Navigator of the Seas Review 3.23.2014
Just The Facts
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
March 23-March 30, 2014
Captain: Frank Martinsen
Entertainment Director: Mitch Merucci
This is my 17th Royal Caribbean cruise and first on the Navigator of the Seas although our 4th cruise with Captain Frank. We booked this cruise very early in order to get our favorite aft cabin on deck seven. We are traveling as a couple and looking forward to sailing on Royal Caribbean again and the new features on the Navigator since she has recently come from dry dock. We are very pleased that Royal Caribbean again has a ship sailing year round from Texas.
|Oil slick in Galveston Bay|
Day Two—Monday—Galveston, Texas
|The Beautiful Royal Promenade|
Day Three—Tuesday—Galveston, Texas
|Dancing on Ice - Navigator of the Seas|
Day Four—Wednesday—Sail Away
|Beer Tasting selections in Two Poets Pub|
Day Five—Thursday--at Sea
|Navigator of the Seas|
|El Cid Hotel - Cozumel Mexico|
Day Seven--Saturday--at Sea
|Flo-Rider on Navigator of the Seas|
We were docked by 6:50 am and it was a beautiful day in Galveston. No room service on debarkation morning, but a full breakfast menu is served in the dining room (we didn’t go). We were up early to pack as we have a 8:15 am meet time for our self-debark group E. You have to request self-debark on the Navigator and get a ticket at Guest Services the day prior. They had a group earlier, but I was allowing time for our ride to arrive. Since we docked a bit early I suspected the debark would as well and it did. They actually called all the self-debark zones just after 8:00 am. so we went straightway as getting an elevator is always hard to get on a middle deck. We got down to deck 4 in good shape and proceeded to ‘click’ out and were in customs within 20 minutes. They did have a TABC booth set up to collect taxes on liquor and cigarettes as we left the terminal. No pre-warning from the ship as there was from Carnival. We walked across Harborside Blvd. to the old Sante Fe Train Terminal and shortly met our ride. After a nice breakfast in Alvin, we were on the highway and at the ranch by 3:00 pm. A nice debark and travel day.
The Navigator of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's new ‘Texas’ ship being the first to berth in Galveston year round since the Rhapsody of the Seas. For the past several years we have only had a Voyager class ship six months of the year. At least each time they have changed ships it has been for a newer or larger one. After Navigator it will be the Freedom of the Seas and following that it is supposed to be an Oasis class. The port already plans for expansion to accommodate the larger ships. With a large ship there are a lot of people and the pools can be very crowded during peak times and the elevators are always full, but the additional size also means that there is room for the photo gallery, casino, bars, etc. without any one of them dominating an entire deck. The Grand Promenade is very impressive indeed and must be experienced. The theme of the ship seems to be Hollywood Movies with movie posters decorating the passageways and stairwells. They have added a Flow Rider, the Sabor restaurant, Diamond Lounge and more during the dry dock retrofit. I really like the new interactive touchscreen information centers located near all the elevators and other locations. They have the daily Cruise Compass, guides, maps, and more. They also have interactive menus at the Windjammer and on all entry floors of the Sapphire Dining room.
Overall very good, but our individual crew contacts such as cabin steward and waiters were not as good as we have experienced on Royal Caribbean in the past. Just the luck of the draw. I enjoyed the Cruise Director and the Activity Director’s morning show. I really admire Captain Martinsen and he really worked hard this week getting the very best for his passengers under difficult circumstances. He is exactly what one would want in a Cruise Ship captain. He had already done me a great favor on a previous cruise and his actions this week just reaffirmed my opinion of him.
We have cabin 7688 a corner aft on port side. It is one of our favorite cabins on any cruise ship. The room is a standard size, or actually slightly smaller, but the balcony is one of the largest on the ship. The cabin has: key pad safe, hair dryer, refrigerator, short couch, nice sliding door shower, custom drapes, and more. The air conditioning & water pressure worked well. It is a long walk to the stairwell and elevators from the far aft, but I needed the exercise.
Our dining room was the Sapphire Dining Room, deck four the middle level of the 3 level restaurant. It was table 493 a two top table. The waiters were nice service was just good to average. The bread and appetizers were very good, and you can order the Escargot, Cesar Salad, or Shrimp Cocktail every night if you wish. The Windjammer is also very good, the quality of food was excellent. Best buffet at sea IMHO. Room service was always good and fairly prompt. Johnny Rockets was a good alternative for lunch or afternoon snack. Lunch in the dining room has the same menu each day with one special item that does change daily. There are several ice crème and yogurt machines in the Windjammer.
I enjoyed Dinner & Breakfasts in the dining room, the Ice show, and the two production shows we attended. We didn’t use many of the public areas of the ship as much this cruise as we used the balcony a lot. Our favorite public space was the Two Poets Pub. Of course the highlight is that this was a free cruise.
This was certainly a unique experience this week. The oil spill in Galveston Bay created major problems for many this week including: cruise passengers, the cruise lines, the environment, commercial shipping, and much more. I only have good things to say about Royal Caribbean and the Navigator Staff and Crew. Royal Caribbean really did an outstanding job doing the right thing TWICE in making major decisions concerning the cruise.