Category Archives: Caribbean Cruises

Technology – It’s a Thing!

by Don McCann

Last week we received a preview video of Holland America Line’s new Koningsdam, which will be introduced next Spring. The ship is, as you might expect, quite impressive and I’m sure it will be a wonderful addition to the Holland America fleet. However, equally as impressive to me is the technology of the video itself! We see many of this type of ‘preview’ videos these days, but I continue to be amazed at the ability of the digital ‘renderings’ to come to life in such a way that it’s difficult to remember that this is not ‘real’ just yet!

Take a look at this short 3minute video and see if you agree that this visual technology is quite a ‘thing’! ……

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Filed under Caribbean Cruises, Cruise News, Cruise Ship Dining, Holland America Line, Mediterranean & Europe Cruises, Mediterranean Cruises, New Ship

Navigator of the Seas: Revitalized!

by Don McCann

When a ship goes into dry dock for some updating, or refreshing, we call it “refurbished“, but when a redo is this dramatic, we have to say the ship was “revitalized“!  Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas had an extended dry dock earlier this year.  Much more than the usual new carpets and perhaps new bed covers, this operation included such features as:

  • New Panoramic Oceanview cabins added up on Deck 12
  • The addition of a new Modern Mexican Specialty Restaurant, Sabor
  • Asian Specialty Restaurant, Izumi
  • A Flowrider surf simulator added to Sports Deck
  • Select interior cabins converted to “Virtual Balcony” cabins via a floor to ceiling digital video screen
  • Giovanni’s Table, Italian Specialty Restaurant in former Portofino
  • New Diamond Lounge for Diamond level Crown & Anchor members

We were treated to a one-night agent cruise last weekend so that we could experience some of Navigator’s amenities first-hand.  My first impression was how much the ship seems to feel virtually ‘new’.  The ship was built in 2002, but you’d never know it by taking a look around.  The cabin’s have been refreshed with new soft goods and all areas I was able to see seemed in very good condition.  The facilities and features of this ship are simply overwhelming for anyone who is boarding for the first time.  I was able to visit most areas of the ship and some of my photos are below.  Take a look and let us know if a voyage with Navigator of the Seas might be of interest to you!

Navigator of the Seas sails year-round from Galveston on 7-night cruises to the Western Caribbean.

Navigator of the Seas: Solarium on Deck 11 for adults only

Solarium on Deck 11 for adults only

Navigator of the Seas:  Viking Crown Lounge overlooking Pool Deck

Viking Crown Lounge overlooking Pool Deck

Navigator of the Seas: Izumi

Izumi – Deck 14

Navigator of the Seas: Izumi Asian Specialty Restaurant

Izumi Asian Specialty Restaurant, with stunning views of the sea from Deck 14!

Navigator of the Seas:  Giovanni's Table Italian Specialty Restaurant on Deck 11

Giovanni’s Table, Italian Specialty Restaurant on Deck 11

Navigator of the Seas: Chop's Grille, Steakhouse Specialty Restaurant on Deck 11

Chop’s Grille, Steakhouse Specialty Restaurant on Deck 11 (an outstanding dining experience!)

Navigator of the Seas: Chop's Grille Deck 11

Chop’s Grille, Deck 11

Navigator of the Seas: Royal Suite

Royal Suite. 1,336 sq ft + 266 sq ft balcony. Although most of us will never get the opportunity to stay here, it is very nice to have a look!

Navigator of the Seas:  Standard Balcony Cabin

Standard Balcony Cabin: 184 sq ft + 50 sq ft balcony

Navigator of the Seas:  Standard Oceanview Cabin

Standard Oceanview Cabin: 160 sq ft

Navigator of the Seas:  Interior Cabin with Virtual Balcony

Interior Cabin with Virtual Balcony: 150 sq ft. Provides live view of current location, complete with sound! (yes, it CAN be turned off if you prefer)

Navigator of the Seas:  Promenade Cabin

Promenade Cabin: 160 sq ft., overlooking the interior Royal Promenade

Navigator of the Seas:  Family Panoramic Oceanview Cabin

Family Panoramic Oceanview Cabin: 406 sq ft. Can accommodate up to six with a bath and a half.

Navigator of the Seas:  Sapphire Dining Room

The three level Sapphire Dining Room (stunning from each level!)

Navigator of the Seas:  Sapphire Dining Room

Sapphire Dining Room on Decks 3, 4, & 5

Navigator of the Seas: Sabor Modern Mexican Specialty Restaurant

Sabor: Modern Mexican Specialty Restaurant. The food here was varied in selection, nicely presented, and DELICIOUS!

Navigator of the Seas: Sabor, tableside guacamole preparation

Sabor, tableside guacamole preparation! Mild, spicy, or HOT – just tell him; a fun twist to a very nice dinner.

Navigator of the Seas:  Royal Promenade

Royal Promenade: the heart of the ship’s activities

Navigator of the Seas:  Cafe Promenade

Cafe Promenade, 24 hour complimentary pizza, sandwiches, and snacks

Navigator of the Seas:   Vintages Wine Bar in Royal Promenade

Vintages Wine Bar in Royal Promenade

Navigator of the Seas:   Bolero

Bolero, just off the Royal Promenade (great Mojitos are found here!)

