Navigator of the Seas Live Blog

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Nassau

In:
20May2019

The final day of our 3-night cruise takes us to Nassau, Bahamas. I thought it might be a slower day to catch up and relax, but I ended up doing more than I thought.

First up was a chance to hop in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 and try my hand at (virtually) flying. This is a Royal Caribbean excursion that brings me to Jetline Simulations.  

This time around, we did one full flight from Baltimore to Reagan National in Washington DC, a landing in St. Maarten and a landing in Shanghai.  I think I did pretty darn well!

After impressing myself with flying skills, I met up with Cruise Life Matt for drinks and lunch in downtown Nassau.

We started out at Pirate Republic Brewery and then headed over to dine at Sharkeez Tiki Bar.

Following lunch, I went back onboard Navigator of the Seas and joined a group of other media to try out the Royal Escape Room.  

Each escape room on Royal Caribbean is different, and while the layout and general aesthetic is similar to the escape room on Mariner of the Seas, the puzzles are completely different.

We did not escape in time, but we did manage to solve the entire puzzle in an extra 4 minutes or so. Our game host said of the roughly 300 game sessions so far, we were only one of 14 teams to complete the puzzle, regardless of overtime or not.

Following the escape room, I was in desperate need of a nap so I took a very satisfying nap back in my room.

I awoke from my midafternoon slumber to see our ship begin sailing away from Nassau.

For dinner, I chose between Izumi and Jamie's Italian and ultimately decided on Jamie's Italian simply because the menu at Jamie's Italian on Navigator of the Seas is different from any other Jamie's Italian across the fleet.  

I started out the tomato bruschetta, and then moved onto the eggplant parmigiana, with a side of linguine. 

Great meal, and the service was fantastic.

After dinner, I went outside to enjoy a lovely sunset.

While at the pool deck, I finally got to meet the man who has cruised with Royal Caribbean the most.  He is affectionally known as Super Mario, and fellow blog writer Michael Poole interviewed him a couple years ago

Mario was incredibly gracious, and we had a great chat.

With no way to possibly top meeting Mario, I enjoyed a few drinks around the ship and then decided to do the responsible thing and head to bed.

Thanks for following along this live blog. I had a lot of fun sharing all the big Perfect Day at CocoCay changes, and I love hearing back from all of you.

My next live blog kicks off sooner than you think, as I decided to "YOLO" book another sailing to Perfect Day at CocoCay on Mariner of the Seas for June 14. Stay tuned for that live blog!

Stray Observations

  • I love these elevators on Adventure, Mariner and Navigator that tell you what the next stop will be.
  • I stopped by the Diamond Lounge and found a few menus to show



Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Perfect Day at CocoCay

In:
18May2019

Back in March 2018, Royal Caribbean announced its plans to expand its private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, and since that day, I have been among many that have been quite excited to see it open.  Today, that dream was realized.

I woke up much too early and got ready for a full day of fun.  We were scheduled to be in port from 8am to 8pm, so roughly 12 hours (cleared for disembarkation and all-aboard eat some of that time) of fun in the sun, exploring the island was ahead of me.

I caught a quick breakfast in the Windjammer and then walked off the ship.  There was continuous tram service provided on the pier so I managed to save a walk and get to the island even faster!

Once on the island, I made a beeline to Thrill Waterpark to experience all the slides there.  

There are about a half dozen slides on Daredevil's Tower, which encompass the most thrilling slides available.

In the name of "research", I tried all the slides and think Daredevil's Peak was my favorite for sheer ride length speed.  

The Dueling Demons drop slide absolutely, positively scared me to death. You stand vertically on a platform and then the lifeguard counts down until the slide opens up and you fall vertically before beginning the slide.  If he had stopped at one and asked if I wanted to get off, I would have.  It was exhilarating, but I found my limit.

I made up for it with the other great slides that each offer a different kind of thrill.

Over at Splash Summit, you have another three types of slides. These are more family-friendly, although I saw plenty of kids hit up Daredevil's Tower.

You might be wondering about lines for the slides, and there were barely any. The longest wait is for the Slingshot raft slide (for 2-4 guests). But even that maxed out at about 20 minutes.  Nearly all the slides I rode had little to no wait.

