We had a wonderful time on the newly refurbished Navigator. We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to see the ABC islands and this was a nice 9 day out of Miami, saving us airfare to Puerto Rico. We had sailed on Navigator before and were excited to see her after this impressive refit. We booked a balcony and travelled with my sister's family who has kids the same age as ours (10 and 12). We had adjoining rooms and were able to open the balcony door to share the space.
As with anything there were some hits and some misses that I will summarize:
- the new water slides are great. By far the most fun we have tried at sea. The two person raft slide was perfect to go down with our kids.
- the addition of a splash pad for the little ones was appreciated by several families
- the new El Loco Fresh was a hit. Great tasting Tex Mex fajita style food that was included at no extra charge. Nicely located by the pool for lunch or a snack
- the new sports bar was very popular
- they actually had a professor of astronomy on board giving lectures. They were fascinating and our oldest loved it
- the new ice show was a great production with some effects I've never seen before
- The evening shows were entertaining. The Royal productions shows had very talented singers and dancers. The comedians were hysterical.
- this itinerary was all we hoped for. We thought Aruba would be the highlight, but snorkeling at Bonaire was simply like swimming in an aquarium. Truly an unspoiled gem
- the new Johnny Rockets Express was disappointing. The food was good, but it is now an open area next to the pool. You lose the charm of dining in a 50's diner and no more dancing and singing staff. The pool noise was so loud that the manger actually had to unplug the speaker near Johnny's so that the staff could hear what people were ordering.
- speaking of noise, I lost count of the number of people wearing noise cancellation at the pool deck. Someone had it turned to "11" !
- our cabin was disappointing. Our glass door to the balcony had a wind leak. We had maintenance out twice to fix, but they could never get a good seal. For a ship just out of dry dock, they had not fixed some of the basics. Also, the door that lets you merge two adjoining balconies would not latch and would bang around if you didn't keep it closed. Definite design issue here.
- the ship definitely is more crowded. The staff told us that with the additional cabins and 3rd or 4th person bunks, they could cram an additional 1400 people on Navigator. You noticed it at show times, dinner seating and elevators. Not horrible, but definitely noticeable.
- the crew as a whole seemed to be finding their feet. Not sure if it is because they came out of dry dock 2 weeks prior, but there seemed to be a lot of scrambling. Two of our dinners took 2 hours+ for no really good reason. Our cabin steward was simply the worst we ever had with Royal. Barely was seen and often didn't get to our rooms until lunch time and around 9:00pm at night
- we wanted to do the Escape Room but had to pass. They charge $20 per person regardless of party size. If the 8 of us signed up it would be $160! We could do 4 escape rooms back home for that much. Also, no children under 12 were permitted, so we passed. I never talked with anyone that had done it the entire cruise. I'm guessing it won't be around long.
- the Main Dining Room was good most of the time. My concern is that the menu choices seem to be fewer and fewer with each cruise.
For all that, we had a wonderful time. I don't want to give the impression that I'm one of those people that complain they are on a cruise! Just want to give you an honest assessment.
The ship is beautiful with lots of great spaces and features after this refit. The ABC's lived up to their billing! Nine days was just right for us!!!
A bit cramped with the sofa bed out. Our room steward never put it away during the day. The glass door to the balcony had a wind leak that maintenance never got fixed.
First time with a balcony and I think we will go back to our favorite Panoramic Ocean View next time.
Fun day on a catamaran. Snorkeling here was colder and not as scenic as Bonaire, but still amazing. The variety of fish was just incredible. The crew took great care of us and helped my daughter out every step of the way, as she was in a boot for a high ankle sprain. Great excursion!View All 185 Snorkeling Reviews
What an amazing day. Beautiful resort with an awesome beach. Pefect for relaxing and letting the kids play. The all-inclusive is the way to go!View All 118 Beach Reviews
A true highlight. Sailed out on a real sailing vessel under wind power. Simply the most stunning snorkeling I've ever done. You felt like you jumped into an aquarium! We even saw a sea turtle come by us.View All 171 Snorkeling Reviews
Nice beach day, but everything now costs extra. All of our kids broke out with rashes after this day. I think it was something in the sand. Thank the Good Lord for Benadryl !!!