West Coast cruises are much more sparse when compared to the thousands of sailings heading off the coast of Florida. That being said the options are increasing with a few ships heading to the west coast from companies like Disney Cruise and now Royal Caribbean.
We took sail on the newly amplified Navigator of the Seas for a 3 day journey down to Ensenada, here is our complete Navigator of the Seas Review.
Amplified Navigator of the Seas
The Navigator of the Seas is one of the latest ships from Royal Caribbean international to have been completely upgraded with the addition of water slides, a new fun deck area, revitalized rooms and so much more. It has many of the fun aspects of some of the new Royal Caribbean ships like the Harmony and Symphony of the Seas.
Navigator of the Seas Dining
Dining has to be a top part of our Navigator of the Seas review and any cruise for that matter. There are several restaurants that the amplified Navigator of the Seas offers, however if you have not upgraded your dining the options are a bit limited. Let’s go over all the dining options included in your cruise fare.
The Windjammer Buffet is definitely one of the most popular places to grab food while onboard the Navigator of the seas. There you will find a wide selection of foods from ethnic dishes like Indian cuisine (my favorite) to burgers, pasta, ribs etc.. Breakfast offerings include everything you would expect, oatmeal, eggs, omelets, baked goods, cereal and more.
I have to say I was not a fan of breakfast as much, perhaps the healthy options I was looking for just didn’t satisfy my taste buds.
El Loco Fresh
El Loco Fresh is a great little stop on the pool deck where you can grab some tacos, burritos, nachos and more. The tacos and burritos were delicious, the nachos left a little to be desired…. that cheese sauce was not for me.
Cafe promenade is where you will find pizza, sandwiches, baked goods, fresh fruit and more. It is located on Deck 5 across from Legends sports bar. This is your go to spot for grabbing a late night snack after a fun night onboard the ship
Main Dining Room
The Main Dining Room on the Navigator of the Seas occupies good real estate towards the ship’s back.
Passengers can enjoy a complimentary nightly supper on the three-deck venue, with the option of My Time Dining (where you can walk in and be seated whenever you want between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.) or traditional dining (where you sit at the same table, with the same wait staff, at 6 or 8:30 p.m. every night). Those who choose My Time Dining must make a reservation.
Starters include beef carpaccio, French onion soup, escargot, and an iceberg wedge salad; main courses include almond-crusted cod, duck a l’orange, vegetable casserole, and the usual chicken breast and steak; and desserts include carrot cake and sugar-free peach shortcake, and creme brulee.
Upgraded Dining Options
We paid to upgrade our dining to the unlimited dining ($89 per person for the 3 night cruise) and were surprised to say it was definitely worth it. The unlimited dining includes dinner and lunch at 5 different specialty restaurants plus dining credit to the Legends Sports Bar and Johnny Rockets.
***Pro Tip*** Book the Unlimited Dining Online to Save Money & Also book reservations online at the upgraded restaurants as they do book up fast
Jamie’s Italian ($39.99 for adults, $10 for kids)
Jamie’s Italian was our favorite dining experience. It is surprising the least booked and I think that is simply because it is the least expensive, so if you have the unlimited dining plan, people feel like they are not getting as good of a value.
The food at Jamie’s was top knotch from the amazing appetizers, the incredible short rib (a must) and the lemon meringue cheesecake is one of the best desserts I have ever had.
Izumi Sushi (A La Carte Pricing)
Located on deck 15, Izumi Sushi is a must stop if you enjoy sushi. Everything from the miso soup to the sushi rolls were incredible.
Also, don’t pass up on the ramen, it is very, very good. Our kids loved the experience so much they asked to have it for lunch on our day at sea. Unlimited dining plans receive one appetizer two entrees and one dessert per sitting.
Chop’s Grill ($42.99 for adults, $10 for kids)
Chop’s grill was probably my least favorite of the dining experiences but one of the most booked up locations. It could be that I am not a big steak person, but the food overall was not as exceptional as I expected. You can enjoy several different cuts of steak along with an assortment of different sides.
Hooked Seafood Grill ($42.99 for adults, $10 for kids)
We were unable to booked Hooked but it looked amazing. Raw oysters and other shellfish specialties are on the menu, as well as fresh fish prepared any way you like it.
Playmakers Bar & Grill (a la carte pricing)
Playmakers bar and grill offer classic bar fare from wings to burgers and delicious desserts. Get the s’mores brownie, it is incredible. The wings are pretty top notch too. The pricing is A La carte but if you have the unlimited dining you get $30 per person per sitting which is way more than you will ever need.
Back on the pool deck is Johnny Rockets. Your classic burgers, shakes and fries are available at this location. The shakes are not included in the dining plan here, however you can get a soda if you have the dining plan even without the soda or drinks plan.
Room Service: $7.95
Room service is offered 24 hours a day, and all orders, with the exception of continental breakfast and those placed by passengers sleeping in Grand Suites or higher, the rate is $7.95.
Activities on Board the Navigator of the Seas
There are a ton of activities onboard the Navigator of the Seas. We had a blast exploring the ship. While it is not a mega ship like Harmony of the Seas or any of the Oasis Class ships, Royal Caribbean has done a great job packing in a ton of entertainment on this ship and it is the most modern of the voyager class ship.
There are two water slides onboard the Navigator of the Seas and both are some of the best slides I have been on for a cruise ship.