Next up was the wave pool. The depth is not very deep, so it allows families to enjoy this and I think my kids would love it.

If that is not enough, Thrill Waterpark also has the Adventure Pool that is designed for kids to traverse the obstacles, climb around and otherwise find a new way to splash around.

 

The water park did not disappoint and my advice is to hit the slides either before 11am or after 3pm. If your ship stays late (past 5pm), you will find you have the water park to yourself by mid-afternoon as families head back to the ship for dinner.

For lunch, I ate at the Snack Shack, which is home to the absolute best food on the island (and rivals a lot of the food on any Royal Caribbean ship): the Crispy Chicken Sandwich.

Continuing my "research", I did a lot of walking around the island to check out everything.

 Oasis Lagoon continues to be an incredibly fun spot and the pool bar area was super popular with guests, as a newly added DJ has proven to be a big hit.

As noted in my other live blog post, I was invited to go on this cruise as a guest of Royal Caribbean (along with a number of other members of the media). Royal Caribbean provided complimentary rides on the zip line and Up, Up and Away helium balloon.

The zip line involves three towers, so that means three different zip line rides in total. The views were fantastic and I loved the thrill of going over other areas of the waterpark.

My helium balloon ride took me up 330 feet to provide some incredible views.  The exact height you hit will depend on wind conditions. 

 

Of course, Perfect Day at CocoCay still offers that fantastic traditional beach experience at Chill Island and South Beach. I walked both beaches and if you want a beach day with no noise other than the waves splashing, then Chill Island is the spot for you.

Traditionalists will find Chill Island a true to form beach day experience.

   

My kids were not with me, or I would have probably spent time at Splashaway Bay and Captain Jill's Galleon.  The kids I saw there looked thrilled to be running around.  

I asked the lifeguard and adults can do down the slides at Splashaway Bay and Captain Jill's Galleon.

Many blog readers wanted to know what each type of cabana on the island looks like, so here they are...

Thrill waterpark cabana

Chill Island cabanas

Oasis Lagoon cabana

There was also Perfect Day at CocoCay merchandise available for sale at a few kiosks.

I had an incredible day, and I had to take a little time in late afternoon to simply relax in the pool after a day of running around and trying it all. Royal Caribbean designed Perfect Day to offer a blend of "thrill" and "chill" and it is not just marketing speak. The island delivers both in ample supply.

I got back onboard the ship around 7pm and prepared for dinner, which tonight would take me to Chops Grille.

Chops was busy, but the service and food were excellent. After a day of walking around Perfect Day at CocoCay, it was nice to just sit for a while.

After dinner I headed down the Bamboo Room for some after-dinner cocktails, followed by Royal Caribbean's Red nightclub experience in Studio B.

Tomorrow is our last day, and it takes us to Nassau, Bahamas.

 

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

In:
18May2019

We are back with our next live blog and this week we are headed on Navigator of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean invited me to come sail on Navigator of the Seas for the purposes of checking out the revamped Perfect Day at CocoCay. We will have more on that tomorrow, but in the meantime let us talk about my first day on Navigator.

Prior to the cruise, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Miami Airport East.  It was quite affordable ($80/night) and well kept.  I will have a more in-depth review on the hotel later, but it is a great affordable choice for a pre-cruise hotel near the airport.

The nice thing about staying near the airport is Lyft drivers are plentiful, and I grabbed a ride to the port following a meeting I had earlier in the morning.

Check-in at Terminal A at PortMiami is as simple as it was on Symphony of the Seas or Mariner of the Seas in previous sailings. Frankly, it is impressive how quickly you move through the entire process.

Once onboard Navigator, it felt like a homecoming being on Navigator of the Seas again.  Being a few months post-dry dock, the ship still has that "new ship feel" and I relished being back onboard.

As is tradition for me, I grabbed lunch at the Windjammer and it did not disappoint. I love the variety of food, and it hit the spot.

After lunch, I had to check out the ship and see some of the venues that were not quite complete when I sailed on her right before Navigator launched post-dry dock. Frankly, it is impressive the layout and flow of the pool deck. 

