Navigator of the Seas

Review: Giovanni's Table for dinner on Navigator of the Seas

In:
18Jun2016

Nestled in the corner of deck 11 on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, Giovanni's Table is open for lunch and dinner.  When I have dined at Giovanni's Table in the past, I have tended to go for lunch, but this time I am trying out dinner.

Giovanni's Table has become the de-facto Italian restaurant across Royal Caribbean's fleet over the last few years.  I have always liked Giovanni's Table's simple, yet tasty menu that offers classic Italian dishes.  There is something to be said about having a plate of pasta in a delicious red sauce with warm bread to dip in olive oil.  

I was admittedly a little crushed when Portofino was replaced by Giovanni's Table.  But time heals all pain, as does a good lasagna!

We have dined at Giovanni's Table across a few different Royal Caribbean ships over the years, but wanted to try dinner this time, mostly because the dinner menu is slightly different than the lunch menu.

Atmosphere

You will find Giovanni's Table on deck 11, adjacent to the Windjammer entrance and opposite Chops Grille.  As you walk into the Windjammer area, the entrance to Giovanni's Table is on the left side.

There is a very small waiting area near the podium, along side a Vespa that is on display.

Giovanni's Table inherited its dining room from Portofino, and it is a rectangular room that opens up into a circular end room.  The layout resembles a lollipop, if you were viewing the restaurant from above.

The walls and ceiling are made up of a dark wood, while the carpeting and furnishings are a blend of blues, yellows and whites. One of the nice things about the transition from Portofino to Giovanni's Table is the feel of the restaurant definitely feels less formal and a bit more personal to me.  Maybe it is the Prosecco talking.

There are windows all along one side of the restaurant, and if you dine there early enough in the evening, you will have a lovely view of the ocean.  Once the sun goes down, the glare from the lights in the restaurant prevent being able to see outside.

Eats

As I mentioned earlier, the dinner menu at Giovanni's Table is slightly different from the lunch menu.  Most notably, the lunch menu has lasagna, while the dinner menu does not.  Both menus offer a steak, but many guests have reported back to me that the steak at dinner is significantly better.

The dinner menu features a number of familiar Italian classics, like anitpasti, eggplant marmigiana, ravioli, ossobuco and more. For those not into carb-loading, there are a few meat and fish entrees as well.

Each meal at Giovanni's Table begins with a serving of warm bread, plus olive oil for dipping. 

Warm bread and olive oil is always a win with me, and I love that they put a little bit of vinegar in the oil.  

For starters, we picked a few options. Some were favorites and others new to try.

The eggplant parm is a favorite of mine, despite the fact I really cannot find any breading.  

It is more of a baked eggplant in sauce and cheese. That is fine with me, but this is not the kind of eggplant parm you might get on a sandwich at your local deli.

We also tried for the first time the warm mozzarella and prosciutto bake.

It comes in a crispy ciabatta and served with mixed greens and Dijon mustard drizzle.  This is essentially fried cheese with prosciutto and tasted great.

I rounded out my appetizers with the vegetarian lentil and root vegetables soup.

I know what you are thinking, and yes, it is really hard to resist any dish that offers lentils and root vegetables.  Honestly, it was not that bad.  Perhaps not my favorite soup of all time, but I enjoyed it and I think it was kind of, sort of healthy.

Moving onto our main courses, we had to try the 8-ounce grilled beef tenderloin.  Everyone always said it was great, so who are we to argue?

This steak definitely is a superior cut of meat when compared to its lunch companion.  What I noticed was the terrific flavor, as well as size of the cut. I understand now why folks rave about the dinner steak.

I also wanted to try something new and ordered the grilled lamb chops.

My fear with lamp chops is there will be a mere handful of bites of actual meat to get off the bone, and resulting in a not very filling meal.  I am pleased to inform everyone these are no scrawny lamb chops and the meat was as plentiful as it was tasty.  Delicious flavor and certainly enough meat on the bone to keep me happy.

Given we are at an Italian restaurant, we ordered a side of pasta just to say that we had pasta.  

As expected, quite tasty and hit the spot.

I also tried the risotto, which is made of Arborio rice and forest mushrooms, finished with porcini and truffle mushroom tapenade.

I do not usually order risotto, but the mushrooms sounded great and I figured this would be as good an opportunity as any to try it out.

I loved the flavor of the dish, but the consistency of risotto still does not sit well with me.  Oh well, E la vita!

For our desserts, we went with the chocolate cake and cannoli.

Dessert is an underrated aspect of the Giovanni's Table experience and the cannoli is worth saving room (and calories) for.

Overall

I always enjoy my meals at Giovanni's Table, and this visit was no different.  I enjoyed the dinner menu a bit more than I thought I would, although I did lament the omission of lasagna from the menu. I inquired if it were possible to get lasagna, but was told it was only available for lunch.

Most of the food we ate was very good, and I would not hesitate to dine here again.  

The thing with Giovanni's Table that always gives me pause to dine here is not anything about the restaurant, but relative to the other specialty options onboard, I would rather dine there. On Navigator of the Seas, Sabor Modern Mexican and Chops Grille are fantastic choices that eclipse Giovanni's Table.  This is not a knock on Giovanni's Table, just I end up gravitating towards the other choices because they are where I would prefer to eat.

Anyone considering Giovanni's Table should absolutely reserve a table for the classic Italian dishes that will hit the spot.

What are your thoughts on Giovanni's Table? Do you have a favorite dish? Share in the comments below!

Photo tour of Junior Suite on Navigator of the Seas

In:
21May2016

Lots of Royal Caribbean fans relish a stay in a Junior Suite (JS) and today, we have a look at one of the Junior Suites from Navigator of the Seas to give you an idea of what to expect if you book a similar stateroom.

These photos were taken on Navigator of the Seas during her April 30, 2016 sailing in stateroom 9572.

Junior Suites on Navigator of the Seas offer guests 297 square feet of space and a balcony that is 73 square feet.

The room has two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long.

Junior Suites on Navigator of the Seas include minibar, vanity area, hair-dryer, TV, phone, vanity table with an extendable working surface for laptop computers and 110/220 electrical outlets. Some have sofa beds and can accommodate 3-4 guests.

Some can also accommodate a rollaway bed or Play Yard. 

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.

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