Navigator of the Seas, launched in 2002, is the fourth of five in Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class ships, and among the biggest vessels in the world, coming in at 138,000 tons, carrying 3114 passengers and 1181 crew. Like the others in her class, Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas sports some of the industry’s most amazing features with a rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, an indoor mall like promenade, basketball court and inline skating track.
While Navigator of the Seas is a member of the Voyager family, she has her own distinct look and amenities. This ship has more exterior glass in balcony cabins than her predecessors, and additional features such as a wine bar for appreciation and entertainment, expanded youth facilities, a new Plaza area with a variety of dining options with both no fee and fee, the first Latin jazz bar at sea, and the first Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor at sea. Royal Caribbean now has since spread these various concepts across its entire fleet.
An $8.5 million art collection graces Navigator of the Seas, with an incredible 2,213 art pieces in the public spaces. The Royal Promenade is the heart of the ship. It’s four decks tall, longer than a football field and anchored at each end by atriums. The Royal Promenade is surrounded by shops, bars and casual eateries, on special nights, the Royal Promenade comes alive with street entertainment such as jugglers, magicians and mimes and at 12:30 a.m., at least once on every voyage it sets the scene for a fun Mardi Gras parade with music from various parts of the world. Breathtaking sculptures adorn each atrium.
The spectacular sculpture that spans the 11 levels of the Centrum atrium, has 6,000 shimmering, hand gilded spheres inspired by the bubbles produced by scuba divers. An assortment of lounges range from intimate enclaves like the Champagne Bar to Vintages, a wine bar in association with Robert Mondavi and Beringer Blass Wine Estates with wine appreciation programs for both novices and aficionados, and the Two Poets Pub.
Other public spaces include an ocean-view wedding chapel for 60 guests on Deck 15, the Vegas-style Casino Royale with a New Orleans theme, featuring nearly 300 slots, eight blackjack tables, three Caribbean Stud Poker tables, three roulette wheels and a craps table. There’s also a library and a cyber lounge with 19 computer stations. There are internet charges per minute packages available on board. Also, like on all Royal Caribbean ships, there is no self service launderette, so pack accordingly.
On the Navigator of the Seas there are a total of 1,557 staterooms, 939 are ocean view and of those, 707 have balconies with these balconies featuring more glass and being more open, airy and slightly larger than on other Voyager class ships. There are 618 interior cabins, with 138 with a promenade view. This means that there is a window that allows you to look down below onto the Royal Promenade.
Cabins are decorated in pleasing tones with fine lightwoods. All staterooms have beds that convert to queen size configuration with mini-bar, hair dryer, television with closed circuit and satellite programming options, telephone and individually controlled air conditioning.
There are a dozen categories of suites, culminating in a lavish Royal Suite with everything needed for utter indulgence. There’s a separate bedroom with king-size bed, private balcony with hot tub, spacious bathroom with whirlpool, living room with sofa-bed, wet bar, dining table, entertainment center, and even a baby grand piano. The top categories of suites which also include the Owner’s, Royal Family, and Grand Ocean View Suite guests have access to the Concierge Club on Deck 9 for spa and dining reservations, along with shore excursion bookings as well.
A new dining venue and concept for Royal Caribbean that worked well enough to spread to other ships is the line’s first Asian fusion restaurant, Jade. The restaurant is housed within the lido area, a new area on Voyager class ships with a bar and dining options. Jade is a no fee, buffet style eatery that serves dishes from Southeast Asia, from Bangkok to Beijing. Such dishes as shredded vegetables in lemon sauce, Japanese sushi and Chinese wontons made for a quick, exotic and delicious lunch. Passengers can also enjoy a pre-dinner sake, tea or traditional cocktail at the Plaza Bar, with its backdrop of cascading water, at the entrance to the Plaza area.
The three story Main Dining Room, with each of its three levels named after famous ballets: Swan Lake, Coppelia and The Nutcracker, is exquisite, with a warm and welcoming color scheme in burgundy and gold, a grand staircase and a bronze sculpture of a dancer. Dinner is served in two traditional seatings; breakfasts and lunches are open seating. Vegetarian and ShipShape items, low in fat and cholesterol are featured.
Two with fees are Chops Grille on Deck 11 in the Plaza area, serving traditional steakhouse fare including steaks and chops, salmon, family-style mashed potatoes, and sinful desserts. Portofino, also in the Plaza area, is the other specialty restaurant. It is a romantic, oceanview venue, serving Northern Italian cuisine, from an antipasto appetizer pasta first course, meat second course and dessert.
Johnny Rockets, a Voyager class staple at this point, is on Deck 12, and features juicy burgers, fries, filling chili and thick shakes. There’s a per person charge to eat at Johnny Rockets, whether you eat in the restaurant or order for take-out. Beverages, such as the fabulous milkshakes are available for an extra charge, and you can even get a draught beer.
The Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11 in the Plaza area, serves buffet style breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner. Several stations including salad/sandwich/soup, meat carvery, entrees, burgers, breads, thirst quenchers and frozen yogurts make it easy to get your choices for a meal expeditiously. As part of Royal Caribbean’s Golden Anchor Standard of service, waiters come around the Windjammer offering coffee, iced tea and lemonade to diners , a nice touch, so you don’t have to be getting up or juggling drinks with your food.
