After being refurbished and refitted with new activity, entertainment and dining features, the Navigator of the Seas by Royal Caribbean International is back and sailing in West coast waters. It’s been over a decade since RCI has operated cruises from California.
Now home ported in Los Angeles/San Pedro, the “amplified” Navigator of the Seas made its debut with a short intro cruise attended by travel advisors and travel media from across the U.S. and Canada last week. They spent two days/two nights exploring the ship’s many amenities and attractions, including a selection of premium dining outlets. The ship can house 4,000 guests and has a crew numbering 1,200.
The sailing was a preview of the ship’s year-round season of three-night weekends and four/five-night weekday cruises to Catalina Island, Ensenada and the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas. Those seeking longer vacations can choose from several seven-night sailings that visit beach destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan in Mexico.
This schedule of West coast wanderings by the Navigator of the Seas will run until April 2023.
The ship’s extensive menu of activities is designed to be especially appealing to families seeking short vacation getaways with lots of options for keeping kids busy.
There is a particular emphasis on water features on the Navigator of the Seas, and these include The Blaster, an aqua coaster that sends riders through 250 metres-plus of dips, drops and turns; Riptide, the industry’s only headfirst mat racer waterslide that extends off the side of the ship in a translucent tube; and the FlowRider surf simulator – not to mention a full rock-climbing wall.
Nearby are resort-style pools with features like in-pool loungers and casitas, live music and a three-level poolside bar called The Lime & Coconut.
More distractions await within the Navigator of the Seas. These include The Bamboo Room, RCI’s take on the tiki-chic bar and lounge; Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, with 50 big-screen TVs and classic arcade games alongside bar bites; and To Dry For – the first standalone blow-dry bar at sea, with a menu of services from blowouts to hairstyling.
The whole family will want to take in the iSkate Reach for the Stars ice show, which is presented on the ship’s ice skating rink. And all ages will be intrigued by the Royal Escape Room: The Observatorium. There, teams of families, friends or fellow travellers work together on quizzes and puzzles to find answers that are the key to unlocking the Escape Room, before the clock runs out.
Passengers can’t help but enjoy the selection of dining outlets that are featured on board the Navigator of the Seas, These include Hooked Seafood, serving fresh New England-inspired dishes;
Johnny Rockets Express hamburgers/fast food; Jamie’s Italian, with its rustic Italian recipes by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; the Far East flavors of Izumi Sushi; and the made-to-order steaks at Chops Grille.
RCI protocols to provide protection against Covid-19 include a requirement that all passengers have proof of a double vaccination, as well as documentation describing a recent antigen or PCR swab test, taken with 72 hours. Masks are not required in open-air areas of the ship, in the pool or water activity areas, and in venues for vaccinated guests only, such as select lounges and restaurants. Masks are required while indoors in the ship (not your own cabin), unless seated and eating/drinking.
Masks are mandatory for crew members. RCI also provides PCR or antigen swab tests for passengers returning to countries that require them, including Canada.
With a large contingent of travel advisors on board, RCI staged an executive Q&A session in the Royal Theatre, led by Vicki Freed, senior VP of sales and trade for RCI. She was joined by Keith Murphy, the onboard hotel director, and a small group of company brass to provide answers on more specific enquiries.
They fielded numerous questions on a wide range of topics, and also took the opportunity to describe a commission bonus that is available until the end of the month. From now until Nov. 30, agents earn an instant booking bonus worth up to US$210 per booking. For example, US$50 is paid for booking each 3 to 5 night sailing, US$100 for each 6 to 8 night sailing, etc. The bonus is applied as an advance payment “at deposit” within three weeks.
“We need and value the support of our travel advisors,” said Freed, who confirmed that travel advisors were responsible for earning more for the company than direct consumer bookings.
Sunset on the Pacific off the coast of Mexico on the RCI Navigator of the Seas