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Cruise Ship Review

Seven Seas Navigator - Ship Review provided by Cruise Critic

Dining

As with all of the line's ships, the Navigator features open-seating dining in the Compass Rose, the ship's main dining room. The alternative restaurant, Portofino Grill, is by reservation only (no extra charge). Passengers can typically choose to dine on their own or with other passengers.

Guests can enter the elegant Compass Rose from either end, where they'll find tasteful decoration and muted colors. The food and wine reign in this restaurant, rather than the surroundings. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available here. Complimentary red or white wine is available at dinner, with mid-range bottles a surprising norm (for example, Caymus Conundrum and Pouilly Fuisee on a recent sailing). The international staff is quite knowledgeable about the food and wine they serve, with specific opinions showing they've actually sampled what they're serving.

Almost at the top of the ship and featuring nice views and limited outside seating, Portofino Grill offers a large buffet for breakfast (eggs cooked to order) and lunch (often themed, such as Italian). In the evening, part of the restaurant is converted into an Italian-style steakhouse (with an emphasis on Italian cooking, rather than simply red meat). Complimentary Italian wines are poured with dinner. Reservations are required, but typically easy to arrange at least once during any cruise.

The third dining choice is the Pool Grill on deck 10, which is normally open 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. Here, passengers can enjoy a grilled steak, hamburger or hot dog, as well as a nice array of deli-style sandwiches, salad offerings and side dishes (and perfectly prepared French fries to accompany grill orders).

With appropriate weather and itinerary timing, a festive poolside barbecue fish lunch (typically with four or more fish choices) and casual evening barbecue dinner (with many grilled meats) are a gustatory highlight during a cruise.

Room service is available 24 hours a day and is much more extensive than that found on many other ships. Along with made-to-order eggs for breakfast and a range of intriguing entree items for lunch and dinner, guests may order from ship's restaurant menus for all three meals! Given this, in-suite dining is actually quite popular (including memorable meals out on the balcony).

Traditional tea is served in Galileo's (one of several well-located lounges) in the late afternoon. As a further caffeine fix, complimentary specialty coffees are available throughout the ship anytime of day (as well as soft drinks).

The food is well prepared and presented throughout Navigator, with no particular venue rising above the others during a typical cruise. There's certainly enough variety in both the offerings and the settings.

Public Rooms

As mentioned, public space abounds on the Navigator, with a wide range of spaces and styles spread throughout the ship. It's normally quiet, un-crowded and understated anywhere a passenger decides to relax, with lots of rich woods, furnishings, and decorations providing a definite nautical feel.

The tiered Seven Seas Show Lounge is the main showroom, with nice sightlines throughout, including small balconies. This is the location of Broadway-style production shows, other entertainment, feature films and lectures.

Along with the reception, concierge and tour desks, deck six offers the Navigator Lounge (where there's typically subdued pre-dinner entertainment) and the Connoisseur Club (for those wishing to enjoy a cognac and fine cigar). Across the hall, there's the Card Room and a separate 24-hour Library that offers books, videos and the aforementioned computers for Internet use and more. Glass-enclosed elevators make up a part of the small atrium on this deck.

Galileo's is typically the most popular public space, with an active bar, dance floor, and piano. This is lively both before and after dinner, with special entertainment nightly.

Finally, the Vista Lounge does offer namesake views and a quiet place for reading or one of many informal presentations where larger crowds aren't expected. There's not a formal bar here.

Back down on deck seven, there's a casino with three blackjack tables, a roulette table, a mini-craps table, a Caribbean poker table and 43 slot machines. This deck also features two boutiques and a photo shop.

Cabins

The suites are definitely one of the highlights of the Navigator experience, with passengers probably spending as much time in their accommodations as on any ship afloat.

