Hello, hola, buenas noches, good evening. I'm not good at introductions, so I'll start things off with a disclaimer: I am 17, so this review will not include extensive information on the Casnio, nightclubs, bars, spas, or other adult hot spots on the ship. This review is unique because it's through the eyes of a teen, which is not common. Having said that, let's get to the review!
Background: This is my fourth cruise and my second with Royal Caribbean. My previous cruises were on the Carnival Fascination, Majesty of the Seas, and Carnival Imagination in that order. All of those ships are considered small by today's standards, and I am skipping the middle size ships and going right up to the megaships (unless Oasis and Allure now push the Voyager class down a level). Either way, this is my first cruise on a ship larger than 80,000 GT. I am on this cruise with my 14 year old sister (this is her second cruise, her first was the Majesty) and with my mom (almost a cruise virgin. I say "almost" because her only other cruise was almost 30 years ago on NCL, and times have changed greatly). We booked this cruise back in March and have been waiting patiently ever since.
Embarkation: I live in Plantation, Florida, so the port is only a half an hour car drive away. We left the house around 11:35 in the morning (driven by my grandmother so we wouldn't need to park in the garage) and we arrived at Port Everglades close to the top of the hour. After passing through a couple long car lines, we arrived at the Navigator of the Seas's pier at 12:10. By 12:35 we were walking on the ship. Much quicker than my other recent cruises, but with those we arrived much closer to the call time. The point is, the earlier you come, the quicker you get on the ship.
The Room: I would like to use a quote from one of the ship's comedians, Billy Garan, who I will talk about more later. His opening joke was "By now you've realized those pictures of your room were taken with a wide angle lens." We had a standard balcony stateroom, which seems like it would be on the low end of decent space for two people, but it was tiny for three. The bathroom was also tiny, but the little space was efficient. My mom and sister took the two twin beds, and I was on the sofa bed. However, it is a step up from Hotel sofa beds, as it comes with a very nice set of sheets and is not on a bouncy spring mattress. On the third night we slept without air conditioning, it was only the next day we realized that the balcony door was just slightly open, which automatically shuts down the room's AC.
Centrums and Promenade: Everything on the ship revolves around the two massive lobbies and the football field of food and shopping that lies between. While it did seem a bit wider in the pictures, the Royal Promenade was no disappointment. It was the heart of the ship (literally. It had a giant expanding ball in the center that changed colors and size during the evening. Like a pumping heart). The Promenade was home to the Promenade Cafe (Ill talk about that magical place later), The Two Poets Pub (home to nightly live music from guitarist Rob McNay. I sat in on some of his shows, they were alright, not my music preference), Vintages (complete with a classic car), and the RCI logo show. Towards the back of the deck are the guest relations desk and the Champagne Bar, but I don't know if they are considered part of the promenade. I had a great conversation with the bartender of the Bar one night prior to one of the production shows. The two Centrums run up the sides of the Promenade. The Aft Centrum has eight elevators, four of which are glass facing the promenade. Four of the elevators run up to the Viking Crown Lounge. The Forward Centrum has six elevators, two which are glass. The Aft Centrum is the larger of the two, and includes access to the dining room(s), casino, Boleros, Studio B, and the photo gallery. The Forward Centrum provides access to the Metropolis Theater and The Schooner Bar. Many of these places will be discussed later in more detail.
The Theater: Seating 1,359 people, the Metropolis Theater is the heart of the ship's entertainment. It housed 2 production shows, 2 comedians, and a Motown group, all of which I will talk about later. It's not as classy aesthetically as some of the other theaters in the Voyager Class, but it is a little more energetic. In many of the pictures, you can see the giant lights on the theater's ceiling, but it's not generally known that they are actually used and change color during the shows. The theater is very beautiful, and in a moderately good condition. Some of the seats had bottom's falling off, and some of the wood bars need to be treated. There is a pit for the band on the front of the stage, but it wasn't used in any of the shows I saw. As for the seating, there are ground level seats, slightly elevated seats in the back of the first floor, and balcony seats. There are some obstructed views due to the pillars supporting the balconies, but there are not many of them. I took a backstage tour of the theater on the last day of the cruise, which was very interesting. This is what I learned: Each show takes one month to program the lights for. The backstage is 2 floors, the bottom floor houses the sets and costumes for that day's shows. The second floor (only access are very steep steps) acts as a storage place for costumes not being used that day. All the singers are live during the shows, but they do have pre-recorded tracks that they use in case a microphone is broken or one of the singers is sick.
