For our latest voyage of 2019, we took a quick three-day getaway on the newly amplified Navigator of the Seas. This weekend cruise included a stop at the cruise line’s new private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay. We have returned and want to share every minute of this exciting trip. So, hot off the presses is our Navigator of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Review!
Navigator of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Review
Navigator of the Seas Ship Overview
This Voyager-class ship recently underwent a multi-million dollar update. As part of the Royal Amplified program, Navigator of the Seas received a number of new amenities, venues, eateries, and some much needed cosmetic enhancements.
Now, the ship is the second in the class to offer three and four day cruises to the Bahamas. Departing from Miami, FL, Navigator of the Seas provides cruisers one of the most innovative and advanced ships in the short cruise market. Whether you are looking for a quick weekend getaway or want to take some vacation days during the week, this ship might be your best option.
Both the 3 and 4-day itineraries include full day stops at Royal Caribbean’s newly transformed private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay, and Nassau, Bahamas. The four-day cruise also includes an additional sea day.
We sailed on Mariner of the Seas last summer and have to say that Navigator of the Seas certainly has a few extra bells and whistles that makes it our preferred ship offering these short Bahamas cruises.
Among the updates is a totally redesigned pool deck. This Caribbean inspired pool deck includes a new water feature for kids, as well as the three-story Lime and Coconut Bar. Along with a new bar menu, this outdoor area also features several different seating options, including hammocks, day beds, and covered casitas to help you escape the direct sun.
Other notable outdoor features include two new to the fleet waterslides, including the line’s first water coaster, aptly named the Aqua Blaster.
Inside, the Royal Promenade received a face-lift. Both a Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade as well as the Bamboo Room tiki bar were added. Dining venues, including Hooked Seafood, El Loco Fresh, and a Johnny Rockets Express, greatly improved the dining options onboard Navigator of the Seas as well.
The staterooms received some touch-ups, with new decor, flooring, furniture, and accents that helped to breath new life into this 17-year-old ship.
With a traditional setup of evening entertainment, cruise director activities, game shows, and other events, the line packs in almost everything you would expect to find on a seven-day cruise in only a few days. Let’s just say, there were plenty of late nights and early mornings on this trip!
Related Post: Our honest review of Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas
Navigator of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Review
Day 1 – Miami, FL
An Easy Embarkation Morning
Flying down the night before our cruise, we stayed at the East Miami hotel. This is a phenomenal property that we would highly recommend. If you can swing it, opt for a corner King Balcony. You will not be disappointed!
Preparing for our embarkation day rituals, we were ready to check out of the hotel by 9:40 am. A two-minute wait for our Uber, and we were off, only to encounter some unexpected traffic.
Still, we arrived at Terminal A in Miami, FL a few minutes after 10 am. Similar to our Symphony of the Seas cruise a few months earlier, check-in at the terminal was fast and efficient. We were through registration and security with no lines.
Up to the waiting area, we were idle for about 15 minutes before the announcement was made a bit past 10:30 am that the first wave of eligible cruisers, including Diamond members, could board the ship.
Back Onboard a Royal Caribbean Ship!
If you know us, you can probably guess what happened next. The Princess and I spent close to two hours exploring the “new” Navigator of the Seas. Starting at the top open-air decks, we snaked our way around the new waterslides, pool deck, fitness areas, and more.
During our 14 deck journey, we captured video and photos of our surroundings. By around 12:30 pm, the crowds were making picture taking of the indoor areas like the Promenade more difficult.
So, we found a table at the Deck 12 version of the Lime and the Coconut bar to officially kick-off the cruise with a cocktail. We purchased the Deluxe Drink Package pre-cruise during a sale, so it was time to put it to good use.
Enjoying the sun and drinks, we started to get a bit hungry. Taking advantage of a cruise planner sale once again, we also booked the Unlimited Dining Package. Skipping the buffet as we usually do, we headed down to Playmakers Sports Bar for lunch.
The food and service were similar to our previous visits to this restaurant on other Royal ships. The chicken wings were dynamite, and the Princess enjoyed her chicken sandwich. While the nachos were massive, they came out a bit cold. We also grabbed another round of drinks, checking off a second venue on our drink around the ship.
So far, we were keeping up with the necessary pace to get all the bars and lounges on the ship checked off our list in only 2.5 days.
We would recommend this venue, especially since it is priced a la carte, meaning you can order a few snacks or apps while watching the various sports displayed on the large screen televisions.
A Mandatory Afternoon on Navigator of the Seas
During lunch, the announcement was made that rooms were ready, so we headed aft to our cabin on deck 9.
