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kruzerci

Navigator of the Seas 12.8.2012 Pictoral Review

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This is my first attempt at a day by day review, but since there was so little information available before we left for our cruise on the Navigator out of New Orleans, I'll share our experience. This is my first picture review so bear with me!

Background- We are in our mid 40's and from Birmingham, Alabama. This was our second time on the Navigator, our 15th Royal Caribbean cruise, and 16th cruise overall. We love having fun, working out, being in the sun, and relaxing on the beach.

We booked this cruise last December while we were onboard the Monarch for Diamonds in December. New Orleans is a short 7 hour drive for us, and I had not been to NOLA in years. We were worried about cold weather leaving from the Gulf of Mexico in December, but our worries were put to ease by the weather forecasts about a week before we left for the cruise. We has perfect temperatures above 75 degrees both days in New Orleans and our first and last days at sea. It was perfect for sunbathing and relaxing in the pool/solarium.

Here we go...

 

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Friday (Pre-Cruise):

We drove down from Birmingham on Friday morning with reservations at the Hilton- New Orleans Riverside. We left a little behind schedule, but arrived in New Orleans at around 4 PM. We checked into the Hilton and got settled into our room shortly after.

The Hilton- New Orleans Riverside is perfect for a pre-cruise stay. It is literally within walking distance from the cruise terminal and has plenty of venues (bars, restaurants, and shops) within the hotel for those who aren’t familiar or aren't looking to venture around New Orleans the night before a cruise. We received a 2 queen bed nonsmoking room, which was fine for the night. One note about this hotel--- It is huge! Three buildings and over 1300 rooms. It was a long, long, long walk from the parking garage to our room in building three. Our room was plenty big enough for two and seemed relatively modern, but the big plus was that it looked directly over the Mississippi River.

 

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After dinner and drinks in the French Quarter, we returned to the Hilton to have a couple of drinks and turn in early so that we would be ready to board the ship early the next morning.

 

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(A side note about the Hilton… parking is $35 per night… valet is $42 if I remember correctly, but both have in and out privileges.)

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Saturday (New Orleans-Boarding Day):

Something woke me up at about 5:30 in the morning and when I looked out the window, the Navigator was pulling into New Orleans right before my eyes. It was hard to get good pictures because of the darkness and the window in front of the camera, but a snapped a couple of decent shots. Believe it or not, I was able to go back to sleep and woke up around 9AM.

 

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We ordered room service for breakfast and paid nearly $30 bacon and eggs and coffee. It was great and was well worth it not to have to venture outside of the Hilton for a quick bite.

I got a few pictures of the Navigator after breakfast from Riverwalk Marketplace (underneath the Hilton).

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We were in the car and heading to the whale lot (Royal Caribbean’s parking lot in New Orleans) by 10:15 AM. It was strange having to pay the parking fee before we parked, since we usually pay as we leave at Port Canaveral, but made it less complicated leaving the lot post-cruise. There were porters all around the parking lot to take our luggage.

Navigator from the whale lot!

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We were inside the terminal and breezed through security by 10:30 AM. We waited in a short line, perhaps 5-6 couples, and were on our way to the boarding area. It was such an easy and relaxing embarkation. We were in the Café Promenade having a snack at 10:45. It may have been our most painless embarkation ever. We were thrilled to see we were able to self serve in the Windjammer and Cafe Promenade after the Noro outbreak the two cruises before us.

 

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There was a gorgeous Christmas tree between the Café Promenade and the Ixtapa Lounge on deck 5. The entire ship was decorated for Christmas.

 

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As I mentioned earlier, we were lucky enough to have perfect weather the entire cruise. It was 76 degrees and sunny on embarkation day in New Orleans, so we enjoyed our afternoon on the pool deck, soaking up some rays and having a few drinks.

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Cabins were ready at 2PM instead of the usual 1PM because of the Noro cases on the previous cruises, which was fine. I would much rather wait an hour to have an extra clean room.

 

We had a D2 balcony room on deck 8 port side. Our room was forward of the front elevator banks and perfectly located between the pool deck/shipshape fitness center and the promenade. We would certainly book this room again. The cabin was in fair shape for its age. The balcony was plenty big for two people and so was the living area inside the cabin.

 

 

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I was so excited to see you've started your review!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your pictures are awesome and I can't wait to read the rest about your trip. :D

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We dropped off our carryon luggage in the cabin and our bags were outside of our cabin shortly after we arrived.

 

We had a couple of hours before the muster drill. I split up my time between relaxing on the pool deck and taking pictures around the ship.

