Ug's Honeymoon Cruise :-)
(Warning: this probably will be Long ;-)
If your looking for something specific about Navigator just email me, more than happy to answer your questions.
This was my second Cruise with beautiful Wife Carol :-)), first cruise was on Victory couple years ago.
Comparison between Navigator and Carnival Victory:
Décor: Navigator seems to be one step up, a little classier
Rooms: About the Same, liked the interactive TV on Navigator and ability to check SeaPass card as week went on).
Entertainment: I prefered Victory, seemed one step up to me. But corparing entertainment is kinda like comparing Apples and Oranges, everyone has different tastes. Victory seems to be the better Aprty ship and went all night. Everyone on Navigator seemed to go to bed at 1am
Food: About the same, some things I liked better on Victory some better on Navigator (Apple and Oranges again ;-)
Service: Comparable again. Found our Waiters more friendly on Navigator, but I had messed up dining arrangements on Victory.
Embarking/Disembarking: RCCL does a better job of this, but I think because I knew what to do (Taxi) and what not to do (Bus)
Ports: Like the fact we went to 4, but like the fact that Carnivals visits were longer. RCCL the stops were too short in San Juan and Nassau.
I'd Cruise on either one again in a second.
For starters, Carol and I weren't supposed to cruise on Navigator, we were supposed to go on Enchantment of the Seas. We got asked to switch because Enchantment was switching to 4- day cruises. Not a problem :-), since the only real reason we picked Enchantment was because it was $400 cheaper per person over the newer bigger RCCL ships.
We booked our own airfare and hotels this time. When I went on Carnival Victory, I didn't like the herding onto the busses that they did and the hotel was out by the Airport near nothing :-( It is so much better to book your own!! We took a chance on booking airfare, when we booked our cruise airfare from Halifax to Miami was close to $1000 each. So we waited for a seat sale, and got one, $670 each. Could have probably got better if we waited, but we didn't want to risk it.
Transportation from the Airport to the Hotel. I figured we'd just take a Taxi. Cost was about $22. from the airport to the hotel. After some research we booked at the Best Western Marina Park (now a Holiday Inn). It was your standard Holiday Inn Room, clean and everything. But the view was Magnificent!! We were on the Tenth floor and our room overlooked the Port of Miami! We were also right across the street from Bayside Marketplace. So after along day of Traveling Bayside was the right speed for us. We were up at 2:30 am EST to catch our 5am flight :-(. We walked around for a bit had dinner in the Food Court, then took the Harbour Tour (Millionaires row) cost $15. $12. if you get the coupon off the Internet. Then turned in for the night.
Day One: Embarkation, Miami
Next morning woke up with Excitement and ran to the window. Both Explorer and Navigator were in full view (Carnival Triumph as well), awesome sight!! We went for a walk, not really that hungry enough to justify Hotel price breakfast. Turned out there was a Macdonald's just around the corner from the ship, so we figured what the heck were going to be eating well all week on the ship. Macdonald's would be ok for breakfast ;-) Cost for both of us was around $5.
