Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

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7+ cruises

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4 out of 5

Oasis Lite: Review of Navigator of the Seas

Sail Date: April 02, 2016

Reviewed: 6 months ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

Okay, perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch to call Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas “Oasis Lite.” But, particularly after the 2014 refurb, this Voyager class ship does share some of the same features that make it a good alternative to its can-be-overwhelming Oasis of the Seas sibling. 

 

Here’s a bit of the similarities and differences:

 

On the spot. Oasis has three “neighborhoods” to Navigator’s one. What they both have in common is the Promenade, the ship’s hub and site for parades, the ‘70s theme party and other events. It’s also is the home of the only 24-hour nosh spot, the Promenade Café, with its free sandwiches and sweets.

 

On our Navigator trip, we admit to missing Oasis’ greeny oasis, Central Park. Also absent was the kids-friendly Boardwalk, with its full-size carousel, fun-house mirrors and candy shop.

 

On the move. Navigator emerged from its month-long dry dock with a FlowRider, the popular surf-making machine on Oasis. And like the bigger ship, Navigator has a rock-climbing wall, ice skating rink and miniature golf.

 

On your plate. The main dining room and Windjammer buffet fare is pretty much the same on both ships, and both have the Brasserie 30 and “Tutti” salad bar in the MDR on sea days. The bread stuffs on both ships were great—from the pumpkin seed-studded rolls to the breakfast breads with dried fruit and sugar sprinkles.

 

Navigator’s Windjammer had some surprises, such as a featured dish served up (somewhat oddly) front and center in the buffet’s entranceway. One day it was bagels with flavored cream cheeses. Another, it was a massive fruit cobbler in just about the biggest pan you’ll ever see. The last night—I suppose to make parting less painful—the buffet sprouted fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

 

Oasis has some extra specialty restaurants. The for-a-fee eateries they share: Chops Grille (steak), Giovanni’s Table (Italian), Sabor (Mexican) and Izumi (Japanese). Both have a Ben and Jerry’s, and Starbucks, but on Navigator, they’re so small that you’ll miss them if you blink.

 

On the stage. No comparison here, sad to say. The one spectacular show they do both offer is the ice show, and what a show it is! (Though the actual production is different.) Continuously changing sets, elaborate costumes, and with many of the same jumps, twirls and whirls you’d see on land. On Oasis, you sign up online before the trip. On Navigator, you’re assigned a show by your muster station.

 

Beyond the ice show, only Oasis class ships have the eye-popping aqua shows and Broadway-quality musicals. Navigator has the typical cruise ship entertainment—comedian, singers and two production shows. As with most, the production shows were entertaining, but not memorable.

 

In the Plus Column

What else can you look forward to on Navigator? In Windjammer, the wait staff roam, offering water/juice/ice tea at lunch and dinner, and sometimes, cookies, too…Because it’s smaller, finding a table in the buffet is easier, so is getting on and off the ship…its size allows it to go to more ports…it’s faster to learn your way around…balcony chairs recline, the night table has a closed drawer and the closet has a few shelves (you’ll find none of these on Oasis).

 

So, in short, if you’re not ready, willing or able for a trip on an Oasis ship, Navigator of the Seas is a good alternative. -- Musing About Cruising

Cabin / Stateroom The cabin was a decent size, but the balcony was on the small side. As mentioned in the review, a few nice features: balcony chairs that reclined, a night table with a closed drawer on top, and some shelves in the closet.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Ship Quality
It's not difficult to get around the Navigator, and it has the same electronic finders that the Oasis class ships have.
Destinations and Excursions
Our trip had Labadee and San Juan on the intinerary, which are both great destinations. Labadee is a super beach experience with fun shopping, and San Juan is piece of Old Europe.
Onboard Activities
Whether you're the active type or poolside lounger, it's hard not to find something to do on this ship. Besides the surf machine, rock-climbing wall, ice skating rink and pools, mini-golf, there's parades, dance classes...
Entertainment
The ice show was superb--an exhilarating ride from start to finish, with colorful, constantly changing costumes, leaps, jumps and twirls. The rest of the entertainment was typical cruise ship fare.
Service and Staff
Our room steward was female--the first female steward in 19 cruise--and she was excellent. We were also surprised in the buffet with roaming wait staff offering beverages and cookies.
Food and Dining
The food was okay--pretty much the same as other cruise lines. If you like very flavorful food (and don't want to spend extra), your best bet is Windjammer, where you'll find Asian and Mexican dishes. Also, Windjammer at dinner has some added touches, like brie and blue cheese, prosciutto, etc.
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island)
With their gentle, clear waters, the beaches are excellent for swimming. And don't be afraid of the shopping--while the vendors are aggressive, the crafts are very reasonably priced and there's huge variety.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you make a left after leaving the port area and follow the promenade along the water, it's a lovely view and in short order, you end up at El Moro. If you choose not to see the fort, the view alone is worth the stroll.
Basseterre, St. Kitts
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
We've been here many, many times and still have great fun. The islanders keep improving the place and if you walk further up the beach (away from the ship), you'll find a new little shopping area with an old-fashioned automat (for those who remember what that is...)

Tip

We used My Time dining and went very smoothly. We never waited for more than about 10 minutes, and were always able to get our choice--a table for two.



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