Navigator of the Seas

Royal Caribbean adding Voom to Navigator of the Seas and Vision of the Seas

In:
25Apr2016

Royal Caribbean will be adding its high-speed internet service to Navigator of the Seas and Vision of the Seas at some time in May 2016.

Royal Caribbean UK confirmed via Twitter that the service, known as Voom, will be coming to both ships at sometime in May 2016.

No word on which sailings will be the first for either ship that it will have Voom, but there is now confirmation these two ships are getting it.

Royal Caribbean rolled out new tiered internet plans last week for its Voom service and with that change, more Royal Caribbean ships are now offering the Voom service than were previously offered.

Voom has been spotted for sale on other Royal Caribbean ships that did not previously offer Voom, including Liberty of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean cancels another cruise ship stop in Labadee due to local protests

In:
21Jan2016

Royal Caribbean has decided to cancel today's scheduled stop for one of its cruise ships at the cruise line's private destination of Labadee in Haiti due to ongoing protests.

Photo by Michael C.

Navigator of the Seas was scheduled to stop at Labadee on Thursday, January 21, 2016, but Royal Caribbean canceled the port call and withdrew all employees from the site.

This is the second cruise ship to skip a stop in Labadee, after protests prevented Freedom of the Seas from allowing its guests to go ashore earlier this week.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean commented further on the situation, "Royal Caribbean has not received any guarantees or assurances that there will not be any protests in the future. If a protest takes place while a ship is port, there would be a significant impact on our guests’ ability to enjoy Labadee, or we may have to cancel the visit completely."

In regards to upcoming stops in Labadee, Royal Caribbean noted, "We will continue to closely monitor the situation and are in close communication with local and government officials in Haiti. At this time, we have not made any decisions regarding any additional upcoming port calls to Labadee. The next schedule call is Vision of the Seas, on Sunday, January 24."

Spotted: Royal Caribbean color changing mugs

In:
10Dec2014

Who doesn't enjoy something cool to drink and look at?  I love when there's new takes on old favorites and today we ran across something too neat to pass up.

Photo by Jayne Edwards Palao

Onboard Navigator of the Seas, Jayne Edwards Palao shared a photo of these brand new color changing mugs you can get at the pool deck.

The plastic mugs will turn colors as long as there is a cold liquid inside of it.  The mugs change to purple, blue, pink or green.

Photo by Michelle Deangelico

Photo by Michelle Reeve

On All About Royal Caribbean Cruises facebook group, others reported seeing them also available on Independence of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas.

Would you buy one of these color changing mugs? Let us know be leaving a comment!

Royal Caribbean will send Navigator of the Seas on shortened cruise after oil spill delay

In:
26Mar2014

Earlier this week Royal Caribbean cancelled this week's Navigator of the Seas cruise because of an oil spill in Houston harbor but has decided to go ahead with a shortened 4-night cruise for anyone on the original sailing that wants to go.

Navigator of the Seas will leave this morning on a cruise to Cozumel and then return to Galveston to resume normal operations.  Those on the original sailing can still get a full refund and 25% towards a future sailing even if they choose to go on the 4-night sailing as well.

Royal Caribbean notified passengers late Tuesday evening of the decision after the United States Coast Guard opened Galveston harbor back up to operations.

The collision between a barge and another vessel Saturday near the Texas City Dike spilled 160,000 gallons of heavy oil into Galveston Bay and has forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Houston Ship Channel.

Royal Caribbean cancels Navigator of the Seas cruise due to oil spill

In:
24Mar2014

Royal Caribbean has cancelled the maligned Navigator of the Seas cruise that was delayed embarking due to an oil spill in Houston harbor and has since been stuck in Galveston harbor.

Passengers on the cancelled cruise will get a full refund and 25% in future cruise credit. Royal Caribbean is also allowing guests to stay onboard Navigator of the Seas until March 30.

The collision between a barge and another vessel Saturday near the Texas City Dike spilled 160,000 gallons of heavy oil into Galveston Bay and has forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Houston Ship Channel.

Your opinion: How well did Royal Caribbean handle Adventure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas incidents this weekend?

