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  #1  
Old October 21st, 2004, 11:35 AM
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mojo4trav mojo4trav is offline
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Post REVIEW: Navigator 10/09/04

A little background on us first...we're both in our late twenties, married for five years and (including this cruise) have sailed together four times, each on an RCCL Voyager class ship. This cruise made her Platinum C&A; she sailed once before we were married, on the Serenade. In the past, we would always choose a balcony cabin, but this time we decided to give the inside cabin a try. Two factors lead us to this decision; the first of which was a couple we met on the Explorer insisted it was the only way to go unless celebrating a special occasion, as it was so much less expensive and saved money for other expenses. (We didn't immediately subscribe to their way of thinking, but we may be converted, I'll go into that more later.) Our second reason was that after seven years with my company, I decided it was time to take a different direction in life and left, to work for the government. Accordingly, our expendable income took an interesting, but expected, downward spiral...but so did my weight and blood pressure. (I've lost over 42 lbs!)

I booked the cruise through the same agency we booked the Mariner cruise this past January and their internet-only service provided the least expensive offering. When combined with our C&A coupon, we paid less than $1400 for our cabin...number 8519.



Boarding/Check-In:

We arrived at the pier after a pre-stay at the Hyatt Downtown (secured via Priceline for about $40) around 10am. We waited inside the terminal at the bottom of the stairs for about 20 minutes while forms were handed out for the Bahamas. Some people get these in their paper-tickets, those of us who get e-docs will be handed them at this point in time. We were required to have them filled out before being allowed to proceed up the escalators toward security. We moved through security and up to the lines for check-in which was painless and took no more than 10 minutes. After check-in we moved into another line waiting for the ship to be cleared for boarding. While I didn't pay close attention to the time, I believe we started moving in the line around noon. The room was not ready, so we went to Windjammer and had lunch after which we stopped by our room to drop of a few bags.



The CABIN:

We were initially a little skeptical about the inside cabin and reduction in space and lack of any natural light. We had booked an inside in January on Mariner, but at the last minute (literally) we text messaged our agent and he secured us an upgrade to balcony for $700 two days before sailing. When we got to the room and unpacked, we found it to be perfect for two people. We stored two pieces of luggage under the bed and the other two in the closet. Extra hangers arrived later in the evening as we had asked for them upon arrival and there was plenty of room for all of our clothes, shoes, etc. From now on, unless we get a super bargain, we've been converted to inside cabin sailors!



The FOOD:

Maybe it has gotten better, maybe I'm not as picky as I thought, and perhaps I was just hungry...but we didn't mind the food at all. Having been on a cruise just nine months earlier, many of the menu items went unchanged, but in some ways that was comforting. I knew my chilled banana soup and other fruit soups would be offered and the Caesar salad was unchanged. We had reservations for Portofino's and Chops on the formal nights; we just don't enjoy the menu in the dining room and prefer a smart casual feeling. Portofino's was better than I remembered from Explorer. We missed Chops this time as a friend traveling with us developed a cold and so we ate in Windjammer instead so she would feel comfortable. (We did eat in Chops on Mariner and really enjoyed the food.) We tried Johnny Rockets, using the C&A coupon, and enjoyed the 'simple' food including their shakes. We ate lunch sometimes in the main dining room and others in Windjammer. Breakfast was either in Windjammer or on port days, a quick bite at the Promenade cafe.

ATTIRE:

While we chose to eat elsewhere on formal nights as we don't care to dress in a tux and evening gown, there were a few who stayed with the usual attire and they seemed perfectly content. I saw some with shorts and jeans on regular nights being admitted just like the rest of the passengers to the main dining room. So it seems the opinionated banter than normally takes place on this board regarding attire is limited to the board. On the ship, people dress as they like and still dine next to everyone else, served the same food, on the same tableware from the same kitchen. Moving on...

The SHIP:

Well maintained and beautiful...we much prefer the newer Voyager class ships due to the addition of Vintages and Chops along with the expansion of the Windjammer. I used the gym every day for a 1-1.5 hour workout and enjoyed the lack of a crowd most days. I also had two 25-minute massages in the spa, once on the second day and the last on Friday which were great.



The CREW:

Our waiter was lackluster; our assistant waiter was much better and received a bigger tip than the standard. Our stateroom attendants were good, always sneaking in to clean when we stepped away from the room and always filling the ice bucket and providing extra towels after I mentioned we shower twice and sometimes three times a day (due to working out). The Champagne Bar was our favorite place to meet up before dinner to have a cocktail, be served pre-dinner snacks and play UNO. (Yes, if you saw a trio playing UNO all over the ship, it was us! We don't know what to say other than we really had fun!) Ken Rush is great at what he does, but since we had heard his routine on Mariner earlier in the year, it was a little worn. The captain, well...I'll say this in a very soft voice, "aklsjdflioirmsdkfjoiwuerjfajsdio ajsodiufoiewjr jasidfoij." Ring any bells? That man needs to speak up a little, we NEVER could understand a WORD he said other than at the C&A party, but even then it probably had more to do with the fact we were only 20 feet away from him AND he had a microphone. Guillermo in the spa was very skilled and truly a professional massage therapist. (Please don't forget to tip when you have a massage, it is not included in the price and they work very hard and make a very small percentage of the treatment! - less than 8%) I decided instead of having one 55 minute massage I would rather have one at the beginning of the cruise and one at the end so I was relaxed while on vacation and relaxed as we prepared to leave. All of the staff was very friendly, with only a few minor exceptions and we enjoyed our stay.



