Navigator of the Seas

First look at Royal Caribbean 2019-2020 Short Caribbean itineraries

In:
20Nov2017

Royal Caribbean will be putting on sale this week its 2019-2020 Short Caribbean itineraries, and we have a look at the various itineraries that will be available.

The new bookings will go on sale tomorrow, November 21st, 2017.

You can view each ship's sailings here:

The opening schedule for the 2019-2020 sailings is as follows:

  • Northeast, Canada & Bermuda: Summer 2019: Week of December 4, 2017
  • Europe Phase I & Alaska: Summer 2019: Week of December 11, 2017
  • Remaining deployment: Spring 2018

Sabor Modern Mexican becomes Sabor Indian Cuisine on Navigator of the Seas

In:
24Jul2017

While Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas is offering cruises from the United Kingdom this summer, the cruise line has temporarily changed Sabor Modern Mexican to Sabor Indian Cuisine to cater to the tastes of its British cruisers.

Amanda Scriven-Purcell shared photos on Facebook of the changeover, with a look at the Indian food offered.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Craig Duncan is also on Navigator of the Seas, and indicated the change was made on the current sailing to cater to the U.K. market.

This is not the first time Royal Caribbean has made a temporary change to its specialty restaurants.  On Radiance of the Seas, Rita's Cantina became Rita's Crabshack while the ship was in Alaska.

Izumi on Navigator of the Seas restaurant review

In:
15May2017

Izumi has developed a reputation across Royal Caribbean's fleet of offering top-notch Japanese cuisine, namely sushi.  While sushi is a popular choice for many guests, there are other great menu options to consider.

On Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, Izumi's theme fuses and function for a restaurant that has a sleek, modern look to it.  Located on deck fourteen in a rather small area, the restaurant makes the best utilitarian use of their limited space. There are tables throughout the restaurant that provide views of the ocean, along with a sushi bar that has ample seating as well. 

We dined at Izumi on a number of occasions while onboard Navigator of the Seas and one thing worth noting about Izumi is the level of service.  Based on our interactions with numerous the servers at Izumi, I am confident in saying that the service is top notch. The crew members were attentive, stead-fast in their service and made themselves available to answer questions or assist throughout the meal.

Often we hear from readers who tend to avoid Izumi because they, "don't eat sushi."  In fact, my wife is one of those people that does not eat sushi (no one is perfect), but Izumi's menu offers a good variety of choices that go beyond just sushi.  So while I indulged in a steady serving of underwater goodness, my wife and friends who joined us, were able to take advantage of the land-based foods.

Izumi is priced a la carte, which means there is cover charge and you pay for only what you order.  What I love about Izumi is the option to drop in for soup and a roll, or untighten my belt and dare the sushi chefs to do their worst best .  In fact, there is a takeout sushi option that I regularly took advantage of, and brought a roll or two back to my stateroom balcony.

Every meal at Izumi includes an edamame appetizer, which is perfect for sharing. It is topped lightly with salt, and a great start to our meal. 

Personally, I always order miso soup to accompany my meal.  There is something about having miso soup that makes the meal complete.  Plus, it is light and has great flavor.

For guests who prefer not to eat sushi, the best choice on the menu are the hot rocks (Ishiyake), which are literally slabs of rock that are heated to 575°F.  Your food is served raw on the side, and you then place the food on the hot rock and cook it in front of you. 

There are four varieties of ishiyake to choose from, and all are served with vegetables and steamed white or fried rice:

  • Mixed seafood (scallop, shrimp, lobster, salmon)
  • Chicken breast
  • Chicken and beef skewer
  • Beef tenderloin

All hot rocks come with lemon ginger vinaigrette, teriyaki sauce and Thai sweet chili dipping sauces. Cooking the food is as fun as actually eating it.  Our waiter made himself available to assisting in the cooking process, which we took advantage of to avoid any concerns that our food might be undercooked. While Navigator of the Seas (and most other ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet) lack a hibachi option, this is the next best thing.  For anyone that has no desire to eat sushi, this is a solid alternative.

Being the sushi maven of the group, I opted to try freshwater eel (unagi) sashimi, along with DX Sushi combo.  The eel sashimi had terrific flavor, and worked on its own or as a "topper" to one of the sushi rolls in my combo.

A friend went for the rainbow roll, which is a classic sushi choice.

For dessert, we ordered a round of assorted Mochi ice cream.  After the typically salt-infused foods earlier, having something sweet in the form of Japanese ice cream was the perfect way to finish the meal.

