Royal Caribbean invited my husband and me to be guests on board their remodeled Navigator of the Seas ship. The 3,114 guest ship is based out of the Texas port city of Galveston with Caribbean itineraries leaving year-round. From what I understand, this is currently the largest and most advanced ship yet based on the island. Dave and I could not have been more excited to explore it and to have our first cruise!
Being a promotional one-night cruise, our experience was rather unique. With it being our first cruise experience, I learned a lot. As there is so much to share, I plan to have more than one article. For this article, I will stick to the facts and write a more opinionated piece on cruising to be shared later. We also love Galveston, so I have some tips if you are visiting the city for a cruise. So stay tuned for more, but I am thrilled to have been a part of this experience, as well as have the ability to share more about this magnificent ship.
As I mentioned, Dave and I had never been on a cruise or a cruise ship before – even with nothing to compare it to, this was an impressive vessel. To be candid, the cruise line invited media, travel agents, contest winners and cruise regulars for an overnight cruise which was completely hosted. Everything was free, including samples from the specialty restaurants and drinks too. With only one night to experience a vast ship, we were not able to experience it all — but we did our best!
Navigator of the Seas will sail seven-night western Caribbean itineraries every Sunday from Galveston, visiting locales including Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Falmouth, Jamaica; and George Town, Grand Cayman. The ship is 1,020 feet long, 138,279 tons and has more than 1200 crew members. The ship seems to have a Hollywood theme with movie posters and decor decorating the passageways and stairwells.
As part of their recent $66 million remodel, Royal Caribbean added features such as the FlowRider surf simulator, and expanded their dining venues such as Giovanni’s Table, Sabor Mexican, Chops Grille, and Izumi Asian Cuisine. Furthermore, virtual balconies were added to select interior rooms offering real-time views of the ocean and destinations through an 80-inch high-definition screen. Ocean view staterooms were also upgraded with panoramic windows.
Other changes to the ship include the addition of digital signage, bow-to-stern wireless service, new flat-panel televisions in every cabin, a LCD movie screen overlooking the main pool, a new Diamond Lounge for members of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program, and a Royal Babies and Tots Nursery. Additionally, the ship’s Champagne Bar has been re-conceptualized into the retro-chic R Bar.
We were lucky enough to be assigned a stay in a Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony and I was impressed at the modest but comfortable space which includes a private balcony, sitting area with sofa, and a private bathroom. The cabin includes a hair-dryer, TV, phone, vanity table with a working surface for laptop computers . The air conditioning and water pressure worked well, though we actually did not use the shower.
Built in 2002, the ship has modern cruise features and entertainment. That includes a casino, ice-skating rink, rock wall, basketball court, mini golf, a three-story dining room, nearly a dozen different places to eat, a full-sized theater, multiple pools and much more. There is also room for a photo gallery, library, fitness center, spa, and arcade. The Promenade is very impressive, serving as the heart of the ship with a wine bar and pub, it also houses a variety of name-brand, duty-free shopping for jewelry, perfumes, and apparel.
One of the most impressive features, especially for a newbie, is the addition of digital way-finders so that you can keep track of all the events both on-board and at the next port of call. They have the daily Cruise Compass, guides, maps, and more. They also have interactive menus at the Windjammer buffet and on all entry floors of the Sapphire Dining room. These are great additions that offer guidance in a somewhat overwhelming maze of activity.
The addition of this ship to the cruise schedule of Galveston, TX is certainly great for the economy and the Port is working on making upgrades to Terminal 2 to accommodate the growing industry. If you are a fan of cruises then this is certainly one of the best options from Texas. While we did not get to experience any destinations on my overnight stay, there was plenty to do. I needed more time to cross everything off the scavenger hunt list. So book a multi-night trip and don’t forget to pack those flip-flops!