Staterooms were ready at 2pm (a bit of a departure from the usual 1pm time) and I have a balcony room for this sailing.

The room looked great, and I loved how much space there was around the room. 

One of the venues I wanted to check out was the redesigned Adventure Ocean space.

Instead of Adventure Ocean groupings segregated by age, Navigator of the Seas combines the kids in one group with activity areas based on interest.

I will defer a review of this until my kids get to sail with me, but the space is impressive.

Following muster drill, it was time for sail away. The Miami sail away is among the most beautiful and scenic cruise sail aways that exist and I loved passing by all the beautiful (and expensive) homes that I could only dream of living in one day.

Prior to getting ready for dinner, I had to jump on the Navigator of the Seas water slides. I rode both the Blaster and Riptide slides and it was a lot of fun. While I had ridden the Riptide before, the Blaster was a great tube ride slide.  Riptide is just a plain-simple head-first rush. 

As day turned to evening, members of the media met at the Lime and Coconut for cocktails and a lovely sunset at sea.

Dinner this evening took me to Hooked.  I have dined at Hooked a couple of times, and I opted for the messy fish sandwich.  The key to the messy fish sandwich is to press the sandwich down as much as possible prior to eating.

We called it an early evening, because tomorrow will be a full day at Perfect Day at CocoCay tomorrow.

Stray Observations

  • On this sailing, the new souvenir Coca-Cola souvenir cup is the defacto cup across the ship. 
  • During the day on embarkation day, the Pub and Bamboo room were closed with interesting signs outside. 

  • The first day Cruise Compass included this Perfect Day at CocoCay laminated insert.

 

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog Day 5 – Sea Day

In:
02Feb2018

Our final day on board the Navigator of the Seas was a sea day, as we headed back to Miami, Florida. I slept in a little late today and decided to head up to the Windjammer at 11AM. I was planning to eat and early lunch, but it doesn’t change over until 11:30AM. No big deal, I’m not going to mind eating more bacon!


 

When I walked into the Windjammer, our waitress from the other night was standing outside of Giovanni’s Table. She said they were running a deal for a BOGO lunch for $15 today. I was very tempted by this, but since we had Sabor again for dinner I didn’t want to eat that much food today.

After lunch I just explored the ship and it was really busy on the Promenade deck. The T-Shirt sale was 2 for $20, and I think half the ship was shopping for a shirt today.


 

I didn’t want to stay in this area very long, so I walked down to the Casino. I saw them making a lot of mimosa so I inquired what was going on. From 12PM-1PM on sea days they have a $2 mimosa hour. Who could pass that up, right? I enjoyed a few and I was surprised to see they let me keep my tab open and pay when I was ready to leave.


 

Nothing to report on for the afternoon, I slept for most of it. My group spent the day poolside, but I really needed some more sleep. If it was my last day of the vacation I would have pushed through, but I’m boarding Enchantment of the Seas tomorrow for 3 nights.


 

Evening on Board

For dinner tonight we went back to Sabor. It was fun having the same waiters and doing family style across the table. I went pretty basic and ordered the same two items as yesterday.



 

I noticed the restaurant wasn’t that busy only 2-3 tables tonight. Our friend Raymond in the group was celebrating his birthday on board. I had the Diamond Lounge Concierge order a birthday cake to be brought out at dinner tonight. If you ever wanted to do something like this, the cake is $25 and it was amazing!

After dinner we stopped by the Schooner bar for a while, but it was at full capacity and no way 8 of us were finding a seat together.


 

We decided to visit the casino and use our free spin to win tokens from Crown and Anchor. I didn’t know this, but our friend is a Gold member and they still give you 1 token. Sadly, no one won anything other than a raffle ticket.

After the casino we decided to call it an early night. The ship seems to really come to life tonight; everyone was out and about getting that last drink or enjoying the entertainment on board.


 

Navigator of the Seas is in great shape; they really did a great job on her last dry dock. Only area that they didn’t upgrade was Boleros it still had the old décor from when the ship launched and likely the same chairs.

The crew on board were so friendly, and almost zero wait at any bars no matter where you went. The diamond lounge host – JJ was the nicest I’ve ever seen. She had over 150 members in here at any given point and made sure to talk to every one. The next sailing she said over 700 Diamond members will be on board for the 9 nights.