Studio B: Home of Ice Dancin' (will be discussed later, yada yada yada) and The Quest, Studio B was a fun part of the ship. Although it is an ice rink, it is not freezing cold. I was fine watching the ice show in a shirt and shorts, and I live in Florida, home of heat. It seats 900, and was not full for any of the events. I would say it was about 75% full for The Quest, and just a little more populated for each of the ice shows. A good amount of seats have obstructed views thanks to the many support beams in the room.
Ixtapa Lounge: This is the secondary lounge on the ship. I only went in there a couple times, mainly when they had the Nintendo Wii set up and for Karaoke. It seats about 350 people, but I never saw it near capacity. The lounge was in a generally good condition.
Screening Room: I honestly did not expect this makeshift movie theater to be as packed as it was at times. It sits 60, but I often found people sitting on the floor or watching from outside because the room was filled. The room shows one movie a day, and repeats the movie every three hours. On our cruise, the movies were "Iron Man 2", "Knight and Day", "Clash of the Titans", "Shrek 4", and "Twilight: Eclipse". Many of these movies were constantly replaying on the TVs in the staterooms.
The Dining Rooms: The three (or one, depending on how you view the structure) rooms are beautiful and elegant. The room's red carpet is in great condition and contrasts well with the gold pillars and bright table cloths and the chandelier. My family was seated on the first floor, close to the center of the room. The first floor of the room seats about 900 people, with the second and third floors seating 540 each.
Windjammer and Jade: First and foremost, I don't see how Jade stands on its own as a restaurant. For breakfast and lunch, it is just an extension of the Windjammer, and it's just a single counter (one on each side of the Windjammer) serving Sushi and other Asian food at dinner. I guess the counter just gets its own name so RCI can claim that it's another "free" eatery on the ship. Just a minor nitpick though. The real problem here is that there was a lack of tables, at least during lunch. It was hard to find a place to sit and eat, and many people were competition to get an open table before the crew had a chance to clean it up. Long lines were a rarity here though. In fact, the only time I saw long lines were at the morning omelet stations, and that is fairly understandable. The Plaza Bar, in front of both Jade and the Windjammer, was very pretty. It had a miniature waterfall running down it's back wall. Overall, very clean and organized, if a little short on the tables.
The Viking Crown Lounge: This is the only aspect of the ship that I found lacking as compared to my cruise on the Majesty of the Seas. On that ship, the VCL had a full 360 degree view, a full circle lounge, providing great views in all directions. The VLC on the Navigator still has a decent view, but I still missed the full observation of the Majesty. Anyways, Navigator's VLC was home to the Cosmopolitan Club, which housed live music nightly. On one side of the VLC were the Seven Hearts card room, Cloud Nine, and The 19th Hole Golf Bar, in which I watched the Steelers obliterate the Raiders. For some reason, Cloud Nine had a "Diamonds Event" sign outside of it the entire cruise, I don't know why though. The sports bar was packed during game nights on the cruise, and when games weren't on, the TVs were showing either ESPN highlights or FOX News. The lounge was generally clean, though the carpet was looking rugged in some areas.
Adventure Ocean: The kid and teen programs took up a large part of the ship (at least in comparison with my previous cruises). All the separate rooms were adjoined by one of the largest arcades I had ever seen. As a teen, I was a frequent visitor to The Living Room and Fuel, the two teen lounges on the ship. The first of the two is where we played video games and trivia, while the second lounge was our dance club at night. While I did not spend much time in them, the rooms for the younger age groups were very spacious, although the carpets were looking stained and worn.
Sports Deck: Behind the Viking Crown Lounge lies the sports deck, the biggest and best one on any ship I have been on yet. Immediately behind the VLC is RCI's signature rock wall, which I was surprised to see was not used as much as it was on the Majesty. It's not just used for normal climbing though. There were various "speed climbing" contests held throughout the cruise that were fun to watch. In front of the rock wall are two ping pong tables, placed carefully so the strong winds would not affect the game. One deck below was the full basketball court. I don't know what material it was built from, but it held up very well after some constant raining during our stay in Cozumel. It doubled as a dodge ball court for multiple tournaments during the cruise. Furthest back on the sports deck was a miniature golf course. Even though it is open 24 hours, it is best to play it during the morning or early afternoon, because it becomes difficult as the winds pick up later in the day and night. Finally, there is an inline skating track, but it was considerably small and underused.
