We just spent 5 days aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas. Although we were there as part of the Avoya National Conference, we were still able to experience most of the Navigator of the Seas. This was the first time in a while we were on a large ocean cruise ship for any length of time. Last year we were on the Norwegian Bliss, but that was only for a few days and it was an inaugural cruise.
Impressions of the ship
We were in a junior suite and it was downright spacious. About 30% of the closet and shelf spent went unused, the bathroom was full sized and there were plenty of space in the cabin to stretch out. (Literally we do our daily stretching on the floor). The deck was large enough for two chairs, a table and a chaise lounge.
The ship was recently in dry dock for refurbishing. The common areas were really nicely done - tasteful decor, clear and easy navigation around the ship with plenty of space - we rarely felt over crowded. We could almost always find a chaise lounge around the Solarium (adult) pool area though the main pool was really crowded.
Navigator of the Seas - food
We were generally impressed with the food. There's a clear difference between this food and what you might get on an Oceania or AmaWaterways, but given the price differential, it would not be a fair comparison.
We had several truly excellent meals in the main dining room with excellent, attentive service. The alternative dining was fine but not outstanding in either Chops (steak) or Hooked (seafood). In our opinion, it's not worth paying extra for these two venues. The Breakfast and lunch buffets in the Windjammer were fine. The Indian food served there was particularly good, though we missed bananas and any form of berries at breakfast. We enjoyed the shakes at Johnny Rockets and the nachos served on the pool deck.
Navigator of the Seas ports
Our cruise went to Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean's private island for a "Perfect Day in Coco Cay". For many on the trip this was a highlight since it was recently upgraded. It's basically a huge amusement park, water park and beach facility where the entire family can have fun. There's a lot of things that cost extra money, so be careful when budgeting.
The other stop was at Nassau Bahamas. We had been there many times before and didn't bother getting off the ship. It's a fine Caribbean stop with the usual snorkeling, sailing, shopping and touring excursions.
The Navigator of the Seas is a really pretty ship. It's large (just shy of 4000 passengers) but boarding and disembarkation in Miami were easy and with no lines. It was among the smoothest operations we've ever experienced.
We went in early June. The crowd varied - there were lots of families with small children, lots of teenagers and lots of 20 somethings. We saw many groups that could easily have been bachlorette parties. Sure there were lots of older couples but not many geriatrics.
There's lots of activities on board - from karaoke to water sports to ice skating to comedian / magician shows to musicians at the piano to dancing to sunning yourself on deck to rock climbing.
Summary of Navigator of the Seas
This is not meant to be a quite relaxing sailing, nor is it meant for refined palates - though you could accomplish both with judicious daily choices. But we certainly saw many people having a great time - which is always great to see.
There's lots of "opportunities" to purchase things once on the ship - even bottled water cost extra. But the Caribbean offers plenty of sun, sand and fun while the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas ship offers a huge variety of choices at a reasonable cost. Nothing wrong with that.
Hurricanes and cruise ships - will my ship sail after the hurricanes?