5/15/14

Cruising with @RoyalCaribbean on #NavigatoroftheSeas #Travel

Disclosure: I attended a complimentary one-night cruise in exchange for my honest review.
This event is a MomDotMedia opportunity.
cruise-travel
I was so excited to be invited by Royal Caribbean for a day-trip cruise on Navigator of the Seas. My husband however was not very thrilled. In fact, he swore he'd never go on a cruise. The thought of being in the middle of the ocean with no escape from a possible tragic accident just did not sit well with him. But when I informed him that we were going on this trip, he relented, mostly just to appease me.
We drove the 3-1/2 hours from Austin to Galveston, Texas, early Saturday morning, then climbed into the shuttle from the parking lot. You could even see the trepidation in his face as he hung on for dear life in the parking shuttle. He wondered aloud how something so big would even float. I just grinned. I knew he was going to have a wonderful time. Side note: make sure your luggage has wheels, because it's quite a walk to get from the port door to your ship room.
cruise-travel
Upon arriving at the port, we went through security and checked in to get our Sea Pass. A Sea Pass is linked to your credit card, so you really only need cash handy for tips and the casino. Your Sea Pass is your room key, your on-board charge account for nearly everything, and it's Royal Caribbean's way of keeping track of who gets off and on the ship at different ports. Since this was just an overnight trip, we only floated out into the Gulf and then back, but it was a party all the way!
cruise-travel
Since I've once cruised before, on the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, I was excited to find that the ships are laid out very similarly (however, the entertainment shows are different). Our room was a private balcony room, with a king-size bed, couch, desk, television, closets, and bathroom with a shower. Ours had a royal blue theme, which I thought was very appropriate for a Royal Caribbean cruise, especially since the balcony curtains had a wave-like design.
cruise-travel
The king-size bed is designed so that guests can have the bed separated into two twin beds if they prefer. One of the things I love most about having a private balcony is being able to leave the sliding glass door open a bit during the night, so the sounds of the waves can lull me to sleep. I sleep very soundly on a ship and love the light rocking of the water.
cruise-travel
Once we'd settled into our room, we set out to explore some of the decks on Navigator of the Seas. Royal Caribbean has recently added lots of new features to this ship and it's simply gorgeous! The Promenade Deck is where we found all the shops and some of the restaurants. I love all the glamorous decor and the beautiful art everywhere. The windows that overlook this area are those of the inner rooms (those without a water view).
cruise-travel
Just before setting sail, the gangway to the ship is closed and everyone on board reports to their muster station for a drill. At that time, security features of the ship are discussed, evacuation procedures are explained and we got a close-up look at the giant boats that would take us to safety in the event of an unlikely emergency. I think this is where my husband finally relaxed, knowing what to do "just in case."
cruise-travel
As we pulled out of the port at Galveston, we headed up to the pool decks to wave goodbye to the poor landlubbers who didn't get to come along. Even the seagulls and the pelicans flew alongside Navigator of the Seas to wish us a "bon voyage!" It's a good idea to always have a camera handy to capture the moments you don't want to forget.
cruise-travel
There are plenty of places for food and refreshment all over the ship. We stopped at the Sky Bar near the pools to get some "foo-foo" drinks, which I think should be a requirement of cruising. I have also decided that calories do not count when one is on vacation.



