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Background: Family cruise for us. 2nd cruise for my wife and I and the 1st for our kids (12 yr old boy and girl who turned 15 on the cruise). Appreciated the fact that is was out of Galveston and fairly close to the DFW area (5 hrs drive - we are out of Aledo, near Ft. Worth) Booking/Room: We initially booked an exterior room on floor 3, with a large window. We called about a month out and asked for upgrade options and got a Superior Balcony room on the 9th floor for a very reasonable price (Room 9658). The boat is laid out where all the food (Main dining, Windjammer, etc.) is at the back and the entertainment (Metropolis, Star Lounge, etc.) is at the front. Flowrider, sports deck is also at the back of the ship. Staying near the back was ideal for us. Hotel: We chose to drive down the day before the cruise and spent the night near NASA south of Houston. It was less expensive than staying in Galveston, but still less than an hour to get there for embarkation. Parking: We choose EZ cruise that was only a couple of blocks from Terminal 2 (RCL terminal). They charge $65 for the week but you can get a $20 discount for walking and not taking their shuttle. Elevated uncovered lot that was very easy to find and convenient. Embarkation: We arrived at around 10:30am and got to the terminal and checked in by 10:45am. They started boarding at 11:00am and we were on the ship by 11:15am. Rooms are not available until 1pm so we took a couple of carry-on bags with swim suits etc. We went to the Windjammer and had lunch and explored the ship until the room was ready at 1pm. Spent the remainder of the day exploring and enjoying. Really maximized than 1st day aboard. Weather: We did have to go through a tropical storm on the way out so our 1st full day at sea was a "rocky" one and all of the outside decks were closed. We made the most of it by exploring inside or sleeping it off. The remainder of the cruise was fabulous! Dining: Specialty Dining – they have 5 different specialty dining places that cost you more: They offer discounts and specials for the first night and at other times so you should never have to pay the full up charge. • Izumi – Sushi that is charged by the item – did not try no opinion • Chops Grille – steak restaurant – did not try no opinion • Sabor – Mexican cuisine – did not try no opinion, but one couple from Texas said they eat Mexican all the time and thought the place was awesome. • Giovanni’s Table – Italian – Loved it We had booked the Murder Mystery dinner at Giovanni’s Table but they had to cancel (something about the actors changing out and not being ready). We went ahead and made reservations for Giovanni’s table for the first night anyway. It is normally an extra $20 per person but we got 25% off on the first night. It was really good – you get a menu with about 10 different appetizers, several pasta options and main courses. You can order as many as you want so we mixed it up and tried all kinds of Italian food. They will bring basic spaghetti for any younger kids too. Excellent very personalized service! • Johnny Rockets – Burgers, etc. – Only an additional $5 per person We ate there for lunch on one of our sea days and it was really good. They play typical diner juke box music and occasionally do a little dancing. You can get as many of the burgers, sandwiches or sides as you want. They brought some fries and onion rings right away and we got some burgers, tuna melt, Chicken BLT and all were good. They have ice cream sundaes and apple pie ala mode for dessert, all good. You can get shakes anywhere on the ship but they are an extra charge even at Johnny Rockets. Normal Dining – Main Dining room, Windjammer Café, and Royal Promenade - Windjammer is the buffet and I would liken it to Golden Corral. Nothing awesome, but not bad either. Lots of selection. We ate breakfast (good, hard to mess up breakfast) there several times and a few times for lunch. Kids would eat there every meal if they could. - Royal Promenade – you can get some sandwiches, pizza, and some desserts at most anytime. They have a Starbucks and Ben and Jerry’s there for additional charge. Good place for a snack or quick bite. - Main Dining room – very nice and we ate every dinner there, except 1st night, and a couple of breakfasts. The menu always had 8-10 appetizers (5 or so that change nightly and a few standbys like Cocktail Shrimp), and 5 or so rotating main dishes with 5 standard options (NY Strip, Salmon, Sliders, etc.) Then they have 3-4 standard desserts (creme brulee, etc.) and a few that rotate nightly. There is a kids menu with standard selections for appetizers, mains, and desserts, as well. The waiters are awesome and will recommend items. You can order as many or whatever you want. My daughter had 1-2 cocktail shrimp orders each night, while my son pretty much had pizza every night. On lobster night I had the lobster and prime rib. We typically got 4 or more desserts to share. We were so spoiled there. There are 2 formal nights always on days at sea, ours were day 2 and day 6 and most people dressed up. Entertainment: - Flowrider – kids absolutely loved it. Must be over 58” to try stand up surfing. My son was not tall enough but he did the boogie boarding (BB) a bunch, seriously, a bunch. They will have different times allocated for BB or surfing, but go early in the trip as it keeps getting busier throughout the trip. You