Along our walk to this spacious balcony room, 9732, we passed one piece of our luggage. Grabbing the bag, and subsequently finding our second piece of luggage, we unpacked and settled in over the next 45 minutes.
Checking off most of the essentials for the day, we found a daybed above the pool deck and ordered another round of drinks. Fully prepared to enjoy the outdoors until our muster drill, some passing rain cleared out the open-air decks pretty quickly.
Instead, we sat in the R Bar for about 30 minutes as we prepared for muster. Unfortunately, given our cabin location, we were stuck in muster station D25, which put us outside in the humid, rainy weather.
Finishing up the muster drill, we tried to find a location on deck 12 for sail away. Partially covered, we stuck it out for a few minutes, but the weather had different plans for us. Several ominous clouds produced thunder, lighting, and heavy rain. So, our alternative plan was to watch sail away from our cabin balcony.
First Night Onboard
With the Unlimited Dining Plan, you are assigned a restaurant on night one then can book the remaining reservations once onboard the ship. We found out during our travels earlier in the day that we would be dining at Jamie’s Italian for 6:30 pm tonight. We also secured reservations for 6:30 pm at the other two specialty restaurants. On night 2, we would be dining at Chops Grille, and at Hooked Seafood on night 3.
With a quick shower and costume change, we were to the restaurant a few minutes early. Our waiter, who was also named Jamie, was marvelous, and the food was much better than our trip on Mariner of the Seas the year before.
Our starters, including my calamari and Bolognese, were melt in your mouth delicious. The entrees were well-prepared. One of my favorite desserts onboard, the limoncello cheesecake, also shined.
Waddling out of the restaurant around 8 pm, we had some time to kill as tonight’s entertainment was the iSkate show at 9:20 pm in Studio B.
Strolling the Promenade, we purchased the obligatory t-shirt but were disappointed to find out that they had no ship ornaments with the vessel’s new design.
Getting in line at Studio B at 8:50 pm, the doors opened a few minutes later. Being creatures of habit, we made a b-line to the portside of the rink to sit in our same general area.
Overall, the show was better than the circus-themed production on Mariner of the Seas but not one of the best ice shows on a Royal ship. Like much of the crowd, we exited Studio B to walk up a flight of stairs and head forward to the Royal Theater for the Welcome Aboard show.
This show featured the comedian Alvin Williams. The Princess was convinced that he was a headliner on a previous cruise. While I can not deny or confirm these claims, we both agreed that his set was not very funny.
It’s Not Bedtime Yet
At the show, we were first introduced to our cruise director, Hugo Arenas. A very animated and quirky guy, he led his staff with plenty of energy during the activities and parties.
Speaking of parties, it was straight to the Promenade for the 70’s Disco Inferno Party. With the keen eye of the Princess, we secured some prime seats at the English Pub. From here, we could watch all of the action.
Finishing up by 11:45 pm, we waited around for the Midnight Balloon Drop. Led by Hugo, the crowded counted down as hundreds of balloons descended on to the Royal Promenade. It was now past midnight, and time to head to bed!
We knew that the second day would be packed with exploring the brand new Perfect Day at CocoCay. With a lot of terrain to cover, we needed as much shut eye as possible.
During our travels earlier in the day, we never ran into our stateroom attendant, which meant that we returned back to the room with no towel animal to greet us.
Day 2 – Perfect Day at CocoCay
We Have Finally Arrived!
Finally, it was time to explore Perfect Day at CocoCay! Well, not just yet. The ship was scheduled to dock at 8 am, so we were up at 6 am.
Luckily, it was a clear and sunny morning. We could only hope that this weather lasted the entire day. As the Princess got ready, I explored the quiet ship grabbing photos and videos of the interior venues that were busy the day before.
I eventually made my way up to Deck 13 aft to watch our ship turn around and dock at the pier. Yes, the entrance and pier are that impressive.
Before getting back to the room, I grabbed us iced lattes and a few snacks from Café Promenade. We were determined to be among the first off the ship this morning. This meant that we had no time to waste eating breakfast in the Windjammer or the MDR.
Back to the room, we switched places so I could get ready. From our balcony, we watched the staff busily unloading supplies and food to bring to the island. Being docked for almost an hour but not able to get off the ship yet was killing us.
Even though we hadn’t heard an announcement yet, we started walking down to the gangway around 8 am, which was our scheduled arrival time. During our travels, we were officially cleared to start exploring Perfect Day at CocoCay!
