Navigator Review - June 2, 2004 Cruise to Bermuda

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#1
2,479 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Bermuda is my favorite island. In past years I’ve traveled via plane and for the past two years sailed in May and September on the QE2. We docked at Nelson’s Dockyard (King’s Wharf) as the ship was too large for the other ports. Since QE2 is no longer making this run and QM2 sails to the Caribbean, not Bermuda, we went searching for a new cruise line for our yearly trip.

Embarkation


We were told to arrive at the NYC pier no earlier than 2:30 pm to allow the ship to be properly prepared. As we arrived by limo and always leave extra time in case of traffic (one never knows in NYC when a bridge or tunnel might be closed at a moment’s notice which would be just our luck) we presented ourselves at 1pm and were on the ship approximately 10 minutes later it seemed.

After posing for the embarkation photo, a staff member in white tie escorted us on board where we were handed glasses of Verve Cliquot, perfectly chilled. We were asked if we would like to dine at Portofino Restaurant for lunch as the cabins were not ready at this time. We had a buffet lunch (which is served everyday) and as we were finishing, the PA announcement came on that our cabins were ready.


Cabin
We entered the cabin to find fresh flowers and a bottle of Radisson Champagne chilling. Having booked a G Guarantee Window Cabin and had been upgraded to a D Balcony on deck 8 – cabin 863 Aft - we were thrilled. On Navigator, all suites other than Navigator Suites and higher are configured the same. At 301 square feet, we had a huge bathroom with separate tub (large), shower, walk in closet, full sofa and two sitting chairs. The balcony contained two upright chairs with cushions and small table and teak deck. Although the wood was somewhat worn at the dresser area, the room was just gorgeous. Our cabin attendant (all female staff from Eastern Europe) wasted no time introducing herself and acquainting us with the cabin and its amenities such as a chit to order 2 bottles of liquor or wine for in cabin use. She explained that all drinks in the mini fridge (expect beer) and bottled water (2 sizes) would be replenished daily.

Aveeda Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash and Lotion are provided, however the minty scent is overpowering.




Sail-a-Way
Mr. Rabb accompanied by his assistant cruise director, Mrs. Rabb (they originally met as ship performers – a very romantic and fun couple) introduced us to the rest of the staff at a sail a way party under threatening skies. We sailed on schedule, enjoying the Rum Punch offerred us by the wait staff. Being New Yorker’s we waived to the evening commuters going home on the Staten Island Ferry As we approached the Verrazano Bridge, the skies opened up and we repaired to the Galileo Lounge.



Compass Rose Restaurant
Our first dinner in the Compass Rose Restaurant was a revelation. Having to pay for wine with dinner on other lines, the wines included with dinner on Radission – which were well chosen and quite enjoyable – were a welcome addition. The cuisine was what one would expect from a high end cruise line and special requests were honored if they could be met. We particularly enjoyed the Cheese Trolley with Port wine at meal’s end. During our cruise, we never had to wait more that two minutes for a dinner table for two.



Portofino Restaurant
This alternative dining room by reservation only allows each cabin the opportunity to dine (you can only make one reservation). The antipasti are buffet style (although the waiter will bring you what you request). You are entertained by a strolling guitarist who goes from Volare, to Glenn Campbell, to Elvis without missing a beat.

Room Service
There is a square table cover in the room which is placed on the coffee table, then covered by a white linen tablecloth for in suite dining. Your table is set up just as in the restaurant.


Evening Shows
We did not expect much and were pleasantly surprised by the caliber and variety of the entertainment, from the Broadway Show tune acts, to the classically trained performers. The Seven Seas Lounge is well configured and arriving just as the show began (9:45) each evening, we had no difficulty finding seats.


