Ship Reviews

Refit review: Navigator of the Seas

Navigator of the Seas is being sent to drydock in January next year for a massive refit and refurbishment project that is part of a greater initiative by the cruise line to upgrade its older tonnage at a cost of US $1-billion.

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The 140,000-gross ton, 3,800-passenger ship, once the largest in the Royal Caribbean fleet, but now struggling to compete in the modern cruise market after 16 years of service, will be overhauled and receive US $115-million worth of upgrades and new attractions.

At 16-years-old, Navigator of the Seas is midway through her cruise career, but has become outdated compared to Royal Caribbean’s newer cruise ships, this refit and refurbishment will see her technical areas overhauled, and all her passenger spaces updated to remain on-par with new launches like Symphony of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas.

Below is a complete rundown of all the changes being made to Navigator of the Seas.

The pool deck:

New waterslides – The Perfect Storm duo of waterslides, which first debuted aboard the Oasis-class, will be introduced aboard Navigator of the Seas. Royal Caribbean’s first-ever aqua coaster The Blaster and the longest waterslide at sea will also be introduced.

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On its counterpart, Riptide, guests will plunge down the industry’s only headfirst mat racer and finish through a translucent tube with endless ocean views. Signature Royal Caribbean features like the FlowRider surf simulator and rock-climbing wall will round out these new additions.

Caribbean poolscape – Navigator of the Seas won’t just get a new pool area, she’ll get a poolscape, the design of which will be inspired by region in which she is intended to sail year-round for the next 24 months at least.

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The standout resort-style deck takes on a new look with more pools for everyone – even a Splash Pad for childrens. New to the deck will be two-level signature pool bar The Lime and Coconut. It will serve drinks throughout the day, but will be especially popular for its sunset cocktails as pool days transform into pool nights with extended hours, live music and a “rooftop” deck for a bird’s-eye view.

‘Grab and go’ pub food will also be served up here. Guests can choose from tasty Mexican street fare at El Loco Fresh and American classics at the first Johnny Rockets Express.

Dining and nightlife:

Navigator of the Seas’ Royal Promenade (a signature of the cruise line that actually debuted with Navigator of the Seas and her sisters in the Voyager-class) will be reimagined with new restaurants, retail and nightlife.

To Dry For – the first standalone blow dry bar at sea. Offering blowouts, hairstyling and polish changes, plus a selection of wines and champagnes, the new space is the perfect stop for a quick beauty fix before a night out.

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The Bamboo Room – first introduced on Mariner of the Seas, the Bamboo Room is the cruise line’s Polynesian-themed watering hole with kitschy-cool cocktails and unique tiki-chic décor.

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – for passengers looking to catch the big game or host game night. It features 50 big-screen TVs, tabletop games, tournaments, trivia, a new Owner’s Box VIP room, and a menu of classic bar fare with a twist alongside ice-cold brews.

A selection of new restaurants will be introduced as well, joining a refreshed Chops Grille. These include:

Jamie’s Italian to get a taste of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s rustic Italian dishes made with seasonal ingredients and homemade pastas crafted in-house daily.

Hooked Seafood for foodies angling for fresh seafood and ocean views in a casual setting with New England-inspired dishes, from lobster and crab claws to local fish and just-shucked oysters.

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Also new on board for the millennial market will be Starbucks, with an extensive menu of drinks and pastries.

Family fun:

A cruise ship the size of Navigator of the Seas is designed with multigenerational passenger groups as its core market, and on its short getaway Caribbean cruises from May next year families will certainly be in the majority. So its no surprise that parents and children for have been carefully catered for in the refurbishment of the ship.

Beyond the action-packed top decks are more Royal Caribbean hits, including glow-in-the-dark laser tag with Battle for Planet Z in Studio B, mini-golf and the Royal Escape Room: The Observatorium, where family, friends and foes team up to solve new mind-bending puzzles before time runs out.

Younger kids will enjoy Royal Caribbean’s new take on the Adventure Ocean youth program in a newly designed open, free play space. With trained staff and the cruise line’s award-winning programming, the modern concept will let imaginations roam free with activities organized by interests at every corner.

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The teen areas will also sport updates with a redesigned Living Room, the teen-only laidback hangout, as well as a new “hidden” entrance and outdoor deck.

When Navigator arrives back in Miami after her modernisation, she will cruise a series of 5- and 9-night Caribbean itineraries.

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Navigator of the Seas (Image courtesy 2Cruise.com)

The refurbished ship will then offer cruise passengers 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday sailings to The Bahamas starting May 2019, becoming the first to visit Perfect Day at CocoCay – the debut destination in Royal Caribbean’s recently announced private island collection.

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Perfect Day at Coco Cay is a new destination in Royal Caribbean’s private island collection.

CocoCay has itself received a US $200-million makeover, enhancing the ultimate family destination to include a Thrill Waterpark with 13 slides, like Daredevil’s Peak – the tallest waterslide in North America; Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool; Up, Up and Away, the helium balloon that floats up to 450 feet in the air for the highest vantage point in The Bahamas; Chill Island for some R&R on the beach; and the action-packed South Beach with sports, paddle-boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and more.

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