1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 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 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
1 Helpful Vote
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: July 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 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: May 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: April 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: June 2012
Our family sailed on Navigator of the Seas for the second time, but the first time on a European itinerary. We were my wife and I, and out two teenage daughters, 13 and 16. We spent a few days in Rome exploring, booking a nice apartment ... Read More
Our family sailed on Navigator of the Seas for the second time, but the first time on a European itinerary. We were my wife and I, and out two teenage daughters, 13 and 16. We spent a few days in Rome exploring, booking a nice apartment via HomeAway, which was fabulous. We took the express train from Rome Termini to Civitavecchia, the Rome port just north of the main airport. It was about a 45-1hr train journey, complicated by the hundreds of local Romans heading for the beaches on this beautiful Sunday morning. It was very easy to walk from the train terminal to the waiting buses, which whisked us to the ship. Confusingly, there were no signs, so simply walk north (turn right on exit of the train station) along the sidewalks, until you see the old fort on your left. Its in a fairly busy roundabout, where the entrance to the port proper begins. You will see buses waiting off to your left. We had to wait a bit to get to our room, and yes, we did have an emergency drill before departure, which thankfully did not require us to head to the cabin to get life preservers, as they were handed out in our station. As we have been on 5 RCCL cruises before, here are a few brief observations on this particular cruise: Turkey, Crete and Athens ports are incredible, and worth the entire cruise. Sicily is not very interesting. It is so close to Rome that the ship must go very slow, which is a nice break for getting your sea legs. But the port is missable in my opinion. They only stop to take on local travelers, as this is an embarkation/debarkation point as well. There were 3300 guests on board, so the ship was nearly full. They consisted of about 1/3 Italian, 1/3 USA and 1/3 other European/Asian. The ship 'felt' like a busy town in Italy, and the 'pace' of life on the cruise felt very different to this American. It was not as relaxed as Caribbean cruises, and I feel that the European meal culture was partly to blame: the Late dinner seating was packed, with over 300 on the waiting list. Most Europeans eat dinner much later than American's so they all wanted the late dinner seating. We switched to early seating and got our choice of tables. This also meant that the Windjammer was crowded at dinner time, but almost unusable at lunch. My impression was that larger Italian families were gathering around several tables in the Windjammer, and enjoying a long, leisurely lunch. The trouble is, the Windjammer is not designed for low table turnover, and guest spend 20 minutes circling looking for a table. Lines for food were long as well. It was manageable, but just different to what I had witnessed on four other RCCL cruises. This was our first cruise where it felt full. On sea days, the pool was packed, with folks lounging for hours. There was not much 'towel-holding' of chairs, and RCCL crew patrolled, but mostly there just were not many chairs available. We had a glass balcony, which was fabulous, as there was always land nearby and the sea was amazingly calm. We enjoyed our balcony. Well worth it for this cruise. The ship broadcast World Cup soccer (football) during the cruise, using all the bars and even the main theater for a few of the games. Ephesus was a memory of a lifetime, don't miss it. We hired Ephesus Shuttle, and we were delighted with it. Ephesus is nearly an hour drive away, so having a tour guide really is important. Tour the homes, and pay the extra fee, you won't regret it. Mary's house is miserable, as it is underwhelming and over crowded. Expect to wait in line 30 mins to get a 2 min glimpse of what is really just a shrine. We appreciated the experience and the gifts we bought, but otherwise, I would not recommend it. Athens is also fantastic. It is fairly easy to get to the Acropolis by walking to the train station. If your itinerary supports it, shop in the morning and tour Acropolis after lunch, as there are no crowds then. Morning is completely jammed, and will take 3 hours total to buy tickets and see the sights. Crete is a lovely stop, beautiful seaside shopping district, but otherwise not much to see. Sicily (Messina) is a good time to stay onboard and enjoy the pool.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