Bridge Tour
Highly recommended (no photos allowed). One gets to view the captain and officers going about their daily routines. After reading about this it in the daily program we asked the purser for a reservation and that evening received an invitation for the bridge tour, with instructions to meet at the mid ship deck 11 elevators where we were joined by Mrs. Rabb who conducted the tour (quite well)

Galley Tour
Also, by invitation, we met Chef Quinn McMahon who presented us with glasses of champagne and canapés. This tour – personally conducted by the Chef Quinn, was one of the cruise highlights and also highly recommended. (Photos are welcome).

Golf Pro
You are in luck if you are a player as Pro Frank Thomas can book you via his PGA connection at some of the great courses on the Island. He conducts a golf clinic first sea day and is available in the lobby at the concierge desk or by phone to assist anyone. Frank and his wife are sailing all summer to Bermuda on the Navigator. We had lunch with them – you will find senior staff dining right along side you in the restaurants.

On the last sea day, I entered the Putting Contest and was thrilled to come in third in a sudden death three way play off (since I am not much of a golfer).

Afternoon Tea
Cunard does this well. Radisson might do better. We prefer scones with more baking soda. Also, one has to get up buffet style and self serve the tea sandwiches, scones and pastries. We are used to being served everything. Given the tables are close together, it became cramped at times. Also, the tables are small in Galileo’s so if you have more than two for tea, you won’t be able to fit the china and plates on the table. The main attraction was actually after tea when Cruise Director Rabb conducted the Daily Team Quiz.


We attended only three of the Team Trivia Quizzes and wish we’d done them all as this is a hoot. Some of the questions are way out there or such minute trivia (such as the length of the field for a Maggot Race). It gets quite competitive and not just to get the tokens awarded to the winners (to exchange for “parting gifts” the last sea day).

TOURS
Verdmont and Tea at Gibbs Lighthouse _Hamilton

We do not recommend this tour as it really should be billed as a 2.5 hours riding around in a cab, with 40 minutes for Verdmont and a half hour for Tea at the lighthouse.

At Verdmont (a half hour’s ride), we were essentially rushed by the docent and not allowed to linger in the rooms nor walk around the grounds a we were told there was no time – nor were we offered any opportunities to use the rest rooms. We assumed that the driver was waiting to take us directly to the lighthouse so we would not be late for the pre-arranged tea time only to learn there was no rush and that we were going on a long ride.. First he took us to the aquarium so we could us the rest rooms, then on a 2 hour tour of the sights which was nice, but as it turned out, cut into our time at Gibb’s.

We arrived at Gibb’s lighthouse and were instructed to be back at the cab in exactly 30 minutes, which meant that after riding around 2 hours and needing to use the rest rooms, we had 25 minutes left for tea , to browse the gift shop and look at the light house (touring the lighthouse was out of the question). At least the cup of tea and one scone were superb.

We complained to the Hotel Director who contacted headquarters to ask them to re-write the tours description for future passengers.

Town Crier Walk about – St. Georges

While the town crier does not wear the full regalia (tri-corn hat and cape) one sees in the cruise brochure, he brings his pet Cock-a-Too, Poo, the star of this tour. (This bird took a particular liking to Chat Kat in CA – Kathy’s Husband Frank). There are great photo ops with Pooh and the Town Crier who happens to be the Mayor of the town.

We recommend this short tour (1.5 hours).


Colonial Williamsburg Overview
I would recommend this over the full tour with lunch as those who went on it were not pleased with the lunch (the wait, noise and type of restaurant) and would have preferred to have that time view more of Williamsburg. You must be downstairs by 7:30 am as the bus leaves at 7:45am. What is nice is that you get to the park around 9:15 to begin the tour and it is not too hot yet as the sun has not risen. At the park you have to be back on the bus by 1pm as we sail at 3pm for NYC.


POOL and POOL SIDE DINING

There were always chairs available. One receives great service poolside as well as at the tables for lunch which I highly recommend. Minute Steak turned out to be a Black Angus sirloin steak. The Tex Mex buffet, ice cream social are not to be missed.