Overall, Izumi earns high marks for its reasonably priced, yet all around terrific, menu. Offering relatively mild options and more adventurous fare makes it a restaurant that most people will enjoy if they give it a chance. With the advent of Royal Caribbean's specialty dining packages, having $30 per person to spend at Izumi will likely result in a very filling meal. 

Looking around Izumi, it always seems like everyone dining in Izumi is satisfied with their choices. I have been dining at Izumi since it was a small outpost at the very top of Oasis of the Seas, and in the years since, Izumi has become a great choice that is unlikely to disappoint.

Spotlight: Tapas plate at Vintages on Navigator of the Seas

In:
04Apr2017

Vintages is well-known across Royal Caribbean ships as being the spot onboard to grab a glass (or bottle) of wine, but they also serve up tapas for guests to enjoy.

Vintages has offered tapas for a while now, but in the name of "research," we wanted to try it out for ourselves to see what is offered.

Tapas are small plates of food that originated in Spain.  Traditional tapas are mix of appetizers or snacks, but they are served closer to a small plate in style.

On Navigator of the Seas, we tried the tapas option, which costs guest $5 for a plank full of meets, cheeses and fruit.

Tapas are available each evening in Vintages, beginning at 5pm.  It takes just a few minutes to prepare, at which point the server brings out your serving.

You will find grapes, prosciutto, salami, brie and more.

Do you want to try the tapas at Vintages? Let us know in the comments!

Photo tour of Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas

In:
04Mar2017

Have you ever considered staying in a suite on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Suites offer a great deal of living space, along with some very nice benefits.  The Grand Suite is the first true level of suites, in which guests enjoy the full benefits of staying in a suite.

We recently enjoyed staying in a Grand Suite while onboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas. Photo of this room are from stateroom 1586.

The Grand Suite can accomodate up to 4 guests and features a spacious living room with desk, drawer space, vanity, sofa, and chairs. 

There is a large private bathroom with tub and shower.  Emphasis on the word "large", because this bathroom has a lot of space.

The two twin beds can convert to a queen-sized bed and also has a curtain that can completely cut off the bedroom from the rest of the suite.

This Grand Suite has floor-to-ceiling glass doors that lead to your private veranda. The balcony offers a table, chairs and a lounge chair.

The Grand Suite measures 401 square feet with a 104 square foot balcony.

5 things to love about Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas

In:
16Jan2017

Have you cruised on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas? It may not be the newest or largest ship in the fleet, but Navigator of the Seas is a fantastic ship for a vacation that offers cruises in the Caribbean and Europe, depending on the time of year. Once onboard Navigator of the Seas, it is easy to see why this ship is a lot of fun. Here are five of the many reasons we love Navigator of the Seas.

5. Royal Promenade

No matter how large Royal Caribbean ships get, the Royal Promenade remains a favorite feature that captures the imagination of all who experience it themselves. The Royal Promenade is a focal point of activities onboard, and also a hub of dining and shopping options. 

Pubs, lounges and many shops the line the Royal Promenade and are a great for guests to stroll down anytime of day and explore what is available. In addition, guests will find a number of activities on the Royal Promenade to enjoy. Demonstrations, parades and meet-n-greet opportunities are just some of the things to do on the Promenade.  In short, there is lots to enjoy and besides the pool deck, the Royal Promenade might be the spot onboard Navigator of the Seas you spend the most time.

4. R-Bar

When you consider what makes for a great bar experience and very likely the answers will line up with what is offered at the R-Bar on Navigator of the Seas.

R-Bar is a throwback experience, with hand-crafted cocktails provided by some of the best bartenders and servers we have met on any cruise ship. Guests will find a sophisticated 1960s vibe, complete with iconic furnishing throughout the bar.  In fact, the swanky chairs are as comfortable as they are fun to look at.

When ordering drinks at the R-Bar, be sure to look at the special drink menu created just for the R-Bar on Navigator of the Seas.  If you are not sure what to order, ask your server for a recommendation. The R-Bar staff is wonderful at making recommendations and even creating custom drinks based on a particular spirit you enjoy.

3. Virtual balcony staterooms

Did you know Navigator of the Seas was the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to offer virtual balcony staterooms? Balcony staterooms are always highly desirable because of the fantastic views, but balcony staterooms also come with a higher price tag. Royal Caribbean innovated with a new kind of stateroom that brought the balcony experience to an inside stateroom, with the added benefit of being significantly cheaper than a real balcony stateroom.

