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New Navigator of the Seas west coast cruises now available to book

In:
14 Apr 2021

Sailings are officially open for booking for Royal Caribbean's first west coast cruises in over a decade.

Navigator of the Seas sailings from Los Angeles starting in November 2021 are now available to book via Royal Caribbean's website.

The new sailings include mostly 3-, 4- and 5-night itineraries to Catalina Island, California and Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – plus, select winter holiday 7-night sailings.

The new bookings are available to book immediately, beginning with the November 19 sailing. Sailings between November 2021 and January 2022 are open for booking.

You can view the full list of sailings here.

Royal Caribbean had to delay the opening of the new bookings by a couple weeks after the cruise line revealed it would start sailing from Los Angeles earlier than planned.

Instead of beginning in summer 2022, Royal Caribbean will now begin offering sailings in November 2021.

A return to the west coast

The new sailings are the first for the cruise line in over a decade.

The last ship to sail from Los Angeles regularly was Mariner of the Seas in 20211.

Royal Caribbean pulled out of West Coast cruises due to a combination of violence in Western Mexico, and did not return primarily due to concerns over profitability of routes there.

Royal Caribbean's absence on the West Coast did not go unnoticed by cruise fans, who perennially asked when sailings might restart.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley shared how proud he was for a return, "California was calling us home once again, and what better way to reintroduce Royal Caribbean than to bring our next-level cruise vacations to the City of Angels and make it a year-round adventure starting just in time for summer."

Royal Caribbean will start West Coast cruises earlier than planned, beginning in November 2021

In:
06 Apr 2021

Royal Caribbean will start its West Coast cruises earlier than expected.

The first Navigator of the Seas sailings will begin sailing year-round from Los Angeles, California as of November 2021. 

When Royal Caribbean announced its return to the West Coast, initially the cruise planned to start sailing in June 2022, but will sailing now significantly easier.

Travel agents were notified of the change, which may explain why were there was a delay in the sailings going on sale last week.

These new itineraries will open for sale the week of April 12, 2021. 

Royal Caribbean will offer 3-, 4- and 5-night itineraries to Catalina Island, California and Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – plus, select winter holiday 7-night sailings.

Navigator of the Seas will depart from Los Angeles' World Cruise Center in San Pedro.

The announcement that Navigator will begin cruises in November 2021 confirms the dates that were originally posted on the Port of Los Angeles website prior to Royal Caribbean's announcement.

In March 2021, the Port of Los Angeles website had sailings listed in November and December 2021.

After posting the information on this blog, the listings were removed shortly thereafter.

Returning after a decade

Royal Caribbean's announcement that it will cruise from Los Angeles regularly after more than a decade is significant, as industry insiders have speculated about its West Coast return for years.

While other cruise lines returned, Royal Caribbean stayed away, claiming it was able to make more money elsewhere.

 

In 2015, Freed pointed out the low rates competitor cruise lines were getting. "We always look at the West Coast. But we continue to look at the rates that the other cruise lines are getting, and we offer an experience that we can't afford to be selling at those low rates.

"If and when we see the rates start to bounce back, and we feel we can get paid for what we offer for our product, then we’ll be back there. But right now, unfortunately, it's a bath out there. They're selling four-day cruises at $199 per person, and we’re not just talking Carnival.

"We spend more on food, more on entertainment and more on our overall onboard experience [than other lines], and so we cannot be the low-price leader out in any market."

The line also cited the logistical challenges of returning its ships to the West Coast, much of which had to do with the rise of cruise popularity in other areas of the world, such as Europe and China. Sending ships to those locations meant fewer ships to go to other ports. (The West Coast has always been a seasonal market for ships repositioning from other regions.)

You didn't miss it. Royal Caribbean hasn't released West Coast cruises to book yet

In:
05 Apr 2021

There has been so much cruise news over the last couple of weeks that you might think you missed Royal Caribbean opening up bookings for West Coast cruises in 2022, but that is not the case.

