The Navigator of the Seas was amplified in early 2019 to the tune of $115 million, and I got to be one of the first to experience the new additions and reimagining of the ship! Some changes include the first blow dry bar at sea, To Dry For, a new Caribbean poolscape, new and improved dining and nightlife options, and more. For our sailing, the itinerary was a 5-day trip roundtrip to-and-from Miami via the Bahamas and Haiti (at Royal Caribbean’s private island, Labadee), with two full days at sea. One of the nice things about being on a larger ship like the Navigator of the Seas is that there was always plenty to do during the sea days, so we were never bored (but more about that later)! You can find future sailing dates for the Navigator of the Seas and additional info about the ship here. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the new-and-improved Navigator of the Seas!
Navigator of the seas: Our Itinerary and Ports
Our first port of the trip was Nassau, Bahamas, and we chose to do an excursion for the day. There are plenty of excursion options to choose from, and we opted for the day at Pearl Island so that we’d have a private beach to relax at and the option of snorkeling. A lunch buffet was included as well, and a welcome drink. If you’re looking for something private and beautiful, this beach excursion was a great choice. Because we did the excursion though, we did not really have time to explore the Nassau port by the time we arrived back, so keep that in mind if you do decide to book an excursion.
In Haiti, Royal Caribbean owns the private island of Labadee, so there’s lots you can do without booking excursions (though there are plenty of those to choose from too!). One that some friends of mine did was the Sand Bar Excursion, if you are looking to get out on the water, or the jet skis also looked like a lot of fun. We instead opted to enjoy one of several beaches on the island and also have time to explore the island. There is a large market with local goods you can choose from, so it’s the perfect place to pickup a souvenir from the trip (I bought a handcrafted wooden globe myself, and they did accept credit card!). Note though that the sellers can be quite aggressive in the market area, so don’t be afraid to say no and to haggle. I wouldn’t call it a peaceful shopping experience!
We were lucky enough to get access to the special private beach for suite guests only, which was fantastic. If you are traveling as a suite-level passenger to Labadee, I highly recommend just relaxing for the day at this beach instead of splitting time with an excursion, so that you don’t have to rush. They have cabanas you can rent on the water if you want to splurge a bit, or you can just enjoy the beach chairs. I also had a lot of fun just wandering the island a bit looking for photo ops. The island truly is gorgeous, with crystal clear turquoise water and white sand. I would definitely go back again on another cruise with Royal Caribbean that included Labadee as a port!
Navigator of the Seas: Onboard Entertainment
I’ve done several cruises at this point with different companies, and so far, the Navigator of the Seas has had the most to do in terms of onboard entertainment. From an awesome Escape Room to ice skating shows (or even times where you can go ice skating yourself) and a laser tag arena, we were never bored!
There are several options for water activities on the ship, including the two waterslides onboard, The Blaster and Riptide. The Blaster is a two person aqua coaster and the longest waterslide at sea, and it actually includes a part where you go out over the side of the ship and over the ocean! Riptide is a face-first tunnel mat racer slide, and it also includes a part that goes off the side of the ship in a clear tunnel. Beyond the slides, there is a newly amplified pool deck, which is a great place to hang out at and enjoy your sea day. They’ve doubled the surface area of the pools, so there’s more room to swim, and they’ve also added more lounger space. At the main pool area, you’ll find plenty of pools, hot tubs, and sun loungers to enjoy with the whole family. If you’re looking for some quiet adults-only time, there’s also the Solarium indoor area to swim and relax in. Last but not least, by the waterslides there is also a surf simulator called the Flowrider, so you can practice surfing or boogie boarding onboard! The Flowrider is included, but if you want, you can also book private sessions to learn to surf on it for an additional fee.
I was so impressed by the amount of options onboard for entertainment. While we didn’t get to experience everything, some of my favorite things to do onboard included the iSkate ice skating show and the Royal Escape Room: The Observatorium. I would definitely not miss the iSkate show of professional ice skaters - in my opinion, the best show on the cruise. The Escape Room does require an additional fee and advance reservations, but I think it is worth it for the quality of escape room they have. If you’re on the cruise with a group or your family, it’s the perfect afternoon activity to do on a sea day and get your adrenaline pumping for an hour. Our group managed to escape the room with just a few minutes to spare!
Some other activities onboard include mini golf, the To Dry For blow dry bar (which I did one night to dress up), outdoor movie nights, laser tag, interactive game shows, ice skating, a rock climbing wall, plenty of live music options, other shows and productions, and of course, the casino. And that’s just a small taster! You can see full listings of things to do on the Royal Caribbean website.
Navigator of the Seas: Dining and Restaurants
Out of the many dining options onboard, from the main dining room to the Windjammer Marketplace buffet and specialty restaurants, we tried as much food as we could during our 5-day sailing. Some restaurants we managed to make it to include Jamie’s Italian, the Playmaker’s Sportsbar, Hooked Seafood, El Loco Fresh, the Windjammer Marketplace, The Bamboo Room, Johnny Rockets Express, and Chops Grille (I almost made it everywhere!). We unfortunately did not get to the try the sushi restaurant, Izumi.
If you’re looking for quick options, your best bet is always going to be the Windjammer Marketplace. The buffet is huge with lots of options, so there’s truly something for anyone there. If you’re hanging by the pool, the El Loco Fresh had amazing quesadillas and other Mexican fare (and approved by this here Texan - it was tasty). On the other side of the pool, there’s also Johnny Rockets Express, which is perfect if you’re looking for things like burgers, fries, chicken tenders, and milkshakes, though it is at an additional cost.
Jamie’s Italian, Hooked Seafood, and Chops Grille were also prix fixe options we got to try. You can always make a reservation or try to walk-in if you’re looking to mix up your dining experiences from the main dining room or Windjammer. Jamie’s Italian has Tuscan-inspired dishes and is ideal if you’re craving pasta. If seafood is what you’re looking for, try Hooked, where you’ll find options such as oysters, crab cakes, and various fish filets. Last but not least, Chops Grille is the onboard steakhouse option. With the amplification of the ship, the Chops Grille menu has been revamped as well. To quote Royal Caribbean, the new menu brings “contemporary flair to traditional steakhouse offerings”.
Navigator of the Seas: By the Numbers
Occupancy: 3,386 passengers (double-occupancy); 4000 passengers (maximum occupancy)
Total Staterooms: 1,693
Length: 1,020 ft
Width: 157 ft
Cruising Speed: 22 knots
Inaugural Date: December 14, 2002
Amplification Date: February 2019
Decks: 15 (14 guest decks)
Overall, I had a blast cruising on Royal Caribbean’s newly amped Navigator of the Seas. In the future, I’d love to return on her for another Caribbean cruise, hopefully to Royal Caribbean’s private island experience that’s being finished up right now, Perfect Day at Coco Day in the Bahamas. Truly, for the price, I really think it’s hard to beat the quality and amount of entertainment features onboard that a ship like the Navigator has for its level of affordability, especially for family vacations or couples. And if you’re a first-timer cruiser, the Navigator is the perfect option to try cruising for the first time and everything that comes with it without blowing your budget. Have you sailed on a Royal Caribbean cruise before? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I was invited to experience the Navigator of the Seas as a guest of Royal Caribbean International. As always, all opinions are my own.
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