Pool Deck: What would a ship be without the pool deck? Overlooked by the Viking Crown Lounge, the Navigator's pool deck features two pools, side by side, with two hot tubs. For some reason, it was common for one of the pools to be closed at any given time, though both were open during the afternoon. The deck was clean, and not very slippery. Be sure to get your towels early, or else you will face long lines at the Towel Exchange Desk. Loose them, and it will cost you $20 each. Chairs were easy to come by, especially if you are a Crown and Anchor member, in which prime stadium seating chairs are roped off for you by the Pool and Sky bars. During the day, live music can be heard, or if the band isn't playing, modern pop music through speakers. The pool deck was home to a pool party and buffet on the third night from 11:30 PM through 1:00 AM, but more on that later. The pools themselves were never very crowded.
Solarium: This enclosed adult's only space was a mixed bag. While it was in good condition, it was always very packed. Go early to get a chair. Additionally, while children were kept out of the area, it didn't solve the "noise" problem of the main pool deck. Many adults in the Solarium, mainly college kids or those in their young twenties, were loud and disruptive, if only for brief amounts of time. The Solarium was Italian themed, which was elegant and pretty. On the fourth night, the Solarium became Club 20, an adults only club, so I don't know what it was like, but there were many multi colored lights and it looked like fun.
Schooner Bar: Full of smoke and the carpet was getting worn out. Had entertainment nightly from Don Alexander, a very talented singer/pianist (more later, yada) and trivia contests. Also, full of smoke, it deserves mentioning twice.
Casino: Surprisingly, not as full of smoke as the Schooner Bar, at least in the couple seconds I spent by the glitzy entrance.
Cruise Director Simeon Baker: At first, I didn't know what to expect from the cruise director. Obviously, being a Voyager Class ship, he would have more material to work with than previous cruise directors I have watched. My first impression of Simeon was that he was a bit off, but as the cruise went by I realized that it was because he had much more of a personality than my previous CDs. If you are wondering if my opening line to this review (Hello, hola, buenas noches, good evening) came from, its from Simeon. That is how he opened every show in the theater. It was weird at first, but it grew on me (and the rest of the cruisers) throughout the five days, and by the time the cruise was over, we were repeating each of those greetings after he said them. Simeon was very spirited during the cruise, but he contained his excitement properly so he was not just a flying ball of hyperactivity like my CD was last summer on Carnival. He also went the extra mile to entertain the guests. I don't know if this is an RCI standard, but on day four when we were leaving the ship to go to Cozumel, Simeon (who is bald, the kind with the shiny head) wore a short pink Lady Gaga type wig, glasses, and danced on deck one to remind us that that night was 70s night. One of my favorite things he did throughout the cruise was make a "special announcement" after every show time in the theater. For example, one of his announcements was "If someone lost a diamond encrusted 18 carat gold watch, the time is 8:01). The last thing we saw before walking in Mexico was our cruise director dancing, and it was clear he was having fun. He was a very friendly individual, and I spoke to him multiple times throughout the ship. In fact, during an elevator ride with him, he told me that his brother is a cruise director for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Matt Baker anyone?
Teen Program: This was a mixed bag for me, which was a disappointment because this was (incredibly likely, barring a miracle) my last cruise as a teen (by cruise line standards, aka 17 and under). It had every reason to be great. There were organized activities, two great teen clubs, and a lot of interested teens. The main problem however was the person in charge of my age group (not giving names). I know RCI likes to hire an international crew, but the head of the teen program is probably a job best served by an American. The problem with the teen consoler on my cruise was that she didn't understand what American teens are like. She tried to control our language, she wanted us to dance apart from each other, and she didn't know how to make activities appeal to our group. The worst part was when someone spread a rumor that she was drinking in a bar one night, so instead of playing Capture the Flag like was on the schedule during day four, she called us all into The Living Room and gave us a 30 minute speech about how she doesn't drink and was afraid the rumor would hurt her job. Just not something you want to talk with teens who want to play games. I agree that the rumor should not have been started, but don't interrupt the entire schedule to make a point of it to all of us. On vacation. Anyways, the activities themselves were very fun and the teens were really into it. RCI's teen program has always been better than the one on Carnival. On my Carnival cruise last summer, the teen club was only open (doors unlocked) when there was a scheduled activity in there. Additionally, the type of teens on the Navigator (and RCI in general) are just generally nicer than ones on Carnival. On the Navigator, we were welcome to come and go as we pleased. Activities ranged from Dodgeball to nightly dances to poker. I didn't spend much time with the teen program as I thought I would (too busy eating at Cafe Promenade), but I did enjoy the time I had, even though it needs a better person in charge. I don't think not being allowed in the teen program will hurt me on future cruises, because many of the activities offered in the teen program (casino games, Nintendo Wii, dodgeball, speed climbing, etc) are already offered to adults.
