As ever, passengers aboard Navigator of The Seas have the choice of leaving at a set time, with their luggage collected the night before, or walking off, carrying their own bags which, on a short cruise, is easily done.
We found ourselves through immigration and getting into a taxi ten minutes after leaving our cabin. We were slightly concerned about finding a taxi as there were two other ships docking at the same time as us, but it didn’t seem to be a problem.
The overwhelming majority of passengers on Navigator of The Seas were travelling in family groups - large multi-generational family groups were particularly noticeable. There was also a smattering of hen parties, but that’s to be expected on shorter sailings.
As usual, everybody we met was very friendly, but this isn’t a ship we’d suggest for people who’re looking to meet new friends.
There is a wealth of activities on Navigator of The Seas for kids, far less effort has been spent on their parents.
Rock climbing walls, crazy golf, flowrider surf simulators, ice skating… Kids are kept busy. Yes, arguably, all of these facilities are, arguably, open to adults, but on this sailing they would certainly feel out of place - these areas were, essentially, a well equipped nursery.
So, what is left for adults? Trivia quizzes, scavenger hunts and shuffleboard tournaments. Tha’ts about it, unless you want to be sold to, in which case there are the inevitable Park West art auctions, pre-owned Rolex sales and endless “information” events from the spa, gym and jewellery shop.
Our advice - buy the drinks package, you’ll need it to power through the tedium, particularly if the weather confines you to the indoors.
As we try to do on every ship, to ease comparison, we sampled a deep tissue massage which, in itself, was excellent.
The rest of the spa experience was less appealing, mainly because the hard-sell is relentless and completely tone deaf.
In the waiting room, somebody was pushing acupuncture hard. Straight away, we explained that we live in mortal terror of needles, but still, the sales pitch continued. The very notion of acupuncture on a moving ship just screams potential catastrophe - we could crest a sudden wave and have a kidney speared as the therapist lost her footing.
Once safely away from the terrifying needle lady, the massage began with an immediate upsell to include hot stones ($20). The post-massage product sell verged on physical assault.
The spa suite also seems to be directly the kids area, so the “relaxation” time is filled with the sound of running.
Navigator of The Seas offer multiple drinking venues - in addition to the cocktail lounges and pool bars found on every cruise ship, there’s also a pub and a wine bar. Our favourite venue was, however, the retro Schooner Bar - the signature cocktail lounge found on all Royal Caribbean ships.
In all bars, the service was good and any cocktails we ordered were well made. There are masses of children waiting at may bars to have their “bottomless soda” cups refilled - there has to be a better way of handling this.
We’ve touched before on the notion that the “free drinks” package on cruise ships merely creates a pricing floor, particularly for wine. The wines available within Royal Caribbean’s drinks package isn’t great. However, some decent glasses are available for a small supplement (e.g., $3 for Whispering Angel rose).