Age: Baby Boomer
Number of Cruises: lots
Cruise Line: Regent Seven Seas
Ship: Seven Seas Navigator
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Radisson Seven Seas Navigator Docked in Key West
I was the cruise escort and seminar facilitator for a small group of 14 on the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator. This was my first experience on the Navigator and I was looking forward to sailing on her, as I had heard nothing but positive comments from those that had.
The Radisson Seven Seas Navigator is a 6-star ship that has a reputation for some of the best cabins, dining and service of any cruise ship. She is a small ship at only 33,000 gross tons, 560 feet in length, 81 feet in width and with a passenger capacity of only 490 lucky guests. Radisson is well known as a luxury line and the Navigator is one of the newer ships in their fleet of five.
Cabin 850 (Balcony Cabin)
I was treated to an outside cabin with a balcony on deck 8 (cabin 850) and immediately fell in love with it the second I entered its 356 square feet.
The cabin was quite deep and offered a large bathroom with both a shower and a bathtub. There was ample room for storage and the ambiance was rich and comfortable. Down the hallway was the door to the walk-in closet with ample storage for your entire wardrobe. There is also a substantial chest of drawers inside the closet for additional storage. The wood hangers, bathrobes and wood finish reminded me that I was on a very special ship. The bedding is of the highest quality and the queen-sized bed that I enjoyed allowed me a wonderful night’s rest every night.
Cabin Desk Area
The best area for my purposes was the desk and sitting area. I easily set up my computer and was able to get tons of work done in comfort. The refrigerator was stocked with water and soft drinks (all complimentary) Upon arrival; Radisson offers each cabin their choice of two bottles of liquor. Since I don’t drink anything but wine, I was able to select two bottles of Chardonnay that were delivered and promptly included in the refrigerator. Another treat that I especially enjoyed was the fruit bowl that was kept full on top of the refrigerator. I enjoyed the fresh fruit daily. The television offered a full menu of programming, as well as a VCR.
The balcony was easily reached through the sliding door that offered effortless access. The two deck chairs did not recline so that one could lie in the sun, but did offer a comfortable place to sit in the afternoon sun when it was shining on the port side of the ship. It was quite private and I was never aware of anyone on either side of my balcony.
The cabin’s rich wood paneling and molding, along with the wall treatments added a very special and rich feel to it. All in all, the cabin was one of the best I had even enjoyed on a ship.
A Tour of the Ship (Click Here for a Deck
The Vista Lounge
Exploring the Seven Seas Navigator is done quite easily. Beginning with the forward elevator bank, we will go to the top floor, deck 12. As we exit the elevator and move all the way forward we arrive at the Vista Lounge. This is where we had our seminar and it was an excellent place to meet. The lounge offers a place to escape other passengers when you want peace and solitude to simply relax or read a book. It is rarely used and the times I went there, I had it all to myself.
The Fitness Center resides on the starboard side directly behind the Vista Lounge and offers both an aerobics room and a weight room.
Fitness Weight Room
There were limited free weights and a Universal machine. For a ship of this size it was adequate, but I chose to pass on working out based on the equipment.
The Judith Jackson Sea Spa
The Judith Jackson Sea Spa and Salon occupies the port side of deck 12 and while I did not use the services of the spa, those that did raved about it. (The Beauty Salon resides on deck 11) There is an outside deck that surrounds deck 12 that offers excellent views of the pool area and the forward area in front of the Vista Lounge.
View of the Pool Area from Deck 12
The forward area of deck 11 consists of passenger suites and the aft area is the home of Galileo’s, a wonderful lounge that offers soothing dance music every evening. Galileo’s is used for many different purposes and is a spectacular lounge. Deck 11 also offers a circular jogging track that circles the entire ship.
