CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Navigator of the Seas by Ernie Grossman Pre-Inaugural Voyage December 8, 2002

We sailed on this newest of the Eagle or Voyager class vessels on Sunday, December 8th, on a two night pre-inaugural voyage for the Travel Industry and press. To get right to the point, if you enjoy these floating mammoth resorts at sea, and it is hard not to, then chart your course in a straight line to the Navigator of the Seas. She's a beauty. and, to this cruiser's taste, she's far and away the most attractive and inviting of them all.

Navigator has a different look about her that's noticeable even from a distance. Her balcony cabins have a much more open design than her earlier sisters and it gives the ship a very different look. in a sense she looks sleeker. less formidable. it is hard to put the effect into words, but it is clearly evident. and to me it represents a remarkable and significant improvement.

'm still not sure of exactly what her Gross Registered Tonnage is. Most of the material passed out on board shows her to be 139,000 GRT. Others on board, including some senior Royal Caribbean folk speak in terms of 142,500 GRT. Given her huge size, I suppose this small difference will be of interest only to cruise ship statistical gurus (nerd's?), and I suppose Royal Caribbean will figure it out before too long.

I liked each of the builds in this class and noted that each new vessel's interior seems to have been toned down from the original Voyager. While this is clearly a matter of personal taste, to me it was a good trend. What we have with the Navigator of the Seas is quite special indeed. It seems to me almost as if Royal Caribbean designed the ship and then gave over the interiors to a Celebrity designer. Navigator is a classic, top to bottom and if you've been on any of her siblings, you cannot miss the difference. Extensive use of fine woods throughout the public areas is just superb. The entire aft area on Deck 11, leading to the Windjammer Buffet area and the Chops Grille and Portofino Restaurants, is magnificent. The Royal Promenade, as breathtaking in size here as it is on her sisters, has a very different look and feel to it. It is elegant and restrained. with the addition of several new and interesting shopping, dining and drinking venues. including the much talked about "Vintages". acclaimed as the first totally dedicated wine bar afloat. If you're a fancier of wine, you'll love Vintages. it is more than just a bar. in fact, far from it. Want to learn more about wine? This is the spot!

The main dining room is a three deck high enormous space, each deck with a different theme, but all based upon ballet motifs. The effect is dramatic. Tables are very well spaced and the vast open areas make for a very comfortable noise level indeed. One can actually have a conversation with tablemates in normal tones! The room works well and is simply gorgeous!

The main theater, the "Metropolis" is stunning. If you like art deco, as I do, you will love the Metropolis. It is the most appealing and attractive new large space done in art deco that I can recall seeing. And, it works as a theater too. great sight lines across the board, easy access and all the modern gimmickry that one expects to see. What a grand and beautiful space this is. They have done some job here!

Navigator of the Seas has most of the passenger amenities found on the other ships in her class. the signature Rock Climbing Wall, Golf Course, Other Worldly Disco and a significantly enlarged Club Ocean kids facility. Of course the Casino is huge and the center bar is quite active all the time. There's an large Internet Cafe (internet connections in the cabins, too), a comfortable and fairly well stocked library, a Wedding Chapel on top of (yes, on top of) the Viking Crown Lounge and, of course, Johnny Rockets.

Speaking of food, the Windjammer is nicely laid out and functional. We found the selections at breakfast and lunch to be attractively presented, varied and good. (We understand that this is a special sailing for the Industry and Press, so it really is hard to judge the food.) The addition of Chops Grille is the icing on the cake. If I were to design a restaurant, it would come out looking a lot like Chops and I'd do exactly the same menu. New York Steak House fare. from a specially provisioned kitchen. It is a knockout! Make your reservations early. Portofino is beautifully designed too. and located just across from Chops. Then, if you're in need of more sustenance, there's a new Ben and Jerry's ice cream stand (with a charge) and a nearby frozen custard station (without a charge) and the Cafe Promenade serving sandwiches, deserts and coffee and other beverages round the clock. You won't go hungry on Navigator of the Seas.

We visited examples of most categories of cabins on the ship and they are quite similar to what one finds on her sister ships. with the exception of course of the balconies, which are a great improvement in terms of their openness and the airy feeling that creates. A great improvement is found here.

These huge vessels are not to everyone's taste. I think that serious cruisers should experience them at least once. they are very special indeed. If I were to have the opportunity of sailing only on one of them, my choice, hands down, would be Navigator of the Seas. She's a class act in every sense of the words!

Bravo Royal Caribbean. you've managed to take an innovative and spectacular class of ship and polish and hone it to a fine luster, with a good helping of taste too boot! In my mind, that is a hard to beat combination!

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