Hi guys! I am so excited to share our FIRST TIME experience with cruising and all about Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. We have wanted to take a cruise for some time. It has been at the top of our list and we actually have had to miss out on a couple opportunities of the last couple of years due to scheduling conflicts. We joked that it was never going to happen, but it finally did! You guys sent in tons of questions, so grab a cup of coffee and keep reading to hear about our time with Royal Caribbean.
ALL ABOUT THE CRUISE
Royal Caribbean is the worlds largest cruise line and has been setting the bar with innovation and exceptional service for more than 50 years. It is no surprise after cruising with Royal Caribbean that they have been voted the “BEST Cruise Line Overall” for 15 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards. The ship we sailed on was Navigator of the Seas. Our cruise was 4 nights, with one port at Royal Caribbean’s island CocoCay, a second port at Nassau Bahamas and two days at sea.
I am a BIG planner when it comes to vacations and being a first time cruiser, I was as green as them come. It made me nervous, but at the same time excited to learn everything I could about cruising. The check in experience was absolutely seamless and we were able to get right onto the boat to explore. If you have any questions about planing , reference here for more info. After four nights with Royal Caribbean, I could not be happier with our entire experience.
The Perfect Day at CocoCay
The port we were most excited about was Royal Caribbean’s Island CocoCay. The pictures alone will get your adrenaline pumping and Olivia could not hardly contain her excitement for the water slides. The experience starts at the amazing colorful port and amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean. Upon arriving to the entrance of CocoCay, you are greeted with lively music, and the amazing staff. There are two sides of the island, Chill Island and Thrill Island.
The Thrill side of Coco Cay is where we spent majority of our time because Olivia is quite the little daredevil. CocoCay is home to the tallest waterslide in North America! Royal Caribbean did not miss one single detail when constructing this masterpiece. The thrill side is home to 13 slides from a thrilling slingshot slide, a slide you can race each other on (Olivia’s Fav,) an adrenaline pumping 50ft drop slide and many more. Olivia was not quite the height limit for most of the slides, but that absolutely did not stop her from having fun. From the interactive pirate ship upon arriving, to Splashaway Bay (good luck getting your little ones out of this area! haha,) to the amazing Wave pool and even a lily pad jumping pool, your kids will have the time of their lives on CocoCay. The Thrill side is also home to the Up Up and Away hot air balloon where you can get a birds eye view of the island and also a zip line! No matter what age or size, CocoCay is sure to make you smile and laugh as much as your heart desires.
If you are wanting to grab a book and relax the day away on CocoCay, the chill side is where you will want to go. From the stunning Bahamian beaches, to beautiful Cabanas, you will let all your worries back home float away. A couple things I noticed about the island that is if you are on the Chill Side, it is incredibly peaceful. You would think with all the fun that is on the opposite side of the island, you could be bothered with noise. That is absolutely not the case. The lounge chairs and umbrellas are also complimentary too. You will also find hidden peaceful nooks with hammocks ready to relax in. This side of the island is also home to the largest freshwater pool, the Oasis Lagoon. Wether your are looking to spend time with your family, grab a drink with friends or relax in a lounger, the Oasis Lagoon has a spot for everyone.
The food on CocoCay was absolutely delicious and my favorite from the entire trip. You absolutely can not leave the island without trying a burger at the Snack Shack and the wings at Captain Jacks. Both a must and worth EVERY single bite! There are also two buffet style restaurants and mouth watering soft serve ice cream. I appreciated that there were shaded areas for families to relax and enjoy their meals too.
Royal Caribbean will soon be opening a collection of CocoCay islands which makes me incredibly excited. I want as many people as possible to experience these unique islands with their family, friends and loved ones. It truly was an unforgettable day and one we will talk about for a long long time.
FEES- There are portions of the island that cost additional fees. Please refer HERE for additional information.
Our second port was in Nassau, Bahamas. We spent the day at the Atlantis Resort and Hotel. The Royal Caribbean has numerous excursions you can set up directly with them, see HERE, to make it as easy as possible when you get off the ship. We had never been to the Atlantis and it absolutely did not disappoint. I highly recommend having a plan before you deport the ship.