 

Helicopter pad shots-

 

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Our muster station was in the Ixtapa Lounge on deck 5, which was really convenient. It was strange having a muster station inside the ship, but it was organized and quick.

 

We headed up to Deck 12 for the sailaway from New Orleans, which was scheduled for 4:30 PM. We had a drink in the meantime, but at 5 PM, we had still not left. Captain Anderson announced around then that there was a medical emergency and somebody needed to be evacuated before we could depart New Orleans. An ambulance arrived and took the passenger, then we were on our way. It was a gorgeous late afternoon for sailaway.

 

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As soon as we started to pull away from the pier, we went down and opened a bottle of wine on the balcony. What a gorgeous sailaway it was as we started making out way down the Mississippi River. It was different than leaving from Florida, but it was easily one of the most beautiful and interesting departures we have experienced. You could hear the music from the French Quarter in the background and the city looked so pretty at sunset.

 

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After an hour or so, New Orleans began to fade, but we were able to see some of the little towns along the river and later in the night we began to see the oil rigs towards the Gulf of Mexico, it was like a sea of orange from the lights on the rigs. It was really pretty in a strange way. The pictures didn't turn out all that well, but it was a unique experience.

 

Close to midnight we met the Carnival Conquest on the Mississippi. It was surreal being on a ship and having another massive ship pass us so close. It felt like we were within a football field of each other. People were cheering from both ships.

 

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Side notes-

 

-The casino did not open on the first day until we reached the Gulf of Mexico, which was to be expected.

 

-I have all the cruise compasses, which I will scan and post when I get the chance if anybody would like them.

 

-I meant to start this review when we got home, but with Christamas and being busy with work, I'm just now getting a chance. That being said, it has been a couple of weeks, so I don't remember every detail. I'm no writer, but I'm doing the best I can do while in a hurry! I will definitely make notes and add whatever I forgot as I conclude the review.

Edited by kruzerci

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Appreciate anything you can post. We are taking this cruise 1/26. Great start to your review!

Edited by FITFlyer98

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We woke up early our first morning at sea and worked out from sunrise to about 8 AM. We went back to our room and had a light breakfast on the balcony when we got back from the fitness center. The gym was not as large or as well equipped as on the Freedom class, but it was certainly adequate and we really enjoy the free steam rooms and sauna, especially after all the salty foods we eat on the ship!

 

When we got back to the room, we knew it would be an absolutely gorgeous day. The day probably started out in the low 70's and climbed to 80 over the course of the day. Perfect for enjoying the balcony and laying out on the upper decks.

 

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We enjoyed this view for most of the day.

 

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We had a sandwich from the Cafe Promenade for lunch. This cruise, we tended to order a light breakfast from room service and grab a bite from the Cafe Promenade for lunch to avoid the maddness of the Windjammer during the day. Not that the Windjammer was crowded on the Navigator, but it was just easier to enjoy breakfast on the balcony and grab a sandwich from the Cafe Promenade mid-day.

 

I took a few pictures when we went to pick up a snack from the promenade.

 

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Back to the beautiful afternoon at sea...

 

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Great pics! Navigator is such a great ship. I'm looking forward to my cruise on Enchantment tomorrow to see how she compares!

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When the sun began to get low, we went back to the cabin and showered. We had another bottle of wine on the balcony. There's nothing better than sipping on your favorite wine with a beautiful sunset on your balcony.

 

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Before dinner we went to the nightly diamond event in the Ixtapa Lounge. We missed the Diamond Lounge that we have gotten used to on newer ships, but the nightly event was definitely better than nothing!

 

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We went to Chops tonight and it was absolutely wonderful. We both had the smaller filet with roasted potatoes and thought it was excellent, with the red velvet cake for dessert. The service, the food, the atmosphere, everything was absolutely perfect. It really set the mood for the rest of the cruise.

 

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Great pics! Navigator is such a great ship. I'm looking forward to my cruise on Enchantment tomorrow to see how she compares!

 

Please post and tell us how she looks after the refurb! That will be our next cruise. We haven't sailed on her since 2008.

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Once again, we worked out and ordered an early room service breakfast.

 

We arrived in Cozumel early Monday morning to wonderful hot and humid, sunny weather :).

 

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We watched the Carnival Dream arrive as we had our coffee and breakfast.

 

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We didn't make any plans for Cozumel. We've been to Cozumel too many times to count and have been to Cancun twice, so we decided to make this an "enjoy the empty ship" day. We got off the ship for a few minutes to take some pictures and buy some vanilla for friends, but we were back onboard by 9:30 AM.

