Father, paramedic, and Educational Technologist who enjoys getting away from reality on the seas a few days at a time.
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
We had our doubts about RCCL after returning to cruising in September on the Enchantment of the Seas. However, we (along with two other couples) had already booked this Navigator of the Seas cruise. It could have been our last time sailing with Royal Caribbean, but this cruise restored our faith in RCCL by offering an awesome experience with exceptional service.
We were very apprehensive about the Windjammer Cafe, but the Navigator's buffet is large enough so that guests can relax without feeling rushed. Our waiter in Windjammer, Dennis, made us feel welcome from the start. In fact, one couple who traveled separately, arrived later. Dennis kept the drinks flowing until they arrived. The food was typical Windjammer selection of classic favorites spanning various cultures. Dennis answered all our questions. We learned that the Chef's Table we had reserved would be in the Windjammer later that evening. We were all a bit worried about the buffet being the chosen venue for what we hoped to be a unique experience. Fortunately, our concerns were needless.
The Chef's Table was an extraordinary experience of indescribably perfect cuisine paired artfully with wines from various regions. We left the Table thankful, amazed, and pleasantly intoxicated. I recommend that everyone try this if your budget will allow it.
We upgraded to a Junior Suite while the other two couples kept Oceanview Balcony staterooms. Every room was meticulously maintained and without noise disruptions throughout the trip. While we appreciated the combination tub and full size shower and sitting space in the Junior Suite, we travel light and didn't hibernate in the room much. If we didn't get the upgrade at a steep discount, I wouldn't have found value in it at regular price.
Most of us had the Ultimate Package with the intention of getting our monies' worth! Bartenders were attentive everywhere we went and additional gratuities were not usually suggested (they simply glanced at the SeaPass before graciously providing the beverage). It wasn't until Day 3 that we found out about the startlingly impressive cocktails crafted by expert mixologists at the R-Bar. Thank you to Ella and Rickardo for your skill and friendly conversation every time we stopped by! If you like ginger, stop in the R-Bar and try a Mule with fresh ingredients. Be careful, though, you'll be hooked!
Dinners and accompaniments in the Sapphire Dining Room were excellent. Our party had discord regarding service there. Aside from a few bar errors, I thought everything was superb after having a chat with our assistant waiter, who seemed lackadaisical our first night there. Subsequent evenings, everything seemed on point: Drinks stayed full, rolls were replenished, and the table was cleared quickly.
Another sore point from September's trip on Enchantment was the discordance of meal and show times. Navigator did a great job of scheduling shows, other events, and meals so that we could have flexibility and not overly crowded events. The ice show, Quest competition, karaoke nights, trivia events, music events, and 2nd comedian all surpassed our expectations. The only negative was the first comedian. He presented a painful monologue with the facade of a comedy show.
Flowrider, Solarium, island tunes at poolside, and more...I can go on an on about the plethora of amenities on Navigator, but you obviously have an internet connection and can research them yourself. They are all as great- if not better- than described. Thanks to all the Navigator crew who made this an awesome experience with exceptional service!
Overall, Enchantment is still a beautiful ship despite being nearly 20 years old. I've read others complain about the condition, but I'd have to disagree.It was a perfect first cruise for our children, but the attention to detail and service excellence I've experienced on previous cruises was subpar. Nonetheless, for the price, we found value in the Enchantment 4-Night Bahamas trip.
We were pleasantly surprised with the spacious interior staterooms, even with 3 people per cabin.
The itinerary's diversity allowed for a cultural experience, relaxing beach day, and historical education- however it also resulted in little time for R&R between activities.
Previous cruises ensured that everything was as promised. Enchantment delivered what was promised, but not without error. For example, we ordered a birthday package for our son 3 weeks ahead of time for $65. While the room was decorated as promised, the cake that was supposed to be presented in the dining room was actually in the stateroom when we arrived- hours before dinner. When we arrived at dinner, the rolls were fresh, but served cool enough to not melt butter. Little things detracted from a perfect experience.
Service was nothing spectacular.
The Windjammer staff seemed primarily concerned with clearing and cleaning tables to ensure turnover of a consistently crowded space. Beverages were not offered at the table and sometimes required a wait for preparation at the beverage station.
Aside from during dinner in the main dining room (where service was exceptional), I was only offered a drink once while on the entire cruise. Otherwise, a bartender had to be asked. While the drinks were prepared quickly, the service was strictly transactional with the glass and a receipt provided and no subsequent conversation. Though I didn't desire an extensive exchange, pleasant small talk would have been appreciated.
Again, the waitstaff in My Fair Lady main dining room made each night's dinner service wonderful. This is not to say that the dinner experience was perfect, though. Bar service was routinely slow. Drinks arrived after appetizers on more than one evening. The food was generally very good, portioned appropriately, and aesthetically presented. I missed the cultural themed nights related to ports of call that previous cruises have offered. Also, lobster and steak cost extra- though definitely worth $15 plus gratuity for a perfectly prepared filet.
commented on the roll call for Apr 9, 2017 cruise on Carnival Liberty - "I imagine they will keep everyone entert..."
commented on a Navigator of the Seas cruise review. - "You must have missed the prime rib night. :o) Sorry you had a bad experience with dining. Most of the selections we had in the main dining room wer..." read more
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uploaded a photo album from their Navigator of the Seas cruise on 2016-12-04
shared a quick tip for Navigator of the Seas"Excellent ship with fantastic service, food, and entertainment, but avoid buying at the shops unless you're positive it's a deal! "
reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Navigator of the Seas and gave it 5 stars!
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commented on the roll call for Dec 4, 2016 cruise on Navigator of the Seas - "Going into airplane mode. Happy sailing ..."
commented on the roll call for Dec 4, 2016 cruise on Navigator of the Seas - "I asked if we could "talk" to them. Appa..."
commented on the roll call for Dec 4, 2016 cruise on Navigator of the Seas - "FYI: 4 people who haven't disembarked ye..."