In:
24Mar2014

Over the weekend, Royal Caribbean had two of its ships impacted by two very different issues and we want to know what your opinion of how Royal Caribbean handled these incidents.

Photo by Houston Chronicle

First was Adventure of the Seas, who had a propulsion problem where in the middle of her Southern Caribbean itinerary the ship encountered oil loss from one of her fixipod units that forced its shutdown.  The result was she had to skip a couple of ports and travel at a slower speed.  Adventure of the Seas made it back to port yesterday in San Juan, albeit delayed.

The other incident was Navigator of the Seas was delayed a number of hours from docking in Galveston due to an oil spill in the harbor.  The incident affected other cruise ships as well and Navigator of the Seas was not able to dock in Galveston and let off its passengers and take on the new passengers until late Sunday.

In both cases, Royal Caribbean is being accused by some of poor communications by the cruise line to its passengers in terms of keeping them updated.  Some say Royal Caribbean did not effectively keep passengers onboard and on shore updated with what was happening and what the future may hold.  On the other hand, others point out many of the variables were out of the company's hands and when they did know something, they conveyed it.

We want to know what your opinion is of how Royal Caribbean handled both situations.  Comment in this post if you think they handled it well or not and why!

Oil spill in Galveston delays Navigator of the Seas

In:
23Mar2014

A 160,000 gallon oil spill near Galveston, Texas is delaying cruise ships coming and going to the cruise port, including Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas.

The collision between a barge and another vessel Saturday near the Texas City Dike spilled 160,000 gallons of heavy oil into Galveston Bay and has forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Houston Ship Channel.

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas was scheduled to arrive early this morning and let off its passengers while allowing new ones to board but it remains stuck outside the harbor.  

Passenger Jonathan Spoon is aboard the ship and told the Galveston Daily News, "We are being told they are conducting a flyover to see if the ship can make its way into the port (of Galveston) without going through the oil.  There are lots of ships parked all around us. So far no problems on the boat."

He said Royal Caribbean reopened many of the ships restaurants and onboard activities to keep the passengers comfortable. 

Royal Caribbean has not commented on the situation yet, but is monitoring it.

A look at Royal Caribbean's kids club for 3 to 5 year olds

In:
05Mar2014

Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean is the award winning kids club the cruise line offers to families of daily activities for kids.  The Aquanauts program is designed for children between the ages of 3 to 5 five years old and on our recent Navigator of the Seas we got a first-hand look at how it all works.

The basics

Aquanauts, and Adventure Ocean in general, is complimentary and offered to all children in the age group.  

The only requirements are the child be 100% potty trained and able to go to the restroom on their own without adult help.  In addition, children cannot wear pull ups or diapers of any kind.

Prior to first bringing your child to Aquanauts, you will need to register him or her.  It involves sharing pertinent information about the children and signing the proper waivers.

There's only one entrance and exit to the Aquanauts room, which requires a a buzzer to be pressed to open the door that also sounds a chime.  This prevents kids from getting out without someone noticing.

Once in, the kids are introduced to the staff via funny names the Adventure Ocean staff give themselves.  Some of the staff on our cruise were nicknamed "Tinker Bell" and "Dino".  Kids are also instructed to take their shoes off, put them away and wash their hands before being allowed to participate.

You can check up on the kids at anytime by calling the Aquanauts room directly and seeing how your child is doing.  

Times

On our cruise, there were three main sessions per day on a sea day: 9am to noon, 2pm to 5pm, 7pm - 10pm. 

On port days, the schedule was simplified to two sessions per day: 9am to 5pm, 7pm - 10pm.

You could also opt in to the 10pm - 2am session for an additional fee of $7 per hour.

Activities

One of the first things you might be wondering is what exactly do the kids do.  The Aquanauts program is based around a combination of structured activities and free play.

Activities include story time, coloring, face painting, pirate night and central-theme based activities.  They did a lot and my three year old daughter would come back telling us about the funny things the Adventure Ocean staff took them through.  

They also did a lot of arts and crafts work that would be on display in the room and then eventually brought back to your stateroom.