 

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It was a gorgeous day, once again. A light breeze and passing clouds made it perfect for enjoying the empty sun deck on the ship. We had a couple drink of the days, it was OJ, triple sec, and vodka. It was a good change from our usual Bacardi and Coke or Bud Light, plus we got a couple of souveneir glasses.

 

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We spent most of the day between the sun deck and the occasional break in the cabin.

 

Around 4:30 we went back to the room and ordered a few appetizers from room service and a bottle of Chardonnay. It was a beautiful sunset. One of many gorgeous sunsets we had this trip.

 

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More later tonight.

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So glad you're doing this. We leave next Saturday 1/5. I hope also to do a review when we return.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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After spending some relaxing time on the balcony, we took our time getting ready and went to dinner and the show.

 

I purposefully waited until now to mention the main dining room. For the first time in years, we decided to do traditional dining instead of MTD. We picked the 8PM dining since we haven't tried that in a while. If I had remembered that it gets dark early in the winter time when we booked the cruise, I would have chosen the early dining. Usually cruising in the summer, we usually dine between 7PM and 9PM, so that we can stay out in the sun as long as possible and not miss the sunset at dinner. However, the sun went down between 5 and 6PM every night on the trip. It was a lack of planning on my part, but between eating in Chops and Portofino and a couple of nights in the Windjammer, it made little difference.

 

Back to the topic. This is going to be my only complaint of this cruise :o. I hate to bring it up because we had such a great time overall. The dining room was a big disappointment. I have learned to take cruise dining room food with a grain of salt over the years, accepting that the quality seems to go down every year, but this was worse than anticipated. Every night of the cruise it took over two hours, excluding dessert and coffee, and the food was well below par. The food was never cooked to order, was cold for the most part, and the service was terrible, which honestly wasn't the wait staff's fault. They had far too many tables to keep track of. I actually felt bad for them. We never did know who our assistant waiter was because we had different waiters deliver our bread and drinks almost every night (actually our water, we were never offered wine or any other drinks...)

 

Anyways, I won't harp on that because it was a small part of our vacation.

 

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We enjoyed two nights in Portofino, one night in Chops, and two nights in the Windjammer because we were less than satisfied with the MDR.

 

On a positive note, as I said before, Chops and Portofino were wonderful. The Windjammer was also above average. After a lot of cruises on Royal Caribbean, we don't feel like we are missing out if we spend a couple of nights in the WJ. It was a quiet atmosphere, with an wide variety of better quality food than we found in the MDR.

 

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The shows were decent throughout the week, but due to our dining times, we only made it to a few of them.

 

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We skipped the gym on Tuesday morning and decided to sleep in instead. We got up around 8:30 AM to have a cup of coffee on the balcony until we arrived in Grand Cayman. We were scheduled to arrive around 10AM and we watched as we arrived alongside the Disney Magic around 9:30. It was another beautiful day morning.

 

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We had no real plans except to get a cab to the beach and have a drink at Margaritaville. We went down to deck 1 soon after the ship was cleared and were on one of the first tender boats ashore.

 

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The water was gorgeous, as to be expected in Grand Cayman on a pretty day.

 

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As soon as we got off of the tender, there were cab drivers with signs and prices for rides to 7 Mile Beach. We paid $5 per person plus tip for the short ride to the beach.

 

The cab driver dropped us off at a nice little beach bar, with $10 per set chair rentals which included two bottles of water. It was a deal. It wasn't anything spectacular, but it was a great price for a couple of hours on the beach, not to mention a safe place to put our things while we walked on the beach.

 

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Like I said, we spent a couple of hours on the beach, took a cab back to the port area, and had a couple of hurricanes at Margaritaville. Overall it was a relaxing, cheap day in Grand Cayman. We got back to the ship shortly before 3PM and spent the remainder of the day on the sun deck. It was hot, sunny, and absolute paradise looking out over Georgetown that afternoon.

 

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I've got to say, we probably had one of the prettiest sunsets I've ever seen on a cruise as we departed Grand Cayman. It was incredible. The pictures don't even do it justice.

 

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As the beauty of the sunset started to fade, we got dressed and went to the diamond event for a couple glasses of wine before going to Portofino. Our appetizers, the risotto al gamberetti was incredible. The scallop, lobeter, and salmon skewer was also very good. I didn't take a picture, but it was all beautifully presented.

 

After dinner at Portofino, we had the ice show, which was the best show we saw all week.