The VOOM worked well, never disconnected from our devices. The Solarium is the only place I saw issues getting online. I did try to stream a few times and it wasn’t able to hold the connection. As far as my bar tab vs drink package cost, I ended up spending around $75 on drinks paying as I go.


 

I did spend a lot more time in the diamond lounge taking advantage of free drinks on this sailing than I have before. Going forward, this will be my new plan on board unless of course it’s a Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise.

Thanks for following along this week, feel free to comment below if you have any questions. My live blog is ending here, as I won’t live blog this weekend on Enchantment of the Seas. I’m going with 50 people for the Super Bowl cruise and want to spend majority of my time with them. Feel free to follow me on Instagram for updates.

See you the first week of March for a back-to-back live blog on Brilliance of the Seas!

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog Day 4 – Costa Maya

In:
01Feb2018

Today was our second port of call in Costa Maya, this was one of the main reasons I booked this cruise because I’ve never been here. We docked at 7AM alongside Freedom of the Seas, around 9AM Empress of the Seas also pulled in. It was like a Royal takeover in Costa Maya.


 

We walked off the ship at 9:30AM it seem like the walk off the dock was a little longer than normal. It was also very busy since three ships were all disembarking at the same time. Once we got into the pier area I couldn’t believe how nice it was. You could spend the whole day in this area without ever leaving.


 

They had a very large pool with swim up bars, which are completely free to use. It reminded me of the pier area in Falmouth, Jamaica but three times the size.

Once you step out of the pier area they have a city trolly that will take you into town for $3 per person. Someone in our group had been here before and knew if you kept walking you could get a taxi for $2 per person and no stop along the way. So we went out of the gates and about 100 yards down they had a taxi area with cars lined up.

I had done a little research online and everyone kept saying they went to the Krazy Lobster in Costa Maya. This place is free to enter; they also don’t charge anything for beach chairs. We also had a few tables together in the shade and enjoyed our day. The beers here are only $1 so we ordered buckets for the table.

For lunch I ordered the shrimp tacos and I couldn’t believe how much shrimp they came with. My brother ordered the nachos and they were not that great, so I’d recommend sticking with seafood here.


 

We stayed here until late afternoon just enjoying the beautiful weather, all on board was 4:30PM so we left around 3:15PM. Our tab for 8 people eating and drinking all day was $200 – you just can’t beat that.


 

Afternoon on board

We went to the top tier event at 7PM and they went over all the Crown and Anchor numbers. The totals were: 155 Platinum, 86 Emerald, 185 Diamond, 130 Diamond Plus, and 19 Pinnacle members. They were also handing out free drinks so we grabbed a few for the event.


 

Directly after the top tier event we had made reservations for Sabor. First thing I noticed was they had some new items on the menu. I had never seen the steak quesadilla or mahi fish tacos. In the name of research, I ordered both! They were both so good, so much flavor.


 

The steak quesadilla is their most popular ordered item now our waitress said. We had pull our month together and purchased the 10-drink card to use at Sabor for our margaritas. Really great idea, 5 of us total put in $17 that covers us for two each. The meal was outstanding, really great service and the food maybe the best I’d ever had. I can’t wait to go back again tomorrow!


 

This evening was the 70’s street party on the Royal Promenade. We enjoyed the music and dancing the night away. I had ordered a $15 bucket of beers, so I had a table at the pub. Right after the party, the singer came in the pub and I loved him so much we stayed until he quit signing. The pub is a little smaller than those on Oasis class, but it was a full house!


 

Tomorrow is our last sea day, as we head back to Miami, Florida.

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog Day 3 – Cozumel, Mexico

In:
31Jan2018

Today was our first port of call in Cozumel, Mexico. We arrived at 8AM and I was so excited for our day. I know in my preview post I mentioned we were going downtown, but we decided to make a change of plans.


 

Four of us wanted to rent a car and explore on our own over to the backside of the island. If you have ever done the Cozumel Bar Hop it’s the same places we went to today.


 

First we got off the ship at 9AM and they had towels to checkout right before you leave the ship. We saw a few rental car places inside the gate area, but we kept going searching for a better deal. Sadly, the prices were very constant everywhere we looked. The jeeps were $95 and the small 4-door cars were $65.


