Thanksgiving Majesty Review
After reading mixed reviews, I was nervous about our Thanksgiving cruise on the Majesty of the Seas, but to sum it all up it was really fantastic. Hubby and I were to be taking his mom and my aunt & uncle (all in their 70's) on their first cruise. As it turned out, my uncle had a heart attack and was unable to travel, giving us a first-hand experience with the value of cruise insurance. He's now out of the hospital, and hoping to get strong enough to make the trip in the future.
Pre-cruise - Spent two nights at the Embassy Suites by the Airport, arranged through Priceline. Decent hotel at good price. Enjoyed seeing some of Miami - shopped at Bayside and visited Bubba Gump's.
Embarkation - Very smooth! Arrived at port around 10:45. Went straight up to security check. Moved through sea pass receipt and was on board and in cabins by noon. Signs at check-in said ship was full - no upgrades available.
Cabins - We were on deck 9 in category D. Had booked handicapped room for my uncle in wheelchair and room for M-I-Ltwo doors down. Hubby and I were to be on other side of hall because that's what was available. Began asking upon boarding if it would be possible to move to my uncle's cabin since it would most likely be sitting empty, and that would put us closer to M-I-L. At first told no - cabin had been re-booked, but that evening was told to go ahead and move. The cabin 9034 would have been perfect for my aunt & uncle. Lots of space to maneuver wheelchair. Bathroom had great roll-in shower. Two windows. We felt very spoiled to have the space. I'll try to figure out how to post the handicapped room photos for those who are curious. Our attendant was Mary from the Philippines. She was sweet, knew our names right away, and took great care of us.
Food - Quite good. No, it's not gourmet, but enjoyable. We've done windjammer in the past for breakfast, but since this was a slower pace cruise for us with no kids, we ate more meals in the dining room and enjoyed them. Our waiter was Onur (I've probably spelled that wrong) and he was delightful. Assistant was brand new, Sandros, a bit nervous but friendly and eager to please. Head waiter was Dario. We had early seating and never felt rushed. Thanksgiving dinner was a lot of fun - our waiters seemed quite proud of their role in providing us with a special meal. They had a special commemorative menu for us. "Chocolate Buffet" as we were told the one late night buffet would be was actually more of a general buffet with lots of desserts. Poolside sailaway buffet was great. Never tried the pizza - can't say we were ever hungry!
Ports - Nassau we did some shopping and took taxi to Atlantis. Didn't get past the guards to see the beach or pool. Would have tried another beach but M-I-L was tired. Coco Cay was warm enough for swimming, food was better than previous experience on Labadee. More salads that were good. We snorkeled and spent the day in the sun. Key West was OK - expensive shopping, OK trolley tour. Everything was open despite the fact that it was thanksgiving. Had the chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick. Yum!
Entertainment - Probably biggest disappointment. I guess vocalist entertainers were ill - comedian did a couple of shows on his own. I don't remember his name. He was OK - but not really enough to carry the farewell show on his own although that's the way it worked out. Marriage show was OK first night - not too exciting. People who got picked seemed sort of "rigid" and didn't get very creative with their answers. Second marriage show on final night swung the other way - some of the answers were quite shocking to part of the audience, I'm sure! Quest was OK - secret to winning is to be seated close to the stage I think. Cruise Director Ricco was OK. A little "looser" than the what I've experienced before. Party on deck on Nassau night was a lot of fun. Casino ate our money but didn't give us anything back this time.
Fellow passengers - Met some great people. If by chance they see this, hello to crazy birthday boy Phil, and my hubby's beer buddy, Larry. Our Tablemates, Susanne & her daughter Sarah were delightful. Lots of families enjoying thanksgiving together. Lots of kids and teens - but no rowdies that we witnessed. Seemed like a subdued crowd in some ways.
Disembarking - Immigration is done prior to disembarking in Key West. Line at our appointed time was horribly long - but in a half hour it was all clear. Go early if you're up. Final day our color was the third to the last scheduled to be called, but we were called while we were eating breakfast in the dining room. Took our time, got bags very easily, sailed through customs, and within minutes were in a cab and on our way to the airport. with three hours to kill!
Final thoughts - my concerns about ragged conditions and sewer like smells were unfounded. But. I'm taking a group of 40 on the Sovereign next year and I'm more concerned about those comments from that ship. I'd love to hear from others who have recently sailed on her. The Majesty proved to be a delightful way to give an older relative a taste of cruising, while making great new friends and enjoying a hard working crew. Cheers!
Lisa in Pittsburgh
My 5th cruise, 3rd with Royal Caribbean. I have to start out by saying the purpose of this short (3) night cruise was to introduce a friend to the cruising experience. Everything went like 'clock work' our flight got us into Miami around 10:45 AM and by the time we had claimed our bags we were one of the first groups to take the transfer buses to the cruise terminal. Needless to say there were NO lines and we got instantly checked-in and on board the Majesty by 12:15 PM. The ship was in good condition and clean as I have come to expect from RCI. I have sailed on her sister ship the Monarch of the Seas so I was quite familiar with the ship layout.
Upon entering the main Centrum there was island music playing and bartenders serving sample Bahamas Mama's this immediately put us into a vacation mode! After a few sips we headed to our cabin to drop off our carry on bags then up to the Windjammer for a light lunch. Food was good to fair in both the main dining rooms and the Windjammer. Wehad second dinner seating in the Maytime and our wait staff was pleasant and attentive. Only complaint was on formal night they did not offer Lobster or Filet Mignon. That was a disappointment especially since I had bragged to my travel partner. He is a big lobster eater and I told him that he could have as much as he wanted to eat. well we didn't have to worry about that, however the food was always plentiful and good.
After our embarkation lunch we had a couple hours to lie out by the pool before the muster drill at 4:30 so we got a couple hours sun and some drinks. The weather was perfect the entire 4-days of the cruise! In Nassau we booked the Blackbeard's Cay tour. I have been to Nassau several times and just beaching it was fine for me. This tour was inexpensive around $21 per person. I guess the highlight of this tour was watching the folks who purchased the tour to swim and feed the Stingray's that was neat to watch. Next day was Coco Cay RCI's private island. I have never been here this was a nice peaceful island with plenty of water sport activities to do, or just lay on a beach chair and relax! We did a little snorkeling on Coco Cay. the water was crystal clear and great for snorkeling.
