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Alex Smith

Age: 43

Occupation:Plant Operations Manager

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Navigator of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 26th, 2005

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

We took a family cruise, my wife, 10 year old son and my Mother during Easter week, the ship was very full. We had two balcony cabins side-by-side which worked out great on the 7th level. We arrived early (11ish) and embarkation was a little delayed due to many getting off, but not unexpected, we were able to get on around 2:00 PM, and that went smoothly.

Our cabins were very nice, plenty of room, good TV selection, and the balcony is a must have. The entire week we had great service, and really enjoyed the balcony.

The ship is huge, but easy to get around. It takes a couple of days of exploring to take it all in, which is the fun part. Like I said, it was full, really full, but it never crowded. The kids were very well behaved, and everyone was friendly. Some of the promenade events got a little crowded, but if that is not your cup of tea you can move onto many other areas and activities.

We enjoyed the dining every night; our wait staff was very good and took care of everything we needed. Some say the food is just OK, I am not inclined to eat in French restaurants every night so maybe my palette is not as spoiled, the food was very good overall. We eat many meals quickly, on the road and at ball parks so being able to sit down and enjoy being with family and having dinner served are wonderful for us. I liked the food. We ate most breakfasts in the windjammer, decent food, scrambled eggs were nothing to write home about, reminded me of my Army days. I heard that the breakfast and lunches in the ding room were very good and just as quick, check that out. We ended up eating late breakfasts so many days we skipped lunch, had a snack, since we had an early seating. There are nice sandwiches and pizza at the coffee bar in the promenade.

We went to the pool almost every day, we did not run up and save chairs, they say this does not happen and those doing so will be thrown overboard, never saw that happen. We always managed to get a couple though, just keep an eye out and be aggressive. The pools were nice, needed to be a little shallower for some of the little ones, and the hot tubs were nice as well. We did not do the spa, I worked out once, very nice gym and spa for those who like that.

The first stop was San Juan, skip it and stay on the ship, or take a quick walk. There is nothing downtown to really see that you won’t see nicer of on the Virgin Islands. There is a fort and I heard some liked that, we only had a afternoon and we would have had a better time on the ship.

Second stop was St. Thomas, very nice. Shopped in the morning (make sure you attend the shopping talk given on the ship, very good info for new cruisers like us). Didn’t buy much, took my Mother to the ship, changed and the three of us went to Megin’s Bay Beach, the ride was worth the trip over, nice lookouts, taxi was cheap and the beach was nice. They had a food shack, the pizza and beer was very good. We rented the wife a chair, my son snorkel gear and everyone was happy.

Third stop was St. Marteen, great stop. My son and I had a trip booked through (I recommend them, good service and saved a bunch over the ships price) we took the Rhino Rider trip (only one outfit on the island), and had a blast. This is not for back backs or those who do not wish to jump a little powered raft type boat into the air, it can get rough, or you can take it a little easy, but you need to keep up with the group (5 of us). We left the bay and saw bountiful mega yachts, then out to sea along the coast to shipwreck bay, snorkeled for an hour and back, great trip. My wife and Mother took an Art Tour of the island that took them into many artists homes, they only had a few others with them, it was like a private tour and they really enjoyed it. We booked that on the ship. We all ended up at the ship around noon and my wife and I went to make her purchase, we had a one carat ring style picked out, shopped it at St. Thomas, she then talked to the shopping director who gave her cards with names and locations on them and we were off to make an offer. We got off the water taxi and into DI, made an offer and deal in less then 10 minutes, do you homework, know what you want to spend and use the shopping director to help guide you. We had time to wander the streets, stop and have a couple beers and people watch before heading back to the ship, great, great day.

Forth stop was Nassau, we had a sail and snorkel trip booked that once we got off the ship found out it was canceled. They refunded the money, but with only a half day you are pressed to do something, we were done shopping. We grabbed a water taxi to Paradise Island, tip, take a land taxi, less walking to the hotels and beaches. We took one back. We paid to go into the aquarium at the Atlantis, nice, but more walking (and we had sandals and snorkel clothes on). We should have simply went to the beach. And you can pay to get into see the fish but you can’t use the pools, beach or other niceties at the Atlantis so unless you really like fish, save your money.

The formal nights were fun, I bought a tux for another event and it nice to dress up like that some times. Look into buying one, you can get them for a decent price if you look around (Value City, didn’t hear that from me). And it pays for itself in no time.

We had a blast, it was my Mothers first cruise and really her first “real” vacation. My wife and I took a 3 day cruise before in steerage on Carnival, this was much nicer. We will be returning, most likely to a RCI ship, to a sea far away from you.

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