Virtual balcony staterooms are inside staterooms with an 80-inch high definition LED screen attached to a wall that delivers views outside of the ship, just like a real balcony stateroom. Guests can turn the virtual balcony off at any time, especially at night when sleeping but it's available anytime they want.

The screen stretches from floor to ceiling and will show you exactly what you would see if you had a real balcony.  Using high definition cameras, these virtual balconies give you a glimpse of what's outside.

2. FlowRider

In 2014, Royal Caribbean went as far to add an iconic Royal Caribbean experience to Navigator of the Seas, the FlowRider surf simulator.

The FlowRider is a simulator that sends water a very high speed across a small area that mimics what it is like to surf on the ocean. Guests can try their hand at stand-up traditional surfing or boogie boarding.

The FlowRider is included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare, and you may try your hand at surfing as many times as you like. Just hop back in line and wait for a turn.

1. Specialty restaurants

We love to indulge on any Royal Caribbean cruise with some great food, and Navigator of the Seas has plenty of it.  In addition to the terrific food included with your cruise, there are a number of great specialty restaurants to consider dining at onboard.

Chops Grille is known across the fleet for amazing steaks that are tasty, cooked to perfection and a fan-favorite restaurant.  They even have dry-aged steaks as an option for guests that want the very best flavor in their steaks. 

Guests that enjoy classic Italian food will really enjoy Giovanni's Table, a specialty restaurant that serves up classics like lasagna, hand-made pasta and some great seafood.

We would be remiss if we did not mention Sabor Modern Mexican, a specialty restaurant first introduced on Navigator of the Seas, that serves some of the tastiest food we have found on a cruise ship. Tableside guacamole, handcrafted margaritas and a wide variety of tacos, quesadillas and lots of other Mexican favorites. 

Your favorite

What is your favorite thing about Navigator of the Seas?  Is it on our list or do you have something you think is worth the cruise fare alone? Tell us about in this blog post's comments!

Royal Caribbean cancels Navigator of the Seas stop in France following terrorist attack

In:
15Jul2016

Royal Caribbean released a statement indicating a scheduled stop for one of its cruise ships in Nice did not occur due to the recent terrorist attack.

Cruise Critic posted a statement released by Royal Caribbean that stated Navigator of the Seas skipped a stop in Nice, France.

"After reviewing all of the available information and along with discussions with our Global Security team in Miami, we have decided to cancel our next two calls to Nice. Navigator of the Seas was scheduled to visit Nice on Friday, July 15. Instead, the ship will spend the day at sea."

No other itinerary changes have been announced for Royal Caribbean ships.

Review: Giovanni's Table for dinner on Navigator of the Seas

In:
18Jun2016

Nestled in the corner of deck 11 on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, Giovanni's Table is open for lunch and dinner.  When I have dined at Giovanni's Table in the past, I have tended to go for lunch, but this time I am trying out dinner.

Giovanni's Table has become the de-facto Italian restaurant across Royal Caribbean's fleet over the last few years.  I have always liked Giovanni's Table's simple, yet tasty menu that offers classic Italian dishes.  There is something to be said about having a plate of pasta in a delicious red sauce with warm bread to dip in olive oil.  

I was admittedly a little crushed when Portofino was replaced by Giovanni's Table.  But time heals all pain, as does a good lasagna!

We have dined at Giovanni's Table across a few different Royal Caribbean ships over the years, but wanted to try dinner this time, mostly because the dinner menu is slightly different than the lunch menu.

Atmosphere

You will find Giovanni's Table on deck 11, adjacent to the Windjammer entrance and opposite Chops Grille.  As you walk into the Windjammer area, the entrance to Giovanni's Table is on the left side.

There is a very small waiting area near the podium, along side a Vespa that is on display.

Giovanni's Table inherited its dining room from Portofino, and it is a rectangular room that opens up into a circular end room.  The layout resembles a lollipop, if you were viewing the restaurant from above.

The walls and ceiling are made up of a dark wood, while the carpeting and furnishings are a blend of blues, yellows and whites. One of the nice things about the transition from Portofino to Giovanni's Table is the feel of the restaurant definitely feels less formal and a bit more personal to me.  Maybe it is the Prosecco talking.

There are windows all along one side of the restaurant, and if you dine there early enough in the evening, you will have a lovely view of the ocean.  Once the sun goes down, the glare from the lights in the restaurant prevent being able to see outside.

