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Copyright ¬© 1995-2005 
Linda Coffman


Radisson Seven Seas Navigator

The "Goodnight Irene" 
Cruise Diary, Part 2

Our split-homeport sailing meant that the majority of Seven Seas Navigator's passengers would be leaving when we arrived in New York the next morning and an unusual sense of restlessness pervaded our first evening on board. They were packing and getting ready to journey home, we had the week to look forward to. Our bon voyage party at sailaway... well, we didn't really have an official one, but toasted the occasion with champagne on our balcony.

New York
Is there a better city in the world to "Do Lunch"? If so, I haven't found it. After an easy walk from the pier, we dined at Becco on 46th Street (owned by Lidia Basitianich, the author of Lidia's Italian Table, a new book and a PBS series). Becco features a lunch special of Caesar salad or antipasto plus three different pastas served in all-you-can-eat portions tableside. Excellent!

As we approached the pier to re-board, we noted safety "nets" that were added across some of the Seven Seas Navigator's balconies. Why? Because there were 50-some children among the embarking passengers. With a usual double-occupancy capacity of only 490, it had been a hot topic of discussion the previous night. How would we fare with so many junior cruisers? Just fine, but more about that later.

Sailaway from New York is always a thrill and, even though we were up early to see the Statue of Liberty that morning, we didn't want to miss bidding her farewell. The festivities included complimentary rum punch and everyone seemed to have a camera or binoculars in hand to capture the skyline.

First and foremost, we are accustomed to plain old "food" at home. The subtleties of cuisine are generally lost on me and my palate isn't sophisticated enough to qualify me as a critic. However, I do know what I like and I liked everything prepared by the Seven Seas Navigator chefs. With that out of the way, there was only one dish Mel found less than satisfactory during our cruise and that was an over-done steak. More important to us is variety, as well as open seating. 

Compass RoseCompass Rose Restaurant: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in Navigator's main restaurant during scheduled hours on an open seating basis. Menus feature a wide selection of dishes and, as I discovered, if you want something that isn't listed, just ask. If possible, special requests are granted. Dinner menus include a variety of selections and a Menu Degustation designed by the Executive Chef, as well as "always available" pasta, steak, poultry, or seafood selections. Low Carb, Light & Healthy, Vegetarian, No-salt, and Kid's menus are also available.

Portofino Grill: Navigator's buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch is transformed into a romantic Italian Steakhouse by night. Reservations are required, but there is no additional charge.

Pool Grill: Serves a "fitness breakfast," casual luncheon poolside, and snacks until late afternoon.

Galileo'sThere's a LOT more to choose from if you are in the mood. An early-risers continental breakfast is available in Navigator Lounge, where a "quiet" afternoon tea is also served daily. Galileo's offered several "theme" teas; my favorite was the Flambé Afternoon Tea, which featured Bananas Foster and Cherries Jubilee. It was so popular that a line formed... the only real line we encountered on board all week.

Poolside luncheons also included a seafood barbeque and a Mexican buffet. One evening we enjoyed a poolside barbeque "dinner under the stars."

One of the cruise highlights for wine and food aficionados is the Wine Connoisseur's Dinner. At $120 per person, it's not inexpensive, but each of five courses on the gourmet menu is accompanied by fine wines from around the world. According to Hotel Director Martin van der Laan, the charge isn't for the food, it's all about the superb wines that accompany it. The Connoisseur Club (usually the Navigator's tranquil cigar lounge) is the setting for the dinner, although it can be reserved as a private in-suite balcony dinner should guests prefer that option.

I can't overlook room service, although that is a wholly inadequate term for such service... each suite has a cocktail table that raises to dining height and, with the addition of a square tabletop extender and crisp linen tablecloth, is a very comfortable spot to dine. We had breakfast in our suite several times before venturing out for the day. The highlight, though, was dinner served course-by-course by our butler. We made our selections from the Compass Rose menu and enjoyed a laid-back dinner accompanied by our choice of wine and music on the CD player. Just like home... only MUCH better!

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