cruise-travel
Once relaxed and with drink in hand, my husband finally admitted that cruising might be fun. Doesn't he look much happier in this photo? He said that being on Navigator of the Seas was like being in Vegas, except that everything is included - food, beverages, shows of many kinds, a casino, pools and hot-tubs, and much more. Plus, once you're on board, you don't have to drive anywhere to enjoy it all.
cruise-travel
The other huge benefit of going on a cruise vacation is that there are no flies and no mosquitoes to worry about. My husband make a joke that their wings get too tired flying out that far. On the two cruises I've been on, there has always been a wonderful breeze. Oh, and don't forget your sunglasses and sunscreen!
cruise-travel
Navigator of the Seas has so much to offer its guests. Our overnight sailing was just enough of a taste of all the fun, that my husband changed his mind about "never wanting to go on a cruise." As we walked around, he was already talking about going on another one. He also really enjoyed the Windjammer Cafe and the many, many, many delicious foods available.
cruise-travel
We found a Caribbean-style band playing on the pool deck and watched some of the already-tipsy guests dancing around in bare feet. People-watching on a cruise is awesome! Children are always welcome on board and there are a lot activities designed just for kids and teens, and even a childcare center for parents of little ones who desperately need a break.
cruise-travel
Towels are always provided both in the room and on the pool deck, so don't bother packing any. There are lots of Royal Caribbean employees available to take care of your every need. All you need to do is sit back and bask in the joy of total relaxation.
cruise-travel
My husband and I opted for the quieter, adults-only Solarium for our swimming time and hot-tubbing time. Their pools were all sparkling clean and the crew made sure to keep the decks clean of trash. There are even recycling bins everywhere because Royal Caribbean strives to be environmentally friendly.
cruise-travel
Although we didn't get an chance to try out the Flowrider on this trip, we did sit and watch a few people wipe out trying to surf and even a few who were very good at it. The Flowrider was recently added to the Navigator of the Seas and it's a very popular spot on the pool deck. There is also a rock-climbing wall, a mini golf course, and a sports court.
cruise-travel
Then we discovered the arcade and my husband immediately gravitated to the game where he could shoot at bad guys. The arcade is filled with a wide variety of games, including an air hockey table. The sounds of laughter and fun filled the room, as children and adults unplugged from their daily lives of school and work.
cruise-travel
Having had our fill of noise for a while, we set off to find some quieter spots on the ship. We came upon the library, which is filled with an assortment of books, including those generously donated by guests who chose to leave their reading materials for the library after finishing them while on a cruise.
cruise-travel
On the far wall of the library, there was a large bookshelf filled with family games. I love how Royal Caribbean tries hard to create opportunities for families to bond and connect while on vacation. Most of us live such busy lives that we often forget that just being together can be very memorable.
cruise-travel
As we descended from the upper decks, we found the casino. Although gambling money is not included in the price of your cruise, it may very well be the only time you end up spending money. However, cruises that stop at other ports (and other countries) also offer the opportunity to get off the ship and take an excursion. The last time I cruised, I decided it was well worth the $89 for the chance to have a dolphin encounter and be kissed by a dolphin in Cozumel.
cruise-travel
There are many places to sit and relax. If you need to check in on your work or social media while on your cruise, Royal Caribbean even offers wifi while you're on board. Wouldn't it be nice to always work while sitting in the sun with your feet propped up and an exotic cocktail in hand?
cruise-travel
As the afternoon turned into the evening, we headed back to our room to sit on our private balcony for a little while so we could enjoy the scenery. Although there was music on the upper decks, we could hear nothing but the waves. It is a very serene experience!
cruise-travel
After seeing the ice show "Ice Dancin' Spectacular," filled with a wonderfully talented cast that delighted and entertained us, we headed to dinner in the main dining room. We started with warm buttered rolls and delicious cold wine, while we waited to be served our filet mignon and lobster tails. Although licking plates is not encouraged, I can say every single bite was absolutely heavenly.
cruise-travel
No fine dinner would be complete without an indulgent dessert, and the chefs on the Navigator of the Seas don't disappoint. Cheesecake with strawberries, garnished with chocolate? Yes please! The service was impeccable and we ate so much that we had to drag each other out of the dining room.
cruise-travel
Our after-dinner walk led us to the Promenade Deck, where we discovered the "70s Disco Inferno Dance Party." The cast was dressed very much like the Village People and it was no surprise when the sounds of the song "YMCA" rang out. Everyone, of course, joined in with the dancing!
cruise-travel
The pool deck was not to be outdone, as they hosted a late night DJ-hosted dance party where everyone was requested to wear white. Someone on board had even brought white cowboy hats to pass around. There is no shortage of things to see and do on Navigator of the Seas!
cruise-travel
As we retired to our room for the night, after a short time in the Solarium hot tub, we propped open our balcony door to hear the song of the ocean. Within minutes we were both asleep, to be awakened the next morning by the sound of the gangway reaching out from the port for guests to disembark. We filled ourselves with breakfast from the buffet and sadly said goodbye to the ship. As we left the ship, the crew handed a beautiful yellow rose to all the ladies in honor of Mother's Day. We will be back on Royal Caribbean very soon, I hope!
cruise-travel
Ready to plan the perfect vacation?
Visit Royal Caribbean at



StumbleUpon

13 comments:

  1. I haven't been on a cruise ship.Your description of it makes me want to go,Thank You!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks so much fun but that is a quick turnaround for the passengers and crew. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christy - This was a special event designed for press only.

      Delete
  3. Wow, that's a beautiful ship! I feel much like your husband, worried about being stranded, but I could deal with a one-night trip. I wish they did this for general public.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have been on one cruise years ago. This one looks amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I used to have nightmares as a child about being taken under by a gigantic wave while in a ship--still do sometimes-so if the ship or boat goes too far from shore-I am not on it! Ideally if I can swim to shore I'm fine! I am a very good swimmer! Friends have tried to get me to go on a cruise--NOPE-I also happen to describe ships being like a matchstick in the middle of nowhere. I think I'll leave the cruising to those who love it! I am glad you both had a great time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet a 3 day cruise would totally change your mind!

      Delete
  6. I have ever been on a cruise, I dont think I could talk my husband into it, he doe not swim and is afraid of open water. But your trip looks like you had so much fun, your photos are great, they how so much detail!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Glad your husband finally relaxed so he could have some fun. I so want to go on a cruise! There's so much to do on board!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay we all know that in the end he had a blast. I don't know if I could travel on the sea though. I would probably get sick. Looks like it was a beautiful time. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought I might be seasick, so I took along some motion-sickness medication, but most of the time, I didn't even feel the boat moving.

      Delete
  9. My husband and I went on a cruise a few years ago and I fell in love with cruising! We keep saying our next one will be Royal Caribbean.. seems to be steps above the rest! Looks like you guys had a great time even though it was just an overnight trip. Glad your husband changed his mind!

    ReplyDelete

Your comments bring more sponsors to Planet Weidknecht, which brings more great information and giveaways to the blog. I appreciate your comments and read every single one. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!