Navigator of the Seas Review
May 22-29, 2004
Cruising history: Family of 4 - DH(46), me (45), DS (21), DD (19)
7th cruise - 4 Carnival, 2 RCI and 1 Princess
Last cruise - Grand Princess
Occasion - DSÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s college graduation
Fast and easy. Arrived at the Port of Miami about 11:15. Parked the car in the garage and wheeled our luggage into the building. We had 4-22Ã¢â‚¬Â suitcases, 4 tote bags that fit on top of the suitcases, 1 garment bag, 1 beach bag and a video camera bag. It all fit through the scanner with ease. Check in was quick - we registered on line and had completed our Bahamas immigration forms that came with our documents. After leaving check-in, we got ready to stand in a long line to board the ship. However, when they saw our Gold Member status we were escorted to a special ship entrance. We were on board before noon,
Beautiful ship. Great condition. Well thought out. Decks for activities are 3, 4, and 5 and then 11, 12, and 13. The rest of the decks are mostly sleeping decks. Ship sails very smoothly. We had rough weather on the way to St. Thomas and were very glad we had that big bow to plow through the waves (we had 12 ft seas).
2 balcony cabins side-by-side on Deck 8, mid-ship. Cabins small but nicely appointed with lots of closet space, about 20 hangars, and lots of drawers and cubbie holes. TV, stocked mini-bar, small, but well appointed bathroom (shower very small). Nice size bed and comfortable couch. Fair sized balcony - comfortable for 2. Room stewardess was Carlene. Gave her an AT&T phone card - she took good care of us all week. Towel animals most nights, remembered that we liked 4 bath towels daily and helped us keep track of the kids!
Windjammer: A. Breakfast in the Windjammer is similar each morning and very good. You can have an omelette made to order. Lunch each day included great hamburgers, hot dogs, and a lots of additional variety. Did not eat dinner at the Windjammer.
Dining Room: B. We were assigned to Coppelia dining room on Deck 4. Our servers were Gabor and Zhivco. We had excellent service and excellent food all week with lots of variety. You can order a steak every night and it is a good quality steak! We ate just one breakfast and one lunch in the dining room (served in the dining room on Deck 3) - food and service was pretty bad.
Chops: C. We ate here on Caribbean night. Service was very good but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry to say that the food quality was so-so. It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t worth the $25. As a result, we cancelled our reservation at Portofinos.
CafÃƒÂ© Promenade: A. Serves pastries at breakfast and small sandwiches, cookies (they have the best chocolate chip cookies!) and desserts the rest of the day. The CafÃƒÂ© Promenade is your 24 hour food source in addition to room service.
Johnny Rockets: D. Past RCL guests get a voucher to eat free at Johnny Rockets. I thought the food was awful and visited just once.
Room service: A. Quick and good. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a yummy fruit and cheese plate.
Located on Deck 3. There is no big sell. They were out and around the ship each night but you could avoid them if you wished. They were there for port photos. They did come around to the dining room each night but it was quick and painless. Photo prices are expensive at $9.95 and up. We only purchased 3 photos since the quality was just OK and the prices so high.
Ice Skating Show: A
Deck 3. What a COOL thing - watching an ice skating show on a ship! We arrived early to Studio B on Deck 3 and had front row seats (you have to pick up tickets in advance which was easy). There were 10 skaters who skated to a variety of songs (ice dancing). For me, this was a cruise highlight! They take drink orders before the show which is great!
For once we did not attend the other shows. There were several comedians and several shows - there was nothing original - weÃ¢â‚¬Ëœd seen all of the shows on other cruise lines. We watched the Love and Marriage Show on TV which was very funny. We listened to 2 of the singers one night on the Promenade- they were excellent. We also saw one of the parades. Warning to those who want a Promenade cabin - these shows are loud and a couple were held after 11 PM. Beware! The cruise director was not very visible and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t generate a lot of enthusiasm. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m used to more enthusiastic cruise directors.
Deck 4. Lots of slots. Not too many tables. Some nights the casino was dead. Other nights it was packed. DS won a total of $370 on the slots. I won $40. On the last night I hit 5-50 coin wins - unfortunately they were pretty spread out. The casino was fun.
Royal Promenade: A
Deck 5. This is the heart of the ship. I had seen the picture of the VoyagerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s promenade on www.kroooz-cams.com but until you see it in person, it just doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t compute. Absolutely stunning! There are 5 shops, 2 bars and the Promenade CafÃƒÂ©. At either end is an atrium. Aft is a dining room and forward is the Ixtapa lounge. Stunning, fun place. If you need to meet someone, the promenade is a good place.
Deck 7 - lots of books. Open 24 hours with really comfortable chairs. There is a daily trivia sheet each day which DS loved.
Internet CafÃƒÂ©: C
Deck 8. Lots of terminals - open 24 hours. Very slow. 50 cents per minute. Costs add up quickly.
Too small for a ship this size. Hot tubs were a good size. Salt water pools (miss the chlorine pools of Princess!). Lots and lots of deck chairs - almost hard to negotiate the area due to all the chairs. There is an adult pool but it is very small. A ship this size should have at least one more pool. No covered pools so when there was a rainy day the rest of the ship was busy since no one could swim.
Sports deck: B+
Deck 13 aft. Fun place! Full basketball court, volleyball area, ping pong tables, inline skating area (small) and 9 holes of miniature golf (very fun). No reservations needed for any of this. Rock climbing wall is here too - very impressive.
Viking Crown Lounge: B-
Nice view but very quiet. DidnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care for the band there.
What can I say? Nassau is Nassau. This was my 4th time here so we hit the shops for a bit. The Bahamians could really make Nassau nice if they so desired.
St. Thomas: A
Family favorite. We skipped the beach this time and rode the tram to Paradise Point where we saw a great parrot show (10:30 AM) and then did some major shopping in Charlotte Amalie. We were in port with the Carnival Triumph which we sailed in 2000. We were also in port with the Caribbean Princess - what a pretty ship! Her balcony glass partitions are a pretty blue!
San Juan: A
Included a trip to El Morro - a cool, old fort with lots of steps and climbing. We did some shopping in San Juan but since it was a short day, were unable to do anything else. Love the history in San Juan. The Carnival Legend arrived just before we left. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be interested in hearing from others about the condition of this ship. From the outside she definitely need some paint in certain areas.
Smallish beach area. Sea urchins in the water. Cold water. Lunch not too tasty. Coco Cay is much prettier and more fun.
DidnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t leave the ship until 10:15. Slowest disembarkation ever. Waited in line for 45 minutes just to get through immigration. Only had 1 immigration officer working for almost 4000 guests! The Miami immigration office definitely needs to work on this one. Once through immigration we sailed through Customs since we carried our luggage off. RCL needs to add the Carnival/Princess touch where guests carrying their own luggage can get off first.
Overall impression: B. A good cruise with lots of fun memories. Good food, great ice show, collected more art, and relaxed. Will I sail a voyager class ship again? No, they are too big and too crowded. Crowd control and navigation was often difficult near scheduled events - especially in the promenade. Additionally, on a rainy sea day navigation was quite difficult since no one could swim because there is no covered pool. Service was also hit and miss - the purserÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s desk and the store clerks were especially poor. I am so glad we sailed a voyager class ship - an experience to never forget. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty neat to know youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the biggest ship in port! Now itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time to select next yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ship - more planning to do!!!