The PORTS:

Nassau - okay shopping, had to get off the ship to buy Bacardi Pina Colada Rum Cakes!

St Thomas - good shopping, wife found jewels - as usual, and liquor and cologne/perfume was cheap

San Juan - blah, maybe we'll take a wilderness excursion next time

Labadee - after being on a ship on water all week what did I do, rent a mat and float in the water...always a great port of call, very relaxing



Overall the vacation was one of our best on RCCL! Nothing major to report, we had a lot of fun, and aren't sure we can wait until October 15 when we go again!



Any questions, I'll do my best to answer...
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Until we sail RCCL's Liberty of the Seas...




03/07 New Century | 10/06 Mariner of the Seas | 9/05 Navigator of the Seas | 10/04 Navigator of the Seas | 1/04 Mariner of the Seas | 1/03 Voyager of the Seas | 7/01 Explorer of the Seas | 1/97 Sovereign of the Seas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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Last edited by mojo4trav; October 21st, 2004 at 11:49 AM.
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  #2  
Old October 21st, 2004, 03:40 PM
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lvcruiser lvcruiser is offline
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Travis - Good review and the kind I like to read: covered everything essential but was to the point. Good news on the food and service quality after reading all the negativity on these boards for the past six months. Also good to hear Labadee is open after another poster stating RCCL wasn't going back until the current unrest in Haiti settles back down.

It sounds like your embarkation falls into line with what I read from another poster concerning time. We used to be able to board as early as 10:30 or 11:00, but it now appears noon is the earliest. This was important for me to find out in order to know when to have my son take us to the port so we wouldn't have to wait too long but wouldn't be in too long of a line either. It sounds like 11-11:30 will be about right.

Time to pack for the cruise you just wrote about. We'll be back in sunny Florida tomorrow.

John
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Old October 21st, 2004, 09:23 PM
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mojo4trav mojo4trav is offline
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John,

Have a great time! We sure wish we were still on board!
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Until we sail RCCL's Liberty of the Seas...




03/07 New Century | 10/06 Mariner of the Seas | 9/05 Navigator of the Seas | 10/04 Navigator of the Seas | 1/04 Mariner of the Seas | 1/03 Voyager of the Seas | 7/01 Explorer of the Seas | 1/97 Sovereign of the Seas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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Old October 21st, 2004, 09:59 PM
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Thanks for the review! We'll be on the Navigator next weekend and I'm gleaning all the information I can from experiences like yours.
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  #5  
Old October 22nd, 2004, 11:22 PM
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hstrybuf,

Enjoy your cruise, we're anxiously waiting for next October!
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Until we sail RCCL's Liberty of the Seas...




03/07 New Century | 10/06 Mariner of the Seas | 9/05 Navigator of the Seas | 10/04 Navigator of the Seas | 1/04 Mariner of the Seas | 1/03 Voyager of the Seas | 7/01 Explorer of the Seas | 1/97 Sovereign of the Seas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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Old October 22nd, 2004, 11:34 PM
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Great review! Thanks. In PR, since we are there until 10pm, was dinner open seating or the regular assigned times? What night was the worst in the dining room and would be the night to book chops? Thanks
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  #7  
Old October 22nd, 2004, 11:48 PM
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Dinner in San Juan will still be assigned. I didn't care for the menu on Caribbean night, save for the chilled banana-rum soup, which is a favorite of mine. We use Chops and Portofino's for formal nights as we don't care much for the tux/gown, so your intentions may be a little different with that regard. If you have any other ?'s, I'll do my best to answer them!
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Travis and Jake

Until we sail RCCL's Liberty of the Seas...




03/07 New Century | 10/06 Mariner of the Seas | 9/05 Navigator of the Seas | 10/04 Navigator of the Seas | 1/04 Mariner of the Seas | 1/03 Voyager of the Seas | 7/01 Explorer of the Seas | 1/97 Sovereign of the Seas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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  #8  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 12:37 PM
Cruisin' Patty Cruisin' Patty is offline
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Loved reading your review.
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  #9  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 02:16 PM
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Travis,
Thank you for the review. It definately helps as we will be on the Navigator next month for our 33rd anniversary. While this will be our second cruise, it will be the first on such a large ship.

Wish you the best on your new position and congratulations on the weight loss. I know exactly what you mean about the weight (I call it the mature look) and blood pressure (thank goodness for pills).

Take care, Ron
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Old October 24th, 2004, 10:14 PM
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Patty & Ron,
Glad my review was helpful!

Ron,

I'm certain you'll have a good time; we've only cruised on the Voyager class ships and aren't sure if we could do anything smaller. Have a great vacation!
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Ciao,
Travis and Jake

Until we sail RCCL's Liberty of the Seas...




