Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
Sailing Date: October 2nd, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
On our first day of arrival turned out to be extremely stressful and frustrating, as after we boarded from the bus, we were on our way to a terminal which had a line coming out of the doorway and was redirected to go to terminal 4 and was told by the attendant that this would be quicker for us. Well, we were sent there only to wait about 1 ½ hours while they let the other side go in ( new comers who came in after us, and not allowing our side to go in. This was unnecessary and uncomfortable when you have a few kids with ages running from 11 months old to 6 years old and a few elderly. We could look right into where the counter was where we were supposed to check and even the guards who were on our side of the terminal left several times to say why don't they let our side in as we were there before other travelers who had just gotten there. Finally we made it in.
During one of the shore talks, we were told about a wonderful book that cost $20.00 that had coupons that could be used on the islands and the cruise director pushed this as being the greatest book. I purchased one only to find out after I had purchased it that it had a lot of islands that we did not go to. I was on the western Caribbean itinerary and because of hurricane Ivan, did not get to go to Grand Cayman either. There were islands for other parts of the Carribean, in which I thought that the book was supposed to include coupons for deals on Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Labedee. I thought that this book was a rip off, then I thought for a moment that if I took a trip in the near future that I could get my money's worth and use it then, only after also noticing that these coupons expired within a month's time in the book, so it was no longer any good to me whatsoever. A lot of the venders had coupons if you spent $100 or more dollars, very little that rendered a great deal for me to spend $20 on this book. The little FREE trinkets were so small that you needed a magnifying glass to see them and one vendor was supposed to give the eye of something (I forgot what it was called in Cozumel) but said that he ran out and gave me this little bead which looked like something that we use to put at the end of braided hair or to make a kiddie bracelet.
The food in the formal dining room was very good, although whenever we wanted something else a little bit later the windjammer closed about 9:00 pm and we could not get anything really good except going to the little café on the promenade and get pizza or these little sandwiches with sunflower seeds on them. They did not offer no other drinks there but water, coffee and tea, so we had nothing for the kids and I don't drink coffee and would have preferred some punch or lemonade. We wish that we had been told that now you charge a $3.95 cover charge to go into Johnny Rockets ( we were given coupons with our crown and anchor to get in, and the food and entertainment was very good, as the employees sang and dance about every 20 minutes or so. We would have liked to have known that now the Specialty Restaurants went from $20 - $25 in cost. We also had people on a limited income and would have like to have known in advance. There are some things that should be mentioned beforehand to help passengers who have not cruised before and I had a few with us and they were somewhat disappointed and I looked a little crazy myself talking about all the good places on the ship and did not know of the extra costs.
The Navigator is a beautiful ship, our dining room team were excellent, the performers were good, but the boarding, and some dining options were not. I did love the new procedure for getting off the ship and the organized manner that they have your luggage, rather then thrown in somewhere color tag land.
Cozumel was very warm and beautiful, but it rained a few times during our shopping ventures (these rains would last for about 5 minutes then warm up again). They have built up the area where you get off of the ship and have great bargains right there for those who choose not to venture onto the island because you have been there before. There are all kinds of great souvenirs and plenty of vendors ready to help you with your shopping needs. We caught a cab downtown and looked for the vendors listed in the little coupon book that I bought. The further you go down the street, there was a lot of construction so you needed to watch your step. But this also prevented us from patronizing other vendors that were beyond that point. We did not opt for the jeep ride around the island like we had previously when we visited Cozumel because we had a large group with us and they all wanted to see something different. But if you can get a chance to rent a jeep for the day and ride around the island to see the beautiful waters, surfers, visit little small shops and bars, and rent a ski doo..do it. There is only one road all the way around the island so you will not get lost, and you can stop and go as you please. At the end of your ride you will end up in the downtown area to finish your journey.
The water was wonderful. We stayed on the other side of the island opposite from where you could see the ship. The difference in the water was the side where the ship was very calm and the other side had waves that made for fun when you hopped on your floatee as it would push you back on land. The cook out on the island was great, so that you do not have to go back to the ship to eat. I did not have many problems with the vendors there for souvenirs and found some inexpensive souvenirs to take home. I pretty much kept on the outside of the flea market where the vendors were not pushy and purchased some art pictures, t-shirts, and statues. It was such a relaxing time that we were among the very last to come off of the island, especially after we looked up and everyone was gone. It was a wonderful day.
Ocho Rios was a little humid and did the 5 minute rain thing just like in Cozumel. They have built some shops just as you are getting out from the ship where they have a Bob Marley Theatre. The shopping was good for souvenirs, liquor, and to grab a bite of Jamaican food to eat. We made it to the Taj Mahal and Soni shopping center, but we had already grabbed some great bargains at the previous shopping center.
Grand Cayman had been canceled because of hurricane Ivan.
The ice show is a must see. Although I did not attend the Mardi Gras in person, I did see it on TV and it looked to be great fun. I got a chance to see two movies in the movie theatre. The theatre holds about 50-60 people. It was a nice quiet change. My nephew went to the kid's camp and really enjoyed himself as the kids gave a animal safari type show in the middle of the promenade.
All in ALL a cruise is the way to go for entertainment, relaxation, food, family and fun without having to worry about where everyone is, who eats what, and on which lot did you park the car this time?