Eats

As I mentioned earlier, the dinner menu at Giovanni's Table is slightly different from the lunch menu.  Most notably, the lunch menu has lasagna, while the dinner menu does not.  Both menus offer a steak, but many guests have reported back to me that the steak at dinner is significantly better.

The dinner menu features a number of familiar Italian classics, like anitpasti, eggplant marmigiana, ravioli, ossobuco and more. For those not into carb-loading, there are a few meat and fish entrees as well.

Each meal at Giovanni's Table begins with a serving of warm bread, plus olive oil for dipping. 

Warm bread and olive oil is always a win with me, and I love that they put a little bit of vinegar in the oil.  

For starters, we picked a few options. Some were favorites and others new to try.

The eggplant parm is a favorite of mine, despite the fact I really cannot find any breading.  

It is more of a baked eggplant in sauce and cheese. That is fine with me, but this is not the kind of eggplant parm you might get on a sandwich at your local deli.

We also tried for the first time the warm mozzarella and prosciutto bake.

It comes in a crispy ciabatta and served with mixed greens and Dijon mustard drizzle.  This is essentially fried cheese with prosciutto and tasted great.

I rounded out my appetizers with the vegetarian lentil and root vegetables soup.

I know what you are thinking, and yes, it is really hard to resist any dish that offers lentils and root vegetables.  Honestly, it was not that bad.  Perhaps not my favorite soup of all time, but I enjoyed it and I think it was kind of, sort of healthy.

Moving onto our main courses, we had to try the 8-ounce grilled beef tenderloin.  Everyone always said it was great, so who are we to argue?

This steak definitely is a superior cut of meat when compared to its lunch companion.  What I noticed was the terrific flavor, as well as size of the cut. I understand now why folks rave about the dinner steak.

I also wanted to try something new and ordered the grilled lamb chops.

My fear with lamp chops is there will be a mere handful of bites of actual meat to get off the bone, and resulting in a not very filling meal.  I am pleased to inform everyone these are no scrawny lamb chops and the meat was as plentiful as it was tasty.  Delicious flavor and certainly enough meat on the bone to keep me happy.

Given we are at an Italian restaurant, we ordered a side of pasta just to say that we had pasta.  

As expected, quite tasty and hit the spot.

I also tried the risotto, which is made of Arborio rice and forest mushrooms, finished with porcini and truffle mushroom tapenade.

I do not usually order risotto, but the mushrooms sounded great and I figured this would be as good an opportunity as any to try it out.

I loved the flavor of the dish, but the consistency of risotto still does not sit well with me.  Oh well, E la vita!

For our desserts, we went with the chocolate cake and cannoli.

Dessert is an underrated aspect of the Giovanni's Table experience and the cannoli is worth saving room (and calories) for.

Overall

I always enjoy my meals at Giovanni's Table, and this visit was no different.  I enjoyed the dinner menu a bit more than I thought I would, although I did lament the omission of lasagna from the menu. I inquired if it were possible to get lasagna, but was told it was only available for lunch.

Most of the food we ate was very good, and I would not hesitate to dine here again.  

The thing with Giovanni's Table that always gives me pause to dine here is not anything about the restaurant, but relative to the other specialty options onboard, I would rather dine there. On Navigator of the Seas, Sabor Modern Mexican and Chops Grille are fantastic choices that eclipse Giovanni's Table.  This is not a knock on Giovanni's Table, just I end up gravitating towards the other choices because they are where I would prefer to eat.

Anyone considering Giovanni's Table should absolutely reserve a table for the classic Italian dishes that will hit the spot.

What are your thoughts on Giovanni's Table? Do you have a favorite dish? Share in the comments below!

Photo tour of Junior Suite on Navigator of the Seas

In:
21May2016

Lots of Royal Caribbean fans relish a stay in a Junior Suite (JS) and today, we have a look at one of the Junior Suites from Navigator of the Seas to give you an idea of what to expect if you book a similar stateroom.

These photos were taken on Navigator of the Seas during her April 30, 2016 sailing in stateroom 9572.

Junior Suites on Navigator of the Seas offer guests 297 square feet of space and a balcony that is 73 square feet.

The room has two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long.

Junior Suites on Navigator of the Seas include minibar, vanity area, hair-dryer, TV, phone, vanity table with an extendable working surface for laptop computers and 110/220 electrical outlets. Some have sofa beds and can accommodate 3-4 guests.

Some can also accommodate a rollaway bed or Play Yard. 

