I’m one that always feels obligated to be honest when assessing my travel experiences. While I certainly may not have liked everything about my first cruise I feel just as obligated to give credit where credit is due. While I did feel that the possibility of additional invaluable pool deck space was tragically sacrificed for indoor four-cruise-ship-story shopping malls and two too many theaters – which were only occupied no more than 1% of the cruise – there was a concerted effort to make everyone happy. Seriously though, on a Caribbean cruise what is the real demand for an ice rink and a huge Egyptian-themed lounge that was used for nothing more than daily one hour senior’s bingo before 5PM dinner. I seem to be validated in my theory as the two main pools were packed to the gills from open to close daily. Children fought for a couple square feet of watery real estate while, I kid you not when I say, I witnessed two 19 year olds argue their fair rights for deck chairs which are all snatched up barely before the sun breaks the horizon to a cruise director. After a brutal 20 minutes and displaying skills of persuasion and patience of an experienced litigator, two chairs were delivered and impossibly inserted in an aisle.

But what they did get right was to set aside a wonderfully designed and appropriate corner of the deck for an adult’s only pool and bar. No matter how small, the Solarium was executed with the greatest of success and is a splendid and surprisingly peaceful refuge from the madness of screaming children and sardine tin conditions on the rest of the deck. For this I give a congratulatory “well done” to the designers of the Navigator of the Seas.

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