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My wife and I were on the 4-night Navigator three times this summer: June 10, July 8, and August 12.  The last of the three disembarked only today.  They were all wonderful cruises but we noticed a surprising number of changes in the mere 5 weeks between the July 8 cruise and the cruise that just ended, so I thought I would point them out:

  1. There were no reserved seats in either the theater or Studio B on the August 12 cruise.  We were in a GS so that would have devalued the experience except that there were so many seats available for both shows that it did not seem to matter.  It surely devalues The Key, but, being in a GS, we did not purchase The Key.
  2. It has been noted elsewhere but our Seapass cards were silver, not gold.  The only people who had gold cards were the Pinnacles (and we are D+, not P).
  3. The lobster at Hooked was much bigger and much improved.  It is now advertised as a 2-pound lobster, whereas it was previously advertised as a 1 1/4 pound lobster and I am pretty sure that those weights are correct.  It was also prepared differently, more like the way it is prepared in better seafood restaurants on land,  The claw meat was left in the shell rather than removed by the chef and the butter and stuffing were on the side rather than in the lobster.  Hooked probably now provides better value than any of the other specialty restaurants.  You now need to use the supplied nutcracker in order to eat all of the lobster.
  4. The sushi at Izumi is also much improved.  Perhaps we just went on a bad day in July but the sushi in July was a little off; it just did not taste perfectly fresh.  It was perfect on the last cruise.
  5. The Imperial Seafood Tower at Chops was incredible.  This may not be a change since we never had it before but we ordered it as an appetizer to share and it turned out to be an entire meal for two.  It had about twice as many shrimp, clams and mussels as the menu said it would have and the "lobster tail" was really a whole Maine lobster minus only the large claws.  I think it was just as large as the 2-pound lobster at Hooked was.  Neither of us was able to eat much of our entree courses after we ate that seafood tower.  It is well worth the extra $19.
  6. The Ice Show (ISkate) was performed only on the afternoon of the last day of the cruise.  Previously, it had been performed on the evening of the embarkation day as well as on that last afternoon.  However, we went to the second show and Studio B was only about 80% full.  Many people on the ship must have elected not to see it at all, which is a shame since it is a wonderful show.
  7. While the production shows ("Showgirl" and "Ballroom Dancing") were unchanged, the Headliner Show (which, of course, always changes) was, in our opinion, the best ever.  The entertainer was the "Oh, What a Night Tribute" band and they were incredible.  Of course, my opinion was affected by the fact that I have always loved The Four Seasons and am old enough to remember well when they had their first big hit (Sherry).
  8. It has been noted elsewhere but the welcome aboard lunch for people with The Key moved from Chops to the MDR.  Chops was made available on embarkation day to people with the Ultimate Dining Plan and the old lunch menu (with the 8 oz. filet mignon) was back there instead of the Key menu with the smaller filet.  Once again, you could order multiple appetizers at Chops.  Jamie's was no longer open for lunch on embarkation day. 

The bottom line:  IMHO, The Key (which we did not have) was notably devalued but the Ultimate Dining Plan (which we had) was worth more than before.  The elimination of the reserved seats in the main theater and especially in Studio B was unannounced, unexplained and a total surprise.  I would like to know whether that also happened on other ships or only the Navigator.

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Thanks for the feedback. We'll be on Navigator very soon.  Can't wait.

 

I'm surprised (and disappointed) to hear that the ice show was only shown once during the day.  I've seen a few 4 day compasses and it's listed on the first night as well as the last sea day.  Wonder if something happened with the performers for your cruise ? 

 

Selfishly I'll say that's good that there was no reserved seating, but of course, doesn't seem fair to the suite and Key guests.  Did they have reserved seating in the main theatre?  If so, main level or balcony?

 

Sounds like you had some good meals and shows.

Edited by LuCruise
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Just now, LuCruise said:

Thanks for the feedback. We'll be on Navigator very soon.  Can't wait.

