Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas Cruise Sail to Mexico
Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas sailing out of Los Angeles, California is a vacation you don't want to miss out on! Cruising is one of my favorite ways to see new places and to get away for a vacation where the planning is minimal, while the fun and relaxing is maximized. There are many attractive characteristics of a cruise ranging from the all-inclusive food services to the on-board entertainment. It's a vacation I have enjoyed in all seasons of my life. I have cruised on girls weekend trips, a couples romantic weekend away and family adventure. I also planned my husband's bachelor party on a cruise! Whichever life season you are in, cruising is sure to appeal to you!
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Where to stay
Hyatt Centric The Pike Long Beach
Incredibly stylish and chic newly-renovated hotel in Long Beach just steps away from the bustling shopping areas and the rolling surf of the Pacific as well as the non-stop nightlife.
Hyatt Regency Long Beach
Located on a premiere waterfront spot in the heart of Downtown, the Hyatt Regency Long Beach is the only 4 Diamond Award-winning Long Beach offering ocean or harbor views.
Residence Inn Long Beach Downtown
Located right on the waterfront, this hotel provides easy access to destinations including the Long Beach Convention Center, The Queen Mary, world-class theme parks and superb shopping and dining on Pine Avenue.
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Day 1: Pre-Boarding in Long Beach
It's finally here — the cruise you have planned, packed for and counted down the days until! At least this is how I feel every time my cruise date is approaching. I always look forward to my cruising vacations, as they are pretty plug and play. At a minimum we just get on the boat and enjoy all that the ship itself has to offer. At most we have exclusions booked, spa treatments, massages and specialty dining reserved. The flexibility to adapt to a vacationers wants and needs is one of the things I love about cruising. I'll be focusing on the Los Angeles/Long Beach area and the ship sailing out of San Pedro for this guide, though I would love to chat with you about other cruises from various destinations if that is something you are looking into.
I also almost always start my vacation a day or two early with a pre and/or post cruise hotel stay (this holds true for any ports of call). The Navigator of the Seas sails out of San Pedro, which is technically Los Angeles. However, this port shares a boarder with the Long Beach Cruise Terminal and I strongly recommend a stay in Long Beach prior to your sailing. Long Beach offers such a casual and fun vibe, both at the Pike - Down Town, as well as 2nd Street. If you are looking for a slightly calmer, relaxed afternoon and evening, you might consider the Pike, where you can browse shops at the outlet mall, grab food and drinks from one of the many restaurants nearby and take a ride on The Pike Ferris Wheel and Historic Carousel. Near Second Street you will find a lively selection of bars and restaurants, which offer a scene more tailored to those traveling with adults only, this is a popular place for those pre cruise bachelor and bachelorette parties, and couples. A short 20 minute drive away is Ballast Point Brewery as well for those beer drinkers! There is plenty to keep you busy in Long Beach, You could easily book two pre-cruise nights and also add a beach day to your list of things to do. Nearby you can also find the Long Beach Aquarium, which has always been a big hit for the younger travelers.
Now... enough about the pre-cruise fun - its time to get some rest and embark on the adventure ahead onboard the navigator of the seas!
Day 2: Aboard the Ship
My first piece of advice actually comes well before boarding day. You will want to check-in for your cruise the date that it opens for you! This is critical if you want an early embarkation time, and trust me, you do! I don't like to waste a minute of my opportunity to enjoy the amenities onboard. Whatever your boarding time is, you will want to make sure you are at the cruising terminal by that time, or sooner if possible. With this in mind, your day will start with breakfast, often offered at the hotel, which is an added convenience. However, I do find myself opting to walk downtown or down 2nd street for a one of a kind Long Beach café, there are many to choose from, and they never disappoint! After breakfast and hotel check out, find your way to the cruise terminal and get yourself onto that boat! If you book with me, I have lots of tips and tricks to make this go as smoothly as possible.
Onboard the ship
Your first day on the ship can be overwhelming. You will want to see, try and do everything! From the waterslides, to the food and the grandness of the dining room. Don't worry, you have a whole trip ahead and you wont miss out on any of it. I recommend grabbing a drink, whether its a virgin Mai Tai, refreshing soda or my personal favorite, watermelon margarita and find yourself a lounger by the pool. Most cruisers don't think to pack swim suits and enjoy the pool on day 1, so this is a great opportunity to snag a less crowded pool and start your cruise with some fun in the sun. For the adventurous travelers, its also a great time to hit the waterslides and wave rider.
If poolside is not your day 1 preference, you can consider walking the ship to become familiar with the layout and where everything is, hit the casino or take advantage of often discounted day 1 spa services. The possibilities really are endless. Navigator offers a ton of options for food when you get hungry, which you will no doubt want to indulge in once you see everything! The Main Dining room will offer specific times you can dine, but you also have El Loco Fresh for some very delicious Mexican food (definitely get the guacamole,) the Windjammer for buffet style, and Café Promenade for a something quick and personal pizzas. Café Promenade is also my morning stop for a cup-of-Joe.
However your first day on the ship is spent, you should have access to your stateroom in the mid-afternoon. We like to stay around the ship at this time, again due to the fact that everyone else runs to their staterooms, so we enjoy the amenities of the ship with fewer guests around. Eventually we'll check out our room, unpack and freshen up for dinner. We always make it to the main dining room for dinner, unless we have a specialty dining reservation. The options available are often too hard to choose from— we'll order 2 main dishes (and almost always order more than one dessert.)