Then headed back to Hotel to Check out and head to ship. We left the Hotel around 10:30, cost in Cab to the Port was about $5. Some guy at the port asked us in the cab what ship, we told him, he then whisked us out of the cab, got the porters to take our luggage. They pointed out where to go (not one person asked or even looked for a tip). Within 5 minutes we we're at the check in counter with maybe 2-3 people ahead of us. (Note: Do not take Pictures in the Terminal, we missed the sign and the lady behind the counter warned us about it). We got checked in then went into the line to get on the ship. We waited aprx. 1 hour in this line as the ship hadn't disembarked everybody yet. We got on the ship around Noon. Cruise Director actually meet us as we got on the ship, didn't realize that it was him till later on in the week though ;-(
Headed straight to our Cabin, 9587, Inner Cabin. It was on the small side and not quite as roomy as the 1a (lowest category cabin that I had on Victory). Since we didn't have our luggage, it showed up somewhere between 7-8pm that night. We went for Lunch in the Windjammer. It was your usual standard buffet food, great selection but not real hot. Getting something to drink was a little different. They had a waiter filling up glasses then putting them on the counter, it made things a little slow if ya wanted something that he didn't have in glasses and they were in the middle of filling glasses with something you didn't want. No big deal however, you'd just have to ask for it and they were very quick to oblige :-)
After lunch we went to explore the ship. They don't have little pocket maps, but on every floor by the elevators they have these ship layouts (see my pictures). We found they were excellent for figuring out where you were. Now, a very IMPORTANT piece of info (from CM Kuki) always look for one of the floors that takes you from front to back when you're inside the ship. In Navigator's case (as well as Victory) the 5th floor is where you can go easily from front to back. On Navigators it's the Promenade. I found the ship in general to be like maybe one notch nicer than Victory (it was about the same age when I went on it).
They opened the Dining Room for a couple hours the first afternoon so you could check you seating arrangements. We wanted the late seating and a big table. Well, we got the late seating, but it was at a table for two :-( We then went to one of the Head Waiters, Joao, who took care of it right away. Lots of people were looking for tables of two. He put us at a Table of eight. This was the best thing we did the whole Cruise! Our Dinner mates were fantastic! Bill & Susan from Delaware, Mariana and Cheryl from Chicago, and Jeanne & Anthony from New York. Jeanne & Anthony we're honeymooning as well, they got married the day before us May 16/03. We got along great even ended up doing two full days a shore together. by coincidence they also had the Cabin next to us. So, on our Shore excursion days Anthony would bang on the wall to let us know they were ready ;-)) Who needs modern technology !!! ;-))
Day Two: Nassau, Bahamas
Now we had looked through the shore excursions and made a mutual decision, that if we could do it at home we wouldn't do it on the trip. So, where we only were in port from 10am-2pm (hey we're honeymooning no rush to get out of bed ;-)) We had no plans for Nassau. We ended up taking a Horse and buggy ride (45-50 minutes $10 each) with Mr. Fox. It was fun, he gave us a nice little tour of the downtown, stopped and picked a flower for Carol. Just as we finished the buggy ride the heavens opened up. So, we just went shopping and made our way back to the ship through the stores. They did have a shuttle bus to run you from the last shop to the pier.
We got back to the ship around 1pm had lunch then went Ice Skating. Hey, we're Canadian and just HAD to try it! Ice was actually pretty good. Would be the perfect size for a pickup hockey game. Got the chance to talk to a few of the Skaters in the show. These are very high caliber skaters! All have competed for National Championships in there respective Countries. Rest of day we just kinda lazed around.
Getting back to dinner, turns out our Assistant waiter, Mario, was new to the job, and this was only his second cruise. It was too funny when Cheryl was kind picking from the last of her meal, when Mario just reached in and grabbed her plate. Anthony, Carol and I just lost if with laughter, look on Cheryl's face was priceless!!! ;-)))))) Our waiter Jaafar was amusing as well, but he kinda turned us off by mentioning, a few times, that he was taking well care of us so that we would take care of him at the end of the week. We ended up taking better care of Mario at the end of the week. Mario even sang to our table one night in Spanish. He made little mistakes, but he was just a joy to have as our assistant waiter. The last morning of the trip he was making Toast in the Windjammer, so I went over for one last good bye and to wish him well. He was really glad to see me and told me that he will never forget us :-) We went to the show that night in the Metropolis, but left early cause Carol was falling asleep ;-(.
Day Three: Sea Day
Now, I'm not a big fan of sea days, which is the main reason why we picked RCCL over Carnival (Carnival only has 3 stops on 7 day cruise). Can't remember exactly what we did today. We did have Breakfast in the Dining room this am, we figured on Sea Days we would pamper ourselves with the wonderful service. The Shore Days we just wanted to get going so ate in the Windjammer.