 

I'm surprised (and disappointed) to hear that the ice show was only shown once during the day.  I've seen a few 4 day compasses and it's listed on the first night as well as the last sea day.  Wonder if something happened with the performers for your cruise ? 

 

Selfishly I'll say that's good that there was no reserved seating, but of course, doesn't seem fair to the suite (and Key?) guests.  Did they have reserved seating in the main theatre?  If so, main level or balcony?

 

Sounds like you had some good meals and shows.

ISkate was performed twice but both performances were on the last afternoon of the cruise, at 1PM and at 3PM.  We were at the 3PM performance and that was about 80% full.  I would guess that the 1PM performance was even less full since it is difficult to have lunch if you go to a 1PM show. 

 

There was no reserved seating anywhere in either the main theater or Studio B.  It never mattered much in the main theater on Voyager class ships since the reserved seats were in the balcony and most people prefer the main level anyway.  However, it used to matter in Studio B since the embarkation night ISkate shows were packed in our June and July shows.  However, on this cruise, that did not seem to matter much either.  It is just that anyone who purchased The Key must have felt that they paid for something that they did not receive.

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11 hours ago, actuarian said:

ISkate was performed twice but both performances were on the last afternoon of the cruise, at 1PM and at 3PM.  We were at the 3PM performance and that was about 80% full.  I would guess that the 1PM performance was even less full since it is difficult to have lunch if you go to a 1PM show. 

 

There was no reserved seating anywhere in either the main theater or Studio B.  It never mattered much in the main theater on Voyager class ships since the reserved seats were in the balcony and most people prefer the main level anyway.  However, it used to matter in Studio B since the embarkation night ISkate shows were packed in our June and July shows.  However, on this cruise, that did not seem to matter much either.  It is just that anyone who purchased The Key must have felt that they paid for something that they did not receive.

Thanks for the details.  Yeah, a 1pm show is rushed for a show. Ah ok...so no reserved seating in main theatre either.  Agree, seems very little value for The Key on Navigator.

Nice that you've been able to go on Navigator a few times.  Seems like a great ship.

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Thank you for the review, we been on the Oasis class ships so many times and we are trying the Navigator this October.

 

I been reading negative things about Hooked and glad you wrote about it.  I will definitely give it a try.

 

Very surprised the ice show was only one day and the last day of the cruise, sad to hear that because that is the only show that we go to.

 

How was disembarkation, I am pondering on whether to take the 10:40am flight or the 1:40pm flight out of Miami back to Jacksonville, Florida, any thoughts?

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57 minutes ago, Cruisegirl6 said:

How was disembarkation, I am pondering on whether to take the 10:40am flight or the 1:40pm flight out of Miami back to Jacksonville, Florida, any thoughts?

Disembarkation was very fast and easy for us but we were also a somewhat different case.  Not only were we in a GS but we both in our 70s and required wheelchair assistance to disembark.  The suite concierge arranged to have us met at the Bamboo Room by the wheelchair pushers and we were in a taxicab about 20 minutes after that.

 

However, I do not think disembarkation was difficult for anyone who had a US passport because the Navigator leaves from the new terminal in Miami, which has the new facial recognition system for US passport holders.  Therefore, nobody who had a US passport had to go through customs unless they had something to declare (or unless there were some people for whom the system did not work and, if there were any such people, we did not see them).

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Glad that worked out perfectly for you.  Wow, never heard of this new facial recognition (haven't gone out of Miami in years)...wow that saves time!!  I still think its probably best I take the later flight, anything can go wrong, so I think I have my answer.  🙂

 

 

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"Jamie's was no longer open for lunch on embarkation day".

 

Hello actuarian:    Many thanks for the information.  Was Jamie's closed for lunch on embarkation day all three

sailings ?  Does it look like a permanent change? We are sailing Sept. 23rd and I was able to purchase lunch at Jamie's for embarkation day (?).  