When Royal Caribbean announced it would return to the west coast after 10 years with Navigator of the Seas sailing from Los Angeles, the cruise line said the new sailings would go on sale the week of March 29, 2021.

That week has come and gone without any of the new sailings available to book.

UPDATE:  These new itineraries will open for sale the week of April 12, 2021. 

There has not been any update on when these Navigator sailings from L.A. might become available to book, nor an explanation of the delay.

It is not unheard of for new sailings to be announced to go on sale, only to be delayed later.

Royal Caribbean will offer 3-, 4- and 5-night itineraries to Catalina Island, California and Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – plus, select winter holiday 7-night sailings.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean will cruise from California for the first time in a decade

What happened to the sailings?

Some RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have reported calling into Royal Caribbean and been told there is in fact some sort of a delay.

Twangster shared what he was told from a phone agent, "Latest agent I spoke with said an internal announcement went out announcing the delay.  The announcement doesn't mention a new release date but he said there are rumors it will be closer to the end of April."

Johnt83 was also told by a phone agent there is a delay, "The lady I spoke to was very nice, she did confirm that there has been a delay in getting the Nav sailings out of LA posted on the website as they are still working on some critical details."

RoyalLaker was able to get some more details on the first sailing after calling the Crown and Anchor Society phone number, "First sailing out of LA is June 10th 2022 3 nights day 1 LA day 2 sea day  day 3 Ensenada no pricing was available. Asked when they would go sale no timeframe was given just said a announcement would go out once they are open."

What should you do if you are waiting for these sailings?

No one can book anything until Royal Caribbean is ready to release the new sailings, so it appears it will take a bit longer than expected.

In the meantime, it is a good idea to talk with your travel agent about which type of sailings you would be interested in, and the timeframe for sailings to book.

Read moreHow far in advance should I book a cruise to get the best price?

It is also a good idea to look at a deck plan and get a sense of stateroom category and location you would be interested in.

Doing this now makes booking the actual sailing later much faster, which is important when new sailings are announced to lock in the best possible rates.

One of the best strategies for getting a good price on a cruise is to book as early as you can.

Read moreWhat are the different types of cabins on a cruise ship?

Moreover, certain popular stateroom categories, such as suites, are the first to be booked up by savvy cruisers who know which cabins have the highest demand.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Guide to Mexican Riviera

In:
24 Mar 2021

Listen to the Show

With Royal Caribbean announcing it will sail from Los Angeles again, this week we have a look at what each of the Mexican Riviera ports has to offer.

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:

Royal Caribbean will cruise from California for the first time in a decade

In:
17 Mar 2021

Royal Caribbean will base a cruise ship in California after a 10-year-long hiatus.

At a webinar on Wednesday, the line announced that recently refurbished Navigator of the Seas will homeport in Los Angeles, beginning next year, offering a series of Mexico sailings.

The voyages will vary in length, featuring three- and four-nighters with calls on Ensenada and Catalina Island; five-night cruises visiting Cabo San Lucas; and seven-night sailings with stops at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

"We are going back to the West Coast," said Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean's senior vice president of sales and trade support & service. "Los Angeles, here we come...."

This will be the first time the line has based a ship in the Golden State since Mariner of the Seas left Los Angeles back in 2011 due to violence in Mexico and dwindling profits.

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean Blog speculated that the move was coming after spotting the ship listed on the Port of Los Angeles' website. Navigator of the Seas was also blatantly missing from Royal Caribbean's list of upcoming itinerary offerings.

Oddly, the port's website lists Navigator of the Seas' sailings beginning as early as September 2021, but Royal Caribbean has said they will run from summer 2022 through spring of 2023.

"California was calling us home once again, and what better way to reintroduce Royal Caribbean than to bring our next-level cruise vacations to the City of Angels and make it a year-round adventure starting just in time for summer," Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in a statement.

Read moreNavigator of the Seas Tips & Best Things To Do

The ship, which received $115 million in enhancements in 2019 as part of the Royal Amplified program, boasts a refreshed pool deck, featuring a tropical theme with three pools and two new water slides: Blaster, the longest at sea, which offers one- and two-person rafts; and Riptide, the only headfirst mat racing slide at sea, which includes a see-through section for added thrills.

