we would highly recommend it. The only negative for this ship is that if you are Crown and Anchor Society members the services on board do not measure up with the experiences we have had on other RCI ships. We are Diamond level and therefore we had access to the Diamond lounge reception each evening. While this is pleasant enough, held in a section of the Crown and Anchor Lounge on the 14th floor, it did not compare favorably to the nightly reception on the Mariner of the Seas, for example. There was wine and soft drinks but only peanuts to go with the drinks. On the Mariner there were appetizers and a full bar. Also the lounge was open to the card room so anyone could walk through. Perhaps this is why it did not seem that many people came each evening. However the servers were very pleasant and accommodating. Several events that are supposed to be offered never were. There was no meet and greet with performers from the show, no special trivia game and no entertainment tour. I requested a beer at the return cruiser and top tier receptions and was told this was not possible. This was not the case on every other one of the RCI ships we have been on. In general this ship did not seem to have a very motivated staff at the upper levels. The 70's disco night is normally a lively and fun event, but on this ship the music was all recorded. On the Mariner the principal singers from the theatre sang the songs live. At one of the production shows the singers appeared to be lip synching even some of the featured songs. We were left with the impression that maybe the performers were new to the ship and had not fully mastered some of the shows. I would not let any of these things prevent me from sailing on this ship again. We are obviously people who like the Royal Caribbean line, but there is some room for improvement on this ship compared to others in the line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My wife and I sailed on the Navigator of the seas from May 5, to May 12, 2013 and this was a first cruise for both my wife and myself. I can not comment on price as my wife purchased this as a surprise for my birthday. We flew to Rome ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Navigator of the seas from May 5, to May 12, 2013 and this was a first cruise for both my wife and myself. I can not comment on price as my wife purchased this as a surprise for my birthday. We flew to Rome on the same day that we boarded to Ship. We have traveled in Italy before and because of that we were familiar with the trains. We purchased ticket from the Airport to the Port online. Planning and research allowed us to leave enough time so our transfer at Rome Trastevere, even though we had to go up and down stairs, not all elevators were working. the walk from the Station in Civitaveccia was not long, very flat and there is a shuttle from the entrance to the port to the embarkation area. The check-in process was amazing, very short and the person who checked us in explained everything very clearly. We arrived in the afternoon so we proceeded directly to our cabin and dropped off our carry-ons and started to explore the ship. Touring the ship at this point was suggested to us and in advance we printed out deck plans and went everywhere. This helped us later on in knowing how to get places. At 4PM there is a muster drill and it is very important. We departed on time and shortly after we received our tickets for our shore excursion. We chose My Time Dining - we suggest this as well. the menu was varied and interesting and changed every day. The food was superb. Shore Excursions - as I said we received our tickets and we went to sleep early right after we returned from dinner. Apparently even though our tickets were printed our excursion was canceled due to lack of participation. - If there was not enough participation, why were the tickets printed? guest relations did try to contact us and they left voice mail on the phone. We had retired early after our travels but even in the morning when we got to the room were the tour was supposed to depart from, there was no sign stating that our excursion was cancelled so we really didn't have a chance to book something else. Activities - were many and varied, the shows were a lot of fun and watching an ice show on a cruise ship is a special treat! The Navigator is quite a large vessel. It is big enough so anyone can find their own space, if they want to. The Solarium is a great place to be by the pool and it is quiet - we spent much of our pool side time there. The work-out area is well appointed with many machines. Summary - An Amazing experience! a really great time with really great service! The only comment we have is about the cancellation of our shore excursion. why was it cancelled not only after the tickets were printed but after the tickets were delivered. And even if attempts were made, and they were, to contact everyone, why not put up a sign saying that this/these excursions were cancelled. Posting this might have allowed us to sign up to an alternate excursion. Great Job Navigator of the Seas Staff and Crew!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Decided to do a Cruise for our Honeymoon, arrived in Rome a few days after the wedding absolutely exhausted.Wish we had been more prepared for the struggle to get to the boat, we took the train which was so hectic and full of thrives and ... Read More
