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Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Sea Day

26 Dec 2021
Matt Hochberg

Our first full day on Navigator is a sea day as we head south to Mexico.

Of course, it's also Christmas, which means a ship-wide celebration throughout the day. Being on a cruise ship for Christmas doesn't mean you have to put off your family's celebrations. Lots of families do the pajama thing, take photos, and even decorate.

I started off my morning heading up to the Windjammer for breakfast. There was a gingerbread village just as you walk in.

Behind the village is complimentary eggnog and hot chocolate, conveniently located right near the Windjammer bar. A little Kraken rum and eggnog go a long way.

All around the ship, you will find crew members wearing different Christmas hats and clothing to join in the celebrations.

In case you're wondering, Royal Caribbean provides a midnight mass, as well as Christmas day mass.

While the sun was shining today, it was not warm out.  The high temperature was somewhere in the 60s, and with the ocean breeze, it felt brisk.

Of the many Christmas events, there was a "Holiday gift distribution", where Royal Caribbean provided a wrapped gift to all the kids from Adventure Ocean.

The gift was an Adventure Ocean themed pop it, which is a fidget toy consisting of a silicone tray with pokable bubbles. School aged children love these things.

With the weather not warm enough for the usual pool deck activities, we hit up the mini-golf course and then grabbed some towels to sit by the pool. The towels were for a blanket, rather than to soak up water.

We tried to hit up the ice skating, but the line was enormous, so ditched the line. This is one time I wish I had a Royal Genie again.

Royal Caribbean also held a Christmas day brunch from 9:30am to 1pm in the main dining room.

It is quite unusual to have the main dining room open for so long, and it was nice that you could choose between breakfast, lunch, or both.

After lunch, I decided to head back to the room for a nap. Isn't that a Christmas tradition too?

Having been on the ship for 24 hours, I thought it would make sense to talk about the mask rules and how it's working so far.

Many readers have been curious how the stricter mask rules "feel", and what it's like.

In general, the revised mask protocols means the change is wearing your mask in vaccinated-only zones. 

My experience has been if you are seated in a bar, restaurant, or lounge, as long as there was food or drink in front of you, you were fine without masks and not asked to put the mask on between bites or sips.

I've noticed nearly everyone compliant with the mask rules indoors.  I can think of perhaps one person that didn't have the mask on indoors when I saw them. 

There are definitely a few masks worn by guests that I don't think qualify as masks that do anything helpful, such as face shields alone or the one person had what looked like a coffee filter-inspired mask.

But I cannot recall seeing so many masks being worn on a ship since the early days of cruising's return.

There have also been many more people than I can recall seeing wearing masks outdoors as well.

I don't think Royal Caribbean wants to be in a situation where there are crew members every 10 feet looking to correct mask wearing, but I do know they want guests following the rules, and overall it feels like they've done a good job of focusing on the guest experience, while balancing mask enforcement.

The one rule no one seems to follow or enforce is the elevator rule. Elevators are supposed to be up to 5 people or your travel party, but those things get jam packed repeatedly. 

I'll keep an eye on the mask situation onboard, but so far, I'm very pleased with how the rule has been implemented and how well-received it has been from guests.

Back to the cruise day fun!

Dinner tonight took us to Izumi. We bought the 3-night dining package, and since Chops and Jamie's were blacked out due to the holiday, Izumi made sense. Plus, we'd probably be eating Asian cuisine on Christmas if we were at home!

The one change I noticed is the absence of the hot rock option from the menu.  During the shutdown, Royal Caribbean standardized Izumi's menu across the fleet, and the hot rocks are gone from Navigator, at the very least.

Nonetheless, we found great options and I enjoyed the various sushi options we had.

After dinner, we took the kids to Adventure Ocean. We had a reservation for this evening.  One tip is to ask daily if there's any reservations you can make. The staff member said tomorrow was pretty open, but there were a few spots for the next day.  So we booked that day, and will roll the dice on space for tomorrow.

With the kids gone, my wife and I headed down to the casino to try our luck. The Blackjack gods did not smile upon me, but at least they let me play for a while.

Following our "contribution" to the Royal Caribbean bottom line, we enjoyed drinks and music at the Schooner Bar and Pub.

Tomorrow is our first port stop in Cabo San Lucas.

Stray Observations

One of the weird foods you can eat on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship: three different varieties of gravlax.

I did an internet test today and the speeds were nothing special, but for email, social media, and text messaging, it's more than sufficient. My attempts to watch TNT live so I could catch the Christmas Story marathon failed every single time because of the low speeds and high lag.

I think the casitas on Navigator are complimentary, and do not cost extra. 

In his daily update, the Captain said on Navigator's last 7-night run, they saw a pod of humpback whales, so everyone should look for them as we arrive in Mexico tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I slept on my right shoulder last night and woke up with a strained muscle. Ibuprofen and laying down helps a lot. I'm hoping it gets better quickly.

I ran across the Diamond Lounge set up in the Cosmopolitan Club for their evening happy hour.

Printed Cruise Compasses are a rare breed on this cruise.

Here's a look at the main dining room Christmas menu