The vessel has also seen the addition of Playmakers sports bar, complete with drinks, pub grub and plenty of TVs; the Lime & Coconut bar, which serves up signature cocktails and rises three decks, comprising lounge seating and a rooftop sun deck; and Hooked, an intimate New England-style raw bar seafood restaurant.

Hooked first debuted on Symphony of the Seas, and Navigator of the Seas is now the only other ship in the fleet on which it's located.

Bookings for Navigator of the Seas sailings, which will depart from Los Angeles' World Cruise Center in San Pedro, are scheduled to open at the end of March 2021.

Read moreTop 10 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas hidden secrets

Returning after a decade

Royal Caribbean's announcement that it will cruise from Los Angeles regularly after more than a decade is significant, as industry insiders have speculated about its West Coast return for years.

While other cruise lines returned, Royal Caribbean stayed away, claiming it was able to make more money elsewhere.

 

In 2015, Freed pointed out the low rates competitor cruise lines were getting. "We always look at the West Coast. But we continue to look at the rates that the other cruise lines are getting, and we offer an experience that we can't afford to be selling at those low rates.

"If and when we see the rates start to bounce back, and we feel we can get paid for what we offer for our product, then we’ll be back there. But right now, unfortunately, it's a bath out there. They're selling four-day cruises at $199 per person, and we’re not just talking Carnival.

"We spend more on food, more on entertainment and more on our overall onboard experience [than other lines], and so we cannot be the low-price leader out in any market."

The line also cited the logistical challenges of returning its ships to the West Coast, much of which had to do with the rise of cruise popularity in other areas of the world, such as Europe and China. Sending ships to those locations meant fewer ships to go to other ports. (The West Coast has always been a seasonal market for ships repositioning from other regions.)

This was the big announcement?

The day before Royal Caribbean revealed its plans to return to Los Angeles, Freed told travel agents to expect a big announcement, referring to it as "the news we've all been waiting for."

While cruises from the West Coast are significant, many readers were disappointed the news was not worthy of the hype preceding it.

Because several travel agents reported being told by Royal Caribbean that the big announcement was being delayed or canceled, we suspect that larger news was originally on the docket.

During a question and answer session, listeners specifically asked about test cruises, Alaska sailings and whether the line's restart date will be pushed back further.

Freed and her team said that there is currently no date set for test voyages, but the line continues to work with the CDC. There has been no change to indicate that Alaska cruises from Seattle will happen, but officials remain hopeful. As for the resumption of sailings from the U.S., the line maintains that it has no plans to push cancellations into June at this time.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean ship scheduled to sail from Los Angeles, California in 2021

In:
08 Mar 2021

If you are among the many that dream of Royal Caribbean returning to the West Coast of the United States, there is a brand new juicy rumor perfect for you.

The Port of Los Angeles website shows regular sailings for Navigator of the Seas in November and December 2021.

Mostly three and four night sailings are listed (with at least one 7-nighter in late November), with sailings beginning October 29, 2021 and going through the end of December 2021.

The Port of Los Angeles schedule does not have the 2022 schedule online yet.

Royal Caribbean has not made any announcement about returning to Los Angeles, but the schedule might shed light onto what could be coming.

Furthermore, Navigator of the Seas has been conspicuously absent from any of the new 2022-2023 itineraries that Royal Caribbean has released thus far.

Want more circumstantial evidence?

Royal Caribbean tweeted out a photo on March 1 of El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, on Mexico's west coast.

It has been 10 years since Royal Caribbean offered regular sailings out of Los Angeles. Mariner of the Seas was the last Royal Caribbean cruise ship to be based in Los Angeles, and she was repositioned in 2011 due to bigger profits elsewhere and violence in Mexico.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, this is not the first time the Port of Los Angeles website has shown a Royal Caribbean ship on the schedule.

Back in January 2020, Voyager of the Seas appeared on the schedule beginning in June 2021 and running through December 2021.  Those sailings have since been pulled down, and Royal Caribbean never confirmed plans for Voyager to call Los Angeles home.