All Access (Production Show): There are three production shows on the Navigator of the Seas. The two that were preformed on our cruise were "All Access" and "Ballroom Fever". The third show, "Now and Forever", is supposed to be inspired by Broadway music and tunes. "Ballroom Fever" was themed around ballroom dancing, something that didn't interest me, so I skipped it. "All Access", which I did see, is a collection of rock songs from the 70s. Of all the production shows I have seen on any cruise, this was the most bland. That is not to say it was bad, but it just wasn't very special. One of my biggest gripes was the set, or more specifically, the lack of variety. On other RCI and Carnival shows, there are constantly changing backdrops and props rotating throughout the show. All Access's set consisted of an elevated bandstand, flashing LED lights in the background, and a lot of bars. There were also a couple of ladders that moved in from the sides of the stage, but nothing colorful or unique. Additionally, while the singers were good (more on them later), none of them had a voice for Rock and Roll. Their voices were not edgy enough to sing classic 70s song. Listening to "We Will Rock You" by Queen (the show's opening song) was difficult, because the lyrics should not sound smooth and pretty, they should sound gritty. The dancers were very talented, but the cerography for the show was nothing new. The entire package was just very bland compared to the shows I saw last summer on Carnival, and my favorite cruise production show, "Boogie Wonderland" on the Majesty of the Seas.
The RCI Singers and Dancers: All four singers had talent, there is no doubt, but there is only one that left an impression on me, Michael (don't know his last name). Not only was he a great singer, but he also had a fantastic stage presence, and the way he carried himself was very loose and relaxed. He seemed to be having more fun than the other singers, and he also had the best chemistry with the other singers and dancers. The dancers were also talented, though they did not have the best material. During the backstage tour I took of the theater, I met some of the dancers, one of which is 19. He told me he auditioned over video. I think he said he was one of the youngest dancers in the entire fleet.
Billy Garan (Headlining Comedian): Billy, who was the performer on our welcome aboard show, was a very interesting comedian. Interesting because there were times when he was really funny, but other times when I was wondering why RCI hired him. His opening joke ("By now you've realized those pictures of your room were taken with a wide angle lens") was funny, but holding up a giant cardboard cut out of Stewie's (from Family Guy) head and repeating the name "Lois" really quickly isn't funny at all. It's annoying actually. Billy was also a good impressionist, but he didn't use them in a comedic purpose (except for one about the TV show CSI). It was more like him doing impressions just so we know he can. His adult show was a bit of an improvement, but when he got to the impressions again, his show started to die out. He capped his performance off with an incredible boring "every TV movie acted out in 5 minutes", which had a lot of potential, but came off as corny and a waste of time.
Levent (Headlining Comedian/Magician): Levent, the performer on our farewell show, on the other hand was fantastic. He was very funny, incorporating humor into magic (or vice versa) much better than many others have tried. He had humor for kids and adults alike. It is clear he was a comedian first and a magician second, as every "magic trick" he did, save for a couple serious ones scattered throughout the show, were accompanied by comedy. For example, he put a bottle of wine into a paper bag, and "turned" it into a fake bunny, which he proceeded to take a sip from the top of. Another great moment was when he made a cane disappear from inside a newspaper (tribute to Houdini), and then walked around the stage without being able to bend one knee, and kicking the cane out loudly offstage. My favorite joke from him came from when he wanted the audience to vote on what his last trick should be, either sucking a potted plant up the nose or juggling two balls. The audience voted for the potted plant up the nose one, and Levent said that the juggling won by electoral vote. He called it democracy in action. I call it funny.
Spectrum (Headliner Musicians): Preforming on the third night, Spectrum is a Motown music cover group who performed in the theater. They were fantastic, and collectively were much better singers than any of the RCI Singers and Dancers, save for Michael. Spectrum comes from Las Vegas, and has been doing shows on RCI ships for a while now. Each of the four members took turns singing songs, all successfully. Having been born in 1993, there were many songs I did not know, but the ones I did know were performed beautifully. Highlights included their versions of "Soul Man" and "Stand By Me", which got the most applause from the audience, all earned.