have to sign a waiver and get a wristband so do that the first day. It will cover the flowrider, ice skating, and rock climbing wall. - Ice Skating – small rink and only open a few times. The kids went at a specific kids time through the kids club so they had a good time. - Rock Climbing – at specific times, but can be hot if the sun is shining on it. - Miniature Golf – just show up and play - Sports court – basketball goals, periodically a volleyball net is set or soccer goals. They did dodgeball, volleyball, basketball, and soccer tourneys. - Kids program – they have multiple kids clubs, but we only focused on the 12-14 and 15-17. There is a mixer/meet&greet on the first full day at sea that is a great way to get the kids involved. Since it is summer time there we tons of families and kids on board which we were hoping for. After the first day the kids were always wanting go to the living room (teen area) to hang out and we had to schedule times with them for family stuff (i.e. be back at 5:30pm to get ready for dinner) - Live music - all over the ship at different times – piano guy in the Schooner bar – Guitar guy in the 2 poets pub, Country group, etc. There were all good and we enjoyed listening and singing along. - Shows – the main shows change each day, so they can be a crap shoot. Some were really good and others were ok. We had an acapella group (great), southern lady comedian (great), juggling comedians (good), Elvis impersonator (good) The Ice Dancing show was excellent, unbelievable what they can do in that small space. It was typically at 2pm and 4pm on the at sea days and should not be missed. They will distribute tickets for the various showtimes while on board and open it up to anyone 10 minutes before each show. If you miss the distribution times, you can get remaining tickets at guest services. - Karaoke was a mixed bag – between Wow and are you kidding me - Trivia sessions - We loved going to the various sessions, typically a morning, afternoon and evening session. We teamed up with another family and really enjoyed meeting up each day. The evening music trivia (50's/60's, 80's, etc.) are great as they play song snippets and then when revealing the answers the whole bar is singing along and "dancing in the Schooner bar" as one crew member says. Shore Excursions: 1. Cozumel – We did the Chakanaab snorkel and Sea Lion show Chakanaab is a park area that includes beaches, snorkeling, a periodic sea lion show, dolphin and manatee encounters, walking paths, a crocodile exhibit, swimming pools, etc. Our tour started with snorkeling (great fish and underwater items to view), then we had beach time (we ate at the beach side restaurant and then hung out on the beach and in the surf/reef. The guide then took people on a tour through the paths, but we stayed and hung out at the beach. They had a tequila tasting that we skipped too. We finished with the sea lion show (everyone enjoyed) and then headed back. You could just get a cab there, and do you own thing if you wanted. We were late to Cozymel so we did not have much time at the shops in town. This one has a dock so boarding is easy but the lines can get long at the end of the day. 2. Grand Cayman – We booked the deluxe stingray city tour – this included a bus ride to the dock, boat ride out to the sand bar in a nice boat with walk into the water stairs. Then we were at the sandbar for around an hour where we swam with the rays, touch them and fed them. Kids loved it. The tour was only 2 – 2.5 hours so we had time before our tour in town. We headed to the left from the dock and found a nice seafood restaurant right on the water. Great fish and chips and stairs down into the water where you could swim with the fish and explore. You could throw your leftovers in the water and bring a bunch of fish (big and small). We really enjoyed it, but it was about $80 as it was $60 in Cayman dollars. At Grand Cayman you have to take tenders (boats that seat you and 250 of your closest friends) between the ship and shore. If you have an excursion booked you can go early or leave with any tender group. Otherwise you get a tender group and have to go at certain times. Expect lines and be prepared. 3. Jamaica – We booked the Green Grotto caves and Dunns River Falls tour. Air Conditioned bus from dock to caves. Cave tour was interesting and laid back. Then bus to Dunns River Falls where we climbed the falls in the water with several hundred of our closest friends. We had a great time and everyone enjoyed. After the falls you do have to go through an area of shops and they are very persuasive, so be prepared. The dock is awesome at Jamaica as it was built as a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and Jamaica. They have shops, booths, restaurants (Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and a good Jerk chicken place). The vendors are not pushy at all and you can enjoy. No problem man. Disembarking: You have a choice of tagging your luggage and sending it down the night before and leaving the ship at your specified time or self-carrying your luggage and going during one of several time slots. Breakfast is served in the windjammer and main dining room from 7am to 8:30am. We chose the self-carry and opted for a 9am timeslot. We ate breakfast until 8:15 and went back to the room for the luggage. Walked out at 8:30 and were out and through customs by 9:15am. Good times and look forward to our next cruise.

