We are back from our five-day cruise and already planning another one during Spring Break in March, 2019. We like cruising.
I am not sure if we like Royal Caribbean, though. Our Navigator of the Seas cruise had ups and downs. The 3,800-passenger capacity super-ship had the largest cabin room (200-sq. foot room, 65-sq. foot balcony) that Denise and I have ever experienced. It even had a large couch, and life looking out from a balcony is always better.
Navigator is a beautiful ship. It has a promenade walkway that looks like a modern-city street, complete with attractive second-story apartments gracing one's view. Along this gorgeous walkway, there is a shop open where one can get coffee, tea, and pastries 24-hours a day. Now that's my kind of service. The overall service provided by the 1,100 workers is first-rate--as it is on nearly every cruise ship. C'mon, it's why we cruise.
There were things about the Navigator of the Seas that make me question whether I want to cruise specifically with Royal Caribbean. This was my first Royal cruise, and it felt to me that Royal is using super-ships in search of families with children. The ad for Navigator online encourages passengers to "amp up" their experience. I am 64 years old, and I stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling amplifiers at a myriad number of rock concerts during the 1970s and 80s. At this time of my life, I desire a good meal with the woman I love--followed by a game of cribbage. So maybe Royal Caribbean is not the cruise line for me.
A big factor that helps me decide on a cruise line is food quality. Overall, Navigator did not have the quality I wanted. The buffet food in the Windjammer Cafe was mediocre--not bad but not great, either. Then, on the second night of fine dining, Denise got food poisoning. We can never prove such a charge, but food poisoning is our conjecture. If correct, our experience underscores the following: when Navigator advertises that it provides "cuisines that you crave," food poisoning cannot be an cuisine option.
There were meals offered every night of the cruise, and we think this one--spaghetti bolognese--was reheated. Denise was quarantined for 24 hours, and--to their credit--the staff did everything in their power to make her time enjoyable as well as safe. Take a five-day cruise, however, and remove 24 hours--it's not difficult to do the math. If there is one lesson you can take from our experience, it is this: always order the meals offered just for that specific evening.
There is another factor for Navigator of the Seas to address. This was the dress code of fine dining. It simply was not enforced. People in short pants and t-shirts were often seated as if they were in their finest duds--and maybe they were. However, one of the major draws for me toward cruising is that I get to pretend I am rich. I have difficulty doing this in fine dining when I am seated next to a guy in short pants wearing a faded t-shirt that says "I Have The Answer." If Mr. Know has the answer, then I have the question: What is going on here?
Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Sea has issues, but we will not rule out using the cruise line in the future. Perhaps the two ships--Brilliance and Rhapsody--which regularly depart from Tampa will find their way into our cruising itinerary. Hopefully, these two ships will not talk about "amping up" that which we seek to calm down.
Largest cabin cruise room we ever stayed in.