The Cafe Promenade is a good spot for a quick breakfast, lunch or snack. This no fee sidewalk cafe is great for people watching, it’s located on the Royal Promenade and serves fruits, rolls, sandwiches, pizza, cookies and other goodies as well as espressos made with Seattle’s Best Coffee, which is priced a la carte. Steps away, also on the Royal Promenade, is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop, with 16 of the company’s famous flavors. Next door to Ben & Jerry’s is Sprinkles, a free frozen yogurt station.
Royal Caribbean’s room service options are available around the clock via 24-hour menus that offer a range of snacks and sandwiches. At breakfast, continental dishes, along with a handful of egg entrees, are available both in cabins and suites. Items off the main dining room menu can be ordered at dinner.
There are options galore: Broadway-style productions, like Now & Forever featuring the 14 Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers performing music from such shows as Dreamgirls, The Producers, Mamma Mia and Fosse, as well as variety shows are presented in the 1,350-seat, Art Deco-style Metropolis Theater. This show lounge is elegant with such Art Deco touches as stylized, elongated female figures on the curtain, typical wall sconces and skyscrapers in a sunburst pattern on the ceiling.
One of the most unique features at sea, found on all the Voyager class ships, is the ice rink in Studio B; typically there’s at least one performance if not more on every cruise.
There is piano music in the Schooner Bar, and Latin jazz in Boleros. The Ixtapa Lounge has karaoke and themed night parties. Smokers will enjoy the Connoisseur Club, a cigar lounge housed within the Ixtapa Lounge. You can sample a beer or two at Two Poets Pub within sight of portraits of such luminaries as Dickens and Thackeray, or sip bubbly at the Champagne Bar. There is smooth live jazz at the Cosmopolitan Club in the Viking Crown Lounge on Deck 14. Sports fans can head for 19th Hole, the sports bar. A popular late nightspot is The Dungeon, the two story disco with a decor evocative of Medieval Europe.
Even on sea days there is plenty of room for everyone around the two pools. One interesting feature about the hot tubs is several are double sized, which makes room for more passengers. The main pool tiered decks surrounding an outdoor theater, where contests to live bands for dancing takes place.
The Solarium pool and whirlpools lie in a quieter, more laid back setting and is adults only. All of the major outdoor athletic activities, the rock climbing wall, golf, basketball, etc. are tucked into a sports center area that lies aft on the ship. The skating rink is tucked well down below. Some of the more specialized activities, rock climbing, rollerblading and ice skating are offered only at specified times so check your daily schedule for available hours. The ship’s jogging and power walking track winds around the main pool area.
One nice touch is the policy at Royal Caribbean to not layer on a lot of extra fees for equipment rentals. There is no charge for using everything from ice skates to roller blades.
One of the popular locations on board is the Solarium, a pleasant area themed to Tuscany, with a pool, fountain, two Jacuzzis, bar and plenty of chaise lounges facing the sea, along with greenery, bronze horses, and murals inspired in the Tuscan countryside of Italy.
Nearby is the ShipShape Center on Deck 11, with its mirrored, ocean-view aerobics area with spinning bikes and free weights, ocean-view gym with 20 Lifefitness treadmills, 14 Lifefitness elliptical cross trainers, six recumbent bicycles and four stationary bicycles, Lifefitness weight machines and steppers, additional free weights and a round thalassotherapy pool. A stereo system and television monitors provide entertainment while you work out. The ShipShape Spa, one deck above, has an ocean-view beauty salon, 14 massage rooms, one dry floatation room, Rasul suite and a relaxation area with sea views. Other fitness and recreational facilities include a jogging track, an outdoor sports deck complete with 9 holes of miniature-golf and golf simulator; a full-length sports court for basketball, paddle ball or volleyball; a curvy in-line skating track; and of course, the Rock-Climbing wall, positioned 200 feet above the sea.
Royal Caribbean’s youth programs are one of the best at sea, but in Navigator of the Seas they have really outdone themselves, as the Adventure Ocean facilities on Deck 12 have been expanded on this vessel to a whopping 22,000 sq. ft., that’s 6,000 sq. ft. more than on any other Royal Caribbean ship.
Areas include a section for three to five year olds with seven computer stations, a new art studio area and an ocean liner-themed play area; a room for six to eight year olds, that has been quadrupled in size from previous Voyager-class ships, featuring seven computer stations, themed evenings, Adventure Science, including an exploding volcano, and Adventure Art by Crayola projects including making masks from a variety of regions of the world; and a section for nine to 11 year olds, with seven computer stations, five flat-screen televisions and such activities as Survivor Night, conducted by the year-round counselor staff.
Teens have three special areas to hang out in and their program has been divided into two age groups: 12-14 and 15-17. Navigator has a Back Deck, an outdoor area for teen parties with music and buffets. Fuel is the teen disco, complete with dance floor, Internet Cafe with eight stations, four flat-screen televisions and bar for nonalcoholic drinks a Coke Card for unlimited drinks is available for the whole cruise, and an Ocean Potion Card is also available for 12 non-alcoholic specialty drinks at one price.
Beyond this, teens also have The Living Room, a place to hang out during the day with games, books, flat-screen television, futuristic furniture and Internet Cafe with seven stations. A large video arcade is nearby and so is Johnny Rockets to satisfy the teen appetite with burgers, fries, shakes and other goodies. Group baby-sitting is available from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in Adventure Ocean. There is an hourly cost is per child. Children must be at least three years old and fully toilet trained, no diapers or pull-ups. In-cabin baby-sitting is available through Guest Relations and must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. Children must be at least six months old. The charge is an hourly rate, in cash, with a two hour minimum.
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