Of course, there's plenty of free-play time with the toys and facilities available to the kids. Play time is supervised by the Adventure Ocean staff to ensure the kids are safe.

Food

There's only two times the kids are fed and that is on port days around noon or in the Adventure Dining session from 5pm to 7pm.  

The food options depend on how many kids are in that day.  If they have a fair amount of kids, they will order pizza or chicken nuggets from the Windjammer to be delivered to the Aquanauts room.  If they only have a few kids, the staff will escort the children to the Windjammer and let the kids pick their own meal.

For dinner, you can opt into the My Family Time Dining, where if you are in first seating of the Main Dining Room, you can bring your kids to the Main Dining Room, where the kids will be served within 40 minutes and then escorted to Adventure Ocean by the staff directly from the Main Dining Room.  This is open to Adventure Ocean kids between the ages of 3-11.

Observations

The staff were quite good at making the kids feel welcome and they really seemed to enjoy their time there.

On paper, Adventure Ocean says Aquanauts parents will get a beeper when dropping the kids off in case the staff needs to get a hold of them.  In practice, we only got a beeper about half the time.  Not a big deal since we never needed it but worth noting nonetheless.

If you're wondering how well the program is run, look no further than the fact my daughter cried just about every time we picked her up because she did not want to leave.  Once she got over it, she would then begin telling us everything she did that day and would constantly ask us when she could go next.

There are no means for the children to nap at Aquanauts, but the break in sessions between noon and 2pm is when I assume most kids take their naps.  

The late night session starting at 10pm was a great bonus, even with the additional cost.  Getting a little extra time after dinner was a treat for me and my wife since we had second seating dinner on our cruise.  Well worth the extra cost.

The biggest concern for us going into this cruise was the potty situation and often people wonder how strict they are with the potty training.  Any parent will tell you it's very rare for a three year old to be 100%, completely potty trained.  

Basically it comes down to your child not wearing a pull up or a diaper and not soiling themselves during Adventure Ocean.  Our plan was to always bring her to the bathroom right before going to Aquanauts.  This worked well although she did report going to to the restroom on her own multiple times so clearly when properly motivated she did well with it.

I think the key is to make sure your child is aware that they need to be able to go by themselves to the bathroom without anyone helping.  Going beforehand is also good practice to ensure it's less of an issue.

`Overall I found the Adventure Ocean program to be run well and the thing my daughter looked forward to the most about the cruise. For parents, the Adventure Ocean programis a great means of getting some time to yourselves while the kids have a blast playing with other kids in a supervised environment.

Restaurant Review: Giovanni's Table on Navigator of the Seas

In:
27Feb2014

Of all the specialty restaurants on Navigator of the Seas, the one that slides in "under the radar" has to be Giovanni's Table and I'm not exactly sure why.

Giovanni's Table serves family-style Italian food and replaced Portofino's as the Italian specialty restaurant onboard Navigator of the Seas in February 2014.  

This is our second time eating at Giovanni's Table, with our first back on Oasis of the Seas in 2010.  I rather enjoyed my meal last time so this time we wanted to try lunch and see how good (or bad) Giovanni's Table is on Navigator of the Seas.

Atmosphere

Giovanni's Table is located on deck 11 near the Windjammer and across from Chops Grille.   As I stated earlier, it was added as part of the ship's refurbishment and I made reservations online as soon as they became available.

When I showed up at 12:30pm for our lunch reservation, I found literally no one else in the restaurant. At the time this was our first specialty restaurant of the cruise so we thought maybe they just weren't popular but later found all the other specialty restaurants onboard packed. 

The space Giovanni's Table occupies is a large rectangular room, with lots of blues and whites. There's no checkerboard red and black stereotypical Italian restaurant decor here, it looks more like its upscale Portofino sister than Sorrento's Pizzeria.

The nice thing about eating lunch at Giovanni's Table is you can see the ocean quite easily.  We were seated at a window table and being able to watch the ocean during our meal was calming and quite beautiful.  