 

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A quick bite of dessert in the Cafe Promenade and it was time to go to bed after a long day!

 

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Hi, I was wondering how much the parking was at the whale lot. Thank you so much!!

 

I can't remember for sure, but it seems like it was $16 per day, if I remember correctly.

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Thanks so much for posting the pics and review. Brings back fond memories of our first RCCL cruise...as you can see by my signature...we were hooked after the Navigator. Like to try cruising from a different port.

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Love your posts - can't wait to read the rest of the trip. We're on the Navigator for this cruise three weeks from today!

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Sorry for the long delay, I've got so much to catch up on this weekend!

 

We woke up early the next morning and did our usual routine, workout for an hour or so and then steam and shower before a light room service breakfast. Good thing we brought so many $1 bills...

 

We were on the balcony when we started to approach Falmouth and began to back alongside the pier.

 

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A local fishing... way out from land.

 

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We could tell as we arrived that Falmouth was more complete than it was when we stopped there on Freedom in May. More shops were opened and there were bands playing on land as the ship docked.

 

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We booked the Chukka Beach Break when we got on the ship. It's nothing spectacular, but we don't feel comfortable enough in Jamaica to venture out on our own. It was just $30 a person and it includes a bus ride there and back, beach chairs, and a private beach.

 

Anyways, we were taking out time getting ready, thinking the group was supposed to meet at 9 AM, but for some reason I looked at the tickets and realized I was mistaken, we were supposed to be there at 8:30. So we had to hurry down to the gangway and barely made the bus. When they say meet at 8:30, they mean it, the bus left at 8:35!

 

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We sail NOTS on February 16. Now I've got cruise fever. Seven weeks can't pass quickly enough.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The bus ride was really short and the staff was friendly, trying to get everybody excited for a day at the beach. We were at the beach within ten minutes.

 

After a brief group orientation, explaining where the bathrooms, showers, gift shop, optional lunch, etc. were located, we went and got chairs. It wasn't crowded. Another beautiful day.

 

 

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There was a little local dog hanging around on the beach most of the day. He was so ugly that he was cute. What a hard life...

 

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Freedom of the Seas made her way to Falmouth soon after we arrived at the beach. We watched her sail past us and soon enough, her passengers began arriving, but there were still plenty of chairs for everybody. The only time it felt crowded was when they announced "buy one get one free frozen drinks" at lunch time... we were at the beach... it was hot out... there was one blender... you can imagine ;).

 

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We left shortly after 1PM because we were getting hungry and some storm clouds in the distance made it look like it may rain, but it passed over within a few minutes.

 

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Back to the Navigator for some lunch and drinks on the top deck.

 

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The ride home wasn't as pleasant as the ride there, they made us wait for the bus to fill up before we could leave the beach (even though they say shuttles run every 15 minutes). It took about an hour for the bus to fill.

 

We bought a couple bottles of rum for some friends before getting back onboard the ship. It was very cool seeing our favorite ship (the Freedom) docked beside us in Falmouth. We love both ships.

 

The shopping area and the Navigator.

 

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Freedom from our balcony

 

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A quick bite from the Windjammer. Probably one of the only times we ate lunch in the buffet all week.

 

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Our beautiful view for the afternoon.

 

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I like Falmouth for a beach day. Even though the port area is really a "fake" historical Falmouth, the buildings are pretty, clean, and new, and the people aren't pushy and intimidating like we've experienced in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. I know Falmouth gets a lot of negative reviews, but for what we enjoy on vacation (laying in the sun and lounging on the beach) its perfectly fine.

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The rest of the afternoon seemed to fly by, as they always do. Before long it was time to leave Jamaica behind. Captain Anderson blew the ships horn and finally announced that we were waiting for a couple who missed the bus on their tour. We waited 30 minutes for the couple stragglers. It looked like they had no idea the ship was waiting to leave, they took their sweet time strolling down the pier :p.

 

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Until next time, Jamaica! Another pretty sunset as we sailed away. Time to open one of our carry-on bottles of wine. By the way, our room attendant was great and filled an ice bucket and put wine glasses in our cabin every afternoon in case we wanted a bottle of wine.

 

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I had an appointment at 6:30 with the Loyalty Ambassador to book another cruise. We had planned on doing Allure in May, but had to change to a B2B on the Enchantment so that we could be home for a wedding on the Sunday we were to arrive home. We will just have to wait and do Allure in early 2014.

 

So I booked our May vacation and also booked Independence for next December. It makes it so much easier to get off one cruise knowing that you have more to look forward to.

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