 

They also add insurance and fees on top of those charges, which was around $30 more. Our group was four people, so worked out to $22 each. I usually pay around that amount for a one-way trip to Nachi so I was happy with the price.

Once we got the car we headed over to the backside of the island. The drive was around 20 minutes and nothing really to see along the way. But once you arrive back there they have little beach bars about every mile to stop at. All of the places don’t charge anything to come, just pay for what you want.

The first stop was a place called Punta Morena, this place reminded me of a very nice resort. The prices were a little high, but you were paying for the experience. This place was very big and could hold hundreds of people.


 

We ended up staying here the longest and sat in a hammock for a few hours. Since we arrived at around 10AM we just had a few drinks at this stop. The beers were $4 and cocktails were around $12. Honestly, I could have stayed at this stop all day, I saw many cruise passengers just taking a taxi out here.



 

The next stop was Coconuts Bar and Grill. This stop had the most amazing views I’d ever seen. Overlooking the ocean on a cliff was truly breathtaking.


 

We were lucky and grabbed a table right be the edge and had lunch with the best views. I ordered the shrimp tacos ($10) and one beer ($4). This place was very popular with a lot of locals that come here too.


 

Our last stop was a little beach bar, I didn’t get the name of this stop but it was the last one down. I really enjoyed this one because again the views and being able to sit right on the beach. I noticed the further you went down the prices were a little less.



 

Today was pretty incredible, all my times to Cozumel I always go to Nachi Cocom. Today I stepped out of my shell and tried something new. It made me really think about my future travels and really searching for new experiences.


 

I would have never got to see all these amazing places without just taking a change and trying something new. I am planning to go back to Nachi in March on my Brilliance cruise, but I will be returning to the backside of the island very soon!

Back on Board

was around 4PM when we walked back on aboard, so I just got ready for the evening. While I was walking through the Promenade deck, I saw a 5 beers for $15 special at the pub. I walked in and inquired about this special since I don’t have the drink package.


 

They have three beer types you can choose from with this special offer. I’ve never heard of any of the beers, but I went for it in the name of research. The beers were from Europe and actually not bad, a little different but worth $15 for sure.


 

Tonight they had two ice shows at 7:30PM or 9:30PM; we went to the early show. This was our first show we have seen all cruise, so I was very excited about going. I recommend going 15-20 minutes early and getting one of the side front-row seats. I like sitting front row for the ice shows, because there are times when they come right up to you.


 

The show itself started a little slow and I was worried by the music it wasn’t going to be good. As the show progressed it just kept getting better and more upbeat. By the end of the show we were all so impressed by these skaters, all those tricks and they only had one fall, pretty impressive.

Dinner tonight was just in the Windjammer, I was looking for a quick and easy dinner. They had so many options to choose from and honestly I wanted it all. I went with grilled fish, eggplant, & mac-n-cheese. I feel like the food quality in the windjammer has just improved so much over the last year.



 

Post dinner I just enjoyed my beers at the pub. Tonight the ship was very calm and quite, Cozumel tends to do this to cruisers. I may have made a pit stop for some post-dinner pizza before bed. The pizza wasn’t anything to special, but it’s late night food.

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog Day 2 – Sea Day

In:
30Jan2018

This morning was our first sea day, like almost always on a cruise I woke up too early today. Around 2:30am I just couldn’t sleep, so I headed up to the Diamond Lounge.

I know I should have stayed in bed longer, but I never sleep that much when I’m sailing due to excitement. When I came up to the lounge the nightclub was still going in full force until around 4am.

Most of my morning hours were spent just exploring the ship with zero passengers around. If you have never woken up early on a cruise I recommend you giving it a try. I was able to get some pretty neat pictures without any passengers around.



 

At 6:30am I headed to the aft of the ship to watch the sunrise, this was my first time seeing the FlowRider. During Navigator of the Seas last dry dock they added the FlowRider all the way aft. It’s been many years since I’ve jumped on a board, but I’m thinking its time to revisit during this cruise.

