We chose this cruise for a quick weekend getaway without taking much time off work. We chose the Navigator because we sailed on Mariner after the refurbishment about 6 months ago and loved the Mariner renovation.
Embarkation- Incredible. From the Uber to onboard in less than 10 minutes. Terminal A is fantastic.
Cabin- cabins were beautifully upgraded with new carpet and upholstery (dark blue and gray color scheme). No complaints here. All cabins were available at 1PM.
-The good: They did a great job modernizing this older ship. It truly has a similar feel, color scheme, venues, etc. to the brand new Royal ships. The solarium and main pool are beautiful.
-The bad: They WAY overdid it with the "upgrades". The outer decks are now cluttered with cabanas and massive hot tubs filled with screaming kids and drunks, so there are few chairs available in the sun. It is pretty from a brochure standpoint, but totally impractical and chaotic in real life.
They removed the once beautiful fitness area at the front of the ship (along with the FREE locker room, steam and sauna areas) and moved the gym to a small, terrible location at the back of the ship. The ceilings are too low, so the treadmills do not incline, there are limited free weights, limited space, etc. They relocated it to add a whole deck of new cabins to deck 11.
With the addition of hundreds of new staterooms, the elevators are always packed. Crowds and waits everywhere. This was never an issue on this ship before the added staterooms and removal of public areas.
Food- I attributed this to it being a wekeend cruise, but the food was terrible aside from El Loco Fresh and specialty restaurants. Buffet options for lunch and dinner were along the lines of hamburgers, hotdogs, frozen quality pizza, rice, pasta and marinara, breads, and jello-type deserts. That is completely unacceptable for a $500 per night cruise in my opinion.
Ports- CocoCay was beautiful. We had visited in December before the opening of "Perfect Day" and did not spend much time on the island because it was "blah", but they have really transformed this little island into paradise. We spent all day here. The dining options were better than on the ship, the pools and beach were wonderful, and the views were fantastic.
We were very lucky with beautiful weather on this sailing. We had a great weekend, but would we chose Navigator of the Seas again? No, we would not, for the following reasons:
1) Sometimes less is more. Mariner of the Seas (sistership sailing out of Pt. Canaveral) had a slightly less extensive refurbishment that added most of the same amenities, but with less added cabins, it left the beautiful pool deck alone, and left the beautiful gym area intact. If you are a avid gym-goer or physically active, choose Mariner or Independence of the Seas for your short cruise needs.
2) There will be music or action/kids movies loudly blaring on the pool deck movie screen at all times... to the point that you will be able to hear it even in the "quiet" solarium. I assume this is Royal Caribbean's attempt to get the party going, but it kills the mood, not enhances it.
3) The free food venues were appalling. We have sailed with Royal Caribbean on approximately 25 sailings over the past 20 years, and the food was shocking on this sailing. Take advantage of El Loco Fresh and venues on CocoCay for more appealing complimentary food options.
Nicely updated, beautiful view, slightly larger than other oceanview rooms. Overlooks the helipad. Only negative is that you will feel strong vibrations that will wake you up when the ship is maneuvering into ports. Perfect for 3 nights.
Beautiful upgrades. We enjoyed our time here.