I often point out Chops Grille misses out on having a view since it's only open for dinner and glare from the lights prevents from seeing outside, so it's nice having a view with our meal at Giovanni's Table.

Eats

The menu at Giovanni's Table offers a number of choices, which are all supposed to be family style.  Family style usually means it's a large serving meant to be shared among two or more people.  

Frankly, I found most dishes to be small enough for just one person to enjoy, although I may be a victim of gluttonous American dining standards.  That's in contrast to my time on Oasis of the Seas a few years ago when our meal at Giovanni's Table had much larger serving sizes.  That isn't a bad thing necessarily, just pointing out the difference.

As with many Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants, you can order as much as you like from the menu so we started off with appetizers.

The Caprese salad is always a good choice and we were quite pleased with the freshness of the ingredients.  

I also ordered the baked eggplant parmigiana.   I'm a bit of a connoisseur of eggplant parmigiana, as it's become my go-to Italian dish in recent years.  It wasn't just fried eggplant in sauce with some cheese, rather the eggplant was more lightly fried and then baked in with a combination of a great sauce and light cheese.  I really enjoy it.

Last, but not least, my wife also wanted to sample their Caesar salad.  My wife's ideal Caesar salad is a salad where it's only made up of the dark green lettuce leaves, as opposed to the light green crunchy part.  This salad was about as close to perfection as she's seen in some time in that regard.

For our entrees, I decided to keep it traditional and try their lasagna and meatballs.  First came the lasagna, which is described by Royal Caribbean as a traditional meal lasagna. 

What I liked about the lasagna was that it was topped in meat sauce and a light use of cheese (not the shredded kind).  I feel like lasagna should be more about the meat and pasta and less about the cheese and this hit the nail on the head.

I ordered the meatballs because the waiter mentioned the meatballs as being what the restaurant was known for and I think I read a few other places about the meatballs too. 

Being someone who usually goes for a "When in Rome..." kind of attitude, I ordered the veal meatballs to give it a try.

I will be honest and say I did not love the meatballs, however, I feel that could be because I don't really like veal and not because the meatballs were of poor quality.  

Dessert at Giovanni's Table is offered from the dessert cart (there is no menu, per se).  The waiter brings the cart over and you pick out what you would like.

My wife decided to try the pappardelle pasta in a radicchio cream and pancetta.  It sounded good to her but it was something she had never tried before.

She found the pasta to be interesting and she ate it but different than what she was used to ordering at an Italian restaurant.  I think she liked it overall but noted it was a little more different than she thought it would be.

I was stuffed so I took the chocolate cake to try and it was tasted great, although I chose not to eat more than a bite or two.

My wife sampled the canoli because in her perfect world, after the Caesar salad with only dark green leaves are served, it will be followed by a parade of canolis.  She really enjoy their canoli and gave it a thumbs up.

Overall

Giovanni's Table stood out for us because of the freshness of the food we had.  My pet peeve is food that tastes like it just came out of a microwave but I really felt like what we ordered was prepared at the time and tasted wonderful.

It's also worth noting lunch is only $15 per person, which for what you get is a great value.  Given what you get for the money, it's one of the better deals on Navigator of the Seas and for lunch it was well worth it.

I also need to point out how good our waiter was because my daughter was in a foul mood that day (she needed a nap and was hungry).  Had the restaurant not been empty, I'm sure me or my wife would have brought her back to the stateroom as not to bother the other diners.

Our waiter really went above and beyond by trying to entertain her with tricks, tours of the galley and even letting her sit on the Vespa scooter that is near the entrance.  The little things he did to keep her happy really made our meal enjoyable and stood out as why specialty restaurant waiters are among the best Royal Caribbean has.

I think the food at Giovanni's Table is quite good and if you like Italian food at all, it's hard not to go wrong here.  I won't pretend that the food at Sabor and Chops Grille were tastier, but considering Giovanni's Table is open for lunch whereas the others are not, I think it makes for a perfect choice for lunch.

Giovanni's Table is open for lunch 12:00pm to 3:30pm and open for dinner 6:00pm to 10:00pm and we reviewed Giovanni's Table on Navigator of the Seas.

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