I think this was the day we took the Couple Massage Class. It was very good, think the cost was like $50. But you learnt how to give your partner a proper back Massage. Even gave you a bottle of Oil to take home. We went to Johnny Rockets for lunch, it was great but we ate too much. For starters they put a plate of Fries and Onion rings in front of you before you even order anything. I did play Volleyball late in the afternoon. Court is excellent, but it's kinda different to try and jump up and hit the ball when your on a moving ship and it's windy, made it very interesting at times ;-))
Now before Dinner this Night, they had Big Band Dancing in the Ixtapa Lounge. Since Carol and I had taken Beginner Ballroom Dance lessons, we figured we'd go. It was a little intimidating at first cause we couldn't figure out the Dances, till they played a Cha Cha. Then we kinda gave each other a look to see if they wanted to go, but nobody else was going up so we stayed put. Till one other couple went up, Father & Daughter, and they messed it up, so we figured what the hell we'd go up know, pressure was off . We did an OK job of it and got a nice round of applause from everyone. We had a few more dances after that, my Waltzing is getting quite good if I do say so myself ;-)
Day Four: St.Thomas USVI
Well the night before at dinner, Jeanne and Anthony were undecided on what to do in St. Thomas. We told them we had rented a Jeep ($84. after taxes) and were welcome to come along with us. What a blast we had!!!! You pick up the jeep from Budget about a 5 minute walk from the ship. Our plan was to head to Megans Bay for snorkeling. I drove first, and it was little strange driving, because they drive on the left hand side of the rode (like England), but your in a North American vehicle, so I'm on the inside. They got a little anxious when I made a right hand turn and you go from outside lane to outside lane. We drove for 40 minutes looking for Megans Bay, Carol was navigating ;-). When we finally figured out where we were we had this great big Cruise Ship in front of us (yes the Navigator ;-(!!! We had gone in a complete circle. We then got some directions and got to Megans Bay in about 10 minutes ;-)), we had a good laugh over that!! Megans Bay is a gorgeous beach, $3. Per. person to get in. Snorkeling was great, we snorkeled for about 90 minutes, seen hundreds of fish, at one point I dove in and was right in the middle of this school of fish! We then rented Kayaks for an hour ($20 hour). Paddled up to this secluded beach, had a good laugh when Jeanne and Anthony's Kayak drifted out ;-), then made our way back to the beach went for a swim, then headed back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we went back into port and went shopping, Carol picked up this Saworski Crystal Butterfly at a fairly decent price. We could have gotten it back home for about the same price, but this is more of a momento :-) Jeanne and Anthony headed up the tramway on the way back, we went looking for a Gas station.
The whole day for the four of us cost around $140. $35 each.. That's way better than what the ship excursions cost, and we had a blast!!!!!
Now, I think we went to the Ice Show this night, and the Ice Show was the BEST show of the week!! They skate as if they are on an Olympic size rink. Even throw in Triple Jumps!! It's a must see!!!
We did go to the Love and Marriage Game Show this night which was a good laugh, but some of the contestants aren't the brightest people in the world ;-( We were exhausted after this so we turned in for the night, catching a little bit of the Mardi Gras Parade down the Promenade as we headed back to our Cabin.
Day 5: San Juan. Puerto Rico
Now, we were still both exhausted from the day before so just took our time and just started walking passing up the many offers of City tours as we got out of the Terminal. Now after walking for about 15-20 minutes and not really knowing where we were going, and it was really hot. We decided that those City tours sounded pretty good .. So back to the terminal we went. Cost was $12. Each, and you get about a 2 hour tour of Old and New San Juan. This was the perfect thing for us, got to see a lot of the City and didn't have to spend a lot of energy while doing so . We stopped at a few place along the way, last stop was the Fort San Miguel. Only had 30 minutes there, so we didn't tour the Fort. As we walked back to the Ship. they dropped us downtown in Old San Juan, we found an outdoor market where Carol picked up some souvenirs that were actually made in San Juan. Nearly all the souvenirs you see are made in China or Taiwan  After we got back to the ship we headed up to the Adult area of the Ship, not planning much for the afternoon. We got settled in Chairs (by the Pool even), Carol wants a drink, I decide to go in the Hot Tub. We are leaving Port at this time. The view of Fort San Miguel as you leave Port is Magnificent!!! As I'm soaking in the Hot Tub checking out the scenery, I couldn't believe I had left all the Cameras in the room!!!!
