Food, glorious food. It’s probably the most important aspect of a cruise. While I’ve yet to experience terrible food on a cruise ship (Island Escape came close though), the quality and choice of food certainly does vary between cruise lines. Since my first cruise on Independence of the Seas in 2009, for me, Royal Caribbean International’s quality and choice in food options has always ranked high. So, when I was given the opportunity to visit Navigator of the Seas for a foodie-themed day aboard, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the impressive galleys, I was naturally excited.
With eight dining venues to choose from, serving everything from sushi to Mexican, and pies to pizza, Navigator of the Seas has something for even the fussiest of eaters.
The main buffet restaurant onboard, the Windjammer has a range of local and international cuisine on offer practically 24 hours a day. Pizza, burgers, carved meats, and curries – there’s so much to choose from! Don’t worry, no one will blame you for wanting to go back up for seconds…or even thirds!
Sapphire Dining Room
The grandeur of Royal Caribbean’s three-deck-high main restaurant, with its gigantic chandelier, its soothing grand piano, and its gold-painted support columns, is impressive to say the least. The main dining room on Navigator of the Seas has to be one of the grandest restaurants at sea, which is surprising considering Royal Caribbean is generally known for fun, relaxed, family-friendly cruises. The food served here is just as good as the restaurant itself. On the menu you’ll find a wide range of tempting dishes, succulent steaks and seafood, as well as classic comfort food.
Chops Grille ($)
One of my favourite speciality restaurant at sea, Chops Grille offers mouth-watering, juicy steaks. You know you’re in for a treat when a thick rasher of bacon is on the list of starters! Chops serves various meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes, but you’d be really missing out if you didn’t order one of the six, nine, or twelve ounce steaks! For dessert, the giant slice of Red Velvet Cake is popular with guests.
Giovanni’s Table ($)
Who doesn’t love a good Italian? There’s more to Italian cuisine than just pasta and pizza, and at Giovanni’s you can experience dishes bursting with fresh flavour. I recommend the antipasti, and the tiramisu!
Sabor Modern Mexican ($)
I first experienced this fantastic restaurant aboard Harmony of the Seas, and the food was delicious, so if you’re planning on sailing on Navigator of the Seas, I’d highly recommend you try dining here. I personally wouldn’t choose to dine here in the evening, as Sabor – Spanish for flavour – is great for a casual, but filling lunch. Unlike other speciality restaurants, Sabor has a la carte pricing, rather than a set cover charge. A small plate and a taco or quesadilla for $5 each is plenty to fill you up, as complimentary tortilla chips are also served. If you have enough room for dessert, at $2.50, the Mexican Cinnamon Churros are my personal recommendation. It’s not just the food that’s amazing. Worth giving a try is the Avocado Margarita.
The perfect place for a quick breakfast, brunch, or late-night snack, Cafe Promenade serves a range of freshly prepared sandwiches, pastries, and cookies. Unlike the Freedom-class, the Voyager-class of ships do not have a dedicated Sorrento’s Pizzeria venue, so you’ll find a small selection of pizza available at Cafe Promenade. Coffee lovers will enjoy the Starbucks Coffee served here, in addition to the selection of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Johnny Rockets ($)
A popular American diner chain, Johnny Rockets is the perfect place to eat for those with eyes too big for their belly! Your mouth will water at the choice of giant burgers and delicious milkshakes on offer.
Part of my tour of Navigator of the Seas included lunch and a cooking demonstration by Izumi head chef, Travis Kamiyama. Sushi has never appealed to me. I’m not a huge seafood fan, so the thought of eating raw fish really did not excite me. I was in awe as I watched his delicate craftsmanship, slicing tuna, octopus and an assortment of other ingredients. As the first dishes arrived at my table, I took my first bite. I couldn’t tell you what I ate, but it was a lot nicer than I was expecting! For sushi and seafood lovers, Izumi is a fantastic place to dine, but for those like me, whose closest encounter to seafood is a traditional battered fish and chips by the seaside, then there are also plenty of non-seafood dishes to choose from.
Overall, the choice of dining venues on board Navigator of the Seas, is overwhelming. In fact, there are so many restaurants to choose from, on a typical seven-night cruise, you could probably dine in a different restaurant every night if you wished. I could continue writing a conclusive summary, but all this talk of food has made me hungry!!!
DISCLAIMER: Royal Caribbean International hosted me on a food-themed ship tour of Navigator of the Seas, where drinks, and a meal in Izumi were complimentary. However, all opinions expressed in this review are my own. To find out more about Navigator of the Seas and Royal Caribbean International, visit royalcaribbean.co.uk.