Family Cruise - A great time was had by all!

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by Ilikechicken

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Background: Family cruise for us. 2nd cruise for my wife and I and the 1st for our kids (12 yr old boy and girl who turned 15 on the cruise). Appreciated the fact that is was out of Galveston and fairly close to the DFW area (5 hrs drive - we are out of Aledo, near Ft. Worth)

Booking/Room:

We initially booked an exterior room on floor 3, with a large window. We called about a month out and asked for upgrade options and got a Superior Balcony room on the 9th floor for a very reasonable price (Room 9658).

The boat is laid out where all the food (Main dining, Windjammer, etc.) is at the back and the entertainment (Metropolis, Star Lounge, etc.) is at the front. Flowrider, sports deck is also at the back of the ship. Staying near the back was ideal for us.

Hotel:

We chose to drive down the day before the cruise and spent the night near NASA south of Houston. It was less expensive than staying in Galveston, but still less than an hour to get there for embarkation.

Parking:

We choose EZ cruise that was only a couple of blocks from Terminal 2 (RCL terminal).

They charge $65 for the week but you can get a $20 discount for walking and not taking their shuttle. Elevated uncovered lot that was very easy to find and convenient.

Embarkation:

We arrived at around 10:30am and got to the terminal and checked in by 10:45am. They started boarding at 11:00am and we were on the ship by 11:15am.

Rooms are not available until 1pm so we took a couple of carry-on bags with swim suits etc. We went to the Windjammer and had lunch and explored the ship until the room was ready at 1pm. Spent the remainder of the day exploring and enjoying. Really maximized than 1st day aboard.

Weather:

We did have to go through a tropical storm on the way out so our 1st full day at sea was a "rocky" one and all of the outside decks were closed. We made the most of it by exploring inside or sleeping it off. The remainder of the cruise was fabulous!

Dining:

Specialty Dining – they have 5 different specialty dining places that cost you more:

They offer discounts and specials for the first night and at other times so you should never have to pay the full up charge.

• Izumi – Sushi that is charged by the item – did not try no opinion

• Chops Grille – steak restaurant – did not try no opinion

• Sabor – Mexican cuisine – did not try no opinion, but one couple from Texas said they eat Mexican all the time and thought the place was awesome.

• Giovanni’s Table – Italian – Loved it

We had booked the Murder Mystery dinner at Giovanni’s Table but they had to cancel (something about the actors changing out and not being ready). We went ahead and made reservations for Giovanni’s table for the first night anyway. It is normally an extra $20 per person but we got 25% off on the first night.

It was really good – you get a menu with about 10 different appetizers, several pasta options and main courses. You can order as many as you want so we mixed it up and tried all kinds of Italian food. They will bring basic spaghetti for any younger kids too. Excellent very personalized service!

• Johnny Rockets – Burgers, etc. – Only an additional $5 per person

We ate there for lunch on one of our sea days and it was really good. They play typical diner juke box music and occasionally do a little dancing. You can get as many of the burgers, sandwiches or sides as you want. They brought some fries and onion rings right away and we got some burgers, tuna melt, Chicken BLT and all were good. They have ice cream sundaes and apple pie ala mode for dessert, all good. You can get shakes anywhere on the ship but they are an extra charge even at Johnny Rockets.

Normal Dining – Main Dining room, Windjammer Café, and Royal Promenade

- Windjammer is the buffet and I would liken it to Golden Corral. Nothing awesome, but not bad either. Lots of selection. We ate breakfast (good, hard to mess up breakfast) there several times and a few times for lunch. Kids would eat there every meal if they could.

- Royal Promenade – you can get some sandwiches, pizza, and some desserts at most anytime. They have a Starbucks and Ben and Jerry’s there for additional charge. Good place for a snack or quick bite.

