We chose The Navigator of the Seas because of the ports of call-Western Caribbean and wanted our kids to experience a Royal Caribbean ship with all the fun activities (rock climbing wall, FlowRider, Royal Promenade, etc.). After booking our cruise about 9 months before sailing, we saw on the internet that our ship was due for an upgrade (dry dock) in early 2019. We were excited to hear that the ship would get a whole new pool deck, water slides, new restaurants and bars.
Here is what you need to know about The Navigator of the Seas:
We stayed at the Homewood Suites Lagoon. Nice hotel with free breakfast. Shuttle to the port was about 15 minutes and the cost per person was $12. There are restaurants within walking distance and a store in case you need last minute supplies. From the time we stepped off the van and boarding the ship-it was about 45 minutes-Not bad
Like I mentioned above the ship got a rework, or as Royal likes to call it: Royal Amped Up...$115 Million dollars worth! Here is what was done:
-Basically the pool deck was totally redone. They re-imagined the pool area to a Caribbean resort-like feel. New waterslides, aquacoaster (first ever)
-Near the pool a new bar the Lime & Coconut and El Loco Fresh (both very good additions)
-Redone mini golf-very nice job-Same as what is on the Harmony of the Seas
-New in the Royal Promenade: Starbucks, Bamboo Room Lounge, Playmakers Sports Bar
-New restaurants: Jamie's Italian (Seriously good), Hooked (replaced Sabor)-These are both specialty for fee restaurants
-Glow in the dark Laser tag and Escape Room (Fee for Escape Room)
It also has the FlowRider, rock climbing wall, ice skating rink
Before we left I watched video tours showing the Navigator before it was drydocked. It looked nice but let me tell you Royal did such a great job with the rework.
We decided to go mid ship with my wife in the balcony stateroom and our 3 kids across the hall in an interior cabin. We found this configuration to work well as the kids would hang in our stateroom until they went to bed. Royal replaced the carpet and had new bed linens when it was in drydock. I did notice some wear and tear on the balcony but nothing too noticeable. Our stateroom balcony was very nice. I know there are arguments in favor and against a balcony. My opinion: Get the balcony, people. You are on a cruise-it is totally worth it. End of discussion.
Like I mentioned above we did opt for the specialty dining. We did a special where we did our first 2 nights at specialty dining restaurants.
We chose Izumi and Jamie's Italian. Izumi was good; you have $35 to spend per person and let me tell you that is plenty. We got a few specialty rolls and some of us got the hot plate (they cook the meat in front of you on the table-very cool). With me being half Japanese I am a sushi snob...there I said it. The rice was a bit overcooked and mushi. I know this is sushi but it should not be mushi!
Jaime's Italian was our 2nd night. My wife and I had eaten at Jaime's on Harmony of the Seas and did not think it memorable. This time on the Navigator it was memorable. From the service (shout out to Mihaela), appetizer (get the plank), entrees and desert (get the Tiramasu)-everything was great.
As for the main dining room, we had an issue with our table. We had 2 staterooms. Knowing this, I called Royal a few times to make sure we were all going to be at the same table-they assured me we would. Well on our third night (first 2 nights were specialty) they were going to seat our 3 daughters with a couple of lovely elderly ladies and my wife and I at another table. I let the person in charge know and they did seat us all together but it was in the corner of the dining room. I talked to them and for the remainder of the cruise our table was by a window and all of us together. Shout out to Chris and Yogesh for making everything flow smoothly after that 3rd night.
ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES:
The shows at night were decent. The stand out was the ice skating show. They had some dancing shows and comedians that were good. Nothing inappropriate for kids.
There was a very good activity crew member (actually the first person we did meet) named Aaron. When we first boarded the ship we wisely packed our swim suits so we immediately went to the FlowRider and that is where we met Aaron. He taught us how to maneuver on the FlowRider. We also saw him at laser tag and other times on the ship. He was just naturally funny and fun to be around.
The overall service was good. Some memorable but nothing that absolutely stood out. Aaron on the activity crew was probably the one that did stand out. Also Totot our assistant waiter in the main dining room was good as well.
PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS:
4 Ports in 7 days-Oh My!
Roatan, Honduras: We booked this independent from Royal. This was due to the fact we were trying to find a dive company that would accommodate my wife and I (PADI certified) and our 3 kids (non-certified) to dive together. We went with West End Divers and are so glad we did! Courtney & Joseph were our dive guides and Manon (the owner) made it possible for our whole family to scuba together (our own private scuba dive!) We highly recommend this company.
Costa Maya: We did the zipline and waterslide excursion thru Royal at the Mayan Lost Kingdom. For whatever reason I was not expecting much. It turns out this was a super fun excursion. Also, it did rain a bit while we were ziplining which added to the fun (warm rain)
Cozumel: We booked horseback riding for the girls and my wife and I booked a scuba diving excursion (both thru Royal) The scuba dive was great, we saw a shark, eagle ray and turtle. Also went thru a pass thru as well. The kids said they had a great time on the horse back ride as well
Grand Cayman: We decided to go with the Sting Ray and snorkel excursion thru Royal. It was a nice excursion to do once (check the box). The water was absolutely beautiful and it was fun interacting with the sting rays.
Looking back on this cruise, from the newly amped ship to the crew and dining to the 4 ports-we would say this was a very memorable cruise. If given the opportunity we would definitely go again in an instant. Royal did a great job in updating The Navigator of Seas.
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