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Live Navigator Review 3/2-3/6: Vegetarian, gluten free, disabilty inclusive

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I am traveling on April with a friend whose daughter is a celiac - this is so helpful!  Do you have any pointers for Mom?  This will be her first cruise and she is quite nervous - her daughter also has an intellectual disability and Autism, so self advocacy is a challenge.


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1 hour ago, DesireeC03 said:

I am traveling on April with a friend whose daughter is a celiac - this is so helpful!  Do you have any pointers for Mom?  This will be her first cruise and she is quite nervous - her daughter also has an intellectual disability and Autism, so self advocacy is a challenge.


Make sure they fill out the special needs form in request, and tell everyone in the dining room she has a food allergy and to put it in her account. Talk to their Head Waiter and if that person isn’t supportive, ask to talk to the MDR manager. Some items are already labeled GF so if she isn’t a vegetarian too, she will have a LOT more options. Having an idea of what she might want to eat is really helpful too. Lastly, the first night is always rough. It gets better from there!

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Last night, we ended up doing Charlie’s Angels on the pool deck; I love watching movies up there snuggled under a towel and they have some nice seating options now. Plus the movie was actually much better than expected. Tried to hit EJ for a late night snack, but they only had burger type things and nothing GF/veg, so hit up Cade Promanade for some various mezze style salads and GF sugar free pineapple cake before turning in.


This morning, I did free continental room service on my balcony. So relaxing! I love this, and will miss it since my next two cruises aren’t balconies.


We grabbed coffee/tea drinks, water bottles, GF prepackaged udis chocolate chip cookies and a GF sugar free Boston cream pie cake at Cafe Promanade before disembarking. Weather is lovely today, and wow Coco Cay looks different than two years ago. We headed to Chill Island where there were tons and tons of free chairs (it helps that the only other ship here is the Grandeur). Headed into the water which was cold but lovely, and even saw some fish without needing to snorkel!


Lunch was...not great. Our HW put in an order for me for a mushroom burger with a GF bun. He offered a veggie burger, which I doubled checked was GF and he said he was “1000% sure.” Well, thank goodness for people checking boxes, because neither the veggie burger nor the mushroom marinade were GF. They offered me cold dry corn tortillas with guacamole, shredded romaine, and salsa. Sadder even than last night. However, they also informed me they have a dedicated fryer on the island, so I choked down a dry lettuce taco, and then opted for some fries and papaya. I am so unclear how I am having an easier time in WJ and even Cafe Promanade than I am using the MDR staff, but so it goes. I also completely do not trust my HW now, which is not a great position to be in, but I do now totally trust the kitchen team. 

We plan to chill a bit on chill island before heading back to the ship.






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Thanks for the roving review CLfemme. The navigator is our favorite ship. We are from Toledo and departed from terminal A the day before you on Oasis. Looking forward to your insights. 
Go Buckeyes!!

ps... my wife just smacked me for that. ( She’s a Wolverines fan)

Edited by CraigG
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1 hour ago, heathermiller86nj said:

Thanks for the review.  How is the spring break crowd on the ship?  Are there a lot of them?  Also, is there anything noticeable being done to keep everyone healthy at boarding or on the ship?

there are definitely a fair amount of them, and the bars in the afternoon and evening yesterday were wild with them, as well as some drunken around the pool yelling while we watched the movie. I have never seen so much strutting and peacocking and sunglasses inside in my life, and I work at a university! That being said, this ship feels pretty open and relaxed, plenty of chairs by the solarium pool (am currently in a day bed), and I think most of them went to South Beach at Coco Cay rather than Chill Island beach. Not as bad as I had suspected given that there was the whole college break reception in the Star Lounge.


As far as safety, lots and lots more sinkS and sanitizer than usual and they seem to be keeping up better with soap and paper towels than some trips in the past. They did ask us when boarding about other counties we had visited but didn’t even have us sign anything regarding that or our previous health (though that may have been related to the wheelchair line). I don’t feel any less safe (as an immunocompromised person) than I have on any other cruise, those some people are still being jerks and refusing to wash their hands in the dining area. Cue major eyeroll.

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After some time by the pool, we went back to the room. I took a shower and read while MrCatLady got some work done in the balcony. Then we got fancied up and headed to dinner; they are now calling it “wear your best” instead of formal, but we dressed up a bit because we like it. However, no lobster surprisingly, and there were college students in the dining room in tshirts and cut offs.


Dinner felt a little off again. I didn’t get sick, and they did have GF bread and my ordered cheese plate, but our whole table only had 2 pats of butter, we didn’t get drink refills (or even offered), our dessert tea and coffee took forever; I think the poor staff was exhausted from working all day at CocoCay too. My vegan tortilla soup was ok; it just came without tortilla strip, so was a bit single noted. My tofu tacos were nowhere near as good as the ones on Allure; it was basically the same dish I had last night except stale taco shells instead of rice, and a side of chili sauce. I was very underwhelmed. MrCatLady like his Greek salad and shrimp cocktail, and felt the roasted chicken breast was so so. Dessert for me was a long time coming and I couldn’t figure out why; I had just ordered creme brûlée off the menu. Turns out they made me a vegan creme brûlée! It was quite interesting and a bit too rich, but tasty overall. MrCatLady had the donuts, which he liked but said needed more chocolate sauce.