Why isn't Royal Caribbean cruising from the West Coast?

It has been 10 years since Royal Caribbean offered regular cruises from somewhere in California, so why is that?

There are a few reasons, but it mostly has to do with logistics and profits.

During the 2017 Royal Caribbean's President Cruise, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley answered this exact question about returning to California.

He talked about the challenges of offering cruises from the west coast.

"When you look at, for example, consumer research on how people view some of that, some of these destinations, which we do, then there's a little bit of concern over going to some of the destinations that we can go to if we sailed out of L.A."

"To move the ship through the canal around South America, leaving it in California to sail out of, say San Francisco going north, we don't think there's enough demand for that."

"We think it would work for one or two cruises. But you've got to move the ship back. And, you know, we've got big ships. So they believe the costs of operating these ships is phenomenal."

Spotted: Navigator of the Seas listed on PortMiami schedule for possible test sailings

In:
06 Oct 2020

Eagle-eyed cruise fans have spotted what could potentially be the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to test sailings.

The PortMiami vessel movements calendar lists Navigator of the Seas as in port two times in October, indicating the ship may arrive for a series of test sailings.

  • October 15 to October 19
  • October 24 to October 28

Each time Navigator of the Seas is at PortMiami, she is scheduled to move between different terminals. On October 17, from Terminal A to Terminal D; and then on October 26 from Terminal A to Terminal G.

This was first reported by CruiseCritic.

Test cruises without passengers

Royal Caribbean has said before it begins offering cruises to the public, it will conduct a series of test sailings to work through the variety of new health protocols.

Executives have said they will start slowly by training crew and embarking on a series of non-revenue test sailings, where Royal Caribbean can rehearse and we can validate the new protocols.

The results will be evaluated by independent observers before a few short sailings begin again.

If those test sailings go well, then short cruises with limited destinations and controlled shore excursions will be offered.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley recently spoke about the idea of using employee-only cruises first, "I said that the first cruise that we will operate through, Royal Caribbean International, will be an all employee cruise, a little bit like a shakedown cruise, because then we can test and take a look at in real-life operations all of the protocols that we're putting into place. And so our first cruise is going to be an employee cruise."

More recently, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman Richard Fain said on Tuesday that test cruises will be first, "We're going to start with test cruises, I think, and and then a few shorter cruises and and gradually build up as we build up our experience. But I do think that's going to start this year. I'm highly optimistic."

Navigator of the Seas Tips & Best Things To Do

In:
12 Jun 2020

Navigator of the Seas offers short cruise vacations to the Bahamas, and between its getaway sailings, recent ship wide update, and low price point, there is a lot to love about her!

Weekend sailings, visits to Royal Caribbean's private island, water slides and great dining are just some of the fun things you can find on Navigator of the Seas.

If you have a cruise booked on Navigator, or are considering booking a cruise, here are my favorite things about this ship and tricks for making the most of your vacation!

Water Slides

One of the new features added to Navigator of the Seas are the Blaster & Riptide water slides, and these are an instant hit with everyone.

Royal Caribbean has begun to embrace having water slides on their cruise ships, and these are two types of water slides not available on any other Royal Caribbean ship.

The Blaster is Royal Caribbean's first aqua coaster, and it is also the longest water slide at sea.  You hop into a raft and race down more than 800 feet of dips, drops and straightaways that extend over the side of the ship.

On Riptide, you can go on a headfirst mat racer slide that provides a completely different perspective on the way down. Just try to keep your eyes open the whole time!

Water slide tips

Pack your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage on embarkation day so that you can take advantage of the slide being open with much shorter lines.  Most guests do not have their bathing suit in those first few hours onboard, which makes this the best time to ride the slides with minimal waits.

Don't be afraid to say excuse me. The stairs leading to the top of the slides are shared between both slides, but often some guests will congregate together while waiting and block the way. Be sure to politely ask to move past them if you do not see the end of your line.