After dinner we'll typically get a drink and depending on the type of vacation we are on, we might take the kids to a show. The iSkate Ice Skating and Drone show was a big hit for my 4 and 6-year-old children. If cruising kid-free, we'll usually find our way to the casino or to the bar for karaoke night. We don't sing but we sure enjoy listening to everyone else take the mic. Another note worth mentioning, if we are cruising with kids, a parents night out is not out of the question. My little ones love the ocean adventure kids club, and we often drop them off there for a few hours to enjoy some of the adult only activities or areas on the ship. After wrapping up with Karaoke, onboard shows and entertainment, or winning at the casino, we are usually exhausted and make our way into the stateroom for the night. For the bachelor and bachelorette parties, don't worry!! The party goes well into the night, you wont be running to your rooms wishing you had more to do.
Day 3: Day at Sea
This will be your first full day onboard the Navigator. Depending on your cruise schedule and destinations, you may have a day of cruising at sea today. My advice to you is to plan what you will participate in and what you will save for next time, as it's just too much to fit in one day. A few options for this day:
Day at sea is a fun time by the pool. You can easily spend your day here with drinks. The nearby food options and the loungers by the pool are enough to draw you in alone. On sea days, you will find contests and games such as the belly flop and The Sexiest Man competitions. Members of my cruising party have participated in these and they are a blast to watch, whether your party participates or not! You also have the previously mentioned water slides and wave rider to try out this day. Tip: Try to get to these early, as lines can get long, but they are a blast and once you try them, you'll be walking up those stairs to go again and again.
Relaxing Spa Day
If you are onboard to relax and rejuvenate, this is 100% available to you as well. You can book spa services well in advance and enjoy your day being pampered by the wonderful spa staff. The Navigator even has a dry bar on board, where you can have stylists blow dry and style your hair — talk about relaxing!
Activities and Beyond
Onboard the Navigator you can even ice skate, rock climb and play laser tag! These are big wins for my children and I'll admit, even us adults had fun. Once again, I strongly recommend knowing your plan for the day and arriving early to sign up for time slots. These activities are so popular they can fill up fast. But I'll help you out in knowing which ones you should show up for early once we book you on the Navigator. The cruise director also has various activities planned throughout the day, many of which are tailored to children. These can vary by sailing, so check your cruise schedule daily!
Your evening on this day will be similar to night one, but also new shows and new food options, if you are dining in the main dining room. We have found that we enjoy the movie on the pool deck at the spa quite a bit and often do this on night two. The casino and onboard entertainment are also available and big hits. If there is an adults-only comedy show, we wont miss this one! It's a must see for us and never disappoints.
Day 4: Docking Day
Depending on the cruise you book, you may have 1, 2 or even 3 (sailings starting in 2023 with Cabo, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta.) Other stops on the Navigator include Ensenada and Catalina Island. As your travel advisor I would love to help you explore various excursions and activities that are ideal and appropriate for you and your party. There is something for travelers of all ages and physical activity preferences. The possibilities seem endless, and when working with a cruise line for shore excursions you can be confident in the quality of the excursion and knowing they work around the timing of the cruise line. I have also used the docking day for enjoying the amenities of the ship without the crowds!
My last cruise to Ensenada, we decided to enjoy a quite breakfast, do some onboard activities like rock climbing and waterslides and only stepped off the ship for a short walk downtown on the hunt for churros! It's not typical to spend a docking day on the ship, but in our case it really worked for us. This just supports my selling point that a cruise vacation can and should be what you want to make it! A jam-packed day of ATV tours, Zip Line, and snorkeling or a slower paced tequila tasting and back to the ship for an early dinner. This is your vacation and you run the ship.
Day 5: Disembarkation
On disembarkation day your cruise has concluded. This morning you have the option to wake up bright and early, grab a cup of coffee from the Promenade Café and get set to disembark quickly to catch a flight or make your way home. Assuming you have no pressing need to get off the boat, your morning will look a little slower but you will still be off the boat by mid-morning. You now now the option to explore more of Long Beach, possibly make your way to Los Angeles and enjoy the beautiful sunny Southern California weather! I personally am usually planning my next cruise on our drive home. You're sure to enjoy your trip so much that you'll be wanting to get back on ASAP.
Need to Know
More on the topic of food: There are additional dining experiences available for added charge. We have found for the short cruises, the specialty dining is not always needed, as we hardly have time to try the options and food that is already included in the cruise. But if you are looking for a cruise with luxury dining experiences, you can find them here!
A note to the future cruiser: While this guide is tailored to Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, I would love to help you book any cruise that suites your needs and desires! With Fora, I have access to Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, Disney Cruise Line and more. We can find you a stateroom on one of the Oasis Class ships, or a smaller intimate cruise tour. With Sailings around the world, your cruising possibilities are endless! I can’t wait to help you sail away on your next adventure!
For more travel inspo, check out my guide Unwind at the Relaxing and Unique Coronado Island, Year-Round Outdoor Adventure in Northern Washington State and 10-Day Road Trip in Ireland, from Dublin to Killarney.
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