Note: Hurricane Dorian had just gone through a week beforehand so I am not going to base any of my review on the Nassau Port beach areas or initial expectation of beach enjoyment rather, I will focus my review on the Navigator, Nassau, & Coco Cay's activities and amenities. We had booked beach/ocean excursions but canceled after the hurricane knowing that the water would be full of debris and not clear. It's a good thing or we would have wasted a lot of money.
Myself & 18 Year Old Daughter
Ocean View Room - Deck 2
Budget Trip to Enjoy the Ship & Ports - No extra packages etc. We literally wanted to sit by the pool and on the beach.
First, the Cons:
Ship: The ship is showing signs of wear and tear, seats in certain venues are worn and look rough. Cushions on the deck in the Solarium are stained and as the fabric is a solid, light color, it has a particularly "nasty" vibe on the cushioned couple's lounges...if you know what I mean. (Hey Designers....the cushions would be better off with a printed fabric.) The Solarium pool is a little worn and the fountains never worked while we were there. On cruise days, there just wasn't enough shaded seating as an option on the decks and if you didn't get there early, there wasn't enough seating around the pools, period. We spent a lot of time looking for pool seating then heading indoors so as not to get burned until people would disperse for activities. Seriously, there was NO music at the Solarium, no steel drums, no dj, nothing...just this weird dead air silence or chatter from the people laying about. We could hear music from the other pool but if you didn't want to share the pool with kids, you didn't get the fun entertainment or music at all. There wasn't enough music on board in my opinion.
Cabin: Let me say, I was hesitant about our cabin location but I LOVED it. This was a budget trip but I can't do rooms without natural light so I spent more on the OceanView but didn't choose our room. Our steward was super nice and kept our space very nice but you could tell that she was just "done & over" the whole thing. We made sure to leave her a nice tip and try to keep our space clean. I felt that we may have been in her way a lot. As for the room, we had 2 twins set up and everything in our cabin was perfect except, 1. there was mold growing between the glass and wall in the shower behind the seal, not a place that can be cleaned. (poor design) 2. The decor and linens are starting to look worn and there are a lot of stains on the whites. 3. Our window stayed pretty dirty which hindered our view.....we couldn't tell if it was between the glass or outside but it's probably because it was so low to the water.
Food: Windjammer had too much repetition, especially at breakfast and lunch. The food seemed to be geared toward the kid's palate, not adults as much. This is probably a good way to get cruisers to try the elevated dining but be prepared for that if you plan on traveling on a budget. The "American" food choices were a bit bland while the "International" foods were sometimes oversalted, especially the meat at the taco bar by the pool.....add rice and beans to subdue that. Also, if you like chocolate, you are going to really be searching the ship, there wasn't a lot. If you don't drink a lot of alcohol or sodas, buying a drink package is pointless but be prepared to have little to no selection for beverages. On day one, the Windjammer had coffee, hot tea, water, ice tea, lemonade, and oj, after day one, I only saw coffee, hot tea, water and apple juice (watered down)....you had to really hunt down water as the dispensers were often empty. It's difficult to refill water bottles at the dispensers but quick tip, if you go to the soda dispensers, they also have water and you can fit a water bottle under the spout. The hot tea selection is pretty decent so if you can find ice (good luck) you can make a decent ice tea....bring your own reusable bottle/cup or you will struggle to stay hydrated.
Entertainment: Again, more music on the Solarium deck please! Also, throughout the ship, there needs to be more music during the daytime. The rest of this con is personal preference as entertainment is so subjective. Much of the Promenade entertainment felt very "middle school pep rally" except the live bands across from the Cafe Promenade...they were awesome even though you had to stand in the walkways to watch. The library needs to be repurposed; I was told that a lot of the books get thrown out when there is a shipboard virus or people walk off with them so it was really a sad sight to see almost empty shelves. This would be a good space to display more art, have a coffee house vibe, or even just some sort of interactive space. If you are a solo traveler or have a travel companion that is introverted, plan on a lot of people watching as most activities on board are hard to enjoy solo.