Deck 10 Pool Area
The forward part of deck 10 is committed to passenger suites and the pool area is located mid ship. The pool area offers a pool bar, the swimming pool itself, two Jacuzzis and the pool grill where lunches are prepared for those choosing to take lunch by the pool. In addition to the usual cheeseburgers, chicken and fish sandwiches are prepared and there are salads and other condiments to enhance your meal.
The Pool Grill
There is always fresh cut fruit (papaya, cantaloupe, water melon, pineapple, plums and sometimes kiwi and mango) There is always fresh baked cookies to enjoy, as well.
Pool Side Bar-B-Que
On days at sea, the chefs break out the bar-b-ques and cook up a luncheon buffet that is to die for. The pool is never crowded and the lounge chairs are of high quality. They are covered with a thick and comfortable mattress and then fresh towels are always found on the lounge chairs when you sit down.
Entrance to the Portofino Grill Restaurant
Aft on deck 10 is where the Portofino Grill is located.
Portofino Grill Buffet
The Portofino Grill is the location of the breakfast and luncheon buffets and then turns into the alternative-dining venue in the evening. Breakfast sees an ample offering of fresh fruit, breakfast meats and eggs, yogurt, specialty egg dishes cooked to order, nuts (macadamia, filbert, pecans, etc.) lox, breads and much, much more. Lunch saw an equally diverse buffet that always offered a main dish everyone loved. The service level in the Portofino Grill for breakfast and lunch was extremely high. Someone would always carry your plate while you were being seated and a waiter was always available to serve coffee, juice, and specialty egg dishes, or anything else you might want.
Decks 9 and 8
These are entirely comprised of passenger suites
The Navigator's Boutiques
The forward section of deck 7 is entirely passenger suites and the public area starts just aft of the forward elevator bank with the ship’s boutiques. There is a large jewelry store and also a large clothing store that also serves as the general store for incidentals and logo items.
The casino takes up the rest of the space between the forward and aft elevator banks. The casino was the most popular area of the ship.
The Casino Bar
The casino bar was quite active and the tables and slot machines were always popular. As a non-gambler, I had fun hanging out in the bar watching the action on occasion
The upper level of the Seven Seas Lounge is accessed from the rear elevator bank and offers a good number of seats (including some seating designed for single passengers.
Once again, the forward section of deck 6 is allocated for passenger suites only. Just aft of the forward elevator bank is the ship’s registration and tour desks. The registration desk is manned 24 hours a day and the tour desk’s hours are clearly posted.
Library (Both Books and VCR Tapes) and the Internet Cafe
On the starboard side just aft of the registration desk is the ship’s Library and Internet Café. I logged lots of time in the Internet Café and was pleased with its speed and charges. You are only charged for the actual amount of download and upload time, not the amount of time you were on-line. It was not unusual for me to have a 45-minute session and only have it cost a couple of dollars. The library offered a large selection of videos for use in your cabin (on your TV’s VCR) and also many books and newspapers to enjoy.
Navigator Lounge Bar
Directly across from the library is the Navigator Lounge. Every morning, coffee, juice, rolls and fruit were available in the Navigator Lounge and I found it an excellent alternative to eating a larger breakfast in the Portofino Grill. Specialty coffee drinks were also available from the bar in the Navigator Lounge.
The Navigator Lounge
In the evening, the lounge took on the persona of an intimate entertainment venue with soft music being offered along with cocktails.
Just aft of the Navigator Lounge was the Connoisseur Club. We had our welcome cocktail party here in this intimate room that also serves as the ship’s cigar and brandy club. This was a great place for folks that enjoyed cigars for an after dinner smoke and brandy. The rich leather chairs gave the club that “private club” feeling.
The ship’s photo shop and the ship’s art auction were both found on the starboard side right behind the library. The ship’s photographer seemed to be everywhere and the photo shop was open most evenings.
Finally, on the starboard side right before the aft stairwell is where the card room was located. The card room was always full of folks that enjoyed bridge and I believe there were some formal bridge lessons that took place in the card room.