Sunrise was very enjoyable and was surprised to see how many people were also up to watch. Another must do on board a cruise ship, at least one sunrise and sunset on the top decks.

For breakfast I went into the Windjammer at 7am and it wasn’t busy at all. I suppose on sea days most people come a little later. I ordered a fresh made to order omelet that took 2-3 minutes to prepare.

I am also happy to share that today I have now had the best bacon I’ve ever had. Not only the best on a cruise ship, but the best ever! They have finally gotten it right and have crispy thick bacon in the Windjammer. For many years, I’ve seen the bacon very thin and covered in grease, but not anymore!

Since today was a sea day we didn’t have any real plans other than hangout by the pool deck. My group decided to sit in the solarium where we got some sun, but without all the loud music all day.

It must be me getting older, but I am enjoying the Solarium more each cruise. We had some clouds during the day and a few lite rain showers, but nothing to complain about here, we are on a cruise.


With no drink package I brought my own bottle of champagne to the pool deck. I had the pool bar fill my bucket with ice and ask for some flutes. No issues doing that poolside if you are looking to safe a few dollars.

Around 12:30 we headed to the Windjammer (again) for lunch. Some of my group went to the main dining room for a little nice lunch, but I was just looking for something quick. The Windjammer was very busy; it took us a little bit to find a table. I had some grill fish, white rice, and my first slice of pizza this cruise. Lunch was very enjoyable and I saw so many different options. So far, I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the food on board.

I did some walking around after lunch to see what was going on in other parts of the ship. I saw they had some afternoon live music in the promenade deck. I went into the Royal gift shop to pick up a new visor since I misplaced mine. The hat was $20, but I couldn’t use my C&A discount unless I spent at least $25.

Formal Night

Tonight was formal night, so we all got dressed up for a change, which I usually enjoy. We made my time dining reservations in the main dining room at 8PM. I’ll be honest, I was a little confused why we needed reservations for my time dining, but I just went with it.

Before dinner we went down to the R Bar as a group and had some pre-dinner cocktails. At 7PM they start handing out free champagne for the Captain’s reception, so we all took advantage of that. Once I got up and saw no line to get your photo with the captain, so I ran over and grabbed one. It was funny I walked up with my camera because I always have it and the lady said, “oh, we use our camera for this photo.”

We arrived at 8PM for dinner and had to wait a few minutes but were seating at a nice large table for our group. This was my first time in the main dining room on this cruise and the food was outstanding. I had the filet of beef and it’s one of the best meals served if you ask me. We also had them put some shrimp ravioli in the center of the table. The service was very slow, we were at dinner for over two hours. I think we could have said something to speed things up, but nevertheless it felt very long.

The head waiter presented chef’s table to us for 30% off, we were tempted but decided to do Sabor for 30% off night 4 and 5. I love Sabor and I’m really looking forward to dining their twice this cruise.

After dinner we went to the pub to enjoy the live music. Every seat was taken and everyone was really enjoying themselves. We stayed for a while and just sang along to the music that was being played. Around midnight we decided to call it a night and get some rest.

Tomorrow we are in our first port of call, Cozumel, Mexico. I’ve had a little change of plans on what I’m doing tomorrow but it’s going to be great I know it! An update on my no drink package, I spent around $25 today buying a few beers. So for the first two days I’m at $32 vs $250 for the package.

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog Day 1 – Embarkation Day

In:
29Jan2018

My cruise day has finally arrived, but not before a quick 35-minute flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I decided to just take an early non-stop flight down the morning of the cruise from Tampa.

I had a pretty uneventful travel day that went as smoothly as I could have asked for. Once I landed in Ft. Lauderdale I waited on a few friends to arrive and then we jumped into an Uber down to Miami. I called a ride and within a few minutes they arrived. We made a quick stop at Publix for some wine to carry on board and off we went. The total fare was $46, not bad splitting three ways.

Boarding

We arrived in Miami at 11am and they had just started boarding, so we checked-in and went right on board. I honestly don’t think we could have planned that any better. Once on board we did some exploring and grabbed our first beverages of the cruise.

I was temped to get the drink package with my Diamond Plus discount of 30% off, but I held strong and didn’t do it. The ship is 16 years old, but you would never know it. The promenade looks outstanding with the LED lights and modern décor at the shops.