Decided to do a Cruise for our Honeymoon, arrived in Rome a few days after the wedding absolutely exhausted.Wish we had been more prepared for the struggle to get to the boat, we took the train which was so hectic and full of thrives and gypsies trying to rip off foreigners. Waited at the platform for like 1 hr finally for the train to come, with no notice if it was the right train. No one would help us and nothing is clearly marked and no one can speak English. Finally arrived at the Port, almost being late for the boat and took a Taxi for 20 EUROS...Embarkment was a piece of cake as it was 3:50 by this point. Got on board very quick and our luggage was brought up within 30 mins. Cabin: We had a Junior Suite which we were very happy with , very big and lots of space. Food: The main dinning room had great food, we did my time dining but the waiters were so annoying. Only ate there 3 times the whole trip. We did room service every day for breakfast was always on time and pretty good. Only complaint the portion sizes were pretty small. Wasn't very impressed with the Windjammer, first the location made us sea sick and it was always packed and not very clean. Food was okay but nothing special.Activities: didn't do any as was either not feeling well from the waves or exhausted from the excursionsSpa: Our travel agent gave us a 100.00 voucher so I had a massage, was very happy with everything :)Service: Pretty happy with all the services and help from everyone on boardShore Excursions: Did one in each port, and absolutely LOVED them. The Port of Calls is what made this trip not the actual cruise. Only compliant, to early and not enough time in location.Only MAJOR compliant: I had heard a Mediterranean cruise was a calm and relaxing time at sea. However the last night they decided to speed back and we had to lie in bed from 3pm to 5am when we docked. The water was so rough and we could barley stand :( It was also very windy the whole trip so no swimming or being out on the decks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My wife and I have learned a great deal from our first three cruises. Our intention was to apply those lessons learned to create a cruise experience that would be perfect. This cruise lived up to those expectations, with only a few ... Read More
My wife and I have learned a great deal from our first three cruises. Our intention was to apply those lessons learned to create a cruise experience that would be perfect. This cruise lived up to those expectations, with only a few exceptions.TRAVEL TO EMBARKATIONWe booked our flight through Royal Caribbean's air travel partner with connections getting us to Rome early on the morning of the ship's departure. In hind sight, I was concerned that we would miss a connection, face a delay or lose baggage along the way. However, everything went just fine. We also booked transfer to the ship through Royal Caribbean. We were met at the baggage claim and had an easy bus ride to the cruise ship terminal with time to complete any additional paperwork for embarkation. Our baggage was processed and delivered to our stateroom about an hour before the ship left port. There are less expensive options for transfer to the cruise ship terminal including taxis and trains, so you should explore those options. If you do choose to incorporate an extra night or two in Rome prior to embarkation, be aware that crime is very high. Pickpockets preyed on multiple passengers of our cruise. Take every precaution possible to guard against theft. EMBARKATIONOur bus arrived at the cruise ship terminal early, about 10:15 am. The check-in agents were ready to go, but the ship still needed a few minutes to prepare for our arrival. We were processed and allowed onboard before 11 am. There were only a few facilities available onboard, but the waiter at the Two Poets Pub was very happy to see us. We gathered a group together and had a great time getting to know our fellow passengers. Our stateroom was accessible before 1:30 pm, long before the required drills and getting underway at 5 pm. ONBOARD ACTIVITIESNavigator of the Seas is not the newest ship in the fleet, but it clearly is well taken care of. The facilities were clean and well maintained. It was rare to see a burned out light bulb. As with any cruise, there is something to do no matter what your taste. This ship was no exception.FOOD SERVICEFrankly, I was a bit disappointed with the food for the most part. The breakfast and lunch offerings in the buffet were average, at best. The dining room food service was exceptional - we had a great waiter. However, the menu was disappointing. Prior to the cruise I had located a menu that was apparently a current one-week schedule of food service for the line. Every night on this menu matched up with what was offered with the exception of Thursday night. Instead of the petite filet with shrimp the menu offered a slow roasted prime rib, which was also offered on Sunday night. The prime rib tasted a little off and the waiter even noted that it didn't look quite right. There were positive exceptions to the food. One was the outstanding Grand Mariner Souffle for desert. Another was the great steak dinner in the Chopps Grille. It was well worth the extra charge. On the negative side, the beverage service in the dinning facility was the worst I have ever seen. The first night we were never offered beverage service. We had to ask for a cocktail waitress on subsequent nights. On at least two occassions we had to seek out the waitress at the end of the dinner to retrieve our sea pass cards. Never once were we offered a second round of drinks, nor an after-dinner drink. Given that we had invested in the pre-paid premium beverage service in advance of the cruise, this was a great disappointment.PRE-PAID PREMIUM BEVERAGEWe opted to pay in advance for the "all you can drink" beverage deal. It was not cheap - about $50 per person per day - but we think it was worth the expense. There were two down sides to this, however. First, I was led to believe we would be receiving one of the travel mugs used for non-alcohol drinks. Soft drinks were included