March 2017 - Navigator of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern
We chose this cruise because of itinerary, departure and return to Miami, and what we considered a very good price. Our Superior Balcony cabin was very comfortable, although the balcony itself seemed smaller than those on other ships.
Food and service were very good. I was very pleased with the selection of dishes available in Windjammer, including special theme dinners on some nights that might tempt one away from the dining room (which was also quite good). Our dining room staff really worked hard to satisfy even unusual requests, including off-menu items.
We bought a 2-night dining package that gave us dinner in two of the specialty restaurants on the first two nights. This was a great bargain since the per-person cost was less than dinner for one night in Chops Grille, which was one of our choices. The other was Giovanni's Table, which we tried for the first time and were very pleased with.
The Navigator is now one of RCI's medium sized ships, but still has most of the amenities offered on the other ships: Flowrider, rock climbing, ice skating rink, Royal Promenade. Some areas of the ship seem a bit crowded compared to the larger Freedom class ships and I noticed a few minor details missing that we had enjoyed on Freedom and Liberty. On the plus side, the Navigator (and its class mates) has a "peekaboo bridge" on Deck 11, just above and behind the navigation bridge, where passengers can watch the officers running the ship through large windows, with panels showing course, speed, wind, azipod and thruster power etc.
I was not as excited about the shows on Navigator as I had been on other cruises. We went to the first stage show in the theater with the singers and dancers, and the thrilling ice show, but never went to the other shows.
There was one incident that most people aboard never encountered, but that caused me about 45 very uncomfortable minutes when the ship's plumbing system was shut down for maintenance one night. The bathrooms throughout the ship were inoperative for a while, but were back on line by 5:30 am. I'm sure most of the passengers were unaware of any problem. There were frequent announcements about the fragile plumbing system and warnings about what not to flush. This is true of any cruise ship but I'd never experienced a problem before.
We were glad that RCI now has a pier at Labadee, Haiti so we didn't have to tender ashore for the beach day. The other port calls at Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire were really fun and interesting. We took an excursion on Aruba that included a ride below the water to see the fish and a shipwreck off shore.
We also had a casual chat with the captain one day while we sat at the Cafe Promenade. He did not identify himself by rank but I recognized him by his name tag. He was just walking around, interacting with the passengers in a pleasant and low key way.
We found the Navigator to be overall a comfortable ship, more so than our previous cruise on a smaller ship of another company. Pitch, roll and vibration were not as noticeable, even when the seas were a bit rough.
We'll definitely be going back to Royal Caribbean for more cruises in the future.