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Joseph Sturges IV

Age: 63

Occupation:Retired US Civil Servant

Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Navigator of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2010-11-23

Itinerary: Repositioning Cruise

Being our second Royal Caribbean cruise, I expected a clean ship, decent service and good entertainment.
What was provided was a clean ship, fair to excellenet service depending on who was taking care of you and entertainment which was the best I've seen in 10 cruises. The old concept of being pampered on vacation simply doesn't exist on these large cruise lines. We enjoyed the wide promenades with deck chairs so we had a place to watch the ocean and read. Some crew members went out of their way to make you happy, while others ignored you as they passed on deck, or passed you in a hallway. Cruise staff was especially good, especially the younger members who ran the various activities.

Food was certainly plentiful and if you kept to the basics, i.e., grilled chicken, grilled salmon, or even a small steak, you could not go wrong. Some of the entrees were overdone with sauces and attempts at gourmet palates. Our tastes run to the simple. One night in ordering Rigatoni Pomodoro (which I expected would have tomatoes or a
tomato sauce) I got rigatoni with some thin strips of red and green pepper? Hello? Despite the waiter's attempt to tell me that was what I ordered, I managed to prevail and got a decent Ham Sandwich on wheat bread. Desserts
ran to the gourmet once again, and we were better off with either sugar free sherbert or ice cream, or the cheese plate. Buffet food was typical for a large mass market operation, but the corned beef hash and eggs and the coffee for breakfast was excellent. Wonderful bran muffins were a treat when you could find them. Personnel at the buffet could not do enough for you...ran for a second cup of coffee, replaced dropped silverware,etc.

Stateroom quite spacious with a balcony which we used often. We noted that after 8 years service, the carpets and spread appeared worn or at least in need of a good shampoo. TV allowed you to check your shipboard account and this was a plus.Stewardess was wonderful and anticipated our needs. She provided anything we asked for and was extremely pleasant and attentive.

We only participated in Trivia contests, a few lectures and the evening entertainment. The lecturer who spoke about cruise ships skimmed a lot of topics and left big holes in the development of cruising as a vacation style.
Ocean liners and ships have been my hobby since my first cruise in 1959 and this gentleman only hit some of the high points. Trivia games were good. Evening show entertainment was outstanding. Did we really need to have a mens sexy leg contest? At least there was no "Gross Gut" contest as had been offered by another mass market cruise line. I suppose different strokes for different folks may be the phrase here, but good taste is never out of style.

Excursions were average. Good guides and reasonable length of stops to explore and use the facilities.

Overall a pretty fair value for the money. Highly recommend the verandah cabins which were only an additional $100 per person. Have a real problem with a ship 1,020 feet long and 3,100 passengers. Long waits for the elevators and quite a few pushers and shovers were aboard. Manners never go out of style but a lot of fellow passengers didn't have a clue and always seemed in a hurry. You're on vacation, take it easy. It wasn't as if the dining room was going to run out of food. You had to get to the show lounge at least 40 minutes before show time to get a decent seat with reasonable sight lines. Seven day transatlantic crossing was nice...if a big long. The port in France was a waste of time as everything was closed due to it being Sunday. Barcelon was nice, Cartegena was ok, Malaga was a pleasant town and Tenerife was great...pulling in at 0530 in the morning was like seeing jewels in the distance with all the twinkling lights. Royal Caribbean needs to simplify its dinner entrees and work with some crew members to be more friendly. However, the Captain was very outgoing and was availabe for chats and seen frequently about the ship. He would pose for photos with passengers and is reminiscent of the savoir faire and friendliness of some of the old transatlantic captains when the Atlantic ferry had its heyday.

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