All in all we had a very nice long weekend getaway to the Bahamas. another enjoyable cruise for me with Royal Caribbean! And now I got a friend HOOKED too! It was just too short and too much of a 'tease' for me. looking to book another already!
I went with a girlfriend on this short cruise. Majesty is a beautiful ship, with great service. The staterooms are small, but I'm told this is the norm. We had no hot water in our stateroom for most of the trip. They fixed it several times, but it would go out again right away. They are very organized on this ship, and everything runs like clockwork. The food, however, is awful. They have plenty of food, but almost everything we tried was cafeteria quality, even in the main dining room. They didn't offer anything like lobster, but they did have prime rib one night that wasn't too bad.
I recommend the Nassau excursion to the private beach at Atlantis. We missed it, and blew money shopping instead (the prices there are not cheap). They give you a shopping seminar, but it's all just a gimmick to get you to the stores. There are no good deals, especially on jewelry. Another couple told me they went to the beach at Atlantis, and it was wonderful, and they served really good food there. The next day, we went to Coco Cay. This isa beautiful island. They served the greatest drinks on the beach, and had nice music playing. It was very pretty and relaxing. They had a barbeque on the beach, but that food was even worse than the ship. Disembarkment went very smoothly. Overall it was a nice trip. We probably still gained weight even though the food was so bad, there was just so much of it. I would go again, maybe on another ship.
The cruise was short, but it was a great "taster" for a first time cruise.
Since this was September and prime hurricane season, as the weather forecasters projected Isabel was going to move right through our path I was very sorry I did not buy the trip insurance. I also purchased almost every over-the-counter anti-seasickness medication I could find. I wasn't nauseous once. There was only one night when I thought the ship was moving (that was also the night I had the most to drink - hmm coincidence?)
Flight, Embarkation and Sail Away
We flew from the NY area to Miami with no problems. We arrived at about 9 am and decided to have an adventure. Instead of paying $22 per person for RCCI's transportation to the ship, we opted to pay $0.50 and take the local public bus. It would have been OK, if the driver fulfilled his promise to tell us where to get off. (You should get off by the Justice Complex and walk to the "tourist" shuttle which takes you to the pier for another $1.) He didn't tell us and we had to walk 3 blocks in the heat with all of our stuff. The adventure continued because the shuttledriver was new and she dropped us off at the business office not at the ship. We could have waited about a half hour for the next shuttle but Bobby was in a hurry to get there so we walked again, through a serpentine course under the Key Biscayne Bridge. Thank heavens we had luggage with wheels. The stevedores were great - they walked an extra ½ block to relieve us of our stuff when they saw us coming.
We had to wait a few minutes in the embarkation area because we were very early and they weren't ready to board yet. It really wasn't a problem. Many of our fellow passengers didn't follow directions or have their documents ready. We did, so we moved quickly and smoothly through the lines. Tip: fill everything out on-line, rip it out of the book they mail you and have it in your hands. Inside the terminal there were cookies and lemonade while you were waiting. I was thrilled - we were parched and hungry after our unexpected walks. We ended up being about the 3rd or 4th people on the ship who weren't members of the crown and anchor society, RCCI's frequent cruiser program. Walking around on deck having the whole ship to ourselves was phenomenal. We took some wonderful pictures of Miami and enjoyed some silence before the Sail Away festivities began.
As we unpacked and settled in, I realized I had forgotten some things. We actually disembarked and walked back into town. There's an open air mall and some other downtown shops about 1 mile away from the pier. Taxis are available; we took one back for about $5. Getting back on was a breeze because we had our sea passes and could skip most of the lines.
Muster was more organized and less scary than I anticipated. I just didn't want to think about the possibility that the ship would sink. The crew simply explained that unlike an airplane crash, it is possible to survive a disaster at sea. All you have to do is put on your life jacket and follow directions. We did meet a couple at muster on their 26th cruise.
The Sail Away party was a bit hokey for my tastes. I do not like public participation activities, but the mood was festive, the weather spectacular and the vacation had begun. Be aware that you are being video taped and may be subjected to watching yourself on a big screen the last night. Your fellow passengers can also buy a copy of this tape for their future viewing pleasure.
We tipped our bartender at the aft bar $10 when we got our first round. He remembered our names and favorite drinks for the rest of the trip! The aft bar on the pool deck is nothing to look at; you can't sit there but it is much less crowded than the congested main bar near the Windjammer Café and the service is faster than waiting for a waiter.
We opted for the ocean view room and enjoyed our partially obstructed view. The obstruction was that we could see the bottoms of the life rafts. The cabin was small but well designed and actually bigger than I expected. The bed was comfortable and there was enough storage space for everything. The temperature was always perfect - not too hot and not too cold.
The bathroom was very tiny and I still wonder how larger passengers fit in the shower. If you are looking for "fun in the shower" with your cabin mate - give that idea up now. There's not enough room to change your own mind in there.
We were on deck 8 which was convenient to everything. We managed to keep the inevitable weight gain to a modest 5 lbs by always taking the stairs but there never seemed to be much of a wait for elevators except when departing or returning from excursions. Even then, if you walked down a hall to a different bank it was OK,
We didn't spend much time awake in the cabin so I doubt that I would ever opt for something larger unless I was traveling with more people; I could not imagine having more that 2 people in there.
I was glad a brought a clothes steamer to get out some wrinkles. Bobby sent his tuxedo shirt out for pressing; that bill was $2.
My favorite was the towel animals the cabin steward made every night. I loved coming back to see what surprise awaited us. Somehow the origami style towel animals were always wearing my sunglasses.