Nassau - Since we canceled our water activities, we decided to explore Nassau by foot and have lunch at Senor Frogs (go see Michael, he's great). We explored the Straw Market and walked around the town a bit. There is a LOT of aggressive souvenir selling, most of which are repeated items, look for local artisans that are sitting and making and buy from them then just say no thank you when you are finished. On the walking paths, a lot of "high end" shops with "callers" from all sides. If you are traveling with small children or those who have sensory sensitivities, this can be overwhelming and scary. We decided after several hours of being called after ("Mami, can I be your son-in-law!" was constant) it was time to go back and just enjoy some quiet pool time.
Ok, Now the Pros -
If you are traveling with kids, this is the ship for you!!!
Ship: The waterslides, flowrider, rockwall (early before it gets hot), courts, putt putt golf, pools, WATERSLIDES, game rooms, ice skating rink (bring long pants and socks), laser tag, splash parks, teen rooms, WATERSLIDES are AMAZING!! Did I mention the waterslides???? I'm almost 50 and I LOVED them, totally went on them more than you can imagine. If you are are traveling with kids, you are going to have fun. You can even sit in the pool and watch family friendly movies after dinner. The side balconies on the 4th deck and deck 3 are the best places to hang out when the ship arrives and leaves the docks....it's just beautiful and gives that windy "I'm king of the world" feel. If you don't mind being in full sun, there are a lot of upper deck areas to enjoy the view the ride. However, if you need to be indoors because you fry crispy in 10 minutes, head to the Cosmopolitan during the day, it's practically always empty and has a gorgeous view from the top with wrap around windows. You can take your drink up there, a journal, book, sketch pad and have hours of uninterrupted solitude with a great view.
Food: If you aren't eating at the Select Restaurants on board but are tired of the Windjammer, make sure you go to the dining room! Their food is top notch and if you get Rob & Felix as your servers, you are going to be pampered. Don't feel bad if you want to order 2 desserts or appetizers, it's totally worth it. Do it! Never leave the dining room without experiencing the creme brulee....if you don't get it, you have missed out. I've decided that anytime the dining room is open when I am on a cruise, I will be there. It saved the food experience for our trip. The taco bar by the main pool is a tasty alternative to the lunch in the Windjammer but their meat tends to be on the salty side so make sure that you get a little extra beans or rice to cut that and some lime and you will be happy!
Entertainment: If you are planning a cruise and you love art, add an art budget to your allowance....oh my word, the art auction by Park West was the absolute best fun. I didn't have it in my budget but I left with 6 authenticated, signed art prints in hand and I'm waiting on my Anatole Krasnyansky print to arrive. I just kept entering raffles and participating in the art games and I'm stoked that I came home with so much artwork. I have a few that I like and I've got gifts for Christmas! Look for the piano man in the elevators, that's a lot of fun. Go to the shows....some are hokey but Showgirls was great! We saw their last performance but I'm sure it will be replaced by something else equally great. I enjoyed the Latin dancing and music on board BUT would have loved to have someone to dance with...they need to add professional dancers (like in Dirty Dancing) to dance with solo cruisers because otherwise we have to sit and watch. :( Go to the late night dance parties if you like pulsating dance club vibes on a low key level. I noted that there were a lot of in-bar activities during the day; game show type games, karaoke, bingo, wine/martini/whiskey tastings, and most were geared towards couples.
Coco Cay - IF YOU HAVE KIDS>>>>>>>WOWZA! The splash park, waterslides, pools, etc are amazing, you will have a blast. It's a waterpark on an island. Plan on spending the whole day the same way that you do at a waterpark....bring your sunscreen and just let the kids RUN.
The cabin decor is dated and worn but neat and tidy. There was plenty of room for 2 people and lots of storage nooks.
Biggest complaint; The linens were rough, stained, & there was mold growing between the sealed glass shower and the wall (poor design). Our ocean view was obstructed by dirty glass but I can't tell if it was outside or between the glass. Our steward was pleasant & kind but seemed exhausted/done. I think she needed more help.
We rented a car and drove around, great experience.
Read original review - We didn't enjoy this port too much but lunch at Senor Frogs was tasty and our server, Michael was great.
GIANT FREAKIN' WATER PARK!