Navigator Mediterranean cruise was great
Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean
Sail Date: June 16, 2013
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 7376
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 4 years ago
Really enjoyed this cruise. The ship is in good shape (we did the Oasis in November, so obviously nothing will compare) and the itinerary was great. Hired private tours in most ports (Athens, Ephesus, Sicily) and enjoyed the ports immensely - wish they would allow for longer days in port though. Generally you have to be back on board 1/2 hour before the stated deportation time on the itinerary and it's 1/2 hour between docking and deportation, so many of the days were very short. be careful in Crete, as the shuttle back to make that early afternoon deadline was full and getting back on time was very challenging. Definitely could change the Crete port to something else - its a nice enough little town, but nothing to write home about (no need for a tour here - just hop the shuttle into town and then take a long walk to a beach if you want). We had a balcony room and an inside room - the inside room felt very small, but was quiet and perfectly adequate. all the staff on board are amazing - even with the now mandatory pre-paid tips they still went out of their way to be nice and very helpful and all were very professional. by the way, even infants pay those pre-paid tips! Food was not at all great - nothing at all to get excited about, even in the specialty restaurants. One of the few cruises where I did not gain weight as nothing really seemed worth eating on the ship. Wish they would focus their menu more on local favorites from each port town - makes it more authentic and interesting. the food on this cruise was the exact same menu as the November cruise out of Florida. Our friends were on a similar trip on NCL - we ran into them in two ports - they enjoyed their cruise perhaps more than we did - better food, less "extra charges", and more/longer/better port stops.
my teen daughter enjoyed the teen club and the kids club and arcade were popular. My 18 year old was lost - too old for the teen club and nothing to do. the pools were way too small for a 3000 person ship, and one was always closed on "at sea" days, making the water in the only open pool really disgusting really quickly. never enough deck chairs.
biggest complaint about RCI on these last two cruises was the "added charges" - constant attempt to get you to spend more money on "extras" - not just alcohol, but specialty dining, ice cream, espresso at dinner, coffee and Starbucks, etc. etc. etc. We had the soda package, which saved money, but it did feel as though the people at the bar were resentful whenever you asked for a free soda. When I tried to ask the excursion people about the towns we were going to and "low-cost options" for getting into town, they were very, very rude and unhelpful - they work on commission, so telling you that the shuttle to Chania town in Crete is only a few euros was not in their best interest - so they just flat out refused to give me any info at all. About any port. unless I was buying an excursion, which I was not going to do. this was really, really annoying. One staff member actually told me that she had never been to town in that port - which cannot possibly be true! she told me to wait until I was off the boat and ask the tourist information at the port about my options!!!! We did run into the huge group RCI excursions in every port - I'm sure they were fine, but they were huge busloads of people following a person with a sign and listening on headphones to the canned and boring sounding "talk" of the guide - every one of those people could have downloaded a Rick Steve's free audioguide and hired a taxi and gotten the same exact tour for way less money. (maybe not in Turkey, as the interesting Ephesus site is very far from the port town). We liked Ephesus best of all the ports (again, we had hired private guides) but also really enjoyed Athens and the volcano and town in Sicily. Best gelato was in Taormino in Sicily!
Apparently this is the Navigator's last summer in Europe and now she will be refurbished and sail out of Galveston. It will be interesting to see what ship replaces her in the Mediterranean.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Great on-board gym, but they close at 10! be sure to get deck chairs early on "at sea" days.