We opted for the late dinner seating so as not to miss the sunsets and to avoid passengers with children. Sean our waiter was marvelous and Wilma, the head waitress, was one of the most vivacious people I have ever met. We were at a table for 6 but one couple never showed up. Our table mates worked in the travel industry for an airline and were lovely dinner companions.
The food was good. It wasn't fantastic but it was enjoyable. One night when nothing on the menu appealed to me, Sean suggested I order the same thing I'd enjoyed the night before as they still had a few steaks left. He explained that chef will make you something to order if the ingredients are available.
We primarily ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer Café. Breakfast buffets are all pretty much alike but everything was hearty and hot. The lines were never too long. If you wanted something lighter, there was always plenty of fresh fruit available. I usually grabbed a piece for later by the pool.
We did eat in the dining room one morning because that was the only place to get eggs benedict. We were seated with a group of Asian tourists who did not speak English. I found the service to be slow and, surprisingly, the portions were small. We did not return to formal breakfast.
The best pre-cruise tip we found was the suggestion to bring a large, insulated mug on board. We'd fill it with water or juice from the fountains and sip that by the pool. It was much cheaper than paying $3.50 per bottle for the Evian the cruise seemed to be hawking at every opportunity. The water from the fountains is safe to drink; I do not know if you can drink the water from the sink in your cabin but I would be more safe than sorry and not brave it.
The poolside midnight buffet was served on formal night. I was disappointed that all of our fellow passengers changed into shorts for the event. We opted to stay dressed.
The other midnight buffet was spectacular to look at. It was hard to believe that everything, including the flowers, was made out of food. We walked though at about 11 pm for the preview and took some pictures. When we came back at 11:45 to eat, the wait was over one hour to get in. Food simply did not interest me that much, so we had a pizza in the sports bar instead.
We loved the Viking Crown Lounge, RCCI's signature 360 degree bar around the smokestacks. The panoramic view is breathtaking. We went up there the first night before dinner to have a quiet glass of champagne and unwind. We met a waitress named Sylvia who was great. She wasn't very busy so she took the time to talk to us and tell us more about the ship. She explained the crew was a bit nervous about hurricane Isabel but that we would have gone to Mexico if she came to the Bahamas.
We only went to the casino once. It always seemed bustling with activity. We played a few slots and went to the champagne bar afterwards.
The library and game room were well stocked and comfortable. The board games were often checked out early.
The rock climbing wall defeated me early on but Bobby climbed it a few times. Each face is a different degree of difficulty. He swears the view from 15 stories above the ocean enhanced by your sense of personal accomplishment is not to be missed. I'll take his word for it.
Every day you are given a compass and itinerary. Bring a highlighter to note what you would like to do. There are so many choices everyday.
On the second day the ship experienced some sort of problem that was never explained to us with one of the pools. It remained drained for the duration of the cruise. Thus, if you wanted to get wet the other pool was crowded. I was a bit concerned about the lack of lifeguards especially since there were little kids and people who had been drinking.
The Captain's Event was kind of boring, but you do get free champagne. The house brand was drinkable. It was also much less of a hard-sell commercial than I thought it was going to be. Exiting the event, we found a photographer set up. One other couple was ahead of us and a passerby took our picture with our camera too. We ended up buying the photograph because it actually came out well. (Anybody who knows me, knows I hate having my picture taken, so this was an accomplishment). Upstairs in the main atrium people were waiting on line for 45 minutes to have their pictures taken.
The on-board shopping offered better bargains that I thought we'd find. The duty free shops were competitively priced with land based stores. They do gouge you on necessities, so pack your toiletry bag carefully.
In Nassau we left the ship without any wait and walked around the main section of town. We bought some trinkets and other souvenirs. We had both been to the Bahamas before and neither of us liked it. It was much cleaner and less seedy than it had been in '91, the last time I was there. You can take public transportation or a taxi to Paradise Island or other public beaches on Grand Bahama. Both are much better values than booking the same trips through the cruise line. We did enjoy watching the crew practice the life boat drill.
Coco Cay, RCCI's private island, was cute. It had a Disney-esque quality. Everything was just a little too perfect and contrived but it was a nice day at the beach. About the only time we waited for anything during the whole cruise was to get on and off the tenders to and from the island. The hammock was comfortable. I wish the waiters selling "coco loco in the sun" had on-off switches. After about 15 minutes of that mantra from every direction it gets old, fast. A menu similar to the lunch buffet aboard ship was available on the island, along with huge containers of fresh, potable water. Again, armed with our trusty insulated mugs there was no need to purchase water. The snorkeling was good. RCCI sunk a boat & a plane for you to go "find". They give you a map and other swimmers tend to congregate by these wrecks. Various life guards throw fish food into the water to cause the fish to swarm around you. In that frenzy one fish bit a mole off some guy's back. It was fairly disconcerting to see him bleeding but he thought it was funny. The current was strong and rough because of Hurricane Isabel so for safety reasons they closed the deep snorkeling reef. Although we brought our own equipment, I was very impressed with the quality and frequency of the safety lectures and the sterilization procedures.
Key West was eye opening. The natives are incredibly liberal and welcome all sorts of alternative lifestyles. Watch out for all the people who rented golf carts to get around & can't drive them well. The town was a bit disappointed; they had been expecting the arrival of an Aircraft Carrier and 5,000 sailors but due to the hurricane the carrier was re-routed to Norfolk to provide disaster relief. They were also waiting for a Harley Motorcycle Event to roll into town. I wasn't looking forward to the mix of those two groups.
There is no ban on public nudity in Key West as long as you are wearing body paint. We were there in the morning and afternoon so things were fairly calm. I do not think I would bring impressionable kids through many parts of town after a certain hour. We had a drink at the Hogs' Breath Saloon because well, you have to. We also went to Irish Kevin's - where as the sign said, "we came, we drank, we don't remember." Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville looked like it would have been fun but we were short on time.
The tour of the Summer White House was educational. As you walk there from the pier, about 3-5 blocks, take a look at the lush and unique foliage.
