Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
Sailing Date: June 21st, 2003
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was our seventh cruise, fifth with Royal Caribbean. It is difficult to describe the Navigator, but in a word....spectacular comes to mind. Royal Caribbean has outdone itself. We traveled on June 21st. to the Eastern Caribbean. It has been two years since our last trip and there are some differences since we last cruised. The days of depositing luggage with the airline and having bags arrive in your cabin are gone. We thought this would be a problem, but it wasn't really a big deal. Surprisingly, embarkation moves quite swiftly, even with all of the new security in place and getting 3000 passengers and their luggage on board. We arrived at the pier at about 11:10, passengers began boarding at 11:30 and we dropped off our carry-ons in our cabin by 12:15. Boarding passes now carry a digital photo of every passenger, so the feeling of safety is comforting. The ship itself is amazing. There are so many things to do onboard that it is literally impossible to do everything. We thought that the design of a ship this big would be imposing, but all areas on the ship have the feeling of intimacy. Nothing feels large. All of the bars, cafes, lounges and deck space feel small.
There are deck chair everywhere and we never had a problem finding spots. We enjoyed the varied entertainment in each lounge. Previous ships had the main show lounge and one additional lounge for dancing and entertainment. Because of that, they always felt crowded. Not so on the Navigator. All the lounges were busy, but comfortable. We found the food service to be still up to Royal Caribbean's standards.....great! The menus have changed since we sailed last. This was a nice surprise because on our other four Royal Caribbean trips, everything was basically the same. We swore that on this ship we would never pay extra to eat in one of the specialty restaurants, but we couldn't control ourselves when we looked at the menu at Portofino. We didn't think $20 per person was a big enough hurdle to hold us back, and be were not disappointed. It was the high point of our trip. The food was spectacular, the service was first class, and it was nice to have a more quiet, peaceful setting for one night. We have been to the four ports before, so we knew what to expect everywhere.
A few thoughts about the ports, though. Nassau on Sunday was a disappointment. Most everything is closed in Nassau on Sunday. Also being in port until only 2:00 didn't leave much time to hit a beach. If I could redesign this itinerary in any way, it would be dropping Nassau all together. Then maybe a full day could be spent in San Juan. We have been to San Juan and find it fascinating. Leaving San Juan much later would be far more entertaining. St. Thomas is wonderful. There is so much to do that no one goes away unhappy. The best stop....Labadee. We can't go there too many times. It is more wonderful than ever. All in all, we loved this trip. We are already beginning to think about the next one!!