For lunch we had the signature Matt’s day 1 lunch special, also known as the Windjammer. I recommend if you are sailing on any Royal Caribbean ship to eat lunch right when the Windjammer opens. At 11:30am we headed up and found the area to be quite empty. We had some more friends joining us, so we grabbed a large table and waited on them. By noon the Windjammer was so busy, lines in every direction. So just a half hour really makes the difference in the amount of people eating.

After lunch we headed to the pool deck bar, it was an overcast day so not many people were swimming. The bar had 20oz draft beer for $6.00, so I was happy with to see this, without a drink package. I found the pool deck to be in really great shape with little signs of wear.


 

They were selling the drink package for $57 per day at the pool bar, once again tempted but held strong. I found this price to be a little lower than I’ve seen on other ships around the fleet.


 

Cabin

1:30PM our cabins opened up and I couldn’t be more excited to put all my bags down. Our cabin was on deck 9 – inside virtual balcony, cabin 9297.


 

This was my first time to stay in a virtual balcony, so excited to at least try something new. My first impression of the cabin was this is pretty small, but I had to remember it’s still an inside cabin.


 

The virtual balcony is pretty neat to see what’s happening outside, it’s a long LCD from ceiling to floor. Personally, I don’t think I would ever pay extra for this option, but happy to at least try it on this sailing.

Sailaway

We had muster drill at 4PM on the outside decks. Thankfully it wasn’t that hot, but it did seem to last longer since they said everything in English and then again in Spanish.

At 5PM we set sail from Miami, Florida. This is always that moment I’m so excited because you are officially on vacation!

We passed the new terminal Royal Caribbean is building for Symphony of the Seas. It’s being called the Crown of Miami or also known as Terminal A. They had the classic line dancing music at sail away, but let’s be honest that just never gets old.

Dinner

I had made reservations for Giovanni’s Table for 8PM. Around 7PM I was getting pretty hungry, so we went to the restaurant to see if they could seat us early and they did. Tonight I was using my BOGO coupon and treated my brother to my free plus one. I order a sausage soup to start with and it reminded me of tomato soup with little pieces of sausage, needless to say it was amazing.

Next, I ordered octopus, I know most are a little hesitant of trying this, but just ordered it trust me!


 

The main course I had the filet, it came with a side of the red wine sauce and mashed potato’s. Wow this steak was great, so much flavor and if you ask me the same one they serve from Chops Grill.




After dinner I decided to head to bed, I know it was only 9PM. I got up at 3AM with excitement and in fear I didn’t over sleep for my flight. It was starting to catch up with me, so I just decided to grab some sleep. My day 1 without the drink package worked quite well. My bar tab for the first day is $6.00, let’s see how tomorrow plays out since it’s our first sea day.

Navigator of the Seas 2018 Live Blog – Michael’s Cruise Preview

In:
24Jan2018

It’s been a long 104 days since my last cruise; yes I’ve been counting them down! But my next cruise has finally arrived and this time I’ll be sailing on Navigator of the Seas from Miami, Florida on a 5-night Western Caribbean sailing.


 

On this sailing I’ll be sailing with a group of 7 friends and my brother. A few of my friends I haven’t met in person yet, so I’m really excited to meet more new through this blog.

Why I booked

I saw this sailing and it stood out to me for a few reasons. The main reason is I’m also sailing on Enchantment of the Seas February 2nd for the Royal Caribbean Periscopers Group cruise. This Navigator sailing ends the day that sailing starts, so what’s better than a Royal Caribbean cruise than two Royal Caribbean cruises. But I also haven’t been on Navigator since 2013 out of New Orleans.


 

Since then the ship has gone under a full refurbishment that I’m really excited to see. A few weeks ago I saw this sailing drop in price, which doesn’t happen often, so I knew it was meant to be. I reached out to my good friend, Brandon Owen and asked him if he wanted to share a cabin, and surprisingly he said yes!


 

Stateroom

Since we booked a few weeks ago the cabin options were not that great. That’s one of the advantages of booking early, is picking the very cabin you want. We picked an inside guarantee cabin for around $100 per night. My cabin assignment took a few weeks, but we ended up with a virtual balcony inside cabin.


