August 2015 - Navigator of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
We did a 7 day Navigator of Seas out of Galveston August 2-9. Stopped in Cozumel, Belize and Honduras. My older kids, 11 and 15 had a blast. The teen program allowed my 11 year old to "bump up" to the 12-14 program and because of that, she was able to have a really great experience. For my 3 year old, however, it was not a good experience. This is a ship that, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others we met on the cruise, merely accommodates small children but really does little to nothing to make their experience fun. My little one was in the 3-5 year old room. Yes. Just a room. They never leave it during their time in kids club. Kids club is an overstatement. It's daycare at its worst. There is a 15 to 1 ratio of staff to kids. They only have 3 hour sessions. 9-12. 2-5. And some evening time. The kids aren't allowed any snacks or drinks while they are there other than a trip to the water fountain, which my petite daughter couldn't reach. And no stool was provided. But here's the worst part. The royal Caribbean policy is that they will not assist your child in any way using the potty. Not at all. My daughter is tiny and couldn't reach the potty or coordinate pulling down her close and climbing up alone. Nor is she able to wipe by herself yet. Let's not even start with the hygiene issues. I was appalled. And so was she. We were only able to use the kids club for under an hour at a time because of this so I got very little down time on the vacation. So basically, don't plan on your young child being able to stay in child care there very long. Also, the pools aren't kid friendly other than one tiny shallow triangle area that is fenced off as a baby area. But be aware, adults hog the small area so there isn't room anyway for your kid to splash. And my daughter is potty trained so this wasn't an issue for us, but be advised that younger babies on diapers aren't allowed in any pool on the ship. Not even this little shallow area. We saw families with babies get kicked out of the baby splash area. Just saying. It's just not a good ship for kids under 6. It was also very crowded. Long waits for elevators. Several inoperative. The gym closes at 10pm so I wasn't even able to take advantage of the hours after my littlest was asleep to work out. It's also almost impossible to enjoy any nightlife without keeping your young child up late. A 530 dinner seating wasn't finished until 7. But the show times were usually 630 and 830. And the waiters weren't able to turn dinner around in an hour to make the early show. If we stayed for part of the 830, then bedtime was pushed until close to 930/10 for my daughter who is usually asleep by 8 at home. We had issues with ship maintenance too. Our water pressure was off. Once the cold water shut off entirely while my little one and I were showering. We spent 45 minutes all soapy after getting scalded waiting for it to be fixed. Oh. That reminds me. No bathtubs. Just showers. Ok for a 3 year old but not sure what people did with babies. There were also issues with shore excursions. Belize especially. We spent hours in a hot bus and saw very little. We're practically starved instead of a real lunch and were pretty miserable on an expensive misrepresented excursion. Cozumel was ok but way more crowded on our dolphin encounter than in years past. Had a very assembly line feel and spent a lot of time baking in the sun waiting in hot long lines. Honduras was the only great day. We did the private island. Overall not a trip I recommend unless you are traveling without small kids and have a lot of patience.