Disembarkation

A real pleasure. No getting up at the crack of dawn. We sailed under the VN Bridge at 7:30am – not 5:30am! We had to vacate the cabin by 9am. So around that time we went down for a leisurely breakfast in Compass Rose (having already had continental breakfast in suite 7am) and left the ship at 10:15 (a half hour earlier than the time given) when our tag was called. No crowd as this 442 passenger ship was the only one in port.

We highly recommend the small ship experience as you get to meet so many of the staff and fellow passengers. It is more intimate and just makes for a great vacation. Radisson is a wonderful cruise line and we look forward to sailing on the Navigator to Bermuda again next year, having been thoroughly spoiled.
#3
1,855 Posts
Joined May 2001
Jeanne, very nice review! It only takes one good cruise to turn you into a convert! Glad you had a good time. I have to agree with you about the cruise descriptions. I was on the Silver Shadow in March, and they made no mention of the 1.5 hour drive each way to get to our destination excursion in one of the ports. I am also very careful of booking really long ship excursions as well, as usually the only thing that separates them from the shorter version is lunch and more shopping, or maybe one more visit to an attraction. So you have to read the descriptions very carefully.
#4
Commack, New York
5,683 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Glad you enjoyed your Navigator Bermuda cruise. We did the same cruise in May and agree with your review. We also appreciated the cruise director and his charming wife. We are now Radisson converts and have booked another cruise on Navigator for next year.
#6
Triangle area, NC
921 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Thanks for the wonderful review. I'm taking this cruise 9/1, and you answered a number ofmy questions. One point I want to be sure of: when you say you docked at King's wharf, you are referring to the Navigator, and not the QE2, are you not?
#7
2,479 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Kathy:

Thanks - I still have not mailed the Cockapoo photo as I have to get a padded mailing envelope from the Post Office, but will send it out probaly Saturday.

I finally found the other website - great review as well as everything you posted on this site.


Dolphins -

Thanks. Weren't you also on the QM2 this May? Or are you planning a fall sailing?

Crys -

The QE2 Docked at Kings Wharf, not the Navigator, but you can visit KW (Nelson's Dockyard by express ferry adjacent the ship in Hamilton - a 20 min scenic ride). Have a great cruise.


jhp - Thanks. Am sailing 8/14 on Celebrity - not by choice (am prepared to be nickled and dimed) but because this is the only time my niece and sister can go (they do not want to go to Canada again) and the Navigator will be on its Icelandic run. This time we are not going on any tours except for either the Swim and Sail or Catamaran Excursion (the one with the home backed cookies and snorkeling) as we know what we will get from these. The rest of the time we will go to the beach and shopping.

All over the world - Thanks - hopefully we can eventually become seasoned Radisson passengers. I would be happy to to sail to Bermuda on the Navigator every year and am already thinking of next year.
#8
28 Posts
Joined May 2004
GREAT REVIEW
We just completed our first cruise-June 29 to Bermuda and could not agree with you more.

We too are also looking forward to our next cruise on Radisson.
Karen
#9
Commack, New York
5,683 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Jeanne S- We haven't sailed QM2 and after the initial reports, we don't plan to. After the intimacy of Navigator, it's hard to sail on such a giant. We do have a fall cruise booked on Norwegian Dawn in November, 11 days to the Caribbean. We like round trip cruises out of New York and will be doing one on Navigator next year to New England and Canada.
,
#10
2,479 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Agree with that Dolphins and am concerned about the Nov Carribean cruise on QM2 after having experienced the Navigator. Am thinking of upgrading to Princes Cat as I do not think I can stand 10 days in the Britania DR.

My family - parents, sister, two nieces, nephew and great niece and nephew (the youngest will be 23 months) are sailing on the Dawn April 17, 2005. My sister and I sailed June 8th 2003 and loved it. I was ipressed with the food and serivce and friendly, helpful attitude of the staff (Dunard culd learn soemthing here).

Is the Canada trip round trip NYC? Is your user ID sub releated? (Am a retired Navy Nurse).

Thanks Zena.