 

This is the very cabin type I was hoping for since I’ve never stayed in one before. I was also happy with our location, deck 9 aft – 9297. This cabin is also just a few feet away from the Concierge lounge, which will be nice for my morning coffee.

Itinerary

This sailing is going to the Western Caribbean with two ports of call, Cozumel and Costa Maya. In Cozumel, I know what you must be thinking, “He’s going to Nachi Cocom” but I’m not! I decided to stick with my group of friends and explore downtown Cozumel. In all my visits to Cozumel, I’ve never gone downtown to explore, so that will be something new and fun to report about.


 

Costa Maya is a brand new port of call for me, so I can’t wait for that day. I’m also planning to stick with my small group and explore the beach. I’ve heard wonderful things about Costa Maya, so that stood out to me the most about this sailing.

Packages

For this cruise I decided to pass on the drink package. We have two full port days that I wanted to take full advantage of drinking local beverages. I also plan to carry on two bottles of wine with me; Royal Caribbean allows each cabin to carry on two 750ml bottles of wine. Also with the 10-drink card becoming more popular across the fleet, I’ll hope that shows up to purchase on my sailing. I also think the one thing that made me decide on passing on the drink package, was the free diamond drinks in the evening.


 

I did not purchase any dining package for this sailing. For dinner I plan to eat at Giovanni’s table night one and use my Diamond Plus BOGO coupon. I’ve also heard of on board offers for Sabor on Navigator, so I’m hopeful for one of those. If not, I’ll be enjoying dinner in the Main Dining Room or Windjammer.


 

This cruise sets sail Sunday, January 28th from Miami, Florida. I’ll be covering my cruise experience daily here on the blog, so be sure to check back. Also, be on the lookout for my Instagram and Periscope coverage on board.

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 9 - Sea Day

In:
25Feb2017

Our last day on Navigator of the Seas, and while I cannot say I was excited for today, I also was glad to have one more day onboard. Being a nine-night sailing, this felt like a significantly longer cruise and I think that made the last day slightly less depressing.

We slept in and went up the Windjammer for breakfast. Even rolling in around 9:30am, there was not much of an issue finding a table. In fact, crowds were rarely a problem. Even going later in the evening to Guest Relations desk in the evening of the last night had no line.

We had a few group meets this morning, including a podcast recording and stateroom crawl. In fact, even the cruise ship’s hotel director and food and beverage manager joined us to say thank you and answer some questions.

We decided to order lunch to the room one last time. Of all the suite perks we have, the lunch in the room was very convenient for a family.

Speaking of family, I took my oldest daughter ice skating. I had promised her I would take her again and so I took her for a few laps. She insisted before the skate that she wanted to skate without me holding her hand but that did not really hold up. We had fun and I’m hoping when we go on Harmony of the Seas in September, she will continue to improve her skating skills.

I may have also made a stop at the NextCruise office and inquired about a sailing or two. More details to come once I have some firm details.

We had dinner at Sabor, in what has become a pseudo-tradition on group cruises to enjoy, “one last guac”. The meal was terrific and I can say that I will sleep better tonight with that food consumed.

Overall, this was a phenomenal cruise. The weather was absolutely perfect and the friends that joined me on this cruise were so much fun. Going on a Royal Caribbean is always fun, but when you have friends join you, it makes the experience so much better. I am grateful to everyone who took time out of their lives, and spent their vacation time on a cruise with us. I know everyone had a good time onboard because of the great personalities, and everyday was better than the next.

Our next group cruise is in September 2017 on Harmony of the Seas and I will take this opportunity to invite you to join us for that sailing. I cannot wait to start that journey and even more excited to see the friends I made on this sailing and meet new ones.

Thank you to everyone who followed this live blog. I never had so much fun staying up late to write blog posts!

Stray Observations

  • Interestingly, Allure of the Seas appeared nearby this morning and we seemed to follow each other all day.
  • As per usual, there were a number of souvenir glasses for sale around the ship. One table was set up at the Windjammer entrance and another on the Royal Promenade.
  • The ocean was as calm as a pond. Impressive and beautiful.

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