The highlight of our trip was parasailing with Sebago on Williams Street. Through the cruise you could purchase parasailing excursions at every port. They were charging about $60 pp for a ½ hour boat ride and a 6 minute sail. We paid $75 for 2 people to go on 5 minute boat ride and a ½ hour parasail. Sebago is a member of the Key West Chamber of Commerce. They are fully insured and take safety very seriously. For an extra $10 they will also take digital pictures of you sailing and give you the disk to print out when you get home. There's an Internet Café on the pier right there, with cheaper access fees, if, like us, you didn't bring a lap top but can't wait to see yourself flying through the air. Sebago also made a point of sailing us past the Majesty twice for a birds' eye view of the ship.
The worst thing was a handful of inconsiderate people had to be called to go through customs repeatedly. Nobody could disembark until these slackers finally showed up. Being called once because you overslept is one thing but making 2,500 people wait because you couldn't be bothered was something else all together. I realize the cruise line has no control over this but it's worth mentioning that sometimes you will be inconvenienced by others.
We forgot that our stuff had to be outside the room the last night. As the porter was coming down the hall we were inside furiously packing. He graciously waited, well actually walked back down the hall to get our stuff.
The next morning, we had a leisurely breakfast and disembarked with one of the last groups because our flight home was purposely scheduled for evening. Customs was very quick but we had to wait a few minutes for the luggage. It would have been nice if there had been more places to sit while we waited
As first time cruisers we weren't sure what to do with our luggage all day. We decided to rent a car to explore Miami and lock our stuff in the trunk. Where else could you put all that stuff for $29 and know it was safe? We took the Avis courtesy shuttle back to airport. The driver told us that if we ever cruise again, Avis will drive us to the port for free too if we are renting a car on the way back. She also said that most of the rental car companies will let "club members" use the shuttles even if they aren't renting on that particular trip.
We picked up our rental and the agent went over the map with us. Florida is pretty easy to navigate. We headed south on Route 1 to Crystal Castle. It's this huge place all hand carved out of coral by one guy in the 1920s and 30s. It has a sun dial that is still accurate. There a 9 ton door you can move with one finger and the furniture is surprisingly comfortable. Some people say the place has mystical qualities. I don't know about that but I thought $20 pp for an attraction you can see in about 20 minutes was a bit pricey.
After the Castle we drove north to the Miami zoo and learned the hard way why Floridians don't go to the zoo on 90 degree days with 100% humidity. We had the place to ourselves and were able to listen in on some private zoo keeper tours. It was fairly easy to see all the animals. Every few feet there were misters to cool you, so all in all it was fun. I enjoyed seeing the two baby giraffes who were both under 7 feet tall.
Back at the airport, we were told our flight home was delayed. Isabel had played havoc with the airports along the Northeast Corridor and the airlines were still playing catch up. We were happy to be stranded on that end rather than at home anxious to come down. Instead of grabbing a quick bite, we settled in for a more relaxed meal and had a few more cocktails to wind down our vacation.
This was truly one of the best vacations I have ever been on! There was always something or nothing to do. The best part was it changed everyday and you did not have to plan any of it. You could just let it happen. Despite my generally skeptical nature, by the time I got off the Majesty I was a Crown and Anchor member & had an application for their credit card in my hands. I am looking forward to my next cruise next month.
We just returned from a cruise to the Bahamas aboard the Majesty of the Seas. We had a wonderful time.
We had 3 cabins on the tween deck #6, right up front. My husband and I had cabin 6500 which is right on the corner..it had a strange configuration, but it was much larger than the other two cabin..6506 and 6000. The cabins have no safes and they do not provide toiletries except for shampoo in a dispensor in the small shower. We heard alot of noise during docking(so we did not need and alarm clock to wake up). The room stewart, Javier, was attentive but unobtrusive. He brought us an ice bucket and champagne glasses for the 3 bottles of champagne we brought on board.
I had read reviews about the food not being very good, but all 6 of us thought the food was great. Probably the best food we have had on the 6 cruises we have taken.
The shows was very good to excellent. The "Beat Goes On", was wonderful and the crowd gave them a standing ovation. The comedian on the last nite, Rick Starr was hysterical!"Wild Wild West" show was very good.
We found a few of the waiters and one of the bingo workers to be a little surly and it was difficult to get some of them to bring Cokes in the show lounges even tho some of us had purchased soft drink cards. Coco cay is the best. The snorkling was great. The food was very tasty..ribs, chicken, burgers, salads,fruit and cookies. The Coco Locos are yummy. Any questions? you may email me for more info.
The combination of a great rate and the ability to use some airline miles found us winging our way to Miami on Memorial Day for a four day cruise on the Majesty of the Seas. We had been on this ship for a seven day cruise in 1993 and were anxious to see how Royal Caribbean has treated one of its older ships. We were delighted to find that the ship is in excellent condition, and we thoroughly enjoyed our short trip.
Our flight to Miami arrived about 11:30 and by the time we collected our luggage and got a cab to the pier, it was about 12:30. We handed our luggage to the porters and went in the terminal to check in. Platinum and Diamond Crown & Anchor members are directed to a special area to check in and it took only minutes. The lines in the general boarding area were also short even though we were advised that the ship was sailing full. The entire process moved very quickly and was handled very efficiently.
Our cabin was a Category "F" outside cabin on the eighth deck (Cabin 8092). These cabinshave views obstructed by the lifeboats, but we had a partial view between two of the boats. The cabins and bathrooms are quite small, but they are adequate for a short cruise. When the beds are configured as a king size bed, be sure that the most agile person sleeps by the window because he or she will have to crawl over the other person to get out of bed. The first few days of the cruise there was a problem with the color of the water on the ship, and it was light yellow. However, the water was safe to drink, and by the end of the cruise the problem had been corrected. It was just a little unsettling to brush your teeth with yellow water.
The public areas of the ship were all in good condition. However, what was cutting-edge back in 1993 seems to be a little dated in 2003. Carpeting appeared to be fairly new and was generally in darker colors. I thought that the Centrum appeared a little dark, but this may have been because of the dark carpeting and lighting. The Schooner Bar was very popular and provided a good spot to watch people come and go. The main walkway to the theatre runs through the Schooner Bar and the smoking area of the bar is along the windows next to the walkway. This area of the bar was always very smoky. However, the waiters did a very good job of keeping smokers out of the non-smoking area of the bar.