My husband and I decided to take this cruise for our anniversary. Having cruise on the Adventure of the Seas, we thought the NOS would be perfect. We decided to stay in Civitavecchia the night before at Porto Di Roma. It was a great ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take this cruise for our anniversary. Having cruise on the Adventure of the Seas, we thought the NOS would be perfect. We decided to stay in Civitavecchia the night before at Porto Di Roma. It was a great little hotel and within walking distance of the port. Embarking: We got there early and had no issues as we had done the online check in. We had lunch at the buffet and walked around the ship, until I room was ready around 2pm. Food: Overall the food was okay. I really did not like the breakfast and had a hard time finding something to eat, so I typically stuck with the fresh fruit, which was really good. Lunch and dinner in the Windjammer was good and there was a fair selection. The food in the main dinning area was also good and the menu offered a variety of good meals. We ate at Chops one night and were not disappointed. For the price you pay it was really worth it. Service: By far this was the best thing about this cruise. We received exceptional services the entire time. From our cabin steward who was very attentive to the servers in the dinning rooms. We were always greeted with a smile and a warm greeting. Entertainment: There is no way you could be bored on this cruise ship! They had everything and even when it was cold or rainy outside there was plenty to do inside. We enjoyed the casino; bars; and dance clubs. They had nightly shows after dinner that were all musical acts. I loved getting the daily compass and deciding what to do. There was something to do every day from classes to trivia. Stateroom: We were in cabin 7616 which had a nice size balcony. We were very happy with the space and layout of our room. Ports: Messina- We did not do a group tour as I read the city was walkable. It was and we did some shopping and of course had some wonderful gelato. Kusadasi- We did a tour through the ship to Ephesus. It was a nice tour, but knowing what I know now we probably would have done our on thing. There is plenty of shopping at the dock and the city was walkable. However if you do want to do Ephesus it was about 25 minutes away from the port. Athens: This was my favorite port! We did a tour do the cruise ship, I'm sure we could have saved money if we found a tour on our own. A couple sitting at our table did and spent about $100 less than we did. At any rate the tour was great and Athens was beautiful. Crete: We did our own thing at this port. The city bus is waiting for passengers as soon as you walk of the ship. It was 3 euros for round trip to the city. The bus dropped us off right next to a wonderful market where we did most of our shopping. All and all it was a wonderful cruise and I would highly recommended it! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We were a group of 6....myself, husband, teenage son and daughter and our friends. We arrived in Rome on Friday morning and stayed at the Hotel Lancelot for 2 nights and managed to see so much in that day and a half! We took a private ... Read More
We were a group of 6....myself, husband, teenage son and daughter and our friends. We arrived in Rome on Friday morning and stayed at the Hotel Lancelot for 2 nights and managed to see so much in that day and a half! We took a private van to the port the morning of Sunday April 28th arriving about 11am. Check in was the easiest we have ever had....about 10 minutes from arrival until we were on the ship. We had 3 cabins all on deck 9. My daughter and I shared a balcony and the men were across the hall in the inside. Our stateroom attendant was Liliana from Romania and she was outstanding! We had MTD and enjoyed the food in the main dining room, requesting to sit at a certain table as we really liked the waiters.....Marion and Bogdan. We had breakfasts in the windjammer and found the selection to be very good. Most lunches we ate at the cafe promanade which had the best sandwiches! Did not enjoy the cruise director Warren...found him to be very scripted and rather boring but the other entertainment staff were great. The main singers in the theater shows we also did not like much and the 2 broadway type shows were boring. We did however love the Jersey Boy immitators and the Ice Show was excellent. The staff at the sports deck were excellent and my daughter loved the rock wall! Ports visited...we did a private tour in Turkey and it was outstanding! Ephesus was the highlight of this cruise for all of us. We ventured out on our own in Athens taking the train to the Acropolis and found it very easy and safe. Did not do anything in Crete or Sicily other then go into town and walk around. Overall this was an amazing experience for all of us and having cruised many times before on different lines we all came to the conclusion that Royal Caribbean was our favorite cruise of all. The sites we saw were beautiful and created memories that will last a life time. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We went on Royal Caribbean's 7 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise leaving out of Civitavecchia and stopping in Sicily, Athens, Turkey and Crete. I was impressed with the efficiency of the check in process which went very fast. ... Read More
