I booked this trip as a birthday present for my daughter (turning 8) and as a weekend get away for just her and I (we are surrounded by boys at home!).  With the cruise leaving November 1 and my daughter really not wanting to miss Halloween, we flew in the morning of the cruise, not something I usually do.  We flew American into Ft. Lauderdale then grabbed a Lyft to Port of Miami.  I was amazed at how well everything went.  Our flight left Charlotte at 7:30am and we landed at 9:25am.  We only had carry-ons so no wait for baggage.  We walked out, ordered the Lyft and were on our way in no time.  Traffic was light (unexpected for Miami) and we arrived at Terminal 1 by 10:30am.  I had done expedited arrival so  we walked into the terminal, right past the check in desks, put our bags through security, up the escalator and onto the ship.  Based on my time stamps, we got off the plane in Fort Lauderdale at 9:30am and we were on board the Navigator in Miami with a drink in hand by 10:45am…all in all not bad, but I still would prefer to fly in the night before! 

The terminal was all decked out in anticipation of the Presidents Cruise leaving the next day, but DD loved the balloons anyway! 

The ship is beautiful.  The Amped additions are really fun, and everything looked nice and clean.  The pool deck renovation is great, one of the better pool decks on any ship.  I have sailed the Mariner since its refurb as well, but this pool deck is cooler than theirs!  We had a Promenade View interior on deck 6 and it was perfectly acceptable.  Our cabin steward was wonderful, and the room was spotless.  I had pre-ordered the birthday decorations for the cabin and they were super cute.  I had also ordered a birthday cake for delivery and that was really good too, but so rich we ended up throwing most of it out.

We had the Ultimate Dining Plan and our first night was scheduled for us at Chops.  We were happy with that so we made our second night reservation at Jamie’s Italian and our plan was to wait and make the third night when we decided which one we liked better. 

Chops was awesome.  The food and service were top notch.  I had the Lobster Bisque and the Filet.  My daughter had three orders of carpaccio and chocolate cake…(She LOVES carpaccio!!)  The next night at Jamies, our food was good, I had the arancini and truffle tagliatelle and DD had the garlic bread and a bowl of pasta but the service was a little awkward.  It just felt different, it was a weird vibe.  I had eaten at Jamie’s on the Mariner and it was super fun, so I was hoping for the same, but not this time.

So we decided to try for a night at Chops for our third night…however they were totally booked.  We put our name on the wait list but they never had a spot open up so we had just about decided to head back to Jamies (Hooked was out this trip, DD won’t touch seafood.) when I decided to check the menu in the MDR and lo and behold…Carpaccio!  Well that was all we needed to hear!  We ate in the MDR (DD ordered another three orders of Carpaccio!) and had an amazing fun server!  I realize that having the UDP and eating in the MDR seems like a waste, however, I had purchased it long ago when it was still the old plan for a very reasonable cost, plus I had not paid for DD to have the UDP, I just paid the $10 kids charge at the two specialty restaurants.  In addition, I was able to use the UDP at Johnny Rocket Express one day, even though it was a port day so overall I feel like I got my money’s worth even with the meal in the MDR…Plus I got my escargot! And the girl got her birthday cake!

In Nassau we did not get off the ship.  We had originally scheduled the Cupcake class, but it got cancelled because not enough people signed up.  We spent the day in the pool, playing mini golf, using the water slides, the arcade and the Giant Jenga in PlayMakers.  The only thing DD wanted was to get her hair braided and we decided to do that on Coco Cay after hearing a lice horror story about Nassau.

For Perfect Day at Coco Cay, I had purchased full day water park passes for the two of us way back when I booked this cruise which turned out to be a good idea as the price kept going up and up and eventually sold out.  We headed off the ship as soon as it was cleared, around 8:15am and were climbing the (unbelievable amount of) stairs to Daredevils Peak by 8:30.  Wow! What a ride!  We next climbed the (only slightly fewer) stairs to the Dueling Demons drop slide.  This was really the only one that made us nervous…that floor dropping out and falling straight down thing, you know.  Only one side was working so we didn’t get to duel, but it was fun!  That first second when the floor drops is heart stopping!  We made our way around to all of the other slides on both towers until I cried uncle on stairs!  Then we played around on the obstacle course and rock climbing wall at the Adventure Pool for a while until we decided to wander over to see about the hair braiding.

I have never priced out hair braids in any other port so I don’t have any basis for comparison, but this seemed reasonable to me.  It was $35 for the 5 beaded braids.  My DD loved the finished product and here we are almost two weeks later and they are still in.

After hair braiding, we decided to head to the lagoon at Chill Island to try snorkeling.  I have snorkeled here before, but this would be DD’s first time.  Well, she hated the flippers so she left those at our chair on the beach but she is such a strong swimmer, she did fine anyway and loved every minute of it!  We swam out to the shipwreck and saw the cannons and plenty of fish!  The water was crystal clear and the floating rest areas were not too crowded.  We snorkeled for about an hour then headed back to the beach where DD proceeded to build a sand castle for a while.  It was certainly lunch time by then, and DD wanted to go back to the ship so we headed back on board and up to the pool deck for Johnny Rockets and poolside Aladdin on the big screen. 

We did not go see any of the shows, but DD did discover a love of shopping and “free” charm bracelets! Her only disappointment was the kids club.  It was pretty much empty the whole time, except for much younger kids.  She usually really enjoys meeting new people there and playing with the staff, but not so much this time.  Probably just a product of the type (3-night) and timing (not a school holiday) of this cruise.  She did spend a fair amount of time in the arcade and we had pre-purchased arcade credits.  She doesn’t really play any video games but we came home with at least 50 ducks!

Overall, we both really enjoyed the time together and I thought the Navigator was a great ship.  In fact, I am on her again as a solo in December! 

Posted by:Rachel Harrington

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