A Truly Perfect Day
We stayed on the island from 8 am to 4 pm, which is probably the longest beach day that we’ve had in a while! Making every minute of our time ashore count, we left no part of the island unexplored. We started with a self-guided tour passing the new Captain Jill’s Galleon and entrance to the Thrill Waterpark, then back towards the Up, Up and Away helium balloon, and on towards the beaches.
Looping around the beaches and Chill Island (from the reverse direction), we circled back to the Thrill Waterpark. Pre-cruise, we purchased the combo zip line and water park ticket for an amazing deal. We picked the 10 am zip line time slot.
This gave us just the right amount of time to walk around the island with very few people in our pictures. Finishing up by 9:45 am, we entered the waterpark and secured some loungers with an umbrella. Finding an unused locker, we put our gear away, changed into sneakers, and headed to the zip line stand.
The entire experience took about 45 minutes. The zip lines were good and worth the price that we paid, but we are not sure that we would do them again, especially at full price. The zipline in Labadee is much better in our opinion.
Following the ziplines, we spent most of the day in the Thrill Waterpark riding all of the slides, surfing the wave pool, and of course eating. Everything met our approval with a big thumbs up!
The End to a Perfect Day
About 1:30 pm, we took a break to walk around the island and see how Perfect Day at CocoCay handled the crowds. We also grabbed a few drinks at the Oasis Lagoon and then Captain Jack’s. With only our ship docked, there was plenty of space on the beaches and plenty of loungers.
The Oasis Lagoon freshwater pool was the central party on the island by afternoon, complete with the swim up bar and DJ.
Back at the waterpark a little before 3 pm, the lines were much smaller now, so I was able to get in a few more rounds of slides on both towers while the Princess relaxed under an umbrella.
Around 4 pm, we started to dry off and might have also grabbed a “snack” of funnel cake. According to my FitBit, we had covered over 20K steps, so why not!
Exiting the waterpark, we debated grabbing another drink or taking more pictures, but we decided to follow the other cruisers who were heading back to the ship.
Our entire day spent at CocoCay was amazing, and we both agreed the cruise line’s private island exceeded our expectations.
In fact, we have already booked another trip to the island for later this summer.
Getting Ready For Dinner
Through security and up a few decks, we joined the line at Café Promenade for an iced latte. Tonight was going to be another late night, and we needed some caffeine.
Tonight, we had Chops Grille booked for 6:30 pm, even though neither of us were all that hungry.
With dark clouds looming on the horizon, we pulled away just in time. I filmed sail away while the Princess showered and got ready for dinner.
We made our way up to deck 11 right on time. As we suspected, the restaurant was much busier than Jamie’s Italian was on night 1.
It took a few minutes for us to be checked-in and sat at a table towards the back of the restaurant. This was the first sign that it was going to be a long dinner. Our server was very sporadic during the course of the evening, coming by quickly to say hello, but then disappearing for long stretches of time. The food fared a bit better but was also kind of a mixed-bag.
We were not impressed with the bacon and crab cake starters. My filet mignon was cooked as ordered, and the wife’s chicken was tender. Our desserts were also pretty average.
Finishing dinner near 8 pm, we took our time descending to deck 5.
Crossing through the Royal Promenade, we made a pit stop into the Bamboo Room. Getting two signature cocktails, we enjoyed the atmosphere and these exotic drinks until it was time to head to the Royal Theater.
Hit or Miss on the Entertainment Front
Similar to night 1, the theater was relatively quiet. We found our usual seats at the portside of the theater. Tonight’s performance was the signature production Showgirl. It was a relatively interesting concept, following the evolution of these female performers through time, but neither of us found the show all that entertaining.
The performers were average singers, and the numbers felt very dated. It was a stereotypical cruise ship show which surprised us a bit as it is touted as an exclusive show for this ship.
With close to 90 minutes before the Crazy Quest and the RED Party, it was time to do some bar hopping. Our first, and only stop of the trip, was the Schooner Bar. Here, we would try to order our two favorite drinks, but of course, they did not have one of the ingredients for the Princess’ Lavender Daiquiri.
This should have been a sign! The relatively empty venue featured the Improv Musical Comedy of David Curtis Mutter. He was perhaps the worst piano player that we have ever experienced in the Schooner Bar. So, we struck out this time.
Instead, we headed to Studio B where we watched some of the Crazy Quest. With that game show ending around midnight, it was time for the RED Ultimate Nightclub party. Compared to some of the other instances of this event that we’ve attended, the dance floor was packed tonight.
Remaining the voyeurs, we watched for about 20 minutes before calling it a night.