- Main Dining room – very nice and we ate every dinner there, except 1st night, and a couple of breakfasts. The menu always had 8-10 appetizers (5 or so that change nightly and a few standbys like Cocktail Shrimp), and 5 or so rotating main dishes with 5 standard options (NY Strip, Salmon, Sliders, etc.) Then they have 3-4 standard desserts (creme brulee, etc.) and a few that rotate nightly. There is a kids menu with standard selections for appetizers, mains, and desserts, as well. The waiters are awesome and will recommend items. You can order as many or whatever you want. My daughter had 1-2 cocktail shrimp orders each night, while my son pretty much had pizza every night. On lobster night I had the lobster and prime rib. We typically got 4 or more desserts to share. We were so spoiled there. There are 2 formal nights always on days at sea, ours were day 2 and day 6 and most people dressed up.

Entertainment:

- Flowrider – kids absolutely loved it. Must be over 58” to try stand up surfing. My son was not tall enough but he did the boogie boarding (BB) a bunch, seriously, a bunch. They will have different times allocated for BB or surfing, but go early in the trip as it keeps getting busier throughout the trip. You have to sign a waiver and get a wristband so do that the first day. It will cover the flowrider, ice skating, and rock climbing wall.

- Ice Skating – small rink and only open a few times. The kids went at a specific kids time through the kids club so they had a good time.

- Rock Climbing – at specific times, but can be hot if the sun is shining on it.

- Miniature Golf – just show up and play

- Sports court – basketball goals, periodically a volleyball net is set or soccer goals. They did dodgeball, volleyball, basketball, and soccer tourneys.

- Kids program – they have multiple kids clubs, but we only focused on the 12-14 and 15-17. There is a mixer/meet&greet on the first full day at sea that is a great way to get the kids involved. Since it is summer time there we tons of families and kids on board which we were hoping for. After the first day the kids were always wanting go to the living room (teen area) to hang out and we had to schedule times with them for family stuff (i.e. be back at 5:30pm to get ready for dinner)

- Live music - all over the ship at different times – piano guy in the Schooner bar – Guitar guy in the 2 poets pub, Country group, etc. There were all good and we enjoyed listening and singing along.

- Shows – the main shows change each day, so they can be a crap shoot. Some were really good and others were ok. We had an acapella group (great), southern lady comedian (great), juggling comedians (good), Elvis impersonator (good)

The Ice Dancing show was excellent, unbelievable what they can do in that small space. It was typically at 2pm and 4pm on the at sea days and should not be missed. They will distribute tickets for the various showtimes while on board and open it up to anyone 10 minutes before each show. If you miss the distribution times, you can get remaining tickets at guest services.

- Karaoke was a mixed bag – between Wow and are you kidding me

- Trivia sessions - We loved going to the various sessions, typically a morning, afternoon and evening session. We teamed up with another family and really enjoyed meeting up each day. The evening music trivia (50's/60's, 80's, etc.) are great as they play song snippets and then when revealing the answers the whole bar is singing along and "dancing in the Schooner bar" as one crew member says.

Shore Excursions:

1. Cozumel – We did the Chakanaab snorkel and Sea Lion show

Chakanaab is a park area that includes beaches, snorkeling, a periodic sea lion show, dolphin and manatee encounters, walking paths, a crocodile exhibit, swimming pools, etc.

Our tour started with snorkeling (great fish and underwater items to view), then we had beach time (we ate at the beach side restaurant and then hung out on the beach and in the surf/reef. The guide then took people on a tour through the paths, but we stayed and hung out at the beach. They had a tequila tasting that we skipped too. We finished with the sea lion show (everyone enjoyed) and then headed back. You could just get a cab there, and do you own thing if you wanted.

We were late to Cozymel so we did not have much time at the shops in town. This one has a dock so boarding is easy but the lines can get long at the end of the day.

2. Grand Cayman – We booked the deluxe stingray city tour – this included a bus ride to the dock, boat ride out to the sand bar in a nice boat with walk into the water stairs. Then we were at the sandbar for around an hour where we swam with the rays, touch them and fed them. Kids loved it. The tour was only 2 – 2.5 hours so we had time before our tour in town. We headed to the left from the dock and found a nice seafood restaurant right on the water. Great fish and chips and stairs down into the water where you could swim with the fish and explore. You could throw your leftovers in the water and bring a bunch of fish (big and small). We really enjoyed it, but it was about $80 as it was $60 in Cayman dollars.

At Grand Cayman you have to take tenders (boats that seat you and 250 of your closest friends) between the ship and shore. If you have an excursion booked you can go early or leave with any tender group. Otherwise you get a tender group and have to go at certain times. Expect lines and be prepared.