The Windjammer buffet near the pools had both indoor and outdoor serving lines and seating areas. There was also an upper level seating area in both the indoor and outdoor sections. Although the tables in the lower levels were generally crowded at meal times, tables in the upper levels were most always available. Informal dinner service was available nightly in the indoor section of the Windjammer.
Activities that you would find on a seven-day cruise were all available on this short cruise - bingo, art auctions, movies, etc. Formal night was on Tuesday while the ship was in Nassau. There was also a big deck party that evening as the ship left at midnight.
Food at dinner in the dining room varied from very good to just OK. We enjoyed our tablemates very much and our servers made every effort to please us. Extra appetizers and entrees were always brought with a smile to those who requested them, and the food was always the right temperature. Desserts were not really memorable or especially good except for the Grand Marnier soufflé. I could have eaten several of those. Our headwaiter, Jacob, was quite visible and made an effort to come to our table each evening. Royal Caribbean does not have wine stewards on this ship, so ordering a wine or a drink at dinner was somewhat confusing. The bar waiters brought mixed drinks and the assistant waiter brought wine. At the end of the meal everyone seemed to be asking for your charge card.
We ate most breakfasts and all lunches in the Windjammer. Breakfast food was the standard fare, and I saw them making omelets at least one morning. At lunch, the salads were quite good and they were carving beef, turkey, and ham on alternate days. We always took a slice of meat and made a sandwich with some of the delicious bread or rolls. Leftover desserts from the previous evening were available along with some very good cookies. I was a little disappointed that you could not get a hamburger or hot dog at lunch in the Windjammer. They did not cook these items until snack time in the late afternoon. By that time, I was not in the mood for a hamburger. Pizza was also available in the Windjammer in late afternoon, and it was pretty good. Finally, we had room service one morning for breakfast. It was delivered right on time and you were called before they came to your room.
The four-day cruise visits Nassau, Coco Cay, and Key West. We took the ferry to Paradise Island in Nassau and visited Atlantis. It is a beautiful place and the aquariums are really impressive. I'm not sure I would pay $ 25.00 again to visit the place, but it was worth one trip.
Coco Cay was very impressive. We have not been there for quite a few years, and it is my understanding that they just made about $ 10 million in improvements. All of the structures looked either new or extensively renovated. They are all painted bright colors and look very tropical. The buffet area now consists of a number of food stations for salads, hot entrees, desserts, and drinks. This type of arrangement really alleviates the long food lines. There is a new area known as the Coca-Cola water park. It consists of inflatable climbing "mountains", a trampoline, and some other inflatable things. I think that it costs around $ 15.00 to $ 20.00 to use the park and they charge by the hour. It was not widely used and I only saw three or four kids in there all day. There are literally thousands of lounge chairs spread along the shore and you could always find one either in the sun or under some trees. It was not even too hard to find a hammock. Coco Cay provides a great beach day!
Our last stop on Thursday was in Key West. The ship arrived about 7:45 AM and everyone had to go through immigration since this was our first port back in the US. Everyone is given a time to report to immigration and the entire process went very smoothly. Only a few people had to be paged and the ship was cleared around 9:30 AM. We took the Conch train and saw areas of Key West that we had not seen before. However, I would not really do it again. The weather in Key West did not cooperate, and it was very rainy and windy during the afternoon.
We arrived back in Miami about 6:00 AM on Friday. The ship was cleared by 7:00 AM and they began calling colors for people to go ashore. Platinum and Diamond members can get white early disembarkation tags and get off the ship as soon as it is cleared. We decided that we did not want to get off quite that early since our flight was at 12:30 PM, so we got red tags. Even with red tags we were called off the ship about 7:30 AM. There were no throngs of people in the halls or the Centrum and disembarkation was easier than on any other ship we have been on. We got our luggage, went through customs, got a cab, and were at the airport shortly after 8:00 AM. Fortunately, we were able to get on an earlier flight and we were home in Kentucky before 2:00 PM.
The Majesty of the Seas is a great ship for a short cruise. The ship is in great shape, the food is plentiful and generally good, and the crew is very friendly. It was a great way to spend a few days at sea.
This was my husband's and my first cruise, but I did a lot of research so I sort of knew what to expect. I think it really helped that I knew things or we would have been totally lost. I'll start at the beginning, trying to answer questions I had while researching.
We arrived at the Port of Miami about 3 p.m. The line wasn't bad since there were many workers checking people in. Make sure all of your documents are filled out. When you board the ship someone will take your picture. Let them! You don't have to buy it if you don't like it.
Once we were on the ship, we found our stateroom quite easily. We were in 6590 (Tween Deck) right near the elevators. This was a good location -- no problems and quick to get to. We had an outside cabin with a window. We loved this! Once our bags arrived, I unpacked and put everything away. Yes, the cabin was small, but it was plenty big enough for two people, and it had lots of storage space. I wouldn't waste money on anything more. Themuster drill at 4 p.m. wasn't as bad as I heard. It was overcast, so the sun wasn't beating down on us.
Once that was over, I finished unpacking and went exploring. I know this ship is one of the smaller ones, but it still took almost four days to figure where everything was! And since you're in a port every day, it is really all you need.
We were in the Maytime dining room with an 8:30 p.m. seating. The only downside to this is that it's 10 p.m. before you finish eating, and then you're not hungry for the midnight buffet. My advice: Go easy on dinner on formal night, because the midnight buffet near the pool on this night is awesome! Also, change into casual clothes, because the "dancing under the stars" is a big party! I have no complaints about the food. I thought everything was delicious.
Go to the shows! Pay attention to your daily Compass, since the times change daily. 'The Beat Goes On' was really good, and the 'Love and Marriage Game' was hilarious. 'Wild Wild West' was just OK. The juggler was really enjoyable. I didn't make it on time to the 'Majesty Quest' game, but people looked like they were really enjoying themselves.
