If you have been enjoying cruises for five or more years, odds are a ship you have been on or at least a ship you know of has been renovated. Why do I say five years? Well, every cruise ship must be dry-docked and updated or serviced once every five years due to insurance purposes. So when a ship goes into dry dock cruise lines typically take that opportunity to update public areas, and occasionally staterooms, onboard the ship.
For those of you who know Royal Caribbean, a simple renovation is not something they are going to do. As the third ship to be "amplified," Navigator of the Seas went through one of the most massive transformations in Royal Caribbean history. Lucky for you I had the pleasure of sailing onboard Navigator both before and after her renovation.
Transformation is an understatement, and Navigator has quickly made its way to my second favorite cruise ship (Symphony being number 1 for obvious reasons). From the updated Royal Promenade to the new resort and sports decks, the amplification has brought new life into this 17-year-old beauty.
Let's start from deck three up shall we. The photo gallery has been brought into the digital age with all photos living in virtual folders which can be accessed by screens available to you with the assistance of the photography team. The main dining room which stretches from deck three to five has been giving a modern upholstery update with the same delicious food and phenomenal service.
(Navigator MDR 2017) ( Amplified Navigator MDR 2019)
One of my favorite additions, a fully licensed Starbucks is nestled discreetly on deck four aft, just outside Casino Royale (and yes you can use your Starbucks app to pay).
(Starbucks onboard the Amplified Navigator of the Seas)
On to deck five, the Royal Promenade has gone through some major changes from new venue additions to updates to existing areas.Vintages has been replaced by "The Bamboo Room," Playmakers has taken the place of multiple retail storefronts across from Cafe Promenade which now hosts Ben and Jerry's since "To Dry For" has replaced the Ben and Jerry's storefront.
The most noticeable and significant changes are on deck 11- 13 gone are the days of the crowded pool area and the days of the "Resort Deck" are upon us. Navigator's new resort deck boast an entirely new layout for better flow of guests therefore much better enjoyment and new cabanas spread throughout deck 12. New Venues include the triple story "Lime and Coconut" bar that boast loungers on deck 12 and a small terrace deck on 13. El Loco Fresh is one of the two new poolside eateries which boast Mexican cuisine such as tacos, quesadillas, and nachos complimentary. Johnny Rockets express, also located poolside, is a speciality experience that specializes in classic blended milkshakes, fires, and burgers.
Navigator's new sports deck is the most exciting sports deck I have ever experienced. Of course, the classics have stayed such as the Rock wall, the "Flowrider," and mini golf (located on deck 13 forward). Some new additions include "The Blaster," Royal Caribbean's first ever aqua coaster and "Rip-Tide," the first forward facing water slide at sea! In addition to these new incredible activities find yourself lounging in hammocks throughout the sports deck.
A breakdown of what is no longer on board and what replaced it:
Sabor Modern Mexican is now Hooked Seafood
Vintages Wine Bar is now The Bamboo Room
Ben and Jerry's is now To Dry For (Ben and Jerry's is now located in Cafe Promenade)
Giovanni's Table is now Jamie's Italian
The Metropolis Theater is now the Royal Theater (just a name change)
The Connoisseur Club is now the Diamond Lounge
Johnny Rockets is now the "Living Room."
The Skylight Chapel is now the "Royal Escape Room."
The Blaster Aqua Coaster and Riptide water slide (Deck 13 Aft)
The Lime and the Coconut (Deck 11,12,13 poolside)
Johnny Rockets Express (Deck 11 poolside)
El Loco Fresh (Deck 11 poolside)
Starbucks (Deck 4 Aft)
Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade(Deck 5 Promenade)
Fitness center is now located on deck 12 aft under the sports deck.
New upholstery and design in the Windjammer
New upholstery in the Solarium
"Peek a Boo" bridge is gone
New design from glitzy old Hollywood to a sleek, chic, clean design.
The amplified Navigator of the Seas is absolutely incredible and has opened my eyes to the future of Royal Caribbean and their original industry changing ships. The amplification process is bringing amenities found onboard the largest ships in the world and making them available to all cruises regardless of ship size or itinerary length.