After Dinner this evening we went to the Production Show "Now and Forever" in the Metropolis. We both were falling asleep though it , so we headed back to the cabin after about 30 minutes of the show.
Day Six: Labadee, Haiti
Well, after going over the itenary 100's of times before we left I figured this stop would be the most boring. Was I WRONG! This stop turned out to be a BLAST! We spent the whole day with Jeanne and Anthony (started the day with the pounding on the walls ;-). We had breakfast together in the Windjammer, tehn headed for the Tenders to take us to the Beach. Well, this place is heaven! It kinda had that Gilligans Island feel to me ;-). We went to the Snorkeling Beach first and snorkled the better part of the morning. They hav a couple planes usnk in the Lagoon, We thought we had made this big discovery (Drug Deal or something ,-) but realized, they were put there for us to discover ;-( We then went over to the Waterpark and met up with Marina and Cherly, and we all played on the Water Trampolines, See Saws. Couple of us even managed to climb up these floating Iceburgs. I of course had to go up the biggest one, completelt exhausting myself on the way up, then realizing once I got up that this was fricking high! I couldn't climb down and risk soemone questioning my Manhood ;-) so I slid off, Forgetting of course to hold my nose;-( We then went for Lunch, the Ship has a big BBQ setup in a couple of places for us. After lunch we went Snorkeling again, the 6 of us. After a couple hours we decided to head back to the ship, we needed a Nap! Not use to playing like a Kid anymore.
I think we went to the Headliner show before Dinner this evening, It was El Gaucho, he did a Comedy routine but included a neat trick with the Rope/rock/thingy ;-) form South America. Very enjoyable show.
After Dinner we went to the Sock Hop in the Ice Dancing Studio, they cover the ice for this. It was fun, but was way too short. Which was probably a good thing cause were were exhausted from this Day.
Day Seven: Sea Day
Well, we didn't do a whole lot this Day. We did have Breakfast in the Dining Room. But the rest of the Day we just kinda lazed around. We did end up looking like Lobsters today, the one day we forgot suntan lotion in the cabin. Won't ever do that again. Glad I had saved the lightest shirt for the last night Dinner.
We went to the farewell Show in the Metropolis before Dinner, to the Farewell show. It was Good, but can't remember much of it :-( Couldn't of been that good then ;-)
Now, this was tip night. You do have the option of putting it right on your SeaPass Card, but we wanted to give it to the Staff that took care us personally. Room attendant we gave her the recommended amount, she did a good job, never really met her other than saying Hi in the Hallway. HeadWaiter, no recommended amount, but since he put us at such a great table we gave him something. Oh, almost forgot, Jeanne told him the first night that every night at the table we were celebrating either a birthday or a wedding anniversary, so we got a cake brought to us every night. The one Formal night Jeanne and Anthony didn't show for Dinner, we went right to there Cabin afterwards and dragged them out of bed to help eat this Cake! It was Jeanne's idea after all ;-) Now, our Waiter Jaafar, we tipped him less than recommended, cause his tipping hints were starting to piss us off. He even rambled one night about how everyone was equal, and how the cruise line didn't pay him, blah blah blah. He also miss treated Mario (our assistant waiter) a few too many time for our liking as well, so much for being equal :-( Yes Mario was new, but Jaafar didn't need to treat him the way he did. Now, Mario (or shall I say SUPER MARIO!), he was just so much fun and was trying so hard, and not once all week did he mention Tip, so we gave him more than recommended more than we gave Jaafar even .