Royal Promenade Parades: There were two parades on the Royal Promenade during the cruise. The "Welcome Aboard" parade on the first night (which seems to have replaced an ocean themed parade) and a "Mardi Gras" parade on the final night. Both were very entertaining, if a bit bland. The first one focused on the crew and where they came from. Many different cultures were introduced on the bridge in the Promenade. Additionally, the ship's staff was split into their individual groups (Cooks, Casino, Stewards, etc.) and carried banners throughout the promenade. The second parade had the RCI Singers singing (duh) as the rest of the ship's entertainers (Dancers, Ice Skaters, Cruise Director's Staff, etc.) danced in Mardi Gras type outfits. Both parades were about 15 minutes long, which is a good length. Any longer and they would have become repetitive. The only problem is that if you are not in the Promenade a couple minutes before the parade starts, you won't get a good view. The promenade is roped off literally seconds before the parade begins, and once you're behind the rope, you are pretty much trapped for the duration.
Ice Dancin' (Ice Show): Does it need to be said? It has been repeated so many times on this entire forum. I know you know it, I know I know it, but I will say it anyways: WOW. This show is spectacular, a surprising delight. Even with all the buildup and hype from reading about it on here, I was not prepared for the triple spins and backflips that powered this wonderful performance. See it. That is all that really needs to be said. I saw it twice. The show is preformed four times on the cruise, twice on the two sea days, at 3:00 and 5:00 PM. The guest act was a hoola hooper, who was very talented. I don't have her name with me right now, but when I get it I will post it.
Don Alexander: Don was the piano player and singer at the Schooner Bar during our cruise. He began on the ship during the end of its Mediterranean season back in September, and seems like he will be on it for the foreseeable future, which is good, because he is very talented. Every night (I believe, not positive) he played music and sung along in the Schooner Bar, which attracted big audiences. On the first night he played a tribute show to both Elton John and Billy Joel, and on the last night he took requests. I know he was playing on the other nights, but I don't know what the playlists were. Either way, this man was very good, and he earns bonus points for surviving all the smoke in the Schooner Bar.
Rob McNay: He was the guitarist in the Two Poets Pub. He played on pretty much the same schedule as Don, but Rob was far less interesting. Rob played guitar with prerecorded music in the background. I don't know if he sang or not. Either way, he did not garner much of an audience.
Various Bands and Orchestra: The Navigator of the Seas Orchestra was talented, as all of the main ship orchestras are. At night (don't know if it was multiple or only the last one) they played Jazz music in the Viking Crown Lounge. There was a separate music group that played regularly Boleros, called the "Latin Express Trio", and they were talented. When they were playing, there were many people dancing on the floor. They knew their audience well. I don't know which group played at night normally in the VLC, but they played good slow background music in case you wanted to relax. Finally, the pool band played live music throughout the day. I didn't spend much time listening to them, but what I heard was good. They played a lot of tropical themed music.
The Love and Marriage Game Show: This is one of the main reasons I love cruising. This show is always entertaining, because even though the questions might always be the same (which thankfully, they have changed since my last RCI cruise, as I feared they would be the same), the best aspect of the show is how the contestants react to and answer the questions. On this cruise, the players were a couple married for 20 days, a 2 year old married couple, and one married for 36 years. The 2 year couple were the funniest (and the winners). They were very comfortable with giving out information, and you could tell they were partiers. Simeon Baker was very entertaining during this, and seemed prepared for many scenarios with the contestants, such as when one revealed he had a bad farting habit. Overall, this part of the cruise did not disappoint at all, and I would recommend it to all. Well, not children.
The Quest: Also fun and entertaining and not recommended for children comes The Quest, RCI's wild "adult" game show, as they advertised it. Just like the Love and Marriage show, the real fun here is how the audience reacts to the specific quests. I don't know if all cruise directors follow the same questions and do the same things, but I could tell that Simeon had a lot of fun here, especially when at the end, he removed his shirt to reveal he was wearing a bra, and led 11 men also wearing bras (part of the last quest) through Studio B like they were in a fashion show.
