Cruise diary: Navigator of the Seas, day one – 4 May 2007

Andrew Winstanley sailed from Southampton to Le Havre on Navigator of the Seas.

April 26 2007: I was delighted to be invited to join my fellow TW cruise club members on this two night cruise – my first real step into cruise since 1988.

I travelled from Hove to Southampton by train, a journey many of our clients make and it’s very easy. A short £3 taxi ride from the station brings you to the newly developed City Cruise Terminal.

Your main case is left outside the terminal building and delivered directly to your cabin. I had been organised for a first timer and filled in my ‘Set Sail Pass’ in advance on the Royal Caribbean website (recommend this to your customers as it does save time).

There are lots of staff available to help and check in was very speedy, aside from a 15 minute wait when the photo machines used to snap you for security malfunctioned.

One thing I noticed – and it goes for Liberty of the Seas too – was that the gangplank looks like something from the early years of cruising. Surely an escalator would be more appropriate in this new age of modern cruising?

Royal Caribbean InternationalOnce on board I headed straight to my stateroom – a superior Ocean View with balcony. Very roomy, a queen size bed (which splits into two singles), sofa and table, vanity area, TV, mini bar, safe, spacious wardrobe and a good size bathroom with shower. My case arrived about 5 minutes later.

After a drink with Michelle Russell and David Chidley from the Royal Caribbean training team and Andy Harmer from PSARA it was time to put on my life jacket and head to my muster station for the regulation safety briefing.

I then headed for the promenade, a high street in the middle of the ship with cafes, an English pub and various other bars. Don’t miss the shops – the strength of the dollar makes on board purchases very reasonable.

Despite the size of the ship it doesn’t take long to get your bearings, and there are lots of deck plans around if you need help.

After shopping I decided to treat myself to an hour in the gym. With state-of-the-art equipment I would recommend a visit now and again to work off the many calories that will undoubtedly be consumed on board.

It’s all very informal so you can change in your stateroom and walk down in your gear or use the facilities provided.

A quick shower and it was off to the champagne bar for a reception followed by dinner. Spread over two floors, the main dining room is beautiful and allows both formal and casual dress.

The food and service were excellent. We were on the second sitting for diner, though, so by the time we finished it was about 11pm. It’s worth planning what you want to do on your cruise so your meal times don’t mean you miss out.

Day two >>>

by Andrew Winstanley, director, Americas4u

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