Stars Lounge Dance Floor
Aft of the aft stairwell is where the Stars Lounge was located. The Stars Lounge offered a piano bar atmosphere in the evening and then converted to the ship’s disco at 11:30 pm or so. I visited the Stars Lounge a couple of times and never found it crowded.
The Seven Seas Lounge
The Stars Lounge is also the entrance (and main bar) to the lower level of the ship’s main show lounge, the Seven Seas Lounge.
Compass Rose Restaurant Entrance
Once again, the entire forward section of deck 5 is all passenger cabins. Aft of the forward stairwell is the main entrance to the Compass Rose Restaurant, the ship’s main dining venue.
The Compass Rose Restaurant
The Compass Rose Restaurant is a beautiful restaurant that makes good use of its location in the ship. There is also an entrance to the restaurant from the rear stairwell making entering the restaurant very easy if everyone shows up at the same time.
Typical Compass Rose Restaurant Presentation
The menus vary each night, but always include choice of appetizers, soup, salad, pasta, a main entrée and dessert. The service is impeccable and the food preparation gourmet.
Monday, April 12th, 2004; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
I had just debarked the MSC Lirica and made my way to the pier that the Seven Seas Navigator was docked at. I arrived to an air-conditioned terminal with extremely friendly staff helping me check my bag and take a seat before check-in opened for the cruise. At around 12:30 check-in began and I was through security and checked in by 12:40. Once on the ship, we were escorted into the Compass Rose Restaurant for lunch while our cabins were prepared for occupancy. Lunch was the first hint at the outstanding dining we were looking forward to.
After lunch, I made my way to my cabin (#8050 on deck 8 midship). I was pleasantly surprised with my cabin, as it was simply beautiful. Its generous size, the rich wood paneling, the wall treatments, the artwork, it was just wonderful. I settled in setting up my computer and printer and proceeded to the registration desk to finalize the details for the group. When I returned to my cabin, my luggage was already there, so I unpacked, concentrated on preparing a flyer with the evening’s cocktail party and seminar schedule. I delivered the flyers and spent some time working on my computer.
Our group cocktail party was scheduled for 6:30 in the Connoisseur Club and we met right on time. We were treated to an open bar and hot and cold appetizers for an hour before dining in the Compass Rose Restaurant. Dinner brought a fabulous epicurean experience that set the stage for the entire cruise. Our group immediately bonded and we were looking forward to a wonderful cruise experience. After dinner I attended a wonderful show presented by Mr. Marty Henne, who played the piano and sang many Gershwin favorites. I slept like a newborn baby in the wonderful bedding.
Tuesday, April 13th, 2004; Day at Sea
This was the day of our seminar and after a wonderful buffet breakfast in the Portofino Grill, I made my way to the Vista Lounge where we met for our seminar. Unfortunately, the bad weather was still with us and we were moving about quite a bit, however everyone made it through the seminar. At 11 AM we were treated to a ship inspection by the onboard cruise consultant. Our group made its way to the Portofino Grill for lunch and simply relaxed in the wonderful dining venue. The Portofino Grill offers a very complete luncheon buffet that is to die for and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I chose to spend the afternoon working in my cabin, as the weather and ocean conditions seemed to be worsening by the hour.
This evening was the only formal night during the cruise, so I dressed in my tuxedo and made my way to the Captain’s Welcome Aboard cocktail party that took place in the Seven Seas Show Lounge. Unfortunately, the poor weather had taken its toll and few people were in attendance for the wonderful party. Dinner in the Compass Rose Restaurant saw few people dinning and while the meal was superb, the lack of people made the restaurant feel vacant. After a lingering dinner, I decided to attend the evening’s entertainment, a comedian named Kenny Smiles. Mr. Smiles’ act is one that walks a narrow path between very funny and obnoxious. He counts on the audience for interaction that he turns into humor. He had some very funny banter and some not so funny. I left towards the end of the show having tired of his attempts at humor.
