The 33,000-ton, 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator debuted in the fall of 1999. The all-suite vessel features 245 ocean-view suites, 90 percent of which have private balconies. The Navigator was once a Soviet research vessel, which the line purchased, stripped, and converted into a modern luxury cruise ship. It was the first all-suite ship for Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Highlights of the Seven Seas Navigator experience include: spacious suite accommodations (301 to 1,173 square feet); luxurious in-suite amenities; impeccable service throughout; a generous space-per-passenger ratio (67.3 ft. of public space per guest); varied dining possibilities (including a steakhouse and Italian alternative dining options); an upscale Canyon Ranch SpaClub (formerly Carita Spa); and ten Internet-ready computers.
The Navigator experience is very personal for most passengers, with a majority of the staff (at every level) quickly learning your name and preferences. The small number of passengers compared to the amount of public space typically makes for a very quiet cruise experience.
As with all of the line's ships, the Navigator features open-seating dining in the Compass Rose, the ship's main dining room. Two alternate restaurants are also available. Prime 7 is the ship's dinner-only steakhouse, recently enlarged to accommodate 70 diners. Prime 7 is by reservation only (no extra charge). La Veranda offers buffet-style regional dishes for breakfast and lunch and in the evening transforms into Sette Mari at La Veranda. 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, La Veranda offers a buffet-style breakfast and lunch featuring regional specialties that typically reflect the cuisines of the countries visited. La Veranda also features a pizzeria and a shaded, open-air veranda for dining al fresco. In the evening the space transforms into Sette Mari at La Veranda, an Italian venue with buffet and cooked to order options.
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.
The menu at the ship's premier alternate restaurant, Prime 7, features steaks and seafood. The entrees are pretty huge. All beef products served are U.S.D.A.-approved, and the menu includes Prime New York Strip, Prime Porterhouse (carved tableside, by the way), Prime Fillet Mignon (6- or 10-ounce) and surf-and-turf. There's also lobster, New Zealand lamb chops, pork, veal and a half chicken (cooked and served on an iron skillet). Sides include baked potatoes, creamed spinach, truffle fries and Lyonaise potatoes.
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.
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.
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.
The Navigator has a no-tipping policy. All gratuities are included in the cruise fare.
|Fitness and Recreation|
There's a surprisingly spacious gym and fully equipped aerobics and yoga room. The gym features Lifecycles, free weights, striders, StairMasters, treadmills, weight benches, a Nautilus machine, workout mats and step benches. A full-time fitness instructor also is available and 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 Carita of Paris spa affiliation to Canyon Ranch. Though small, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub makes up for its size with excellent treatment services from a mostly Phillipine and French staff. Separate male and female locker rooms each include complimentary steam and sauna. All the saunas at the Spa were updated during the May 2012 dry-dock. Canyon Ranch also runs the upscale beauty salon, which is mostly staffed by European stylists.
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.
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).
The dress code is almost always elegant casual after 6 p.m. Skirts or slacks paired with blouses or sweaters, pant suits or dresses are acceptable for ladies, while men should wear slacks and collared shirts. Sport jackets are optional; jeans, T-shirts, baseball caps, shorts, sneakers and bathrobes are not allowed in any public area in the evening. In addition, cruises of 16 nights or longer will have two formal optional nights, when passengers can either wear elegant casual attire or opt for a more formal look (gowns, cocktail dresses, dark suits or tuxedos).
Complimentary self-service launderettes are available on four decks.
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. In May 2012 the Navigator Suites were updated with new carpeting, wall coverings, dining tables and outdoor furniture.
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. During the 2012 dry-dock, the ship's Grand and Master Suites were renovated to include new built-in cabinetry, furnishings and bedding, balcony furniture and new caparting.
Guests choosing Navigator, Grand, or Master Suites also enjoy the services of a butler.
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