We then took some pictures (the poor photographer didn’t know what to do with us since we are more silly than serious) and enjoyed some of the jazz/funk band playing before heading to the theater for Ballroom Fever. I was excited as I used to dance ballroom. Most of the accessible seats were packed, but the bottom level of the theater was about half empty. The cruise director made some very tired and somewhat offensive jokes before the show started, and it didn’t get better. Two of the four singers weren’t great at all and they could not all harmonize well, the two women didn’t have near enough mic power (or belting power; not sure why the issue was) and we couldn’t hear them, the dancing was ok but nothing thrilling, the doors to the theater were open and you could hear loud music from outside fighting with the performance, and even when the dancing was pretty on, few people other than myself clapped. It was actually a relief to be out of there.


We enjoyed a bit more of the jazz band and headed back up, and I hung out on the balcony for a bit while trying to read both Super Tuesday results and Coronavirus updates. Internet was great yesterday and in Coco Cay, but has been dropping me all evening, which is annoying as we have surf + stream packages. MrCatLady went down to get a drink and some more GF Boston creme cake, and I think we are going to call it a night. Tired from all the sun and swimming!













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1 hour ago, suesnake2002 said:

Lobster is on the second formal night. 


Navigator only operates 3 & 4 night cruises out of Miami. No second formal night.

As a matter of fact they have no formal night just dress to impress on the second night.

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5 hours ago, cloud_nine said:

Oh dear, I do hope that the food picks up for you. Who's the CD right now? Also loving those glasses!

Me too! Going to WJ for lunch today and hoping they have more of those tasty rolls!


I think his name was Marcelo or Marulo?

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Day 3! Was going to skip breakfast, but was awoken for staff drills by the ships blast, so scurried up to WJ right before they closed Confusingly enough, they had the GF sign up on a different place, and the food there was NOT GF. Always always double check folks!


Luckily, John helped me out and I had some garlic fried rice (pretty dried out), some roasted potatoes with peppers (fine) and some very tasty Indian breakfast dish, I believe called Umta, along with some OJ. John introduced me to the ship’s baker, who I complimented on all his breads and rolls. That made me so happy!


Then MrCatLady and I disembarked to check out Nassau. We have stopped her before but heard it was all too touristy so usually stayed on the boat. Folks were right; it is a loooooong walk to the actual area, and lots and lots of people trying to get you to buy stuff. He actually got waylaid by several people trying to “give” him friendship bracelets...then in return for a donation. Basically, we found a place I could get a fresh coconut to drink (this is my favorite cruise experience always that we started years ago in Belize), I bought a few wooden earrings I loved, a gift or two for my other partner, and then we headed back to the ship. He was super overwhelmed and I was overheating and hurting. Not so much fun. 

Then after sitting with an ice pack on the room (thanks to our steward Prince who has kept us well iced!), we did lunch at WJ where I enjoyed GF pumpkin seed rolls (!!!) and salad. We also really loved that the two women (one was our assistant server) at the front of WJ we’re doing a whole hand washing song and dance to The Wobble. I hav a video, but of course CC won’t let me post it, alas.

I took a few extra rolls to the Solarium and grabbed a shaded day bed and virgin pina colada to read with, whole MrCatLady hung out on the sun. Two books down; hoping I can get through another two before we get home!






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So it appears I got glutened last night, first time ever on Royal. I suppose it had to happen sometime.


Dinner started ok; our assistant waiter had brought me some of the pumpkin seed rolls from WJ, and my cheese plate was there as well. MrCatLady started with the calamari, which he said was the single bet thing he had eaten since boarding the Navigator. Then I got a cold soup (maybe watermelon? It had no flavor) and he got the iceberg wedge salad, which was mediocre. Then his cod showed up (solid) and my ordered pasta Alfredo with mushrooms. Which was huge and ...odd. I wonder if the chef thinks I am vegan despite the cheese plate. It was either very bad Alfredo or a very interesting vegan Alfredo. Either way, a few bites in and I began to feel poorly, so excused myself. MrCatLady told them I had a phone call to take, and they sent him back to the room with my covered pasta and desert. Niji called later to take my dinner order for night 4. Within another half hour, it was clear it was glutening, so I tucked myself into bed with a heating pad (so glad I had gotten the extension cord) and meds and peppermint tea while MrCatLady went to the Argentinan variety show, which is said was much better than Ballroom Fever, although there were some racist feeling Indian impressions included.


Turned in early and ordered room service toast for the AM. Usually my stomach feels better in about 12 hours, with cog fog and muscle/nerve pin and inflammation following for 2-3 days.