Wednesday, April 14th, 2004;
We arrived in Progreso right on schedule. This was my first visit to Progreso and I was interested to explore it. The Seven Seas Navigator docked at the cruise ship terminal, which is located some 7 kilometers from the shore on one of the world’s longest piers. It is necessary to either take a taxi or the free shuttle from the cruise terminal into town and walking it is not allowed due to the traffic on the pier. I chose to take a taxi and it dropped me right in front of the open-air market in Progreso. Progreso is relatively new to cruise ship tourism and while it is very popular as a beach resort with Mexicans, it still retains its unique Mexican village flavor. I explored Progreso for hours and then decided to make my way back to the ship to spend the afternoon by the pool in the improving weather.
Our group met at our usual time and place for pre-dinner cocktails and then made our way to the Compass Rose Restaurant for another fabulous culinary dinning experience. This evening was the first stage production of the “Peter Grey Terhune Singers and Dancers” and it was wonderful indeed. Entitled “Tonight on Broadway”, the group’s capacity for entertainment really dazzled those in attendance.
Thursday, April 15th, 2004;
We arrived in Cozumel right on schedule and prepared to tender into the Punta Langosta pier on one of the shore-side tenders that was quite large. Our stop in Cozumel was only for 4 hours so I decided to revisit Chankanaab State Park to do a special report for PortReviews.com. One thing that strikes me, having watched Cozumel go from a sleepy fishing and diving village to the tourist Mecca that it has become, is the elimination of anything that resembles Mexico or Mexican from the town itself. Modern stores are everywhere, all of the shops one used to find only in St, Thomas are now dominant in the shopping district and even good old Carlos and Charlie’s’ now resides in the new Punta Langosta Shopping Mall. I immediately hailed a taxi to take me to Chankanaab ($10 one way) I arrived quite early and was treated to the park for about an hour before folks started showing up in droves. I was pleasantly surprised at all of the improvements that had been made at the park, but then realized that the last time I had visited Chankanaab was with my son when he was about 10 years old (he is now 20). (Do take a moment to read the special report on the park if you are considering it as an option for the day). We departed Cozumel sharply at 1 PM to make the run to Grand Cayman Island.
Back on board, I fell into my routine of having a light lunch by the pool and enjoying the sunshine for a couple of hours before returning to my cabin to work on my computer for the late afternoon. Early evening found us at our usual meeting place in Galileo’s only to find that the repeater’s party was taking place at the same time. Unfortunately, our group mingled into the party before realizing what was going on. I felt very uncomfortable about the intrusion we had mistakenly made and apologized to the social hostess who must have wondered what the heck we were doing. We had made reservations for our group in the alternative restaurant, the Portofino Grill and arrived right on time to be seated at two adjoining tables. We had one of the best dining experiences on this cruise with everything the entire meal being “simply perfect”. The menu in the Portofino is absolutely wonderful and I would encourage everyone to dine there as often as possible. We vowed to get back to the Portofino Grill before the end of the cruise. This evening’s entertainment was another performance by Mr. Kenny Smiles. I attended his show and found his humor the same as the last time. He walked that fine line between funny and obnoxious and once again, I left early for a nightcap in Galileo’s before turning in.
Friday, April 16th, 2004;
I awoke to a beautiful day and after a quick breakfast, decided to spend the day on the ship rather than go ashore. Grand Cayman is a great port, but after having been there a good number of times, a day on the ship by myself sounded like a great idea. I enjoyed the sun, had a great pool side lunch, took a few Jacuzzi sessions and then made my way to my cabin to get some work done about 3 PM. All in all, it was one of the best days of the cruise for me.
Evening found our group meeting at the same time in Galileo’s for a cocktail before dining in the Compass Rose restaurant once again. Dinner on the Navigator is a very special time. There is lots of conversation, superb service from a very attentive waitstaff, free flowing wine that never sees an empty glass and wonderful gourmet cuisine, that comes one course after another. It would truly be difficult to maintain one’s weight on the Seven Seas Navigator and while I normally have a good amount of self-control when it comes to my diet on a ship, I admit to eating way too much and enjoying things I would normally never eat. I vowed to take the extra weight I was sure to gain off the second I got home.
