This is the 20th cruise my wife and I have been on together, and our 8th with RCI. We drove from our home to Miami to board the ship, so I cannot provide any flight, transfer, or hotel information. I will say that for being “The Cruise Capital of the World,” Port Miami is a real pain to get around in. It’s very confusing how the lanes work, with very little signage to help first timers. Hopefully all the construction is geared to remedy that problem. We had to reschedule a cruise from later last year to this sailing due to a family situation that prevented us from taking our previous trip. We did not sail with any family or friends this time.
Navigator is very similar in look and layout as Mariner OTS, as they have both been through recent refurbishments. The ship feels and looks like a smaller version of the Oasis class, minus the neighborhoods. For us this is a plus, as Oasis class is our preferred ships to sail on. Most venues onboard Navigator were clean and updated, and more or less felt new.
We participated in a few of the activities during our cruise. We normally stay quite busy during a cruise, but this sailing we tried something a little different. We didn’t book a single show, event, activity, or shore excursion ahead of time. We instead chose to relax and let the day surprise us. This is NOT a good idea on the new larger and higher capacity ships. We managed to catch several trivia sessions, watched the belly flop competition, and a few of the other random daily events. They are on par with what you’ll find on other ships, and we enjoyed each of them.
We were in cabin 8584 with a balcony on the port side of the ship. We found that overall the cabin met our needs. Plenty of storage space and the balcony itself was surprisingly large. Some of the furniture did have some stains on it, and we found what we believe was a bloody fingerprint in the bathroom on the wall next to the door. Gross, and rather creepy. Also, the bed was about as comfortable as a concrete slab and there was a surprising lack of USB charging ports. We usually bring a multi USB charging adapter, so it wasn’t a problem, but we’d have a difficult time keeping our electronics running without it.
The ships aren't docked at the same terminal we embark at, requiring shuttles to get back to our cars. The lanes shift frequently with little notice, and lane changes are challenging. As the "Cruise Capital of the World," Port Miami leaves a lot to be desired.
As Florida residents who cruise frequently, I could probably draw a map of the port at Nassau with relative accuracy. We simply meandered between the shops (avoiding the straw market due to harassment) and had a few drinks. The only note-worthy new addition is a new bar off the side of Senior Frogs called Lukka Kairi. You’ll find the pier/walkway right next to the entrance for Senor Frogs. It’s actually owned and run by the infamous bar chain but has a totally different feel. The bar sets out over the water and provides a great view of the ships that are docked and the smaller boats coming and going. The bar menu and ambience are much more refined than the “party till you puke” atmosphere from Frogs. We felt we were in an upscale venue. The service was great, and drinks were excellent. It’s a great alternative to the party bar scene that Frogs is known for and does so well.
CocoCay was a wonderful experience. The island is well decorated and easy to navigate, once you get your bearings. While RCI will upcharge you for just about everything (the hot air balloon, water park, and a few exclusive beach side areas are all extra fees), the rest of the guest areas weren’t a disappointment. I must also mention that passengers with a drink package can use it on the RCI private island (are you listening, NCL?). My wife and I never found it difficult to find lounge chairs near the pool or the beach, and other guests didn’t seem to have much difficulty either, a big plus considering there was another ship calling with ours that day. The poolside DJ played some great music in the late morning while we sipped on some delicious frozen drinks. While the atmosphere will turn more towards the party/club scene as the day goes on, you can always find a new spot if that’s not your thing. We ate lunch at the barbecue buffet and were very pleased. The steak tacos were delicious! And as on board, we never had to hunt down a server to get more adult beverages. We were approached so much that it was almost annoying. But, I’d rather have that problem than standing in line to pay $18 for a drink I can get for free a quarter mile away onboard our ship. For those passengers with mobility issues, there are several electric trams (read glorified go carts) that go from the ships to several stopping points around the island. Overall unless you are a water park fanatic or that person who wants “exclusivity” the provided atmosphere at CocoCay will be just fine, provided you are looking for a sit by the pool or ocean kinda day. You can also do snorkeling, but the area was roped off and seemed small. We did note that the variety and type of activities onboard went dry while we were docked, so be prepared to entertain yourself if CocoCay doesn’t interest you. My only criticism is the lack of available merchandise. I expected to find a store with RCI brand and CocoCay logo merchandise… what we got was a three-sided cart. Our bartender did mention that the new CocoCay is currently in phase one of a developing plan, so perhaps there is more to come…