Nighttime Deck Party: Sorry I don't remember the name at the moment (I don't have access to my compasses right now), but on night four from 11:30 PM to 1:00 AM, the Navigator had its midnight pool party. On the sidelines they had a great buffet, featuring many meats, appetizers, an ice cream bar, pork, and deserts. In the middle of the deck they had the main party, which strangely was not hosted by Simeon. Instead it was hosted by activities director Darren. The pre-party consisted of an ice carving demonstration, which was very cool to witness. The party itself started off with a lot of dancing songs (like the Cha Cha Slide) by the pool. After about 30 minutes or so, around midnight, they cleared the floor and set up a table with various bar tools. Everyone knew what was going to happen and got the best view possible. The bartenders were going to put on a show. The best views were gone quickly, so hurry up when you see they are getting ready for this. About four bartenders put on a presentation for us all individually, making their own signature drink with as many tricks as possible, and they proceeded to give the drinks they made out to audience members for free. After this I decided to go to sleep. I wanted to be rested well for my last day on the ship.
Poolside Games: In the early afternoon of the second day of the cruise was the traditional belly flop competition, and the crowd was really into it. The contestants were also having fun, with some signing themselves up under funny nicknames (some which humorously reflect on that persons weight), and others doing funny dances or movements before jumping into the pool. In the end, the person who earned the most applause was actually a woman, who might have actually had the biggest splash of all the competitors. And no, she was not overweight. This was very fun to watch. The second poolside game I watched was the Mr. Sexy Legs competition. Again, very funny to watch. In fact, I am sure some of the belly floppers participated in this as well. Some people have no shame in making fun of themself for entertainment. All the more power to them. Mr. Sexy Legs was also very entertaining. Other poolside games included Mrs. Biceps and the Poolside Olympics, both of those I unfortunately missed out on.
Overview: Before I get to talking about the individual eateries on the ship and what they serve, I want to discuss the food overall. It was a very mixed bag, depending on what you ate, where, and when. When originally planning the review, I knew I was going to compare this food to that on my Carnival cruise from last summer, but I didn't think I would need to compare it to the food from my cruise on the Majesty. Even both they are both RCI ships, there are noticeable differences between the food quality.
Pizza: I included this as its own category for a few reasons: For starters, pizza is one of the most important food products on a ship. Secondly, I need to compare it to both Carnival's pizza and the Majesty's pizza. Finally, because Pizza is served on multiple parts of the Navigator. Many say that Carnival has the best pizza at sea, but I disagree. I believe the best pizza belongs to RCI. Or more specifically, the Sorrentos pizza found on the Freedom and Oasis class ships, as well as the Majesty. Sorrento's is a land based pizza restaurant, like Johnny Rockets, so it's food is of a higher quality than the normal cruise line food. The difference is, Sorrento's is free on the ships that it is on, and is much better than Carnival's pizza, and that of the Navigator's. As for the Navigator's pizza itself, it's quality differed depending on where you received it. The pizza in the Windjammer was disgusting on the first and only time I tried it (lunch on embarkation day). It had very little sauce, and the cheese didn't taste like cheese. On the other hand, the pizza served in the Promenade Cafe (which is baked there, so it is entirely separate from the Windjammer pizza makers), was a big improvement. It was about as good as the pizza on my Carnival cruise last summer. They have plain and pepperoni available almost all the time, with a flavor of the day as well. Even better than the pizza though were the miniature calzones at the Cafe. When I was on Carnival, they were made by request, but on the Navigator, they had a big plate of them, almost always full, and they were very good. I believe I ate more calzones than any other individual food item on the ship.
Cafe Promenade: Normally you would expect the Windjammer or the Dining Rooms to be first, rather than this little Cafe, since they are more important, but I am writing about this first because the Cafe Promenade is the place I visited the most during the cruise. Open 24 hours a day, the Cafe always has treats for you. In the morning, they had breakfast pastries such as doughnuts, bread rolls, muffins, and danishes. After around 11:00 AM, they served pizzas and calzones, and continued to do so until around 2:00 AM the next morning. Also after 11:00 AM is when they served their signature cookies and cakes. Additionally, Seattle's Best Coffee, both regular and decaf, was available free all 24 hours. I made sure to visit the Cafe every morning for breakfast items. They served miniature challah rolls every morning, and I couldn't stop eating them, I loved them so much. The danishes were also tasty, if a little stale. I already talked about the pizza products, so I will move on to the cookies and cakes, which is what the Cafe is known for. The cookies they had were not always fresh (as in hard and crunchy rather than soft), but they were tasty. From what I observed, Chocolate Chip and Triple Chocolate Chunk were some of the favorites. Other flavors included Mudslide and Toffee, with what I think had Heath bar pieces in it. Overall, the Cafe Promenade was my favorite eatery on the ship, and I don't know how I will be able to live without it. Not just on other ships, but on land. I need my daily cookies and calzones.
