Your Thoughts on Navigator and Splendour Please?


Bob P

Hi all,

I have been lurking here for about a month since we decided to go on a cruise next April for our 25th anniversary, and I have already learned so much!! Thanks to all of you who have helped!

Here is my situation: my wife and I will be celebrating in April 2005 with our son, who will be 17, and our daughter, who will be 15. We have narrowed it down to two possibilities: Splendour, from Tampa to Georgetown, Costa Maya, Belize, and Cozumel; or Navigator, from Miami to Labadee (maybe), Ochos Rios, Georgetown, and Cozumel.

Our main interests for any port are snorkeling and relaxing! And our kids are looking forward to vegging out and meeting others their age. So I’d love to get some feedback on your suggestions. I’ve looked through other threads but I still have two main questions:

1-Which ports do you like better: Costa Maya and Belize, or Ochos Rios and Labadee?

2-Our travel agent has priced both and Navigator is about $500 more expensive. Is Navigator worth the extra money, or are the differences I’ve read about not that large?

I’m sorry if some of this has been posted before; I tried looking through as many posts as I could before writing this up. I’d be happy to hear from anyone who would be willing to share his or her thoughts and experiences. I would appreciate any bit of advice, no matter how trivial!!

Thanks so much!


Hello Bob.... =welcome to the board!! Glad you have joined us.

I had these same questions a few months ago. I have cruised before, but my parents who have never cruised finally asked me to plan one for them, my grandma and myself. They all live in Florida (Im in WI) so leaving from there so my mom wouldnt have to fly was a must. Therefore, I faced almost the same RCI choices for the time period we were looking at (Fall 2004). I did consider Princess, but RCI's prices were better, and Ive been wanting to give them a try for a while now.

Most suggested the Mariner (comparable to the Navigator choice you have), as it is a brand new ship... lots of WOW factor. However, I have my 76 year old Gram to think of. It was hard to track down info on the Splendour as it was older, but I put out some requests, did some research and finally found lots of great reviews on it. I decided on the Splendour out of Tampa for several reasons: It is smaller, which Im thinking will be better for my Gram. I have never been to Belize. It was less money for a much better/bigger cabin. My family lives only a little over an hour from Tampa.

We dont have teens in our group, so I cant say this would be the right choice for you. Im thinking maybe the Navigator would be better in your case. Both ships have a rock wall and mini golf, but the Nav has the inline skating, ice arena with shows, the Royal Promenade, and specialty restaurants. So I guess it will just depend on what is important to you. See, it didnt matter to us so much as we wont use all those things. My parents are in their mid 50's. The itineraries are pretty comparable... so my suggestion would be to make your choice based on the ships.

Feel free to click on my name and email me if I can help you with any thing else. Good luck in making your decision!

Edited to add my =twocents on the ports: You will get Cozumel and Grand Cayman out of either sailing, both are great. However, opinions differ on Costa Maya. Many arent too excited about it, but we loved it. We took a tour to the Chacchoben ruins which were really neat. I have been to Tulum from Cozumel, and the tour from Costa Maya was just as fun to me, especially since there was no 45 minute (cookie-tossing competition) ferry ride. Many have mentioned they enjoyed their day in the near by fishing village of Majahual. I've read theres a decent beach, cheap drinks and you will have an authentic local experience. I think we may do this in December. I agree with Al, Jamaica is a 50/50 shot. Absolutely contact Peat Taylor if you go there, then I have no doubts you will have an enjoyable day.

Post Edited (04-22-04 10:48)


Welcome aboard, Bob. There's never a need to apologize for asking any questions. We wouldn't be here if people didn't do so.

I'm going to appear hypocritical, having touted my home port of Tampa for several years; but the Navigator would be my choice, primarily because you'll be cruising with your family. Voyager class ships (there are four or five of them) are absolutely amazing. Nat's mention of the "wow factor" is very accurate. You and your wife would enjoy either cruise, but your family's experience will be greatly enhanced by sailing on the NOS. The kids will be raving about it for months (as will you)! I've sailed sister ships (Adventure and Grandeur), so I do have a basis for comparison.

Chances are you won't be going to Labadee. I understand that Freeport has been substituted on the current itineraries. It may well change by next year, so it wouldn't be a consideration for me. I've been to Costa Maya, and found it to be nothing special right now. It's in its infancy as a port of call, and most of the activity is centered around the immediate docking area (shops, informal restaurants, very nice pool, what passes for a beach - you definitely need water socks, etc.). There are some excursions, but there's nothing exciting to see, other than a small fishing village. We did venture outside the area, and discovered it to be littered with all kinds of debris, much of which was washed ashore. The reviews on Belize are mixed. There are some threads on the Caribbean board. Check them out, and e-mail those posters who might have some additional input. Ocho Rios can be a wonderful experience or a nightmare. I suggest that you contact Peat Taylor (he's been mentioned here dozens of times, and does have a web page. Google can easily find it for you). Without question, he's the best tour operator in the area, and will virtually customize the day for you. Have no fear about booking independently of the ship. He's outstanding, inexpensive (about $30pp), personable - you'll have a spectacular day in port!

I have Adventure of the Seas photos, which will give you an idea of what you can expect aboard the Navigator. Feel free to e-mail me, and I'll be happy to forward the link to you. In the meantime, you have a year to get in shape, so that you can enjoy the food to your heart's content. Here's a link to the latest RCI menus:


The additional cost ($125pp) seems about right, and is worth the difference as far as I'm concerned. You might want to start counting those carbs now. Don't hesitate to contact me, either here or directly. Hunting for the ideal cruise, along with the excitement and anticipation, is almost as much fun as the vacation itself. Whatever your choice, enjoy your cruise!!

Post Edited (04-22-04 07:23)


I have to say the Navagtor as well. YES it is worth the extra money. I thas SOOOO much to do for familys like rock climbing , ice stakting, mini golf roller baldeing just to name a few.


navigator vote here too... hopefully by next april labadee will be back on the itenerary..its a wonderful little place!!



I am a ex -lurker myself---the first step is admitting it! LOL! I took in account all the posts and decided on the NOS. We loved it !!!! It was much better than I had ever imagined! THere is something for everyone! We really liked Cozumel, and Jamaica but Grand Cayman was our favorite. I will say that I could've stayed on the NOS and never went ashore and still would have had a great time--the ship is wonderful and the mango daiquairis aren't bad either!!


Just got back from SOS from Galveson a few weeks ago and have been on NOS back in sept and have a trip on VOS in Oct for the member cruise and i have to say that we Like the bigger ships better. When we got on SOS we wher like where JR's amd the skating rink ,
Oh well we did a 4 day to mexico anyway.. 5 or 7 days on that ship i dont thnk i can deal with that.

Bob P

Thanks to everyone who responded....and as you can see if you read through the thread, the Navigator is the hands-down winner!

Good News: Navigator it is!!!

Bad News: Still 51 more weeks!!!

Thank again to all, and I'm sure I will have more questions as we get closer.



We just got off the Navigator and the crew on board was saying Labadee may be back on the itinerary in the next month or two.

Good choice in the Navigator. We got married while in Grand Cayman last week and had the time of our lives. It was our second cruise on NOS. I have to agree with the cruise director who said she is a friendly ship. She truly is.