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Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day

17 Feb 2017
Matt Hochberg

Our nine-night Navigator of the Seas adventure is about to begin, and each day I will be sharing with you a look at the fun activities, highlights and events from our time onboard.  

I am a big proponent of arriving to your embarkation port at least a day in advance of your cruise's departure date and my family followed this mantra by packing up the car and driving down from Orlando to Miami. 

We spent the night at the Hyatt Place Miami Airport East. As the name implies, it's near Miami International Airport and about 20 minutes by car to PortMiami. The hotel was new, had a modern look and feel and struck me as a business traveler hotel that felt akin to the types of hotels I had stayed at near Newark Airport in the past.  Our room was a nicely furnished suite, with pull out sofa bed for the girls to sleep in. 

We had arrived in Miami around dinner time, so we did not do much in the way of touristy activities. The kids showered and played, and later in the evening, met up with some friends who are joining us on our cruise. There was a large group of folks in the Group Cruise staying in this hotel, and we hosted a mini get together in the lobby, complete with Papa John's pizza. Nothing but the best. 

I usually sleep terribly on the night before the cruise begins, and this time would be no different. I managed to fall asleep easily enough, but woke up from one of the kids fussing a few hours later and that was it for me.  

As usual, the kids woke up early and we got our things together to make our way to PortMiami to meet Navigator of the Seas.

We made a few pit stops for gas (so that we do not have to stop before going home) and cash (tips, use onshore, and investments in the casino) before arriving at PortMiami at just around 10am.  The drive was easy despite some light traffic.  I believe the way the ships are lined up makes PortMiami the best spectacle of a cruise port that I have been to.  There is no industrial look to this port area.

We first dropped the luggage off at the drop-off area, and then parked the car at the PortMiami parking garage across the street.  I know it costs much more than some off-site options, but the convenience factor is important to me when it is time to get to/from the ship.

The security line did not open until 10:30am, but being in the suites/Pinnacle line meant we were among the first to get through the line.

The check-in process was seamless and we had a brief wait in the Diamond lounge before we were onboard quite quickly, right around 11am.

The Windjammer did not open until 11:30am, so we hung out by the pool deck for a bit because the weather was wonderful. Once the Windjammer opened, it was the great spread of food I always look forward to enjoying on embarkation day.

The staterooms opened at 1:15pm and we got our first look at our Grand Suite on deck 10. The room is massive, and the bathroom might be the real highlight.

We also have a connecting standard balcony stateroom next door, so we have plenty of living space.  My wife thinks the bathroom size is the best part of the room, although I really like the extra-large balcony.

Next up, we went to register the children at Adventure Ocean.  The staff indicated there were not a lot of kids on this ship. In fact, at the Nursery they let us book as much time as we wanted for the cruise.  

Our afternoon mainly consisted of enjoying the beautiful weather and letting the kids catch up on some energy.  The youngest managed to squeeze in a nap, but the oldest was not having any of that.

Following muster drill, we went up to the pool deck to enjoy sailaway with our friends onboard. It was an absolutely beautiful day for sailaway with the sun shining, cool breeze and low humidity.  Probably one of the best sailaways in a long time.

We went back to the room to get ready for dinner and I called to Izumi to enjoy Izumi Express, which is essentially a take-out option.  I ordered from the menu and went up to Izumi to pick it up to bring back to enjoy in my room.  While waiting, the staff offered me a hot bowl of miso soup while the chef's prepared the sushi.  Big shoutout to chef Jonathan for a job well done!

I brought my sushi back to the room to enjoy on my balcony, and let me tell you, this is such a great way to start my cruise!

Dinner tonight was in the main dining room. The vegetarian Mexican dish on the menu was really tasty!

We spent the rest of the evening at the Two Poets Pub with the muscic of Danny Rodriguez.  He has a great attitude and put on one of the better pub shows I have seen in a long time.  

Stray Observations

  • Check it out, it's Royal Caribbean's headquarters with Empress of the Seas parked out back!
  • I think Miami is the nicest looking cruise port I have been to, in terms of it not looking industrial at all and the Miami skyline is amazing.
  • The brewed coffee at Cafe Promenade is now using Illy coffee beans instead of Starbucks.
  • Check out the kids main dining room menu
  • The internet onboard is certainly not as fast as some other ships, like Anthem or Harmony.  It is fine for some basic browsing and whatnot, but even uploading the photos in this blog post took a good 10 minutes.  Hoping for some improvement as the cruise continues.

  • I think today I managed to get in around 6 or 7 alcoholic beverages, a macchiato and an espresso shot.  Off to a good start with the unlimited drink packge!

Tomorrow is our first sea day, and our first full day onboard.  Should be a great opportunity to explore the ship some more and get to spend time with the friends joining me on this group cruise.  Day one was already a blast and I cannot wait for tomorrow!