This was our first cruise so there is a lot to unload! I hope that any first timer can take something from this :)
We are a family of 4 myself, my husband and our daughters 9 and 10. My husbands biggest fear in the world was flying. We have been together for 20 years and I suffered for the last 20 years.lol. So when our daughter made it to the pop warner cheer nationals in Disney he quickly realized he was going to have to conquer that fear to see his baby shine on stage. And he did and as soon as we landed in Orlando, I booked our cruise.
As a travel novice I had no idea what I was doing or even what to do. I ended up using CheapCaribbean.com and they were amazing and saved us a lot of money. I chose the Navigator purely based on itinerary. I just knew we wanted to see clear water that doesn't turn legs purple like we were used to being from New England and that was it. After booking I started doing all the research I possibly could to prepare us for our travels. I was a tiny bit concerned about Nassau but after researching I found the best option for us.
We flew in a day early and stayed at a hotel on South Beach, I am glad we went but never have to go back there again. The port was fairly close and we ended up getting there about 10am and quickly made it through check in and were on the ship I would say probably within 10 mins.
Just walking on the ship gave me chills. Everything was so bold and beautiful!! We quickly made our way to the pool deck so our daughters could hit the slides and the pool before it got to crowded. They were so happy!! Around 1 they announced the rooms were ready. We made out was to deck 3 forward cabin 3262. It was Oceanview and decent size. I was nervous at first my husband is a big guy over 6ft but we were pleasantly surprised and the pullman beds weren't in our way over the bed at all. Our luggage was delivered by 2:30 which was amazing, I expected it to be much later in the day. Plenty of closet space and hangers for all 4 of us. I quickly organized and out stuff away for the next 4 days so we could go have fun! The ship had 3D maps of the ship were were extremely helpful to get around. On the navigator if your cabin is forward you need to go up to deck 5 to cut over which took some getting used to but we dealt with it. I think if we ever sailed on the Nav again I would choose an Aft cabin. I did get the soda/VOOM package which was for one device, but my husband and I could switch off when we needed the wifi. The wifi was kind of spotty in our cabin but worked fine everywhere else on the ship and perfectly at CocoCay. Our first night we tried to really familiarize ourselves with the ship and go to our reservation at the MDR. If you are ever on the Navigator request Jose as your waiter!! We had my time dining but still made reservations for every night based on our schedule and this worked for us. Ok, back to Jose he truly made our experience that much more incredible. He was so personable and fun. He cut my daughters spaghetti. CUT UP SPAGHETTI lol. He always brought us dishes we didn't order so we could try them he just really went out of his way in all aspects. Aside from our waiter we loved the food in the MDR. We were always happily full when we left. Really nothing bad to say. We tried the windjammer a few times for breakfast, lunch and snacks and weren't blown away. It was always kind of chaotic which most buffets are but the food was good. If buffets aren't your thing you can have breakfast, sea days lunch and dinner in the MDR. We loved the poolside taco place everything was so good!! Also the cafe promenade was out late night go to, pizza was amazing!
Our first day was at sea and I loved the sea day and it was super relaxing and we got to enjoy all aspect of the ship!! After our sea day our first stop was CocoCay. We got of pretty fast and headed to chill beach and got chairs right at the shore. The water a little chilly but still refreshing. We moved onto the pool and it was great there too. Food was included at most places and was great, especially the Cuban sandwich. The island was beautiful don't get me wrong but if you didn't do an excursion or the water park it was kind of overwhelming with so many things going on and places to see. We would absolutely return but have something planned. Our 2nd stop was Nassau which I know a lot of people don't care for but I wanted to make the best out of it. I did a lot of research and found Love Beach. After we plowed through everyone in the port asking if we wanted a taxi, ATV, scooter or whatever else we made our way to Fredrickson Street and grabbed the #10 Jitney (bus) for $1.50/pp. It took about 25 mins with stops to get there. The bus drops you off right in front of Nirvana Beach Bar which is how you enter the beach. There were some workers who rented out beach chair at $5 per chair and he then brings them to where ever you want to be. That beach was so pristine and stunning we were so happy to be there. There were tide pools at the shore attached to reefs that were deep enough to snorkel. My daughters had the time of your lives and saw so many different tropical fish and great GoPro footage it was beautiful. Besides us there were about 15 other people at the beach mostly cruisers some locals. There was also a hair braider there named Donna she was super nice and was cheaper than the woman at the port (I checked on my way back). The food at the bar and drinks were decently priced and good. We really enjoyed out time in Nassau without an overpriced excursion. If your on the fence about Nassau really check out Love Beach you won't regret it!
Every night on either a sea or port day we would try and take advantage of what the ship had to offer and do as much as we could. Every show on that ship was phenomenal. The ice skating show, El Gaucho, Showgirls, The dance show, all fantastic and flashy and worth checking them all out. The arcade was a bit of a rip off like most arcades are but the kids still enjoyed it. I loved the movies by the pool, the first night at seas no one was out there at it was so relaxing and the breeze was perfect. We did sign our girls up for Ocean Adventure the first day but honestly didn't use it once. There was so much to do as a family we really didn't want or need to be without them.
Then just like that we were back in Miami and so sad about it. Our cruise went by so fast. We carried off our own luggage and were off the ship by 8am. We stayed at Hollywood Beach overnight liked it much better than Miami. Then home to our fur babies who missed us very much!!
I am making a choice by staying 100% loyal to Royal and already booked our 2nd cruise on the Indy next April. Royal's service, atmosphere, and experience made our first cruise unforgettable and don't know if anything could top what we had. It was a truly incredible time and opened our eyes especially my husbands eyes to the beautiful shared family experience's we can have when we travel. Only 400 day to go lol!
We loved our cabin. We were a bit worried about the pullmans over our head but had no problem at all. The cabin was spacious enough for a family of 4 to move around freely and not bump into each other. There was enough closet space and hangers for all of us. We liked where our cabin was located it was easy to get everywhere from where we were located.
Research and find something secluded or "secret". We had the best time in Nassau because of finding the right thing for us.
Beautiful Island, just find what you want to do or it can be a bit overwhelming.