Here's a little advice. Late at night before turning in, get some blankets from your room and go all the way on the top deck at the front of the ship and lay on the chairs. That was just awesome.
We went to Atlantis. It was beautiful, but I'm not sure it would be worth the $25 per person cost of the ship's tour. We didn't even get to see the awesome pools and had no beach access at all. We took a taxi at $4 per person instead of going through the ship. We went to the Straw Market and got some pretty good deals. But I really hated the "clawing". I like to look before I buy, but forget it here. Just buy and get out of there. A MUST: Senor Frog's Restaurant right next door. This was my husband's favorite place ever! Just picture this, dancing on chairs, conga lines with shots, dancing to the bunny hop. What a party! And the Mexican food was to die for!
This was my favorite day. Give me a beach anytime! We rented jet skis and snorkeled. If you want to save some money, get the jet skis at 8 a.m. You get a free snorkel with this time, and you're the first ones on the beach so you get to pick your hammock and chairs first! Get your snorkel equipment early too. You'll have it for the whole day, and you'll see more fish early on. We didn't go snorkeling until after lunch, but we did see a huge stingray and a barracuda! by the way, the lunch is delicious -- especially the barbecued ribs. The Coco Locos are really good too, and you get a souvenir cup. When you want some more, they'll refill it for less. If you want to para-sail, wait for Key West -- it's much cheaper.
This place was awesome. The shopping is really good -- lots of souvenir shops with really good prices. We took the trolley tour with the Aquarium and Shipwreck Museum passes. Again, we did this on our own, not through the ship. It is much cheaper. Go to the aquarium during feeding. It was really interesting and I got to pet a shark!
At the Shipwreck Museum I learned a lot about "wreckers". It was really interesting. If you're not afraid of heights, go up to the top of the tower. You can see the whole beautiful city! If you would like another beach day, you can take the trolley to the beach here. And since you can get off and on at different stops, it's the cheaper way to go. Back to para-sailing: If you would like to do this, go to the dock where the charter boats are... not the ones where the ship is docked, but down the street near the Key Lime Pie Shop. The cost is around $75 for two people!
Speaking of Key Lime Pie, stop in and get a frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. Awesome! There are also several good restaurants here. Hog's Breath, Sloppy Joe's and the Irish Pub are very lively with great entertainment. Try the conch fritters -- yum!
Once you're back on the ship, you'll want to pack up so you can enjoy the rest of your night. Leave out what you'll need the next day and put your bags outside your door for pickup.
Disembarkation was really easy. You can go eat breakfast while waiting for your color to be called. You can eat in the dining room or the Windjammer.
There is so much to do that it isn't a very relaxing vacation. My husband and I could never have made it through all those late nights without our daily 5 p.m. naps. One hour or so is all we needed to rejuvenate ourselves for the evening. This cruise is what you make it. It can be relaxing if you choose, but since it was our first one, we didn't want to miss anything!
Our family of three enjoyed a cold and windy 3- night cruise last weekend on Majesty. Thanks to reading the reviews and ten day weather forecasts, we knew to pack more long pants and sweatshirts and less beachwear and not to expect a stop on Coco Cay. Alas, the weather reports proved true and all we got to see of Coco Cay was an early morning glimpse of tenders being tossed about and fantastic crashing waves. In lieu of Coco Cay we did spend a very nice "day-at-sea" starting with free bloody mary's and screwdrivers in the Schooner Bar. It was so cold they ran out of hot chocolate packets in the Windjammer Cafe! The football fans were pleased due to the cruise staff's ability to arrange network feeds for the playoff (football) games that day.
My husband and son (age 6) had a great time. Both are first time cruisers. They especailly liked the food in the Windjammer Cafe and the Pizza Bar. I only wish they had real cream (not that "for your coffee" fake stuff) available. We all appreciated the extremely well-educated and fun-loving kid's program staff. Myson could not wait each day for the kid's Adventure Ocean program to open and wanted to stay for the late-night kid's party each night. This gave my spouse and myself time to enjoy quiet dinners where we did not have to pander to a picky eater. Bless you Youth Staff Claire, Valerie and especially "Stinky" Josh.
Our outside cabin was fine (deck 3) and very quiet, except for some early morning docking sounds. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. My only complaint was with that our cabin was a bit dirty (finger prints on the full-length mirror that looked like it was never cleaned and soiled paper tray liner where our drinking glasses were kept).
We rented cars both before and after the cruise to get to our plane in Fort Lauderdale. Dollar has a free shuttle to and from the Port of Miami. Car rental was very reasonable compared with buying transfers through the cruise lines. Rental was $25 per day including all taxes, and there was no drop-off fee to rent in Miami and drop off in Fort Lauderdale. Plus we spent a gorgeous day at the beach in Lauderdale before our evening flight back home to Denver.
My husband and I are not cruise types. This was our first cruise, an anniversary celebration for his parents organized by his sister, with 12 family members in attendance. In other words, it wasn't our idea. Given that fact, I'd rate our experience as a positive one, with reservations.
I prepared by reading lots of online reviews--most written by cruise enthusiasts, which were not real helpful in calming my particular fears. That's why I feel compelled to write this: for those who, like me, are not really looking forward to their first cruise! I also read "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" by David Foster Wallace, and would recommend it to anyone who feels too crusty and misanthropic to enjoy such a vacation. At least you'll feel like you have company.
We took a three-day cruise to Nassau on RCI's Majesty on the Seas, arriving at the dock between 11:30 and noon on the free shuttle from our hotel, the HoJo Port of Miami. Initial check-in was a breeze because we were so early. My husband had packed his passport in the bag we checked at the curb but wasable to get by signing an attestation of citizenship. I carried my birth certificate and was fine.