Bamboo Room

Tiki bars are all the rage, and Navigator of the Seas features the largest edition of the Bamboo Room onboard.

Serving a South Pacific vibe, the Bamboo Room offers a great variety of cocktails, many of which are unavailable anywhere else on the ship. In fact, there is a wide range of drinks to choose from.

There are even a few food items on the menu, if you choose to indulge.

The Bamboo Room is the perfect spot to meet friends and family for a pre-dinner drink, or round out your evening, and it really stands out from the usual bar and lounge scene onboard.

Bamboo Room tips

Ask the bartenders for suggestions. The cocktail menu has a lot to choose from, so do not hesitate to ask the bartenders and waiters for what they prefer or which beverages are the most popular.

Check out the decor. Being a tiki bar, the Bamboo Room has a lot of kitsch to it, including a parrot that appears periodically in the digital art.

Your drink package works here. Just like any bar or lounge, your drink package covers beverages ordered at the Bamboo Room!

Family fun

 

One of the areas Royal Caribbean targeted for updating on Navigator of the Seas in her 2019 refurbishment was the family areas onboard.

Adventure Ocean and the Teens Club have been transformed, with a new approach to these areas. Adventure Ocean has been reworked with more free play space. The Living Room (teens club) has been reimagined, complete with a backyard hideaway area. If you have younger children (under 36 months), there is a nursery onboard as well.

When the kids are not in the club, you can challenge them to a round or three of laser tag. Located in the ice skating rink, teams face off in the Battle for Planet Z. It is another complimentary offering, and a very popular sea day activity.

Navigator of the Seas also features an updated mini-golf course on deck 12 that is a fun challenge for all ages.

Family fun tips

Register kids for Adventure Ocean on the first day. There will be an open house held (usually in the early afternoon) of the first day of the cruise, so be sure to go up to meet the staff and meet the staff. Plus, it will save you time later.

Try mini-golf at night. Not only is it not nearly as hot during the evening, but a round of mini-golf after the sun sets is a great evening activity.

Specialty restaurants

Navigator of the Seas features some of my favorite specialty restaurants on any ship! While there is plenty of great complimentary food onboard, sometimes you just feel like indulging a bit with something different.

Sushi lovers will really enjoy Izumi, which is among the most consistently good restaurants across Royal Caribbean's fleet. There is a good variety of sushi and Japanese specialties, including the popular hot rock options.

Jamie's Italian was added in 2019 and serves up an inspired menu of fresh takes on classic Italian dishes. The creation of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, it is must-eat whenever I am onboard.

If seafood is more your thing, Hooked Seafood has a lot of compelling choices, including lobster, muscles and more.

Don't overlook the other great specialty dining on Navigator of the Seas, including Chops Grille, Playmakers Sports Bar & Johnny Rockets. Having all of this variety is one more reason why Navigator of the Seas stands out as a great choice.

Specialty dining tips

Buy a dining package. If you know you want to try more than one specialty restaurant, your best bet is to purchase a dining package.  Dining packages will absolutely save you money compared to trying to dine at the same amount of restaurants and paying the cover charge individually.

Try the sushi making class. A really fun activity offered onboard is the sushi making class.  One of Izumi's chefs takes you through the process of how to make a few different kinds of sushi rolls, and you get to eat all of your creations after! Be sure to come hungry, because it is basically a meal.

Escape Room

Royal Caribbean has been adding escape rooms to many of its cruise ships, and the escape room on Navigator of the Seas is a must-do!

The Observatorium is one of the most challenging escape rooms I have tried across the fleet. If you have never done an escape room, you have one hour for you and a group of other guests try to solve a series of clues, puzzles and patterns that will lead you to unlocking the solution to the larger puzzle.

I have found escape rooms to be a completely different kind of thrill, because it pits your wits against the clock to solve them all. You will have to work with your team to figure it all out, and the sense of accomplishment if you manage to escape in time is an amazing feeling.

Escape Room tips

Pre-book if you want to try it. Spots for the escape room go quickly, so be sure to pre-book it on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site before the cruise.