3. Jamaica – We booked the Green Grotto caves and Dunns River Falls tour. Air Conditioned bus from dock to caves. Cave tour was interesting and laid back. Then bus to Dunns River Falls where we climbed the falls in the water with several hundred of our closest friends. We had a great time and everyone enjoyed. After the falls you do have to go through an area of shops and they are very persuasive, so be prepared.

The dock is awesome at Jamaica as it was built as a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and Jamaica. They have shops, booths, restaurants (Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and a good Jerk chicken place). The vendors are not pushy at all and you can enjoy.

No problem man.

Disembarking:

You have a choice of tagging your luggage and sending it down the night before and leaving the ship at your specified time or self-carrying your luggage and going during one of several time slots. Breakfast is served in the windjammer and main dining room from 7am to 8:30am. We chose the self-carry and opted for a 9am timeslot. We ate breakfast until 8:15 and went back to the room for the luggage. Walked out at 8:30 and were out and through customs by 9:15am.

Good times and look forward to our next cruise.
Ilikechicken’s Full Rating Summary
Ages 13 to 15
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9658
Nice room with reasonable space. Two full sized beds together to make a king and a coach that turned into a Queen. 2 adults in the king and the 2 kids (12 boy,15 girl) in the coach bed. Room steward did a real nice job of making the coach bed into two separate beds with separate sheets and covers. The kids really appreciated it. Bed were comfortable and we enjoyed being up on the 9th floor near the back of the ship close to the dining and sports deck.
  Navigator of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Chankanaab National Park Tour
    Cozumel – We did the Chakanaab snorkel and Sea Lion show
    Chakanaab is a park area that includes beaches, snorkeling, a periodic sea lion show, dolphin and manatee encounters, walking paths, a crocodile exhibit, swimming pools, etc.
    Our tour started with snorkeling (great fish and underwater items to view), then we had beach time (we ate at the beach side restaurant and then hung out on the beach and in the surf/reef. The guide then took people on a tour through the paths, but we stayed and hung out at the beach. They had a tequila tasting that we skipped too. We finished with the sea lion show (everyone enjoyed) and then headed back. You could just get a cab there, and do you own thing if you wanted.
    We were late to Cozymel so we did not have much time at the shops in town. This one has a dock so boarding is easy but the lines can get long at the end of the day.
    View All 218 Chankanaab National Park Tour Reviews
  • Dunn's River Falls
    Jamaica – We booked the Green Grotto caves and Dunns River Falls tour. Air Conditioned bus from dock to caves. Cave tour was interesting and laid back. Then bus to Dunns River Falls where we climbed the falls in the water with several hundred of our closest friends. We had a great time and everyone enjoyed. After the falls you do have to go through an area of shops and they are very persuasive, so be prepared.
    The dock is awesome at Jamaica as it was built as a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and Jamaica. They have shops, booths, restaurants (Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and a good Jerk chicken place). The vendors are not pushy at all and you can enjoy.
    No problem man.
    View All 217 Dunn's River Falls Reviews
  • Green Grotto Caves
    Jamaica – We booked the Green Grotto caves and Dunns River Falls tour. Air Conditioned bus from dock to caves. Cave tour was interesting and laid back. Then bus to Dunns River Falls where we climbed the falls in the water with several hundred of our closest friends. We had a great time and everyone enjoyed. After the falls you do have to go through an area of shops and they are very persuasive, so be prepared.
    The dock is awesome at Jamaica as it was built as a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and Jamaica. They have shops, booths, restaurants (Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and a good Jerk chicken place). The vendors are not pushy at all and you can enjoy.
    No problem man.
    View All 31 Green Grotto Caves Reviews
  • Stingray Swim
    Grand Cayman – We booked the deluxe stingray city tour – this included a bus ride to the dock, boat ride out to the sand bar in a nice boat with walk into the water stairs. Then we were at the sandbar for around an hour where we swam with the rays, touch them and fed them. Kids loved it. The tour was only 2 – 2.5 hours so we had time before our tour in town. We headed to the left from the dock and found a nice seafood restaurant right on the water. Great fish and chips and stairs down into the water where you could swim with the fish and explore. You could throw your leftovers in the water and bring a bunch of fish (big and small). We really enjoyed it, but it was about $80 as it was $60 in Cayman dollars.
    At Grand Cayman you have to take tenders (boats that seat you and 250 of your closest friends) between the ship and shore. If you have an excursion booked you can go early or leave with any tender group. Otherwise you get a tender group and have to go at certain times.
    View All 704 Stingray Swim Reviews