Top 10 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas hidden secrets

In:
19May2016

Navigator of the Seas is a classic Royal Caribbean ship that offers as much for guests to see and do as it is a tremendous value.

It is a very popular Royal Caribbean cruise ship, and we have compiled our list of the best secrets that can be overlooked on Navigator of the Seas.

1. Hand-crafted margaritas

Navigator of the Seas offers quite a variety of tasty drinks to enjoy while on your cruise, but arguably the very best drinks are made right in front of you.

The hand-crafted margaritas at Sabor Modern Mexican on Navigator of the Seas are truly great choices for someone wanting absolutely no mixes and top-shelf ingredients.

Guests can pick from the two feature margaritas that are prepared table side: The Sweet and Spice Margarita and the Sabor Grand Margarita.

Each features excellent tequila and have unique tastes that cannot be beat.

2. Helipad

Whether you are looking for the perfect spot for sailaway, or just a great place to enjoy the view, Navigator of the Seas' helipad is the perfect location.

Located on the bow, guests can walk to the helicopter pad and enjoy the unobstructed views that you can only get from the helicopter pad. 

From the helicopter pad, guests can enjoy a near 360-degree view of what is surrounding Navigator of the Seas.

To access the helicopter pad, go outside on deck 5 and then walk forward, climb up a set of stairs and continue walking forward until you reach the helicopter pad.

3. Hidden door to the helipad

Speaking of the helipad, if you want to avoid the stairs that lead up to the front of the ship, there is a secret door that will get you right there.

Walk all the way forward on Deck 5 and enter the Star Lounge.  In the daytime, it is usually empty.  Enter the lounge and take an immediate right, just past the DJ booth.

There's a set of unmarked doors that you can simply open up an you will be let out right next to the helipad.  

This is especially helpful if you have a stroller or are in a wheelchair and stairs are a problem.

4. The second omelet station

Breakfast in the Windjammer can get a little busy, and if you want eggs cooked to order, you might consider the alternative location to get them the way you like it.

Throughout the morning, there is an egg station at the aft of the Windjammer, but when it is busy, the crew will open a second egg station on the starboard (right) side of the Windjammer.

This location tends to be less busy than the regular station, because most guests are unaware it is available.

5. Balcony dividers can be removed

If you happen to have connecting balcony staterooms, most Voyager-class ships cannot have their balcony dividers removed.  However, on Navigator of the Seas that is not the case.

 If you're interested in opening up balcony dividers on Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas, the balconies are attached to the ships' hull and cannot be removed. But on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, the balcony dividers aren't attached and can be removed.

6. Peek-a-boo bridge

On Navigator of the Seas, guests can go see what is happening on the bridge at any time.

Dubbed the "peek-a-boo bridge". there is an observation window that allows guests to peer into the bridge during most times of the day.

Head up to deck 11 and walk past the sliding doors that go forward of the Solarium and do not seem to lead anywhere.

From there, keep walking forward until you reach the front of the deck and you will see an area that provides a view of the bridge.

7. Enjoy the view from Cosmopolitan Club

It is really hard to beat the views of Navigator of the Seas' upper decks from the Cosmopolitan Club.

Located on deck 14 at the aft of the ship, the Cosmopolitan Club offers guests sweeping views of the upper decks and the ocean.  

To get to Cosmopolitan Club, you must use the aft elevators and go up to deck 14.

8. Ride the FlowRider on embarkation day

Guests cannot seem to get enough of the FlowRider surf simulator on Navigator of the Seas.  It is really fun to try and learn to surf without having to wait for that perfect wave but there always seems to be a line.

To beat the lines, go to the FlowRider on embarkation day.  Bring your swimsuit in your carry on luggage (or wear it to the ship) and then head to the FlowRider in the afternoon.  

Most other guests onboard will not have their swim suits or even be aware the FlowRider is open.  It is the perfect time to get multiple rides in without little or no wait!

9. Atrium sculpture is based on scuba divers

Navigator of the Seas' main Atrium sculpture spans over seven decks and is more than just something pretty to look at.

The ship features $8.5 million of art, including the Atrium sculpture, which is based on the bubbles a scuba diver makes when swimming under water.

10. Men can enjoy a view when nature calls

When it is time to use the restroom, head to deck 11 to enjoy the best view while you do your business.

The urinals are near a large glass window, which offer a view to the ocean or port you are visiting.

Did we miss any Navigator of the Seas secrets? Share them in our comments!

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