We went on Royal Caribbean's 7 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise leaving out of Civitavecchia and stopping in Sicily, Athens, Turkey and Crete. I was impressed with the efficiency of the check in process which went very fast. I believe we were in our room in about 30 minutes after arrival. I wasn't crazy about having to hand in my passport (only applicable for non-EU passport holders) but the passports were returned quite promptly on the last night of the cruise without any problem. We had an interior stateroom on deck 7. Our room was fine. Nothing spectacular, but it was clean and the bed was comfortable enough which was good. The bathroom is small, but functional. No clocks in the room, so bring a travel clock if you feel you need one. We ate at the Windjammer each morning for breakfast and the dining room each night for dinner. We didn't pay to upgrade to any of the other restaurants. I found the Windjammer to be ok. Its not top of the line gourmet, but hey its a buffet, so you have to take that into consideration. I thought it was fine as there were plenty of choices of different foods. Coffee, hot tea, iced tea, lemondade, water and a fruit flavored water are free. The coffee was not so great, although they do serve Seattle's Best, which is usually good. But, wonderful coffee awaits you at each port, thankfully. The dining room was also fine for dinner. We had an 8:30 dinner time and always had a nice time at dinner. Luckily we liked our table mates that we were assigned, so it was a pleasant experience. The food was ok, nothing reminiscient of the restaurants we have in NYC, but it was fine and sometimes very good. Our waitstaff was very good. No complaints there. I usually had a glass of wine which began at around $8. A gratuity is automatically applied to each drink purchase and charged to your Sea Pass account. We thought the price was reasonable in relation to our typical NYC prices. As far as the ports: The first stop, Messina, Sicily, was nice. We did not book a shore excursion but rather elected to just walk around the town which was very easily done from the port. We also took a short bus tour which picked up in the center near the old church which has a clocktower show at noon where various statues on the church move and appear to dance around. My husband thought it was corny but I thought it was cute. After the show we took the bus tour for 15 euros which was quite short and just ok. The skies opened up and started to pour once we were on the open air bus, so maybe that put a damper on our experience. There is a shopping district that is walkable from the boat, just ask directions when getting off the boat if you want to do some shopping. And a word to the wise: don't be late getting back to the ship, if the sign says to be back at 5, then be back before 5, because that boat is pulling away at 5:01. No joke! Next, Athens, Greece. Most of Athens looked like buildings built in the 1960's or 70's that looked blah and without character and full of unsightly graffitti, but the Acropolis was incredible. We booked a shore excursion through the boat because it was just our luck that there was a transportation strike on our day of arrival thus any other type of transportation was not reliable and you would run the risk of missing the boat if you got caught up in traffic jams due to the strike. I heard that the boat won't leave you behind if their tour bus is late, so we opted for that route. I feel like we overpaid for our tour, but it provided a comfort level that we weren't going to get left behind if the strike caused problems. I wish Royal Caribbean was a little more reasonable when pricing their shore excursions, but they got us back to the boat without problem, so I can't really complain too much. We toured the Acropolis and would recommend doing that if you can walk up many stairs and over some rough terrain without much trouble. Its really great to be able to walk right up to the Acropolis sight and see it so closely. Next, Kusadasi, Turkey. We loved Turkey. We had so much fun shopping at all the shops right off the cruise terminal that we spent all day doing just that. If you are in the market for rug or a leather jacket, then this is the stop for you. I also saw some very good looking fake Louis Vuitton bags, with real leather handels,etc, but couldn't bring myself to buy a fake. All I did here was shop, so I can't offer any other details on any sightseeing here. Next, Crete. Crete was a cute, fun stop. You will need to take a public bus which comes directly to the cruise terminal and will take you into town. I think the cost is 3 euro each way. The walk to town would be too far, especially since this is a short stop withh the boat only staying until 2:30. The town has plenty of shops and places to stop and eat or get a coffee. As far as days at sea, we went to a couple of shows. The ice show was pretty good, they have some great skaters on board. The variety show got boring after awhile because the one I saw was just dancing, not really a "variety" but the dancers were good dancers, I have to give them that credit. We played bingo once, but only once as it was expensive to play. I think I paid $22 per card. All in all, I'd say this was a good cruise. The rooms are not brand new, but they are most importantly clean. Staff is very good and always helpful which makes for nice experience. I wasn't completely wowed over this cruise, but was quite satisfied with it. This is also my first cruise, so I think I had really high expectations and don't have anything to compare it to either. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