This evening’s show was another review from the “Peter Grey Terhune Singers and Dancers” in a show entitled “Those Were the Days”. It was outstanding and the talented young people performing should be extremely proud of their ability to entertain a diverse crowd. They were exceptional and this is a huge compliment from someone who doesn’t really care for reviews all that much, and usually can’t find much positive to say about them. I teamed up with a couple from Seattle that was with our group and ended up staying up way too late in the disco before turning in.
Saturday, April 17th, 2004; Day at Sea
Arriving in Key West, Florida at 9 PM
We were blessed with another perfect day and after breakfast I took a position by the pool to enjoy the morning’s warmth. I relaxed in the sunshine for several hours, enjoyed the poolside bar-b-que that consisted of various salads, corn on the cob, bar-b-qued beans, baked potatoes and your choice of meats. They bar-b-qued swordfish, yellow fin tuna steaks, steak, chicken, European sausages and fresh peppers and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I had planned the afternoon working in my cabin and enjoyed the ample workspace that the desk provided me.
We had made reservations for the Portofino Grill for dinner, so after the evening’s early show (Mr. Marty Henne doing “Songs That You Know, by Artists That You Don’t”) and our usual cocktail period in Galileo’s, we made our way down to the Portofino Grill. We were assigned the same tables that we had enjoyed on Thursday night and were then treated to another wonderful dinner that absolutely exceeded everyone’s expectations. We arrived in Key West, cleared immigration and then a group of us made our way into Key West to enjoy the rowdy Saturday night on Duval Street. Sloppy Joe’s was packed with characters so we stopped at Rick’s Bar across the street and were treated to songs by “Uncle Bob” a colorful local entertainer that sings songs everyone knows and enjoys. After a bit, I returned to the ship and thoroughly enjoyed my sleep.
Sunday, April 18th, 2004;
Key West, Florida
Key West is a great port. It offers everything anyone could want. Shopping, sightseeing, beaches, museums with lots of history and what seems like endless possibilities for exploring. I wanted to take some pictures for the Key West port review in PortReviews.com. I walked the length of Duval Street and took a good number of pictures. I also visited the Mel Fisher Museum to view the treasures found in shipwrecks off of Key West. While the store had some interesting items for sale, I found the museum not really worth the $10 admission fee and would not recommend it, unless you are keenly interested in such things. We departed Key West for Ft. Lauderdale at 6 PM sharp and were treated to the Captain’s Farewell Party in the Seven Seas Lounge. Champagne, caviar and other appetizers flowed freely as the ship’s crew bid their guests a fond farewell. It was a very nice way to end the cruise.
We met for our final meal together in the Compass Rose Restaurant and the dinner conversation continued until we were the last table to leave. Tonight was the final performance of the Peter Grey Terhune Singers and Dancers and they did a performance of the music and dance from the 70's and 80's. This was the best of their three performances (all three were excellent). They had everyone singing and swaying to their very talented performance and received a standing ovation when they were finished. I went back to my cabin to begin packing and wished I were staying on the ship for another week.
Monday, April 19th, 2004; Ft. Lauderdale,
We were docked and cleared by immigration quite early and after a wonderful last breakfast in the Portofino Grill; I made my way to my cabin, grabbed my luggage and was off the ship in minutes. It was the most painless debarkation I had ever experienced.
The Radisson Seven Seas Navigator met or exceeded all of my expectations. The cabin was extremely comfortable, the service superb and the dining world class. I especially loved the size of the Navigator and its huge space ratio making the entire experience feel more like a private yacht, rather than a cruise ship. I would highly recommend the Navigator to anyone wanting a quality cruise experience.