I had planned this cruise for seven months. A buddy and I who had previously cruised with Carnival and Celebrity had been eager to attempt Royal Caribbean right after hearing so several constructive issues about the beauty of the ship, quality of food and service, etc. For the second time, I shocked my retired parents by taking them with us (the earlier year I had shocked them with an Alaskan cruise which I will review later), and they were absolutely giddy with excitement when they identified out that they would when once again be traveling aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, which they claimed was their favourite ship of 13 other cruises they had taken. With the ship fresh out of dry dock for upgrades, were set to go to some brand-new destinations none of us had ever visited_ Roatan Island, Honduras and Belize City. Expectations have been higher.
Then cruise time came. Even though I am not prepared to say that we had a Negative time on this cruise, I feel it is fair to say that our expectations had been a bit deflated, fairly significantly from the minute we arrived at the Port of Galveston. Let me to take you via the high and low lights of life on the higher seas aboard Navigator of the Seas.
Our dining knowledge– Most undoubtedly the best service we received on the ship was in the primary Sapphire Dining Space, which is with out a doubt the most beautiful dining room I have noticed on a cruise ship. Walking into the dining room is like entering a regal opera home complete with grand stair case and three levels of dining with windows on every side. Our two servers had been really attentive, noting my step-mother’s preference of producing her personal ice tea with two glasses of ice, two tea bags and some hot water, which was waiting for her each night right after night one. I could fault her for being a tea snob, but then I’d have to look at myself in the mirror with my Starbucks in hand turning my nose up at Folgers. All of us enjoyed the variety of meal alternatives and believed the food was of really high good quality, with service running like clock perform. It was actually a pleasure to dine every evening.
Right here we are at dinner. I am the goof-ball in blue.
The Cabin– Inside cabin 7667 (Aft Port) was residence sweet home for our week at sea. My parents had been proper subsequent door in 7669. For an inside cabin, there was a lot of space to stow all of our stuff and have a fully clear space to move in. I would say the bed was a bit difficult, but it really is all about your preference as my friend and traveling companion Jay (the guy in purple) stated his was just right. Ample closet and drawer space permitted us to each have adequate space to unpack. Our steward service was also top-notch, re-stocking and tidying up twice daily.
The ship– Navigator is certainly a gorgeous ship. Of note is the Royal Promenade, a series of shops, restaurants and bars running aft to forward giving cruisers the feel of strolling down a cobblestone street although at sea. I advise the Two Poets Pub for some good ambiance and individuals-watching. The major atrium is beautiful, and the a variety of lounges and bars are made with a very classy but comfortable feel. The pool deck is also impressive, featuring two primary pools flanked by a number of hot tubs, some of which are shaded. For the most part there are a lot of chairs each in and out of the shade, but if your cruise is full you had greater get there early to snag one. We also thought the nightclub overlooking the pool deck with its floor-to-ceiling windows added a good touch to the ship’s offerings. The ship’s casino is also fairly decent, but given that smoking is allowed in there, you might come out smelling like an ash tray.
Overlooking the Royal Promenade
The Grand Atrium
Beverage Package–3 of us on this cruise had the premium package for $55 per day, but considering that my dad only drinks beer, we got him the fundamental package. At very first glance, this package may possibly seem a bit pricey (Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages are some of the most high-priced at sea), but overall we got our money’s worth. What I specifically liked was that fundamentally nothing at all on the drink menu was off limits brief of the super premium stuff. You could even opt for Grey Goose vodka at no additional charge. The flip side here is the bar service (see below).
Theatre Entertainment–If you ever find yourself on Navigator of the Seas, do not miss the ice-skating show. It is amazing and was a lot much better than I thought it was going to be. We also enjoyed the Elton John impersonator, the bar flair show and the adult game show.
Embarkation_Debarkation–The words fiasco, nightmare, eternity and disorganization come to thoughts for both. This was hands-down the WORST embarkation_debarkation method I have ever experienced, and my parents who had been on 13 earlier cruises agreed. We must have expected this when Royal Caribbean sent us out an e-mail prior to the cruise instructing us to arrive at specific occasions primarily based on the deck on which our cabin was situated. As it occurred, we had flown into Houston, and our transfer dropped us off proper at the time we had been supposed to be there, which was 12_30 p.m. We did not step foot on the ship till nearly 2 p.m, as we were stuck two various lines, both of which were incredibly slow-moving. This is certainly not the way you want to start your vacation, and really few smiles were to be identified in the safety and check-in lines. Thoughts you, I completely expect a bit of a wait checking in, but this was just ridiculous. I consider the longest wait I have ever knowledgeable prior to this was 30 minutes tops. I certainly expressed my dissatisfaction to the verify-in lady.
Debarkation was virtually just as poor. Since we had a driver waiting for us, we opted for the self check-out and had been given a specific time and location to meet. We have carried out this on other cruises with minimal waiting, with customs officers boarding the ship to collect forms. In the previous, we have fundamentally just walked off the ship. Not this time. When we arrived at the appointed spot we then waited an additional good 45 minutes just to be permitted to disembark. Once off the ship, guess what_ Another line, an additional 45 minutes to pass by way of customs. I ended up being a charged an further wait fee by my driver, thanks to Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston.
Bottom line–I will never ever cruise from Galveston, Texas again as they clearly do not have the potential to handle the volume of people that cruise ships have. Fundamentally, Royal Caribbean left a damaging very first impression and a unfavorable last impression.
Service–Aside from our servers at dinner, service in the bars and lounges on this ship was average at ideal and undoubtedly not what I am accustomed to on a cruise. While some bartenders had been standouts, it usually took forever to get a drink and frequently you felt as if you were a bother to the bartender or server. The worst service was possibly at the pool bar. Some may possibly say that I am as well demanding, but when I commit my challenging-earned money on vacation I want decent service. Period. I didn’t genuinely get it on this cruise. My parents also commented that things just weren’t the identical on this cruise as their preceding knowledge on Navigator of the Seas.
Little ones, little ones, youngsters– OK, I am most likely going to get some eye-rolls for this, and perhaps for some it wouldn’t be a damaging, but there had been just too a lot of youngsters taking more than the primary pool area on this ship. As with anyplace else, parents are partially to blame here, allowing their little monsters to run amuck and splash other people in the primary pool, but I fault Royal Caribbean for not enforcing pool guidelines. On past cruises, children weren’t even permitted in hot tubs, but they have been in this one particular. Granted, there is an adults-only pool and hot tub, but the issue is that there isn’t any entertainment there (not that the entertainment at the primary pool was anything to write residence about).
We did not participate in any excursions on this cruise, so I cannot speak to their quality. We did hear different comments that the excursions were over-priced and not worth the money. One excursion was even more than an hour late and had to be delivered to the ship by boat as it was departing Honduras.
The verdict–If I had to select in between Royal Caribbean and Carnival, I would most likely go with Carnival based on past experiences. I am not entirely closed to providing Royal Caribbean another chance, but they would have to totally WOW me to keep me coming back.