Main Dining Room: Even though I already mentioned it, the Main Dining Room looks fantastic. I just wish that the food was of the same quality. Not that the food was bad, but it just wasn't very special. I ate in the dining room on three of the nights, and had a good meal, but nothing that I miss. On the first night, I had an Alfredo linguini with mushrooms. The Alfredo sauce was not very flavorful. I could tell it was there because of its creamy texture, but it didn't add much to the flavor. Same with the mushrooms. The pasta itself was good, but it's not really anything you can mess up. On night two, I had a shrimp cocktail appetizer, which was pretty good, and the Filet of Beef, ordered medium rare. Filling and better than the linguini (in terms of amount of flavor), but it still did not have a very big impact. I skipped the room for nights three and four, and returned on night five, the last of the cruise. On that night, I had a Ceaser Salad for an appetizer, which was dry and flavorless. I had two entrEes that night, a New York Strip Steak, which was better than I expected, and Turkey, which was mixed: The white meat was dry and dull, but the dark meat was juicy and tender. I ate breakfast in here on disembarkation day, and it was very good. The food was timely, and well prepared. I had buttermilk pancakes, and tried my sister's French Toast, both of which were better than I was expecting. Overall, the food here was good, but nothing special, and met my expectations, except for the Ceaser Salad, which was a joke. Despite the quality of the food however, it was always plated excellently.
Windjammer: The Lido Buffet was comparable to the dining room. It is a much better choice for lunch and for a breakfast on the go but with a drop in the quality of the food. I only had breakfast once in the Windjammer, on the second day (first morning) on the ship. I had a French toast, and it seemed like a solid triangle of egg yolk. After that, I ate in the Cafe Promenade for breakfast. If you do choose to go to the Windjammer for breakfast, expect long lines, especially at the omelet station. Thankfully, they have premade omelets available for those who hate waiting and are willing to sacrifice custom omelets. I generally came in here for lunch, in which they always served various meats and pastas. I tried a burger one day, and found it very lacking, which is to be expected. Why offer a good burger for free when you have Johnny Rockets? The hotdogs were good though, it's hard to mess those up. I would say the Windjammer was best during lunch. For dinner, they served the same general choices that they had in the dining room, but they were not as fresh.
Johnny Rockets: I love hamburgers. A lot. I knew I would be going to Johnny Rockets at one point on my cruise, and I decided to go on day three, after coming back from Georgetown, Grand Cayman. It was never incredibly busy, and the food doesn't take too long to get to you. I ordered the St. Lewis burger, with Swiss cheese and bacon, and ate it quickly. I ordered a second burger (I love hamburgers. A lot.), this time a standard original (plain with regular condiments) and ate it as well. And if that was not enough, I ordered the Royal Caribbean Oreo Sunday, which is 2 or 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream with Oreos and chocolate syrup, and ate it (although I knew I shouldn't, as I was already feeling full from the burgers), and it was delicious, as were the burgers. They are always fresh and cooked to order. And seeing how it was $4.95 for all of the food together (the cover charge covers everything except for milkshakes, which cost $4.50, and Floats, which cost $3.95), it was a great value.
Soda Package: I don't know how much this cost, but it was defiantly worth it. I had more soda in a day than I normally would have in 2-3 weeks, but hey, it's a cruise. If you are a huge soda drinker, get this, because not only do you get access to all the soda you want, but you also get a special colorful plastic bottle that is yours to keep. I love soda, and did not have the package on my previous 2 cruises. There is so much temptation on the Navigator, so many places where you can buy soda, and it's hard to resist. I believe a single soda can on the Navigator costs $2.25, and the card is about $6 or $7 a day (much less for kids), so if you plan on having at least 3 cans of soda a day, buy the card, or the bills will add up quickly.
Overview: For the most part, the service on the ship was very quick and efficient. I didn't know what to expect from the crew, since the Navigator was very recently back from its Mediterranean season, and I have read reports of low crew morale and efficiency on the cruise following a major home port change. Nevertheless, the crew was always enthusiastic and happy.