DAY AT SEA
I could not wait to explore the ship on our last day at sea. You will never find yourself looking for something to do on the ship. The amazing shows, the numerous pools/slides, delicious restaurants, kids center, and more, the ship is a playground for fun to be had. Royal Caribbean knows how to entertain their guests. We went to a show each night on the ship and not only did we enjoy them, Olivia did as well. I loved how the cruise director came out before and after each show too.
FOOD AND DRINKS
I had tons of questions about food and drinks on the ship. We had the My Time dining package as well as two speciality dinners. We made sure to try each dining experience so that we could report back to you all. Upon arriving we had lunch at the Windjammer, which is a laid back, buffet style dining experience available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was impressed with the variety of options. Breakfast was hands down my favorite meal to have here. My Time dining is a 3 course sit down dinner. You make reservations either with Guest Services or the App. This is much more flexible compared to the traditional dining package. Every night they have their classic choices that never change, but in additional 4-6 new choices for you to pick from for each course. Each meal we had here was delicious and there is truly something for everyone. One note, these dinners do take a long time, approx. 1.5-2.5 hours. So be sure to leave enough time for that in your schedule. The speciality dinners were my favorite on the ship. We had dinner at the Sushi restaurant Izumi and at the steakhouse Chops. Both meals were absolutely exceptional. Chops was my favorite meal on the ship hands down an worth every single cent. I highly recommend trying at least one signature dinner while cruising on Royal Caribbean.
There is also a restaurant on the pool deck, where you can build your own tacos, burritos, and nachos. It was perfect for a quick bite while spending the day soaking up the sun. We did not get a chance to experience EVERY restaurant, but there are many more that you can check out here. I appreciated that the prices at these restaurants were not extremely expensive either. So if you are wanting to treat yourself, it will not cost you a pretty penny to do so! Check out all the restaurants on the Navigator of the Seas HERE.
We had the Ultimate Drink package and the selection was very very impressive. My favorite drink of the trip was from the Lime and Coconut and it was called, you guessed it, the lime and the coconut! There is more information about all the drink packages and rule/regulations for them HERE.
While we did not spend much time at all in our room, I do highly recommend a room with a balcony. You probably already guessed that the rooms on a ship are not overly spacious, but I did not feel crowded and loved being able to sit on our balcony. We also slept insanely well! Our spacious ocean view room with balcony, had a private bathroom, shower, closet, vanity, a pullout sofa and two twin beds that converted into a king bed.
Going into the cruise, I was not sure my husband would enjoy it. He LOVES exploring new cities/countries, so I was not certain if he would like an allotted time period to do so. To my surprise, Drew LOVED every single second as did Olivia and I. We are very lucky to travel often to luxurious hotels and destinations. The biggest thing that sticks out to me about cruising is the connivence of everything and how EASY Royal Caribbean made the experience. Which leads me to say that cruising is for certain not only perfect for couples, friends but for families of all ages too. All you need to do is show up, relax and enjoy the memorable and unique experience of what Royal Caribbean has created. We are officially hooked and can’t wait to get onboard another Royal Caribbean ship soon!
WHAT TO PACK
We packed like we typically would for any tropical vacation. There are a couple things to point out about what you can and can’t pack for a cruise like…
You can not bring a steamer, so bring some sort of wrinkle releaser or send your clothes to get steamed like I did.
If you have kids, bring children’s medication as a precaution. This goes for any OTC medication in general.
Bring a sea band if you are prone to motion sickness. I rarely noticed the ship rocking and I am pretty sensitive to it.
Our room had two plug ins, but most travelers bring a power strip if they have more electronics.
SUNSCREEN. Obvious choice, but let me tell you, the Bahamian sun is like none I have experienced. I was diligent with putting on sunscreen on Olivia and she still got some sun. I was glad I packed some Aftersun care too.
LINKS TO EVERYTHING WE WE WORE ON THE SHIP BELOW!