After receiving our cruise cards (which act as money cards, ID and door key), we went into the "lounge" to wait until our group number was called for boarding. The "lounge" was just an open cattle-call room with uncomfortable folding chairs that were almost all taken. My sister-in-law and her family, who are frequent cruisers and gold members or something like that, went into a real lounge with waiters. The rest of us sat on the floor in the big room, braced against the wall until a cruise employee asked us to move so he could set up jugs of warm lemonade and water. We waited more than an hour to board, by which time the room was S.R.O, filled with loud, annoyed people and shrieking children wearing shorts, flip-flops, Hawaiian shirts and logo t-shirts. I tried to keep buried in my reading to stave off the onset of creeping claustrophobia--my worst fears were being realized, and I wasn't even on the ship yet.
Finally we were called and proceeded down the long walkway, at the end of which was the first of the omnipresent photographers. My husband is NOT into this sort of thing and tried to run the gauntlet. The photographer physically grabbed his arm in an effort to retrieve him for a photo we had no intention of even looking at, much less purchasing. He managed to squirm free and run ahead. I'm more the "whatever" type. I got snapped and pushed through.
I had read much ooh-ing and aah-ing about the ship's atrium. The atrium, like most of the Majesty, is an onslaught of fake-gilt, fake-crystal, and island pastels. Very 80s Dynasty, and the ship is only about 10 years old!
We went to our cabins on Deck 2 (the lowest deck above crew quarters). I can't figure why a ship wouldn't want to look like a ship, as opposed to what it does look like (any anonymous 80s cheap motel chain), but I will say that all the things I'd read about how cramped the cabins are were exaggerated. To us, the cabin was cozy, and had everything we needed (including the classic you-drink-you-pay beverages; one $3.50 Evian bottle had a broken cap seal and had probably been consumed and refilled by the cabin's previous guests). There was plenty of room for our stuff, a hair dryer, nice lighting, a cute little TV that played at least three channels of cruise promotional ads, and a great porthole. The bed was about as big as our bed at home. The bathroom was a bit teeny but certainly nothing to complain about. We spent many happy hours in the cabin avoiding everyone else.
After a well-deserved rest we walked (yes, walked) up to the tenth level to get a bite at the Windjammer buffet. This is what I don't get about cruises: Why would anyone wait five or 10 minutes to ride an insanely crowded elevator when they could exert a little extra effort and walk? Similarly, why did all the people at the buffet crowd into the tenth-level seating area with its insane noise level when they could have walked up a spiral staircase to the eleventh level, where the seating was open-air and practically empty?
I found some other places to get away from the crowds, including any of the fore or aft decks (which usually are crowded only at sunset when the camera people come); the promenade deck on 7; the library (we LOVED the library, although they could do with better board games) with its big comfy leather chairs; the Viking Crown Lounge on Deck 14 with its quiet guitar music; the Schooner Bar with its quiet piano music; and the gym. And, of course, your own cabin (Spiderman dubbed in French!).
Places NOT to go if you are looking for peace and quiet: the casino; any bingo game or anything in the Chorus Line Lounge; the Windjammer between noon and 3:30 p.m.; the basketball court; the midnight buffet when pulling out of Nassau. Attending the latter was the one thing I truly regret: Everyone on the ship was there, there was bad calypso music, and it eventually erupted into my worst nautical nightmares, the conga line. We fled.
Nassau was also insanely crowded. Tourists from several ships in port were lured by the myth of duty free merchandise that you could get at any outlet mall for less--geegaws that I can find in any American dollar store, and Cuban cigars aplenty. The hair-braiders weren't as aggressive as I expected, but tiny children hawking dollar bamboo flutes were constantly underfoot. We walked down Parliament Street away from the retail strip to get a look at the older government buildings (the roundhouse library that was once a prison was beautiful) and then walked to the pirate museum and bar, which was quiet and kind of adorable. There was even a spiritual-singing bathroom attendant. Free local maps were very helpful and we didn't need guides of any kind.
We took the advice of our Viking Crown Lounge waitress Gita (a saint) and paid a dollar to take the No. 10 public bus to Cable Beach for some uncrowded, beautiful swimming and lounging under a bamboo canopy. On the bus ride back we passed several amazing floats that were going to be part of an island holiday parade--yellow, turquoise and pink spangles and characters out of a tropical dream.
Our other port was Coco Cay, which I understand is often cancelled due to rough seas. It was the best part of the cruise for us. We weren't exactly making like Rockefeller on this vacation. The cheapest shore excursion fortunately was the one that appealed to us the most: good old-fashioned snorkeling. I had never snorkeled before and can say that if everyone had access to a daily snorkel, no one would ever need to use mind-altering substances. I spent the loveliest two hours of my life holding hands with my husband while following a large, strangely colored fish on a feeding foray. We also saw a stingray and a sunken plane wreck (real? planted by RCI?). On a tip from a lifeguard, we ventured beyond the breakwater into the deep, rougher area where I saw terrain I had only seen in National Geographic. It was spectacular. Coco Cay also featured the best food on the trip, a spareribs and salads barbecue. The carrot-and-raisin salad was great, as was the corn-pea-black bean combo. The ribs were yummy, but I think they gave me a bad turn later, indigestion-wise.
More about the cruise food. It was nice to sit with the whole family (divided into two tables of six) and be waited on in the dining room (our waiter, whose name escapes me, was Turkish and very sweet, accommodating one very picky eater with much grace without being obsequious). But I thought it was like a college cafeteria version of luxury food. The filet mignon was like rubber and not evenly cooked. The apple pie a la mode was not warm. The escargot tasted like salt. While the strolling orchestra was great, the occasions where all the waiters had to walk in a circle clapping their hands and lip-synching were just embarrassing. And I would like to punch whoever thinks it's a good idea to send a chick in a pirate outfit around to pose for pictures with me while I am eating. Breakfast in the dining room is a waste. The food is much better in the Windjammer.
