Assessment: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas From Galveston
I had deliberate this cruise for seven months. A good friend and I who had beforehand cruised with Carnival and Superstar have been wanting to attempt Royal Caribbean after listening to so many constructive issues about the great thing about the ship, high quality of meals and repair, and so forth. For the second time, I stunned my retired mother and father by taking them with us (the earlier yr I had stunned them with an Alaskan cruise which I’ll assessment later), they usually have been completely giddy with pleasure once they came upon that they might as soon as once more be touring aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, which they claimed was their favourite ship of 13 different cruises that they had taken. With the ship recent out of dry dock for upgrades, have been set to go to some brand-new locations none of us had ever visited: Roatan Island, Honduras and Belize Metropolis. Expectations have been excessive.
Then cruise time got here. Whereas I’m not ready to say that we had a BAD time on this cruise, I feel it’s truthful to say that our expectations have been a bit deflated, just about from the minute we arrived on the Port of Galveston. Permit me to take you thru the excessive and low lights of life on the excessive seas aboard Navigator of the Seas.
Our eating experience– Most undoubtedly one of the best service we acquired on the ship was in the primary Sapphire Eating Room, which is undoubtedly probably the most beautiful eating room I’ve seen on a cruise ship. Strolling into the eating room is like getting into a regal opera home full with grand stair case and three ranges of eating with home windows on both sides. Our two servers have been extraordinarily attentive, noting my step-mother’s choice of creating her personal ice tea with two glasses of ice, 2 tea luggage and a few scorching water, which was ready for her each night time after night time one. I might fault her for being a “tea snob,” however then I might have to take a look at myself within the mirror with my Starbucks in hand turning my nostril up at Folgers. All of us loved the number of meal decisions and thought the meals was of very top quality, with service operating like clock work. It was really a pleasure to dine every night.
Right here we’re at dinner. I’m the goof-ball in blue.
The Cabin– Inside cabin 7667 (Aft Port) was house candy house for our week at sea. My mother and father have been proper subsequent door in 7669. For an inside cabin, there was loads of room to stow all of our stuff and have a totally clear area to maneuver in. I might say the mattress was a bit arduous, nevertheless it’s all about your choice as my good friend and touring companion Jay (the man in purple) stated his was good. Ample closet and drawer area allowed us to every have enough area to unpack. Our steward service was additionally top-notch, re-stocking and tidying up twice every day.
The ship– Navigator is certainly a ravishing ship. Of notice is the Royal Promenade, a collection of outlets, eating places and bars operating aft to ahead giving cruisers the texture of strolling down a cobblestone road whereas at sea. I like to recommend the Two Poets Pub for some good ambiance and people-watching. The primary atrium is beautiful, and the varied lounges and bars are designed with a really stylish but snug really feel. The pool deck can also be spectacular, that includes two major swimming pools flanked by a number of scorching tubs, a few of that are shaded. For probably the most half there are many chairs each out and in of the shade, but when your cruise is full you had higher get there early to snag one. We additionally thought the nightclub overlooking the pool deck with its floor-to-ceiling home windows added a pleasant contact to the ship’s choices. The ship’s on line casino can also be fairly respectable, however since smoking is allowed in there, you might come out smelling like an ash tray.
Overlooking the Royal Promenade
The Grand Atrium
Beverage Package deal–Three of us on this cruise had the premium package deal for $55 per day, however since my dad solely drinks beer, we received him the essential package deal. At first look, this package deal might sound a bit expensive (Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages are a number of the costliest at sea), however general we acquired our cash’s value. What I particularly appreciated was that principally nothing on the drink menu was off limits in need of the tremendous premium stuff. You may even go for Gray Goose vodka at no additional cost. The flip aspect right here is the bar service (see under).
Theatre Leisure–In the event you ever end up on Navigator of the Seas, do not miss the ice-skating present. It’s incredible and was a lot better than I assumed it was going to be. We additionally loved the Elton John impersonator, the bar aptitude present and the grownup recreation present.
Embarkation/Debarkation–The phrases fiasco, nightmare, eternity and disorganization come to thoughts for each. This was hands-down the WORST embarkation/debarkation course of I’ve ever skilled, and my mother and father who had been on 13 earlier cruises agreed. We should always have anticipated this when Royal Caribbean despatched us out an e-mail previous to the cruise instructing us to reach at sure occasions based mostly on the deck on which our cabin was situated. Because it occurred, we had flown into Houston, and our switch dropped us off proper on the time we have been purported to be there, which was 12:30 p.m. We didn’t step foot on the ship till virtually 2 p.m, as we have been caught two totally different strains, each of which have been extraordinarily slow-moving. That is undoubtedly not the best way you need to begin your trip, and only a few smiles have been to be discovered within the safety and check-in strains. Thoughts you, I completely anticipate a little bit of a wait checking in, however this was simply ridiculous. I feel the longest wait I’ve ever skilled previous to this was 30 minutes tops. I undoubtedly expressed my dissatisfaction to the check-in woman.
Debarkation was virtually simply as dangerous. Since we had a driver ready for us, we opted for the self check-out and got a selected time and place to satisfy. We have now executed this on different cruises with minimal ready, with customs officers boarding the ship to gather types. Up to now, we now have principally simply walked off the ship. Not this time. Once we arrived on the appointed spot we then waited one other good 45 minutes simply to be allowed to disembark. As soon as off the ship, guess what? One other line, one other 45 minutes to cross by way of customs. I ended up being a charged a further wait payment by my driver, because of Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston.
Backside line–I’ll by no means cruise from Galveston, Texas once more as they clearly don’t have the power to deal with the quantity of folks that cruise ships have. Principally, Royal Caribbean left a unfavourable first impression and a destructive final impression.
Service–Except for our servers at dinner, service within the bars and lounges on this ship was common at greatest and positively not what I’m accustomed to on a cruise. Whereas some bartenders have been standouts, it usually took endlessly to get a drink and sometimes you felt as when you have been a hassle to the bartender or server. The worst service was in all probability on the pool bar. Some may say that I’m too demanding, however once I spend my hard-earned cash on trip I would like respectable service. Interval. I did not actually get it on this cruise. My mother and father additionally commented that “issues simply weren’t the identical on this cruise” as their earlier expertise on Navigator of the Seas.
Youngsters, youngsters, kids– OK, I’m in all probability going to get some eye-rolls for this, and perhaps for some it would not be a adverse, however there have been simply too many youngsters taking up the primary pool space on this ship. As with anyplace else, mother and father are partially responsible right here, permitting their little monsters to run amuck and splash others in the primary pool, however I fault Royal Caribbean for not implementing pool guidelines. On previous cruises, youngsters weren’t even allowed in scorching tubs, however they have been on this one. Granted, there’s an adults-only pool and scorching tub, however the issue is that there is no leisure there (not that the leisure on the foremost pool was something to put in writing house about).
We didn’t take part in any excursions on this cruise, so I can not converse to their high quality. We did hear numerous feedback that the excursions have been over-priced and never well worth the cash. One tour was even over an hour late and needed to be delivered to the ship by boat because it was departing Honduras.
The decision–If I had to decide on between Royal Caribbean and Carnival, I might in all probability go together with Carnival based mostly on previous experiences. I’m not completely closed to giving Royal Caribbean one other probability, however they must utterly WOW me to maintain me coming again.