After Dinner, Jeanne & Anthony, Cheryl & Marina, went down to the Ixtapa looking to Dance. We Danced about 3 songs and the Band turned in for the night, it was 12am. The ship was like a Ghost town at this time. We then all headed for the Internet Lounge to look at Carol and My Wedding pictures. The 6 of us got along really well, and it seemed like nobody wanted to say goodbye and turn in for the night. Around 1:30am we all said our goodbyes, Jeanne and Anthony we were going to have breakfast with in the morning, one last banging on the walls ;-))
Day 8: Disembark, Miami
Well we met Jeanne and Anthony for Breakfast, they had white tags so they would be the first off. We had turquiose, so we had no idea when we would get off. Had Breakfast one last time in the Windjammer, seen Mario one last time, he was still smiling. Then said our Goodbyes to Jeanne and Anthony, well I almost fricking Cryed ;-( We became such good friends this week. So as they headed to the gangway we headed to the Metropolis (they tell you to wait in one of the lounges till your colour is called). This was the one thing I had forgotten from my past cruise, that didn't pick up on this time. This wait is incredibly long!!!!!!!!!! We couldn't just sit, so we'd walk up and down the promenade, then go to one lounge, then go up the Promenade and sit in another lounge. It was 11:30 am before our colour was called. Since we weren;t in any real hurry, it didn't really bother us that much. We had booked a Post Cruise Night on South Beach before we flew home.
After getting off the ship and collecting our bags. (They have airport type carousels to collect your luggage, way better than Carnivals find your bag in a warehouse method). In no time we were in a Cab and headed to South Beach. We asked the Driver about getting to the Airport the next day, he said he would be there at whatever time we needed. (Sure enough he showed up! $24. In a Cab to the Airport from South Beach) Now the Hotel we stayed at was not your typical Holiday Inn/ Best Western. It was called the Penguin Hotel, and is right in the Heart of the Art Deco District and right on Ocean Drive. This is Good, the bad is they rent rooms by the Hour there and the Hotel was built in the 30's and has seen many changes in management. I found it ok, but it gave Carol the creeps. We went for a walk down Ocean Drive after checking in. It was ok for the first 5 minutes, but it was just way too hot and humid. We found a corner store to get some drinks. Then we made our way from (air conditioned) store to store back to the hotel. We both had showers to cool down, then went for Dinner. Hotel actually had a nice little restaurant right in front. So, you got to catch the sights as you ate. After Dinner we walked to Lincoln Mall (about a 10 minute walk). Only thins we bought howvere were souvenirs for our new Puppy, Kramer, who we would be adopting the day afeter we got home from the Honeymoon .
We then made our way back to the Hotel, went for a nice walk right on the beach then turned in for the night.
Got up Checked out, Cab showed up even a little ahead of schedule. We were more than ready to leave this Hotel. You know the feeling, your vacation is over and you just want to be home ASAP. We left the Hotel around 9:30am. Had a bit of a wait at the Airport checking in, oddest moment fo the whole week though, when we went to go through security, they were suggesting you take off your shoes. We were too tired and didn't care so off came the shoes . Waited a couple hours, flight left on time, flying to Montreal. Now on the way down we went through Toronto, which I like and I'm use too. Going through Montreal was awful, signage was terrible, but thankfully we had lots of time and eventually found our gate.
Got back into Halifax around 9:30pm.
Note: It is now almost 5 months since the Cruise (and the Wedding). We have kept in touch with Jeanne and Anthony, and are planning to visit them in New York this Spring . Carol's also chatted with Cheryl through email a few times. As for Married life, it's THE BEST!!!!!!!! Kramer our Puppy is doing well also.
Happy Cruising Ug