Don't be shy. You will be grouped with other guests, but the key to beating the escape room is communication. You need to talk with each other, and in some cases, split up and assign tasks. They key is maximizing your time and having groups work together to figure it all out.

Lime & Coconut

 

The entire pool deck was revamped on Navigator of the Seas, and it is home run with all the changes that have been added, including the Lime & Coconut bar.

First and foremost, the pool deck has been re-done with casitas, loungers, more hot tubs and a very inviting poolscape. As soon as you see the pool, you know exactly where you will want to go everyday. 

  

The crown jewel of the new pool area is the Lime & Coconut bar, which is a triple level bar scene that is a combination of bar, party spot and place to be seen.

The first two levels of Lime & Coconut have their own bars, and the third deck is a rooftop sun deck that is great for relaxing, and chilling.

Pool deck tips

Get up early for a casita. Those awesome looking casitas are reserved early, so if you want one, set your alarm early and then catch up on sleep after you grab yours.

Watch the sunset from the Lime & Coconut. Royal Caribbean designed this new space to have a nightlife to it, and I think it has the best vantage point for catching a beautiful Caribbean sunset.

Try the signature drinks. The Lime & Coconut bar features its own selection of drinks not available elsewhere, so be sure to grab one of the menus and try them all (and they work with the drink package)!

Try El Loco Fresh. No day at the pool is complete without some grab-and-go Mexican food from El Loco Fresh. Located near the pool, it is easy to grab chips, quesadillas, tacos and more to bring back to your chair.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Sailings on Navigator fo the Seas will include at least one visit to Royal Caribbean's completely revamped private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

While Navigator is where most of the focus is right now, CocoCay is worthy of booking any cruise and will become an absolute highlight of any sailing.

Your visit at Perfect Day at CocoCay can include time at the beach, pool, or water park, and you can tack on a zip line or helium balloon ride, fantastic dining or even a cabana or day bed.

All cruise lines throw out words like "paradise", but CocoCay really hits all the high-notes for a fun day.

Perfect Day at CocoCay Tips

Check out our Do's & Don'ts of Perfect Day at CocoCay!

Plan what you want to do before the cruise. Like so much of Royal Caribbean, you stand to greatly benefit by pre-booking as much as you can. Many things sell out, and booking in advance will be cheaper than waiting to book onboard.

Don't skip the food. CocoCay does not have just typical private island food. There is a tremendous variety, and almost all of it is complimentary! Be sure to try the crispy chicken sandwich and mozzarella sticks at the Snack Shack!

Drink & WiFi packages work at CocoCay: If you buy an unlimited drink package or internet package, those benefits extend to your time at Perfect Day at CocoCay. It greatly enhances the value of these packages by having a full day of use here.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver visits Royal Caribbean cruise ship

In:
08 Oct 2019

Jamie Oliver visited Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas in Miami on Monday for a stopover at one of his namesake restaurants onboard.

Photo by Linken D'Souza

Navigator of the Seas is home to one of Oliver's restaurant at sea, Jamie's Italian.  The specialty restaurant's menu is based on tasty, simple Italian food, made from fresh ingredients with a casual dining experience, designed to be welcoming to everyone. 

Since the launch of Quantum of the Seas in 2014, Royal Caribbean has offered guests the opportunity to dine at  Jamie's Italian specialty restaurant on many of its ships.

Video: Navigator of the Seas Sails Amped Up with Firsts and Favorites

In:
26 Sep 2019

Royal Caribbean International’s newly amplified Navigator of the Seas is sailing from her year-round home in Miami with a $115 million new look. Guests can choose from an adventure-packed lineup of bold, new experiences and Royal Caribbean favorites, from adrenaline-inducing features to an array of elevated dining and nightlife. With 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday cruises to the cruise line’s new private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, and highlights on board like The Blaster, the longest aquacoaster at sea; a redesigned Caribbean poolscape; the new three-level bar, The Lime & Coconut; and the first blow-dry bar at sea – To Dry For, Navigator has been reimagined into the ultimate short getaway.

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