The Blaster Aqua Coaster
The Blaster Aqua Coaster is a two-person raft that propels riders through more than 800 feet of hills, drops, and straightaways, including extending over the side of the ship for a burst of ocean air. It is the cruise line’s first-ever aqua coaster and the longest waterslide at sea.
***Note*** The Blaster was only open on our day at sea, so make sure to jump on this ride during your day at sea. (2 people are required to ride the blaster)
Riptide allows you to take a headfirst plunge down the industry’s only headfirst mat racer and finish in a thrilling translucent tube with unlimited ocean vistas. This slide can go pretty fast if you want it to.
The pool deck has a very fun vibe to it with bright colors. There are three different Jacuzzis that got pretty filled up because it was a surprisingly cold weekend while onboard the ship. There are also several cabanas which look like they will be extra but are first come first serve. Some have amazing views.
During the day, the Lime & Coconut is a lively area where you can relax, enjoy some great music and have a delicious cocktail.
Mini golf onboard Navigator of the Seas is a ton of fun. Royal Caribbean had a family mini golf competition which we sadly missed but of course we created our own amongst are family which was a ridiculous amount of fun.
The rock climbing wall is located on Deck 14 above the sports deck. There are several different paths from easy to quite difficult. This made it fun as our kids kept trying to improve and try the rock wall again and again to see if they could accomplish the most difficult course.
The Sports Court is where you often found our boys. There are basketball competitions onboard from free throw to three point competitions. 7 day cruises have 3 on 3 tournaments. The court is also setup for soccer and pickle-ball games at times too. Next to the sports court are some ping pong tables to enjoy.
Flow Rider Surf Simulator
Located at the back of the ship is the flow rider. The flowrider surf simulator allows you a chance to test our your boogie boarding or surfing skills. There are certain times for the flow rider and they are designated for if you want to surf or boogie board so check your Royal Caribbean app for times.
On Deck 3 you can actually Ice Skate onboard the Navigator of the Seas. This small Ice rink is a lot of fun, but times do book up fast so try to book with your app once you get onboard.
Legends Sports Bar
Legends Sports Bar is a great place to hang out. They have table shuffleboard, pool and foosball to play for free, plus they are playing many popular games on their numerous tv’s.
Escape Room & Lazer Tag
Both of these experiences were closed onboard our ship. I think they have not brought everything back fully yet and this is one of the few experiences that was not yet ope but soon will be.
To Dry For! New Blow Dry Bar
On board make sure that you check out the new To Dry For blow dry bar to get glammed up and look amazing the rest of your cruise!
There were several shows onboard the Navigator of the Seas. The first and 3rd night had an Ice Skating show which is the best show on the ship by far. There was also a comedian, a broadway style production and several of the pubs on the promenade have live music including the Bamboo Room which was a very lively venue.
The casino onboard the cruise ship is fun but they do allow smoking which makes it less fun. They have all the table games from craps, to blackjack to roulette.
There are several other types of games on the ship from Harry Potter Trivia to the most popular event Bingo.
Deluxe Family Suite
We stayed in the deluxe family suite which was the first time we stayed in a suite and it was a ton of fun to have all 8 of us in a room, although sometimes with teenage boys….less fun. The suites have upgraded linens and bath products and an espresso maker. The deck off the back of the suite was massive. Also, with the suite you have access to FREE In room Dining (regular $7.95) and access to the suite lounge and concierge
Suite Lounge/ Concierge
The suite lounge is located on Deck 15 and was a nice place to stop by in the evening as they have appetizers and free cocktails from 5-7 pm each evening.
The concierge was by far the best part of having a suite. He contacted us before the cruise to help with bookings of restaurants and excursions (we should have taken him up on the excursions as the one we wanted was all booked by the time we got on board)
He also helped us get show and ice skating reservations when things were pretty booked.
Kids Club/Teen Club
The Kids Club was a definite highlight of the trip for Olivia. She loved it! The kids club (aka Adventure Ocean) would have activities the kids could take part in or they could do their own thing and play video games or do arts and crafts.
There were set times each day for the kids club, 9am -12 p.m. 2-5 p.m. and 7 -10 p.m. I actually enjoyed this as otherwise Olivia would just want to be in the kids club the whole time so it was a nice balance.
The teen area is located on the back of the ship in a hidden area and has a pretty cool vibe. Our kiddos did not visit because well there are so many of them they kind of have their own club, but it looked pretty awesome.
Navigator of the Seas Service
I think one of the highlights of my Navigator of the seas review was the service. The service onboard the ship was outstanding.
There weren’t the pushy waiters trying to get you to buy drinks everywhere you went like some other cruises I have been on. The staff from the waiters, to entertainment, to kids club to the pool staff was just there to make sure you had a great time.
Navigator of the Seas Booking Hack!
One of the hacks that we use when booking cruises is actually really simple. Expedia gets exclusive special offers and extras on cruises that smaller travel agencies don’t get plus they have a rewards program that gives you 4% money back for future vacations. You can book your Navigator of the Seas vacation here!
Overall – Navigator of the Seas Review
Overall, the ship was great, normally your amazing cruise ships are sailing Caribbean cruises, but this one is unbelievable. The staff was great and the food was for the most part phenomenal. They pack a ton of activities onboard this ship. I think the only thing lacking was more dining options during the daytime on the pool deck. There are definitely plenty of activities for the whole family. Whether it was us the parents, or our teens, or even our 8 year there was constant entertainment even though it was a surprisingly cold weekend when we sailed. You can can book or learn more at Royal Caribbeans’s official website
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