I have always wanted to visit Athens and Kusadesi, but my husband has no interest in holidaying, so when I was invited by friends to join them on this cruise, I jumped at the chance. I nearly gave up when I couldn't find a reasonable ... Read More
I have always wanted to visit Athens and Kusadesi, but my husband has no interest in holidaying, so when I was invited by friends to join them on this cruise, I jumped at the chance. I nearly gave up when I couldn't find a reasonable price, but eventually I got a very good deal from an Internet agency. I parted with my credit card details, got the cruise and transfers booked, and felt very pleased with myself. I booked the air fare myself, and ended up with a stateroom, sole occupancy, for the same rate as my friends who were sharing! When we arrived at Rome airport, there was no way were Royal Caribbean personnel allowing us NOT to get to the ship. Everything was laid on, but I had no transfer documentation. Eventually my name was found and I was en-route to the ship!! I looked in awe at the size of the ship. It towered over everything! I had never seen anything quite so big. Embarkation. It took about 15 minutes of slow walking before I was called to the desk, and there a very pleasant young man took my details, forms etc. and issued me with my Sail Pass. Then it was onto the quayside and boarding. While I was trying to get my transfer sorted out, my friends got ushered onto a bus, so I was on my own. I dropped my hand luggage in my stateroom and spent nearly 3 hours traversing the ship in the hope of finding my friends. Eventually we all bumped into each other.I found places on the ship that I could never find again. But I did find nice quiet places where I could enjoy the ocean and read or sleep!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were not disappointed. We took the cruise out of Civitacecchia, Italy not really know what to expect with this being our first European cruise. As well, this cruise was different for us ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were not disappointed. We took the cruise out of Civitacecchia, Italy not really know what to expect with this being our first European cruise. As well, this cruise was different for us as we were by ourselves - no friends or children. Here are our thoughts: *Flew into Rome and trained to Civitavecchia - Very easy to get to the rail station at FCO...a little walking. One of our few problems on the trip came here but it was due to our not reading the train schedules correctly so...we missed a train. I had printed out the schedule before I left though & we were able to catch a later train with the same connecting point. Just made our trip tighter. No need to buy tickets early, they are easy to get at the station. My only real advice is pay close attention to the tickets and signs as train/track info is sometimes hard to find. Also, get on/off of your train quickly; they don't stop long. *If you train in to Civitavecchia, it is an easy walk to the port entrance but certain taxis can take you from the rail station to the cruise terminal. I would take the taxi again; our driver pulled us right up to the terminal and helped with bags...was inexpensive. *Check in at this terminal was the easiest I've had on a cruise! Very organized and quick. *We loved the ship! Ice skating rink & events were cool; entertainment was good even though it was a bit thin due to trying to mixup events between English and Italian. *The promenade adds a very cool environment to the ship. Pub option was great; wine bar, piano bar, and Solarium bars were all great. The Promenade Cafe came in very handy for mid afternoon and late night food drink & dessert options. *The pools were great! We really enjoyed the adult only Solarium option. It had plenty of sunning and shaded areas...was quiet. *Our balcony room was clean, spacious and gave us a great view. *Theater was very nice with comfy seats. *Main dining & Windjammer- on par with other RC experiences...great service. Food was okay - good with a few really good things mixed in. Wine choices were nice and it was nice for us to be able to buy a bottle and share it over a couple of meals (they kept it for us). *Johnny Rockets was spot on and really hit the spot when we just wanted a plain, known simple meal. *The gym/workout area was great. Amazing views, good equipment & helpful staff. *Service throughout the boat was top notch! We would definitely do this boat again. The teen/kid options and activities looked great as well. We just didn't need them this time. Few Negatives/Thoughts... *Wi-Fi signal could be boosted and price is steep. *Would love to be able to get TV sound in the Workout area. Lot's of TV's you just couldn't hear them. *Workout area was a bit warm but it may have just been me dying as my diet was a bit different :) Feel free to message me with questions about the boat. I'll also post some pics. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Cruised on Navigator of the Seas - 11th September 2011 - departing Civitivecchia - Eastern Mediterranean - 7 nights. Ports Messina, Sicily - Athens, Greece - Kusadasi, Turkey - Chania, Crete. Balcony cabin which was wonderful - ... Read More