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Today started nice and chill. Stomach was feeling better, so had toast on the balcony and read in the room for a bit. Ventured to the MDR for lunch. I was nervous, as I hadn’t preordered, but everyone was SO nice and welcoming! There were two prelabled GF vegetarian app items (strawberry bisque and a spinach salad) on the menu, but on a hopeful note, I asked my waiter Roy if there was any chance on getting a GF truffled leek grilled cheese and by golly did he come through, including with GF fries (apparently, Johnny Rockets has a GF fryer!). Best meal all week, so major show out to Roy for making one of my last MDR experiences so delightful!


Following this, grabbed an iced chair latte, browsed the sales on the Promenade, and headed up to meet MrCatLady in the Solarium where he had snagged a day bed after his morning in the sun. He grabbed a nosh from El Loco Fresh, and we both got virgin Coco Locos, and I then got a Virgin mojito. I finished another book (Cat Among the Pigeons for those following along), thought about taking a dip until I saw all the college crew in the pool, and came back to the room to change my phone and grab another book. Prince had left departure stuff on the bed; accessible dembarkation and wheelchairs meet in Boleros between 7:30 and 8:30 tomorrow morning. Sent MrCatLady to break some 20s for more tips, and am debating a dinner outfit for tonight.




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I’ve never cruised during spring break, first time will be in two weeks and I noticed your post about pool being packed. Is it like that every day? How about the solarium? You poor thing, seems like meals for you are definitely a struggle even though the staff is extremely accommodating.

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4 hours ago, Ukigirl said:

I’ve never cruised during spring break, first time will be in two weeks and I noticed your post about pool being packed. Is it like that every day? How about the solarium? You poor thing, seems like meals for you are definitely a struggle even though the staff is extremely accommodating.

The days we were in port and came back early to hang by the pool, there was plenty of room. It was only yesterday at sea that we had issues.


we often cruise during spring break, and had somewhat less issues with crowding on the Brilliance and Enchantment. And last summer, we did the Allure (not over spring break, obvs) and the Solarium was a packed mess the whole time, so I don’t know if you can plan ahead.

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3 hours ago, cloud_nine said:

Oh that sucks you got glutened! Did you mention it to your Head Waiter? They really should be more on the ball with things like this. 

I opted not to. I am not sure what item it was and tend to be conflict avoidant. I didn’t get sick last night, so just left it as is. We debated saying something and decided not to since it was only one more night. 

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Last night, the MDR finally redeemed themselves. I ordered nothing special; just the beet salad from the menu, the paneer tikka masala and raita (From the Indian menu), and sorbet (which turned out to be rainbow sherbet), all of which were delicious. MrCatLady got the coconut shrimp (very solid), a Caesar salad, the prime rib (he was hoping for redemption from the bad cut the first night), and the bread pudding. He said the prime rib was so much better and the bread pudding was his favorite thing he ate. So full points! We gave some extra tips to folks and said good bye, and I dropped a tip off for the head baker as well; I was so impressed! Then we headed to Showgirl.


It was by far better than Ballroom Fever, though kind of weirdly pieced together. The singers alternated between awkward songs and bad harmonizing, and then totally killing it on some pieces. I wonder if they are new to singing together? Dancing, costumes, and sets were very fun. Audience was totally dead; we were often some of the only folks clapping and cheering. I think the biggest issues was lack of energy from the audience which definitely impacts the performance.


We moseyed back to our room, and stopped for about 45 minutes to listen to the Dukes, a jazz/funk/little of everything band in the Promenade. They were really quite good; highly recommend! Then time to pack up and get our suitcases in the hall. This is the shortest cruise I have ever been on; it feels way too fast and I don’t know if I would do 4 nights again.


this morning, we got up and hit a very busy WJ for breakfast (With a crew member playing washy washy themed covers on his guitar!) before heading to Boleros to grab a wheelchair At 8:30. We were barely there two minutes before they had one for us. We were off the ship, with luggage and to customs in less than 20 minutes, though MrCatLady got pulled aside for more screening as the camera didn’t recognize him (less hair, more beard, and almost a decade of testosterone since he got his passport). Then we waited about 15 min in the taxi line and go to the airport.


Crew were wiping down the whole ship as we left, and the airport is being extra cleaned too. My poor hands are so dry that my finger print doesn’t even work to open my phone anymore! I need to lotion up when I get home.


Overall, I loved the Navigator as a ship; really nicely done with the revamp, a good Souza, and both WJ and the Cafe Promanade were great with food stuff. Jury is out with the MDR; I think ai might have done better with a different HW. Definitely not my best dining experience. I loved Coco Cay and hated Nassau. Also didn’t love having so many drunken college students aboard. I think I prefer 5+ night cruises as well, as there is more of a chance to really settle in.


Alas, back to the 30 degree weather in Michigan!











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Thank you so much for your review!!


love that last photo of you and MrCL!  You both look like you were in the relaxed vacation zone!  And that print/dress cut looks great on you! 

Also - thanks for the feedback on the shows!  With only 4 nights - I also feel like something has to give and I think thats what it’s going to be.   We will prioritize the ice show but that’s it! 

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