There are five basic configurations, with a total of 11 categories. All of the suites feature: individual temperature control; European king-size beds (twin bed configuration is possible); huge walk-in closets with more than enough storage space; marble-appointed bathrooms with a full-size bathtub and a separate shower; rosemary- and mint-scented Aveda toiletries; terry cloth bathrobes; hairdryer; vanity unit; TV/VCR (with a large selection of movies and programming, but not interactivity); refrigerator stocked with complimentary soft drinks and water; an in-suite bar setup upon embarkation; complimentary bottle of champagne; personal safe; telephone; a large wall unit with writing desk; and a sitting area with a sofa, two armchairs, and a table (which is perfect for in-suite meals). The balcony offers two sturdy plastic chairs, with blue and white cushions, plus a table (not suited for dining, but it's simple to bring the inside table out on the balcony for this). European stewardesses, along with international stewards, attend to the suites by team effort.

A large majority of the suites are called Balcony Suites, with 301 square ft. of space and an additional 55 square ft. on the balcony. A Window Suite is exactly the same as the Balcony Suite, except there's no balcony.

An appealing separate category, called Penthouse Suite, is the same as the Balcony Suite, but includes the services of a butler. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is a member of the Guild of English Butlers, a company created for the recruitment and training of butlers around the world. The ship's butlers (for categories B and higher) provide everything from the initial in-suite bar setup to afternoon canapes, packing and unpacking, laundry pressing (for a fee) or any special requests.

Navigator Suites are the next category, with 448 square ft. of space and a 47-square ft. balcony. These suites feature a separate bedroom, with large sitting and dining areas taking up a majority of the suite's space.

Next, Grand Suites feature 539 square ft. of space, as well as a huge 200-square ft. balcony and separate bedroom, sitting, and dining space. Finally, the Master Suite features an immense 1,067 square ft. of space and an additional 106-square ft. balcony. Along with the separate bedroom, there's a large amount of space for relaxation or entertainment.

Guests choosing Navigator, Grand, or Master Suites also enjoy the services of a butler.

Entertainment

As would be expected, the entertainment aboard the Navigator is typically subdued. Each evening, there are several opportunities to enjoy live entertainment, including vocals, piano, guitar and more. The ship's orchestra, known as the Navigator Five, also performs in different venues virtually every evening. Along with Broadway-style productions, the Navigator also features headline entertainers on each cruise (a recent Bermuda cruise included an excellent male vocalist from Australia). At least one gentleman host is aboard each cruise, as dancing is popular with many Navigator passengers. A bridge instructor is also aboard every sailing.

Fitness and Recreation

There's a surprisingly spacious gym and fully equipped aerobics and yoga room. The gym features five treadmills, an elliptical machine, three stationary bikes, a seated step machine, a rowing machine, a Hoist weight station, free weights and a full-time fitness instructor who schedules an array of activities every day (walking, stretching, yoga, and more). There's no extra charge for fitness classes.

Deck 10 features a medium-sized saltwater swimming pool flanked by two hot tubs. There's always plenty of space for sunning on this deck, as well as on a deck 11 promenade overlooking the pool. This promenade, linked with deck 12, is also popular with fitness walkers (and even a few joggers); four laps, including some stairs, make a mile.

RSSC recently converted from a Judith Jackson Spa affiliation to Carita of Paris. Though small, the new Carita Spa makes up for its size with excellent treatment services from a mostly Phillipine and French staff. Using proprietary products and techniques, the "Renovateur" treatments are particularly popular. Separate male and female locker rooms each include complimentary steam and sauna. Carita also runs the upscale beauty salon, which is mostly staffed by European stylists.

Family

There are no formal children's activities available during most sailings, but the ship's itineraries mean more and more children seem to be joining their parents on the Navigator (particularly in the summer and during holiday periods). This has led to the addition of Club Mariner children's programs from June through August, as well as during holiday periods. There's a lively series of age-graded events for kids 6 to 11, and 12 to 17. A children's menu is served in the Compass Rose during these times as well. In-suite babysitting services ($25 an hour) are offered upon request and availability of staff.

Fellow Passengers

Typical Navigator passengers appear to be 40+, affluent and quite well traveled. There are many veteran RSSC cruisers aboard most sailings, and they can often be heard comparing notes on previous experiences with the line (as well as sailings with other upscale lines like Crystal).

Dress Code

A week's cruise typically features one formal night, with the other nights either informal (jackets, with no tie required) or country club casual. Complimentary self-service launderettes are available on four decks.

Gratuity

The Navigator has a no-tipping policy. All gratuities are included in the cruise fare.

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