Cruised on Navigator of the Seas - 11th September 2011 - departing Civitivecchia - Eastern Mediterranean - 7 nights. Ports Messina, Sicily - Athens, Greece - Kusadasi, Turkey - Chania, Crete. Balcony cabin which was wonderful - dinner always nice. Plenty of dishes to choose from and the waiting staff were absolutely wonderful. We had a table of two - so we chatted a lot with the staff - maybe this makes a difference to the service and enjoyment of the meal. Ports and tours were fine - enjoyed tours which also left us sometime to do our own thing. Had the most beautiful meal at speciality restaurant Portofinos - a real treat. Some reviews of this ship have not been favourable - but I couldn't find fault with anything. All staff were very friendly and the efforts they made was welcomed. I don't ask for perfection and wouldn't expect it - I can only suggest that those who have not been happy dip into their wallets and pay top prices for exclusive ships and cruise lines. Really enjoyed getting away from it all with people around who were only too happy to assist in me having a great holiday. Pleased to recommend Royal Caribbean and this particular ship. Toni Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We've done multiple cruises in the Caribbean and to the Bahamas, as we live in central florida, and it just makes it an easy vacation. We decided to go for this Mediterranean cruise, as we were already planning an Italy vacation, but ... Read More
We've done multiple cruises in the Caribbean and to the Bahamas, as we live in central florida, and it just makes it an easy vacation. We decided to go for this Mediterranean cruise, as we were already planning an Italy vacation, but wanted to cut the cost a bit. This cruise fit the bill, and then gave us a lot of wonderful surprises! First off, we were in Rome for a few days before departure. If you are looking to do that, here is what we did, and what I recommend: Fly into FCO (Fiumicino airport), and after you get your bags, follow the signs (or pictures actually) for the train (little black and white image of a train car overhead as you walk through the airport). At one point, you hang a left, and go down some escalators, and on for a few minutes- then up another set, and you'll see signs that you are leaving the airport and entering the train station. Go to the TrenItalia desk, and purchase passes on the Leonardo Express. It runs to Termini every 20-30 minutes, and it only takes about 30 minutes to get there. They run until 11pm. EASY! We stayed at Welcome Piram Hotel, just blocks from Termini. VERY convenient and safe, as you really don't want to be dealing with your bags on the Roman subway (gulp), and the area around Termini is graffiti-ed, yet safe. You can walk, take a bus or metro anywhere from there too. We booked an express train to Civitavecchia from Rome, 13.50 Euro pp. Pros: only about 8 people in our car, booked seats, and tons of luggage storage area within eye sight. WAY cheaper than renting a van or taxi. Your other inexpensive option is to take the commuter train. I think it's about 1/2 the price, but crammed with people, and your bags are often out of sight with all the people. Hard to get on and off the trains with bags too sometimes. We stayed over night at the port town to keep things simple, we didn't want to mess with the train the day of and risk something going wrong. We stayed at a B&B type placed called Villa Susanna- HIGHLY recommended! Inexpensive, simple yet has everything you need, and the owners are accustomed to cruisers, and will have all of your answers before you know your questions! They're about a 5 minute walk (about a 10 minute stroll) from the train station, and about a 10-15 min walk from the port entrance, even pulling bags. Getting to the ship from the port entrance was super simple and efficient- a shuttle (full bus) picks you and your bags up, and drops you at the entrance to the boarding area for your ship. If you get your luggage tags at home, you go to one side and hand over your bags, and then the other way to go into the port building. GET THERE EARLY! Don't wait for 12 or 1! Be at the port entrance at 11am for the first shuttle to the ship! You'll get through with no lines, and be on the ship sipping something fruity (or in my case, a frosty beer), having lunch, maybe sitting by the pool catching some sun, while everyone else is standing in line, waiting to check in and board. This embarkation port is highly effective, and makes boarding a breeze! The ship