A MIXED BAG CRUISE
Sail Date: February 01, 2008
Reviewed: 7 years ago
Traveled As: Couple
Room Type: Suite
Having cruised several times on the gorgeous R ships of the former Renaissance line now used by Oceania and Azamara, we found the RSSCs Navigator art deco ambience to be stuffy. The ship reminded us of an older, past its prime Miami Beach hotel.
But the suite was wonderful and featured a sleeping area and living room area, a veranda, a huge walk-in closet with plenty of hanging space, drawers and a safe. The large all marble bath room was excellent with a separate full size bathtub and a stall shower. The ship should provide large floor mats because the marble bath room floor can be very slippery. Our suite neighbor, a lady in her 80s, slipped and broke a rib while stepping out of the shower.
We estimate the average age of the less than (estimated) 400 passengers to be 60. However, the small pool could be accessed only by typical pool ladders, effectively prohibiting many older or less able folks from using it.
Every individual who served us on this cruise seemed very happy and eager to do so. The service in the main dining room was especially impressive. We saw no signs of stress among those who served us anywhere on the ship. The cruise cost included tipping and unlimited alcohol. One might guess that the servers might hold back on the alcohol, but they didnt.
Our butler, Gupta, was superb in every way, trained by the British butlers guild and always dressed impeccably in tuxedo outfits. He was always immediately accessible by phone. Several days he served us breakfast and/or dinner in our suite, set a beautiful table and brought one course at a time. Butlers are assigned to suites on deck 10 and above. Before the cruise we completed an online butler information form which Gupta adhered to. He stocked our suite shelves and refrigerator with the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks we specified daily. He also kept our suites fruit bowl well stocked. When we boarded, Gupta brought a fully-loaded I-pod to insert into the suites music player. Our housekeeper, Ruby, also did an excellent job.
Our Navigator cruise was marred early by some medical emergencies that were quickly resolved by an excellent doctor and nurse.
The various entertainment events ranged from superb to just good, but always energetic and upbeat. But in our view the individual(s) responsible for using the showrooms technical equipment (such as theatrical lighting, etc.) did a poor job. For example, the stage was equipped with smoke or fog devices intended to create special effects at special times during a show. With negative results, the smoke machines were used all the time, every time the curtains opened, with no let up, and as a result created no special effects.
For our tastes, the elegantly served food was somewhat disappointing. While we were served many truly excellent dishes, several were unacceptable. One time we ordered steaks in the main dining room, the Compass Rose, and the beef was tough and full of gristle. The lobster we ordered twice in the Portofino (Italian) dining option was extraordinarily salty and inedible. We enjoyed the food on Oceanias R ships much more, and liked especially well Oceanias steakhouse and Italian restaurant alternatives to the main dining room).
By day the Navigators Portofino restaurant is used for the ships buffet. We avoided the buffet, choosing the serenity and superbly attentive service of the Compass Rose main dining room.
Pros: Penthouse Suite Deck 10
Cons: Overall ship ambience