03/07 New Century | 10/06 Mariner of the Seas | 9/05 Navigator of the Seas | 10/04 Navigator of the Seas | 1/04 Mariner of the Seas | 1/03 Voyager of the Seas | 7/01 Explorer of the Seas | 1/97 Sovereign of the Seas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Mark Twain
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Old October 25th, 2004, 01:08 AM
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Travis,
Appreciate your review. Not into the tux/formal gowns much either - but do enjoy the dining room. Plan on trying out Chops/Portofino probably on the formal night that sounds the least appealing in the D.R. Glad to hear that the food, overall, is not as bad as some claim it to be. We have never found the food on our previous cruises to be so bad - some things might not have been my taste but went away satisfied each time I dined.
Sounds like the cruise was all you expected it to be - I'm glad to hear it.
We are really excited to see & cruise on the Navigator. This will be our 1st cruise on a voyager class ship and our 1st with a balcony cabin. We have booked inside cabins on previous cruises and felt that we got a terriffic bargain. We won't hesitate to book them again. We like to vacation multiple times a year and the insides are affordable enough to allow us to cruise more often. I'll probably prefer voyager class to other classes, but I wouldn't hesitate to book on other classes - so far I haven't had a bad cruise. Let's hope we're all satisfied with our cruises.
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  #12  
Old October 25th, 2004, 08:58 AM
kittycruize kittycruize is offline
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Could you elaborate on why you prefer not to go to the dining room on formal nights? We have never cruised before, but are going 2-20-05 on the Mariner. Just curious about why you said you don't care for the menu on formal nights? Do they serve different food on formal nights? By the way, I agree with you on the tux/gown situation. We don't care to dress up either, so not sure what we will do on formal nights. Is there no dress code at Chops or Portofino?

Thanks for a great review by the way!
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Old October 25th, 2004, 06:33 PM
twinsis1 twinsis1 is offline
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Thanks for the review. I'm crusing 4/30/04 on Navigator. It's my second cruise with rcc and my first on the voyger class ship. Glad you had a great time!!
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Old October 25th, 2004, 06:35 PM
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This is our first time too in an inside cabin. I'm kind of hoping we will - like you - decide we like it. It could mean the difference in cruising more often!

This is also our first cruise on a Voyager class ship, so I figure we'll be so overwhelmed by the sheer size of the ship we won't notice our cabin is smaller than what we've had in the past - ha!

Loved your review! It hit all the points I cared about!

Ann
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Old October 25th, 2004, 07:18 PM
barbie barbie is offline
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Hi Travis --- Loved your review! We'll be on the Navigator on 11/6. Can you tell me what time disembarkation began?

Thanks!
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Old October 25th, 2004, 07:19 PM
Beth 2001 Beth 2001 is offline
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I know you skipped formal nights in the dining room, but which nights were they? Sunday and Thursday? We may go to Chops on one of the nights!
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Old October 25th, 2004, 09:54 PM
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mojo4trav mojo4trav is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbie
Hi Travis --- Loved your review! We'll be on the Navigator on 11/6. Can you tell me what time disembarkation began?

Thanks!
Thanks! We had yellow tags and were off the ship (after having our last breakfast in the main dining room) around 10am, although we waited for luggage for another hour.
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Ciao,
Travis and Jake

Until we sail RCCL's Liberty of the Seas...




03/07 New Century | 10/06 Mariner of the Seas | 9/05 Navigator of the Seas | 10/04 Navigator of the Seas | 1/04 Mariner of the Seas | 1/03 Voyager of the Seas | 7/01 Explorer of the Seas | 1/97 Sovereign of the Seas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Mark Twain
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Old October 25th, 2004, 09:55 PM
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mojo4trav mojo4trav is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth 2001
I know you skipped formal nights in the dining room, but which nights were they? Sunday and Thursday? We may go to Chops on one of the nights!
You're right about the days, Chops is great, enjoy!
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Ciao,
Travis and Jake

Until we sail RCCL's Liberty of the Seas...




03/07 New Century | 10/06 Mariner of the Seas | 9/05 Navigator of the Seas | 10/04 Navigator of the Seas | 1/04 Mariner of the Seas | 1/03 Voyager of the Seas | 7/01 Explorer of the Seas | 1/97 Sovereign of the Seas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Mark Twain
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Old October 26th, 2004, 12:14 AM
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I just came off Navigator from the 10/16-10/23 sailing. Our formals were Sunday and Wednesday. We did Portofino (AWESOME!) on Monday and Chops (Good, but not as good as Portofino) on Tuesday.

Had an invite to the Captains table for Wednesday night (Lobster). Incredible experience!
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Old October 26th, 2004, 08:17 PM
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Firefighter is right about the days, my mind escapes me...Sunday and Wednesday, sorry for the confusion of my previous post.
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Until we sail RCCL's Liberty of the Seas...




03/07 New Century | 10/06 Mariner of the Seas | 9/05 Navigator of the Seas | 10/04 Navigator of the Seas | 1/04 Mariner of the Seas | 1/03 Voyager of the Seas | 7/01 Explorer of the Seas | 1/97 Sovereign of the Seas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Mark Twain
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