Navigator of the Seas:  Schooner Bar

Schooner Bar on Deck 4; same design as all of their other ships, but never gets old!

Navigator of the Seas:   Royal Theater

Royal Theater on Decks 2, 3, & 4; home to varied and exciting entertainment options

Navigator of the Seas:  Cosmopolitan Club in Viking Crown Lounge

Cosmopolitan Club in Viking Crown Lounge, Deck 14; expansive views of the sea and pool decks below

Navigator of the Seas:  Johnny Rockets hamburger diner

Johnny Rockets hamburger diner, Deck 12

Navigator of the Seas:   Sports Court on Deck 13

Sports Court on Deck 13

Navigator of the Seas:  Rock Climbing Wall

Rock Climbing Wall, Deck 13 (not for me, but enjoyed my many others)

Navigator of the Seas:   Flowrider Surf Simulator

Flowrider Surf Simulator, Deck 13; great to watch the successes and wipeouts which occur here!

Navigator of the Seas:  Royal Promenade

Royal Promenade below (note Promenade view cabins on either side)

Questions?  Please ask us!

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Filed under Caribbean Cruises, Cruise News, Cruise Ship Dining, Navigator of the Seas, New Ship, Our Cruise Stories, Royal Caribbean, Virtual Balcony Cabin

Panama Canal to celebrate 100 years…is it on your list?

By John Lane Ship-At-Panama-Canal-1

Do you have a bucket list? If not it is time to begin and start checking the places off of that list.  Whether it be Antarctica, Tahiti or the Great Wall of China we can help you make those destinations become a reality.  One of the destinations on most people’s list is the Panama Canal.

In 2014, the Panama Canal will celebrate its 100th anniversary, followed in 2015 by the addition of new locks.  So what a better time to experience one of mankind’s greatest feats.  A dream in the making, the building of the canal took an unprecendented effort and cost many lives to connect the Atlantic and PacificOceans.  It is an amazing experience being raised and lowered through each lock by gravity.  The Panama Canal Offers a truly unique cruise experience one will not forget and 2014 is the year to experience it!

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Best Burger at Sea!

By John Lane Image

Once it was announced that Guy Fieri (of Food Network fame) would introduce Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival ships I was excited.  I had the chance to enjoy several of his great burgers on my Carnival Triumph cruise and I declare them the “best burgers at sea”.  Yes, you heard me right.  They are hands down the best burgers at sea.  The rest of my family voted them tops too along with other fellow passengers who raved about them.

It all starts with the “Plain Jane”, 80/20 ground chuck on a tasty buttered grilled roll with or without S.M.C. (Super Melty Cheese).  His hand cut fries with signature seasoning accompany every burger.  The soft buttery roll and the tasty fries make this a great combination.  There are five signature burgers you can request or create your own at the toppings bar.  Lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion along with grilled mushrooms, bacon and onions are available to make your heavenly creation.

Once you board a Carnival ship head straight to Guy’s Burger Joint and you will not be disappointed and guess what they are complimentary!

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Filed under Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line

The Carnival Triumph returns

By John Lane 

Many people have wondered what the Carnival Triumph was like since it returned to sailing after the mishap earlier in the year.  Well, I can tell you from first hand experience.  

On August 3, I took my family of four on the Triumph for a five night cruise to Progresso and Cozumel.  I was pleased to find that all was back to normal on the Triumph.  Food and entertainment were at its best and the ship looked great.  I went looking to find something wrong but, I really could not find it.  All new carpeting, mattresses and linens and several new venues were added to the ship for the enjoyment of the passengers.

For a four or five night cruise this ship is great.  There are lots of people (2750+) which is one thing that I really don’t like but, the cruise experience was a good one and you can’t go wrong with the price, the ship or destination.  I will go into more detail on the new venues in future blogs.  So the Carnival Triumph is back and better than ever sailing from Galveston.  Give it a try.  Image

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Filed under Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Triumph – What’s In Store

by John Lane

Everyone has heard about the mishap on the Carnival Triumph earlier in the year.  Carnival took the ship out of service for 12 weeks to fix the problems with the engines and revitalize the ship.  With that in mind, I am going to take my family to check it out and see if the ship is up to standards.  Carnival has added some of their Carnival 2.0 options such as Guy’s Burger Joint.  This one I am most excited about.  Named after Guy Fieri of the Food Network this outdoor eatery offers his signature hamburgers made to order along with his homemade fries.  No more burgers sitting in steam trays waiting for you to slap it on your bun.  I will let you no if this eatery is worth the wait!  I plan to do a full detailed review when I get back.  Hope I have FUN!


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July 24, 2013 · 2:35 pm

Virtual Balcony

By John Lane

I have not cruised in an inside cabin in a long time. That balcony always calls me when I am on a cruise and I just enjoy the ocean air, the floor to ceiling view and the light that shines in.    I might have to try an inside cabin on the Navigator of the Seas of Royal


Caribbean.  They are going to have a new inside cabin that will have a “virtual balcony”.  One entire wall of the inside cabin will have a “live” virtual shot of the outside scenery!  How cool is that!  Enjoy the outside view without paying the balcony price!  I can’t wait to see what this will actually be like!  Once it comes out in February I am going to check it out and I will let you know.   Maybe it will turn me into a “virtual balcony” fan…we will see.

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Filed under Caribbean Cruises