Largest cruise ship in Galveston boasts 'virtual balconies'


by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 5 at 7:57 PM

GALVESTON – The largest cruise ship sailing from Galveston boasts an industry first.  Royal Caribbean’s “Navigator of the Seas” has 81 rooms with virtual balconies.

The ship is making waves with this new innovation.

“It’s heaven,” said Trish Cummings, a passenger. “I’m excited.”

It is a cruise industry first: 81 interior staterooms have new floor-to-ceiling, high-definition monitors.  Each is built like a window with real curtains.  Live video and sound from outside the bridge feeds into each room.  It allows passengers with interior rooms to enjoy the sights and sounds of a balcony.

“You quickly know what the weather is like outside,” said Ronnie Farzad, the ship’s manager of entertainment technology.  “You can look at the live view and watch us sail into port.  You can watch the sunrise. (You can) watch the sun set from the luxury of your own room.”

It is luxury some passengers waited months to see.

“This will be our 100th cruise,” said Marilyn Lassiter, another passenger.

Pete and Marilyn Lassiter rode the “Navigator of the Seas” 17 times last year.

“Telling us to have fun on a cruise is like telling the pope to be Catholic,” Pete Lassiter said.

However, with a new surfing feature called Flow Rider, new dining and virtual view options on-board this trip, the Lassiters feel like they took a new ship.

“We’re going to have a good cruise,” Pete Lassiter said.

Their cruise left for Cozumel, Mexico.  It will return Sunday.