We would have to make up some ground on day 3 as there were several venues that still needed to be checked off our drink around the ship.
Day 3 – Nassau, Bahamas
Getting to sleep in a little bit, the alarm was set for 7 am today. We did not plan to get off the ship in Nassau. Plus, staying on the ship would give us the chance to test out some of the features without all the crowds.
As the Princess readied herself, I went to get some photos, videos, and lattes. With coffee in hand, I went back to the room to change up and get ready for breakfast.
While we were too late for the main dining room sit-down breakfast, we did make it up to the Windjammer for a pretty typical buffet breakfast. There was a custom omelet station, along with some other classic options. After all, you can only get so creative with breakfast!
A Beach Day…Onboard
With many cruisers heading ashore, the pool deck was pretty quiet for this time of day. So, we were able to score a shaded casita on deck 12. These covered areas are similar to a cabana and are complimentary. We essentially spent the next 6 hours in the same place!
Yes, this is very atypical for us. The only way the Princess was able to stand the heat for this long was because we were shaded.
This is not to say that all we did was sit around for the day. When the waterslides opened at 10:30am, I headed over and was among the first individuals to ride both the Riptide mat slide as well as the Aqua Blaster.
As the morning progressed, we snagged some cocktails from the Lime and Coconut bar. It’s always 5 o’clock on a cruise!
We also had a few rounds of snacks today. At about 1 pm, we entered the queue at El Loco Fresh. This new addition is one of our favorite spots on the ship. With different options like tacos, burritos, nachos, and a custom salsa bar, it is quite addictive.
Later on in the afternoon, we made use of our Unlimited Dining Package and grabbed some burgers and fries from Johnny Rockets Express. All of this food was in the name of the blog, I swear!
In between eating, we were on social media and enjoyed some of the poolside activities. Perhaps the oddest addition was a Disney trivia contest, while being docked right next to a Disney cruise ship!
Is The Third Time a Charm?
After the belly-flop contest ended at 4:30pm, it was time to head back to our room. With all of the outdoor sun and fun, I could not complain.
Two iced lattes were definitely in order first though, so we could energize ourselves for the last night on the ship. Watching the sail away from our balcony, we showered and changed up for our 6:30 pm dinner.
Tonight, we were giving Hooked Seafood another test run. We had tried this restaurant on Symphony of the Seas and remained on the fence about it.
I really wanted to like this venue, as I am a huge seafood fan. Sadly, it just could not quite live up to our New England seafood expectations.
The calamari was disappointing and paled in comparison to Jamie’s rendition. The oysters were slightly better, and wife’s clam chowder meet her approval. The lobster on the Captain’s Platter was no better than you typically get in the main dining room.
Although, our waiter’s suggestion for a custom Whoopie Pie was the highlight of the dinner.
Last Night Onboard
Finishing up by 8:15pm, we took a quick look at the few professional pictures we took during the trip. Even though we both receive a free photo with our Diamond member benefits, we did not end up taking any of the options home with us.
Off to get another cocktail, we slipped into Boleros. With no live music, the venue was empty. So, we only spent about 15 minutes here before heading to adult karaoke at 9 pm.
Taking our drinks up to Deck 14, we arrived just as the activity was getting started. Neither of us had any desire to sing, so we watched a handful of performers.
Approaching 10 pm, we exited stage right to head to the main theater. Tonight’s final headliner performer was Mike Price, a “rock star juggler”. The show was not well attended, but he put on a fairly entertaining performance.
Immediately following was the night’s Royal Promenade party, the 80s Party. Kicking off a little after 11 pm, the cruise director staff performed popular songs from Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Bon Jovi, and more.
Somehow, we were able to again find seats near the pub to watch the performance. Ending around 11:45 pm, we debated going to see the late night comedian. Not packed yet and knowing our alarm would be set for 5 am, we decided against seeing this “adults-only” performance.
So, it was back to the room to prepare for disembarkation.
The next morning, we grabbed some lattes and a quick breakfast before self carrying our luggage off the ship. It’s a good thing we were ready to go on time, as this was by far our worst Royal Caribbean disembarkation ever! It took well over an hour to exit the ship, and with the thunderstorms and rain, it was quite a spectacle.
This small speed bump did not impact our trip though. Our three day Bahamas cruise on Navigator of the Seas was just the weekend getaway we needed. We had so much fun that we have already booked another trip on the ship for the end of the summer!
Have you sailed on the newly amplified Navigator of the Seas? What do you love about the ship? Drop us an anchor below with your cruise review.