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Royal Caribbean Navigator round trip from Los Angeles

sunny 18 °C

We had credits to use by the end of 2022 from thwarted travel during the pandemic, so we used our Royal and Carnival cruise credits on 4-day cruises out of LA and a Hawaiian Airlines credit for a round trip to Honolulu from LA, so -
- flight to LA
- one night hotel in Long Beach (Royal Hotel)
- 4-night Royal cruise, stopping in Catalina and Ensenada
- flight to Honolulu & 5-night stay at a VRBO condo in Waikiki
- 2 nights in Long Beach (Best Western)
- 4-night Carnival Cruise (same itinerary as the Royal)

So starting with the Royal cruise...

After a night's stay at the Royal Hotel in Long Beach - very low budget :) and a hassle to get in (they closed) that involved almost going elsewhere, we set sail from the Long Beach cruise port on Navigator of the Seas with stops in Catalina Island (California) and Ensenada, Mexico. We hadn't been on a Royal ship for a number of years and were interested in any changes and the differences between the Royal line and Princess that we had taken to Greenland in August.

The comparison favoured Princess, especially in the area of service (see previous posts re the Medallion app for ordering drinks and such); food was similar, but seemed less varied. We've travelled on Royal several times and have "diamond" status, so we have access to a special lounge that's open from 5pm-8pm. On past cruises, we were allowed 3 drinks outside of the lounge and unlimited drinks within the lounge during that 5-8pm period. That has changed this year. Now we are allowed 4 drinks at any time and that includes any drinks we have in the lounge - so no unlimited drinking period. As a result, the lounge is MUCH less busy, but that also means we aren't meeting people the way we have in the past. The four-drink limit wasn't really an issue, but the change to the lounge was disappointing from the socializing aspect.

I would also say that Royal appears to be short-staffed (like many businesses around the world) and that has impacted the service.

In addition, we had saved a few bucks to allow Royal to pick our stateroom, and I would say Never Again. We were immediately above the Star Lounge, which featured loud pounding music in the evening and also some afternoons. The best night was when they did a "Hush" nightclub, which means everyone wears headphones and otherwise there is no music broadcast - that was fantastic. We had to time our getting to sleep when bands were between sets.

Another difference I noted between Royal and Princess was the push by Royal for feedback on their service. I would wager a guess that staff are paid or receive bonuses/promotions based on the feedback from guests. This results in the service staff pushing for positive feedback. It becomes annoying after a few days.

Having said all that, other than the lack of sleep, we did have a good time. We walked around the ports and I am looking forward to more of those ports - especially Catalina Island on the Carnival cruise next week.

Walking in Long Beach

Catalina Island, which was home to the Cubs spring training from 1921-1951

Ensenada - beautiful day. Spent some time at the old Hotel Riviera del Pacifico, which was very popular during US prohibition.

Steve and his friend in our stateroom :) and the sunset view from the flight as we left LA for Honolulu.

Posted by Deb Godley 04:12 Archived in USA

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