as part of the package. However, we did not receive those mugs and were given a cold shoulder response when inquiring about the mugs. Had I known this in advance, we could have taken mugs from a previous Royal Caribbean cruise. Second, the aforementioned poor service for beverages in the dining room limited our opportunity to enjoy the premium beverage service. We did make up for it in the pub. PORTS O' CALLMESSINA AND TAORMINA, SICILYHaving lived in Sicily for a couple of years, I was looking forward to getting back to see the changes since I last visited in 1996. We took an excursion for a self-guided tour of Taormina. It is about an hour drive by bus to Taormina. Along the way you are treated to some great views of Mount Etna and down to the coast. When visiting Taormina there are really only two streets to remember. Corso Umberto is a shopping mecca. There are some restaurants, coffee shops and scenic views along the way, but be prepared for high end shops. At the end of Corso Umberto you can take a small alleyway down to the Greek Theater. You will have to pay five Euros per person to visit the theater, but I believe it is well worth the money. Take some time and bring your camera for some great views.KUSADASI AND EPHESUS, TURKEYAfter a day at sea, our next stop was Kusadasi with an excursion to the ancient city of Ephesus. Our primary objective in this stop was to explore the ancient ruins of Ephesus. My wife had been there before and was anxious to revisit. It was an amazing place, but it was very crowded. There are plenty of amazing sites, but getting photographs was often a challenge due to the large number of visitors and the rapid pace of our tour. On the way back to the port, we stopped at a rug factory. The rugs are beautiful and you have the opportunity for a great deal, but they are not cheap. There are plenty of shops in close proximity to the port offering everything from Turkish delight to "genuine" fake watches. Be sure to bargain, but be aware that no matter how good your bargaining skills you are likely not going to get the best of the deal.MYKANOS, GREECEOur original schedule included a stop in Athens, but planned protests to mark May Day required a change in the schedule. Instead we stopped in the Greek island of Mykanos. Having been to Athens on multiple occassions, I welcomed the change to Mykanos. We did not book an excursion, but instead opted to explore the small town near the pier. You can catch a bus into town for three Euros or it is about a two mile walk. We took the walk, but I would advise against doing so. The roads are narrow and traffic makes the walk an adventure. We took a taxi back at the end of the day for 10 Euros. The village is beautiful. It is painted white, much like Santorini. There are multiple cafes along the waterfront with a maze of walkways leading back to shops and restaurants. It was quite windy on the day of our visit - gusts of about 45 mph. But once you walk back into the shops you don't even feel the breeze. There were excursions offered to an archeological site for those seeking a greater adventure.SOUDA BAY AND CHANIA, CRETEThe final port visit was the island of Crete. The ship docks in Souda Bay near the western Crete town of Chania. There are a few shops in Souda near the pier, but there is also a bus for three Euros into Chania. Having lived in Chania in the mid-90's, I booked a taxi excursion to revisit some of my old haunts. The area has grown in the last 15-20 years and some of my old haunts had really changed. We made our way back to the Old Harbor and that is the area I would recommend for those taking this cruise. The Venetian Harbor is beautiful and offers a variety of shops and cafes. There is a maritime museum on one end of the harbor. You can take glass bottom boat rides. Or wander a few blocks to Leather Alley where you can get some great deals on all types of leather goods or find bargains on locally produced items like olive oil or honey. A nearby archeological museum provides items of interest about the Menoan period. My wife enjoyed this stop more than any other and now wants to book a week stay in Chania for a future trip. PHOTO PACKAGEAlong with pre-paying for the premium beverage package, we also pre-paid for our photos. We acquired all the prints and a CD-ROM of all the images to take home. This allowed us the freedom to pose for virtually every sitting and to not worry about sorting through the good and bad photos. In hind sight, I might choose to only get the CD-ROM and not the prints in a future cruise. Using the CD-ROM, I have been able to print out photos at home and can use them at photo retailers for additional prints. That part worked out well for us.ACCOMODATIONSWe were in a deluxe balcony stateroom. The room served us quite well. My wife is a smoker and the balcony afforded her easy opportunity to engage in that habit. The room was forward, starboard side on the seventh deck. That allowed easy access through two flights of stairs to the shops and pub on the fifth deck. Getting to and from the buffet aft usually required going down to the fifth deck, walking aft through the prommenade and then up the elevator. All things considered, I would book the same stateroom again.FINAL THOUGHTSWe have enjoyed all of our cruises to date, but this was the best yet. I would only hope improvements are made to the beverage service in the dining facility and to the dining room menu. It would be nice to have surf and turf available on at least one night of the cruise, but to get that requires a $34 up charge. On the other hand, if you are willing to pay that up charge, you can get the surf and turf any night of the week. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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