Room Service (not food): I want to talk about the room's cleaning and service staff first because they were the only group that we had a problem with. On the second day of the cruise, our room was not cleaned until around 8:00 PM. We were calling the front desk every few hours throughout the afternoon to have someone clean the room and make the beds (its hard to type this without sounding like an ignorant selfish brat, but this is what cruising is like lol). We saw the cabin crew cleaning the other rooms early in the day, but for some reason ours was skipped. Anyways, it was fixed up by the time we were done with dinner. Otherwise, the crew was great.
Dining Room: The staff here was fantastic. Unfortunately I do not remember the names of the waiter for my table and the other crew members who served us, but they were all great. They were more than happy to accommodate my eating (I have a big appetite, on or off a ship). The crew also had a great memory, as I ordered a Sprite on the first night, and they gave me one without me needing to ask on the other nights. They even brought one on the two nights I skipped. My only complaint would be that the food was a little slow on the second night. It took about half an hour for the main dishes to be served after the appetizer. I'm not sure if it was intentional though since it was formal night. However, its normally much quicker on cruises, and when you have second seating, getting the main dish after 9:00 PM just doesn't feel right.
Bars and the Cafe: The service at the Promenade Cafe and the other bars on the ship were also very quick. For drinks, it was as simple as taking out my soda card and telling them what you want. It was a bit slow at the Cafe Promenade though because of the lines. When picking up a snack from the Cafe, it might take you longer for you to decide what you want than for the server to give it to you. There are multiple bars in both Studio B and the Metropolis Theater, each with multiple bartenders. I would recommend you go directly to them for a drink before a show, because the servers who walk the ground are hard to come by, especially if you are in anything but an aisle seat.
Conclusion: Wow, what a cruise. It might sound like I found this cruise average, but it was huge improvement over my previous cruises because there was simply so much more stuff to do. The Promenade became my home. I think the only way you can't enjoy this cruise if you've been on the Oasis class. Every morning, on this cruise and my two other recent ones, I made my schedule for the day either the previous night or that morning with the compasses, but for the first time, I couldn't decide what to do. Teen dodgeball tournament or Battle of the Sexes? Soccer or trivia? Ice skating or the Love and Marriage Game Show? There are so many things to do on this ship, you will never be bored. As my last cruise as a teen, I was surprised that I did not participate in the teen activates as much as I wanted to, but I am now actually happy for that. This was my first cruise where I was given enough freedom to do what I wanted, and I took all those liberties. This is a great ship, and I had a great cruise. Of all the cruises I have been on, this is my favorite, followed by the Majesty of the Seas, and the Carnival Imagination and the Carnival Fascination. Thank you for reading this incredibly long review, and you can look forward to another one whenever I sail again. Ports:
Georgetown, Grand Cayman: When we were at Grand Cayman, my mom and sister dragged me on to what I like to call the "Ooh, lets buy this" excursion. For two hours, I moved from clothing store to perfume store, just waiting to get back onto the ship. If you're a collector of Hard Rock Cafe pins, there is one very close to the port. I am sure there is a lot to do here; we just didn't do much of it. For me, the highlight was trying a coconut rum cake. Delicious. I wish I bought some in the port. If for some reason you forget to do so, they sell them on the ship in the Logo store.
Cozumel, Mexico: We spent our time in Mexico down by the San Francisco beach. There are many fun things to do, including a very big water fun zone section including water trampolines, inflatable slides, and a giant rock wall type inflatable structure. It cost about 12 dollars, but was worth it. There I met people from the other ships in port, and had a very fun game of "push each other off the trampoline" with kids on the Carnival ships also in port. The water itself was very salty compared to the waters here in South Florida. The food we ordered from one the bars/restaurants was good, but pricy and low in serving size. Seeing how it's a tourist destination, I would expect that. Also, the roads were very bumpy, it's worth mentioning.
Disembarkation: Even though my mom wanted to get home as early as possible, my sister and I wanted to spend the most time on the ship we could, so we took the latest disembarkation time, 10:15 in the morning. Until then, I spent my time at the Cafe Promenade, saying good bye to each product. Individually. And tastefully. They called our luggage tag to leave at around 10:00 AM, after which the process was very simple. We filled out our customs cards before disembarking, so that was an easy process, and since we were among the last leaving the ship, it was not hard to find our luggage. Overall, disembarkation was a quick and painless process, which was still negated by the pain of having to leave the ship. Read Less