was great as always- we'd been on once before for my best friend's wedding a few years ago. Good food, good staff (although our head waiter wasn't too great), good drinks, great shows, and we made some new friends as well! Before the trip, we thought Athens would be our highlight- but WOW- were we surprised! Here are the excursions we did: Sicily- Panoramic Sicily My Etna is the main focus, going up to the craters. The colors up there are amazing- deep black rocks and dirt, yet red and brown too- and here and there you get bursts of yellow or green plants. It was cloudy when we were there, so we didn't see down to the ocean, but it was AMAZING! Athens- Athens & Cape Sounion with Lunch - PR03 You go straight to the Acropolis, which is great for missing some of the crowds. Once some time went by though, it got really crowded, and we were ready to go after getting some great pictures. Then we went through Athens, seeing some major highlights along the way (like the 1st Olympic stadium), and then had a fantasticcccc lunch with wine at at local hotel/resort. Amazing food, really. Then the highlight for us, turned out to be Cape Sounion! We really didn't know much about it, but were game, since hey- when are we going to be there again right?? We were in awe of some of the views on the drive out, even though I live in FL and have been through the Caribbean and Hawaii, I've never seen water like this. By the time we got to the Cape, we just about ran off the bus to start soaking it in.... that place is perfect! We want to go back! Poseidon's temple is something else too! Kusadasi, Turkey- Ephesus, Didyma & Miletus with Lunch - ****BEST PORT**** even with the sales pressure when you go into stores, this port was by far my favorite! Ephesus feels like it still has a soul- and when you are there, you are sharing it with all of those who have lived there in the past. They do a little cheesy show of Cleopatra, etc. but it doesn't take away from the place. We saw an amphitheater in Miletus that was also amazing.. and HUGE! I made friends with one of the local kitties there too. :)The Temple of Apollo at Didyma blew our minds. It was like the temple was built for giants...and we were just little bugs visiting in comparison. It was better than the Acropolis, hands down. We had lunch near by, all good food again, and got some souvenirs before getting back on the bus to go back to port. I got a small onyx cat to remember the Turkish kitty I made friends with. :) Crete- no excursion! ****2nd favorite port**** We took the city bus in to Chania, and checked out the local market first. We aren't shoppers, but we did get some great olive oil, and some other cooking items, as well as some inexpensive but good quality gifts for our nieces and nephew. We walked through the harbor, and all the way around and over to the light house, and back. It's amazing to stand up on the wall, which divides the ocean from the harbor, and see how different the two bodies of water look! We can't wait to come back here!! Overall, we really didn't spend a LOT of time on the ship, because we booked long excursions. We made it off the ship at 7am, and back on within an hour of sailing out of port. We did the early dining, because 9:30 is too late for us :), so we'd meet up with our AWESOME table of new friends at dinner, eat, swap stories, laugh at each other, and then go hang out at the Two Poet's pub until we couldn't handle the smoke, then switch to the Vintages Wine Bar. The server let some of us order beer there too, he was kind enough to go to the pub to get it for us. :) The 24 hour free (for food)cafe in the promenade has great good- check out their napoleon dessert when they have it (awesome!!!!) and the Kahlua Cookies rock. :)The bartenders up by the pool made us our signature drink from our wedding last year, even though it wasn't on the menu. If you want to try it- ask for a Banana Colada, with Kahlua and White rum added. Fantastic! Even for someone (like me) who hates Kahlua. There was a guy in the Pub on board that did American bar music late night, which was great. There was also a group called Mariakas (spelled differently but not the right way either), and they were a strings group that played all kinds of music- we really liked them too. Once we got back to Civitavecchia, we split direct transport van back to Fiumicino with two other couples we met on cruise critic. It was simple, quick, and inexpensive compared to other options. We stayed at the Marriott Airport Hotel for a night (always a good stay at a Marriott!), and went out for dinner in the little fishing town of Fiumicino. We found a great street-side cafe, but I can't remember the name of it. :( It was recommended by Trip Advisor, which I found out after the fact. We flew back to the states the next morning! All in all- one of the best vacations we've ever had, and we can't WAIT to go back! If you are considering booking this cruise, do it! You won't regret it! And splurge for the longer excursions! You won't regret that either! Read Less
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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