Have a great day!

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1 hour ago, cruceriantes said:

"Jamie's was no longer open for lunch on embarkation day".

 

Hello actuarian:    Many thanks for the information.  Was Jamie's closed for lunch on embarkation day all three

sailings ?  Does it look like a permanent change? We are sailing Sept. 23rd and I was able to purchase lunch at Jamie's for embarkation day (?).  

Have a great day!

Jamie's was open for lunch on embarkation day in both the June and July sailings but closed in the August 12 sailing.  We too actually had a lunch reservation at Jamie's for lunch on August 12 but, when we got there, we were told it was closed and that the reservation would be honored at Chops.  That surprised me since Chops had been available for embarkation lunch only to people with The Key during the June and July sailings.  That is when they told me that the people with The Key had been sent to the MDR.  The end result is that on embarkation day we had lunch at Chops and dinner at Jamie's instead of the other way around.  We did not mind that but, as I said earlier, we probably would have minded if we had purchased The Key since I (and I think most people) prefer dining at Chops to dining at the MDR even if the menu is the same.

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24 minutes ago, 39august said:

Who was the concierge in the Diamond lounge, please?

Unfortunately, I do not remember; I have a terrible memory for names and we visited the Diamond Club only briefly on the first night of the cruise.  Subsequently, we went to the Suite Lounge only. 

 

By the way, one interesting thing that we did notice is that the happy hour snacks in the Suite Lounge were not the same as those in the Diamond Club; they were upgraded.  For example, on that first night, the hot snacks in the Diamond Club were all fried (chicken wings, etc.).  However, they had mini-lamb chops and chunks of filet mignon in the Suite Lounge.  This surprised us a little because on other ships we have been on, they seemed to serve the same food in both lounges.

 

The above is not in my list of changes since we were not in suites during the June and July cruises and so were not admitted to the SL.  Therefore, I do not know whether it was a change or not.  We cruise 10-12 times per year but only 2-3 of those cruises are in suites.

Edited by actuarian
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7 minutes ago, actuarian said:

Unfortunately, I do not remember; I have a terrible memory for names and we visited the Diamond Club only briefly on the first night of the cruise.  Subsequently, we went to the Suite Lounge only. 

 

By the way, one interesting thing that we did notice is that the happy hour snacks in the Suite Lounge were not the same as those in the Diamond Club; they were upgraded.  For example, on that first night, the hot snacks in the Diamond Club were all fried (chicken wings, etc.).  However, they had mini-lamb chops and chunks of filet mignon in the Suite Lounge.  This surprised us a little because on other ships we have been on, they seemed to serve the same food in both lounges.

 

The above is not in my list of changes since we were not in suites during the June and July cruises and so were not admitted to the SL.  Therefore, I do not know whether it was a change or not.  We cruise 10-12 times per year (not all on RCCL) but only 2-3 of those cruises are in suites.

 

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Do you remember who the concierge in the Suite Lounge was?   I'm wondering if it was Nadja. She was on NV for a number of years. She is my favorite of all concierges we have cruised with and I haven't kept up with where she is now.

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53 minutes ago, 39august said:

Do you remember who the concierge in the Suite Lounge was?   I'm wondering if it was Nadja. She was on NV for a number of years. She is my favorite of all concierges we have cruised with and I haven't kept up with where she is now.

My email from the concierge is Andrea Juhasz.

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Hmmm...  very interesting information about the iSkate performances.   In June, there were 2 shows on embarkation day and 1 on the Thursday sea day.   We went to the 9:00 pm show on Monday, and it was crowded, but there were some seats available along the very top at the edges by the “stage end.”  We also returned on Thursday at 2:00, and it was beyond capacity.  There were people standing.  We gave up our seats in the back as we were headed to watch our daughter dance at 2:30 in the Main Theatre, but it was packed before we left.

