While in Florida recently for cruise3sixty, the cruise line industry’s largest national conference, I had the opportunity to take part in a few ship inspections. Although I don’t get to sail on the ship during a ship inspection, I was treated to lunch on board and then a ship tour of public spaces as well as cabins. The Navigator of the Seas is fourth out of Royal Caribbean International‘s five Voyager-class cruise ships and was introduced into service in 2002. Constructed in Turku, Finland, the ship measures 138,279 gross tons and can carry 3,114 passengers plus a crew of approximately 1,213. The godmother of the Navigator is tennis champion, Steffi Graf. The Navigator spends winters sailing Caribbean itineraries from Florida then spends the summers sailing from Civitavecchia, Italy to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Other ships in the Voyager-class include Adventure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, and Voyager of the Seas. Although her sister ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are now the world’s largest ships, she is still one of the largest passenger ships in the world. Although a Voyager-class ship, she has some changes that make her different from the other ships in her class. For example, the Windjammer buffet extends further aft and includes “Jade,” an Asian fusion section. One of the biggest changes is her glass balconies, which some of the others do not have. All in all, she is identical to the Mariner of the Seas, which has the same additions.
Pool area: If you have been on a Royal Caribbean ship, then you are probably familiar with the layout of their pool area. This is true of their smaller ships and larger ships as if you have been on one, you know exactly where to go on almost any Royal Caribbean ship. This picture taken from the Viking Crown Lounge shows the pool area with hot tubs and seating on both the pool deck and the deck above. I like the shade covers over the hot tubs, which provide added protection from the hot sun. If you feel like stepping out of the sun, you can sit in the area underneath the deck above and yet still be close to the pool. Always bring flip flops though as the decking can get really hot!
Dining options: The main dining room is beautifully decorated and even during the day is a magical place. Passengers can enjoy each of their meals in the main dining room or opt for their meals in other venues and even in their cabin with room service. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available 24 hours a day free of charge, but for a few minor exceptions. As stated on the Royal Caribbean web site: “All meals (including coffee, tea, water, iced tea or lemonade) delivered by room service are included in the price of your cruise (however a late night service charge applies). Specialty beverages, beer, wine and soda are offered at current bar menu prices.”
Lunch was in the main dining room and I took a few pictures while I was there. The main course was steak or pasta (sorry no picture!) and most diners seemed to enjoy their steak, but felt the pasta was well, awful. There was also a salad as the first course and a chocolate cake for dessert. I heard more than one person comment that the cake did not taste like chocolate.
Although the food could be categorized as good fare, it will never be considered fine dining. If you go on board with super high expectations, be prepared to be disappointed. Again, the food isn’t bad, but it can’t compare to the premium or luxury cruise lines where they aren’t making massive quantities of food daily. When you are dealing in volume, sometimes the quality can go down. We have had many good meals on board Royal Caribbean, but the better meals have been in the restaurants where we have to pay a surcharge and also on the newer ships, like the Oasis of the Seas.
In addition to the three-story main dining room, passengers can enjoy a meal in the Windjammer buffet, a staple found on all Royal Caribbean ships. Additionally, you can enjoy (at an additional charge) an ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s, a meal at Johnny Rocket’s 50’s style restaurant, or a fine dining meal at Portofino Italian Restaurant or Chops Grille. If you don’t want to spend a few extra dollars, but are hungry in between meals, stop by the Promenade Cafe and pick up a cookie, sandwich, or pizza. Specialty coffees and alcohol are extra, but regular coffee and tea are free as is the food. This area is located on deck 5 and the Royal Promenade spans the length of the entire ship with shops, bars, lounges, and fun!
Overall condition of the ship: The ship is clean and in overall great shape with little evidence of wear visible. From the shiny brass and clean glass in the elevators to the floors and other spots in the public areas, this ship is well taken care of and it shows. Clearly the crew on the Navigator of the Seas care about this ship and they work hard to make her look as good as possible. Although I didn’t take pictures of the casino or bars and lounges, there are many on board to offer nighttime fun as well as plenty of daytime fun! Many of your old favorites are here from the Viking Crown Lounge perched up high over the pool, the Schooner Bar, the Champagne Bar, Boleros, and more. If you are looking for a drink or an evening of dancing or maybe both, there are enough venues on this ship to keep you more than satisfied.
What really stood out to me on this ship were all of the opportunities to stay active while on board. These include the ice skating rink, the rock climbing wall, the in-line skating rink, the 9-hole miniature golf course, the fitness center, and the full size basketball court. Combine that with the golf simulators, day spa, and Adventure Ocean, the children’s program, and you have a cruise that is perfect for couples, families, and multigenerational family groups. Why not make your next family vacation one on the Navigator of the Seas?