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5 hours ago, 39august said:

Do you remember who the concierge in the Suite Lounge was?   I'm wondering if it was Nadja. She was on NV for a number of years. She is my favorite of all concierges we have cruised with and I haven't kept up with where she is now.

The concierge in the Suite Lounge was Andrea Juhasz.  We remember her because we visited the SL every day and she arranged our debarkation wheelchair assistance.  She was very helpful.

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We're going on the Aug 26 sailing and purchased the Unlimited Dining package.The descriptions says we get lunch on sea days...do you think we also can get lunch on embarkation day and  port days if a restaurant happens to be open? (I noticed there is food for purchase at Playmakers, Bamboo, JR, and El Loco Fresh, and Izumi will be open on Nassau day for lunch according to the app)

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4 hours ago, royalcruz said:

We're going on the Aug 26 sailing and purchased the Unlimited Dining package.The descriptions says we get lunch on sea days...do you think we also can get lunch on embarkation day and  port days if a restaurant happens to be open? (I noticed there is food for purchase at Playmakers, Bamboo, JR, and El Loco Fresh, and Izumi will be open on Nassau day for lunch according to the app)

 

I've read reports that say both, allowed and not allowed, so I think this is one of those things you will find out onboard.

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6 hours ago, royalcruz said:

We're going on the Aug 26 sailing and purchased the Unlimited Dining package.The descriptions says we get lunch on sea days...do you think we also can get lunch on embarkation day and  port days if a restaurant happens to be open? (I noticed there is food for purchase at Playmakers, Bamboo, JR, and El Loco Fresh, and Izumi will be open on Nassau day for lunch according to the app)

 

El Loco Fresh was included when I went in March.  Has thing changed?

 

I'm on after you with the UDP.  Please do report back how Playmakers, Bamboo and JR worked with the UDP.

 

Thanks.

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9 hours ago, royalcruz said:

We're going on the Aug 26 sailing and purchased the Unlimited Dining package.The descriptions says we get lunch on sea days...do you think we also can get lunch on embarkation day and  port days if a restaurant happens to be open? (I noticed there is food for purchase at Playmakers, Bamboo, JR, and El Loco Fresh, and Izumi will be open on Nassau day for lunch according to the app)

We also had the Unlimited Dining Package for our August 12 cruise.  Technically, embarkation day and port days do not qualify as a "sea days" but other posters on this site say that embarkation day lunch is included with the package "subject to availability".  Nevertheless, if you make an advance reservation for embarkation day lunch, you have to pay for it regardless of whether you have the dining package.  We did not want our embarkation day lunch to be subject to availability so we reserved it in advance and paid for it in addition to paying for the dining package.  As I said above, our advance reservation for embarkation day lunch was at Jamie's but Jamie's was closed and the reservation was honored at Chops. 

 

I do not think that port day lunches are included although, as you said, Izumi showed in our Cruise Compass as being open on Nassau day.  We never actually had lunch on the ship on a port day.

Edited by actuarian
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8 minutes ago, George C said:

Surprised at no reserved seats for ice show for grand suites, have never seen that before , wonder if the fact that this is a four day cruise has anything to do with that. 

Perhaps you are right but my wife and I have been on many four night cruises before and and this never happened before.  My own guess was that it had something to do with the large number of people who seemed to have purchased The Key.  There were too many of them to be accommodated at Chops for Embarkation day lunch so they were sent to the MDR.  There may well also have been too many of them to be accommodated in the reserved section of the ice show and, IMHO, they would have had a reasonable right to demand a refund of the cost of The Key if the reserved section was still there but they were not admitted to it.  Eliminating the reserved seating section may have seemed like the simplest solution to the problem. 

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Looks like rccl no longer want my business, reserved seats is documented in there suite perk lists. Have done 6 GS and 1 owners in last 5 or so years , really prefer celebrity perks and looking forward to msc Yacht Club. 

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