I don't drink, and this caused some alarm among my in-laws and made for a sometimes-interesting hunt for beverages (don't look for soft drinks in the champagne bar!). At one point the virgin daiquiri I received was NOT a virgin, but the waiters were very accommodating about the whole thing. For other recovering alcoholics like myself, rest assured that as long as you have some clean-time under your belt it shouldn't be too hard to muddle through. I saw little of the drunken loutishness I had feared, though most passengers did seem to be constantly, pleasantly buzzed. On Saturday and Sunday nights there are "Friends of Bill W" meetings in the library. One gent said on previous cruises he was sometimes the only one to show up for these. But rest assured it's there if needed.
Entertainment: I went to the opening night cabaret, "The Beat Goes On," with "Your Cruise Director Parker," which was HILARIOUS but seemed skewed toward Baby Boomers or younger. I can't imagine my 80-something parents-in-law got much out of it. I also did karaoke as my whole family watched to see if I'd go through with it. I'm a good singer but I'm no star. But on the Majesty I was Streisand compared to the other participants--hands down the worst karaoke I ever sat through! If you can carry a tune, please lend your gifts to these people. I also played bingo for the first time in my life. It was a waste of $15 but it made my heart beat fast and it was a fun thing to do with the other gals in the family.
Weather: The nights were chilly, so a sweater is a good thing if you're cruising in winter. The days were comfy high-70s. I am not a sun-worshipper (melanoma, anyone?) but was comfortable in pants and short sleeves. For hard-core protection in addition to 30 SPF block, I bought a Chinese paper parasol in Chinatown back home (Chicago) before leaving; it got lots of admiring comments and did a bang-up job keeping the rays at bay.
Turbulence: I definitely felt the ship moving on the first night. Maybe it calmed down, maybe I just got used to it. It made for a really deep sleep with bizarre, vivid dreams, and the strangers we ate breakfast with the next day experienced similar deep-dreams. Neat!
Salon: I got my first pedicure--expensive but very pleasurable, although not the miracle callus cure I was hoping for. Still, I felt it was my duty to do something decadent.
Gym: I paid $10 for a yoga class that nearly killed me. I do yoga almost every day. IT IS NOT AN AEROBIC WEIGHT-LOSS ACTIVITY! Someone needs to clue this guy in ("This guy" being the same shaved-head British buffo who runs the salon). Plus he had the breathing sequence backward on the cat pose, and was asking us to do difficult standing poses on a slippery wooden deck. I'm sure their liability is covered. Very dangerous, though.
Money: It's a minor miracle that my husband and I charged only $150 on the ship ($50 for the pedicure, $52 for two snorkeling packages, $10 for yoga, various virgin daiquiris and his alcoholic drinks and diet cokes). And we spent less than $10 cash in the casino (quarter slots) and $40 on Nassau (drinks and gifts at the pirate museum, bus fare to Cable Beach and back, and $26 for three Cuban cigars, one of which turned my novice husband absolutely green). These ships are total money sucks. You can't leave your room without your cash card because you need it to get back into your room (clever of them, no?) and it is very easy to blow money on this ship. In addition to the drink costs there is the mall, the art auction, the gym classes, the spa and salon, the games...and when one gets bored, there's the casino! Since they only stick your bill under your door right before disembarkation, it would be very easy to lose track. Beware!
Disembarkation: a breeze, due to our sister's VIP status we all got off in the first group and were back at her condo by 8 a.m. Monday.
Overall: My snotty attitude should be obvious by now. Still, I had a fun, if not a relaxing, time. It was easier to get away from the hordes than I had feared. The yuk factor in the shows was pretty good, and the transporting experience of being in Caribbean waters made the whole thing worth it. Would I do it again? Doubtful. I prefer roughing it to doing time on a floating hotel. But it wasn't quite the "floating Vegas" experience I feared. If timid first-timers can relax and go with it (and watch how much they spend), a cruise can be a good, once-in-a-lifetime vacation experience.
My wife & I celebrated our 25th anniversary along with our 2 teenagers on the Majesty of the Seas. Let me say this was a fantastic trip for all of us. The kids have never cruised before, but my wife & I have cruised Carnival (twice) and The Big Red Boat. While I would not consider ourselves "expert" cruisers, but I would rate RCL at the top of my short list of cruising experiences.
The embarkation was a little disorganized due to the fact that there were 100 or so previous passengers on Majesty that had not cleared customs & immigrations until about 1pm. But the paperless embarkation forms were accepted (and everyone there knew about them) there were even two ticket agents set up just for the online form holders. You do need to fill out the Bahamas form (the pink card) but other than that all I needed was the online form, Drivers Lic. & birth certificate.
Once onboard we asked if the cabins were ready, we were told no, & to go up to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch & wait. Well we snuck down to our cabin onDeck A and of course it was all ready for us. We reserved two outside cabins - adjoining, so all we needed to do was get the cabin attendant to unlock the adjoining door. The cabins are small like everyone says. A bit smaller than on Ecstasy, but as everyone mentioned, you spend so little time in there it doesn't really matter. Beds were very comfortable, plenty of closet space. There are no in room safes on this deck. The shower, well like someone said if you soap up the shower walls & just keep turning around you will get clean in no time. LOL!
Our cabin attendant Jimmy was very professional. He remembered our names from day one, and was very adept at making the towel animals - the penguin was the neatest! Once we asked Jimmy if he could get us a pair of scissors, sure enough he produced them later that day. Anything we needed he always responded with a cheerful smile.
I purchased the soda "cards" for the kids. They used them extensively throughout the ship. I had read that in some cases the bartenders were less than thrilled to serve soda card kids. Not here! My kids said that at every bar they went to they were greeted with smiles and no problems. At dinner, they used the cards there too. And, when my wife & I ordered a soda at dinner I noticed that the assistant waitress did not charge us for them she just added it to the kids cards. Meals at dinner were fantastic. I especially liked the fact that the menu offered "stand by" alternative entrées in case you were not thrilled with the evenings offerings, as I was one night. Those choices were Salmon, Steak and 2 others I've forgotten. One night I was delighted with the shrimp appetizer, so my waiter brought me 2 more! We ate all our evening meals at the Mayfair dining room, lunch & breakfast we ate in the Windjammer. The Windjammer is quite nice for "fast" food. A lot better than what we were used to on Carnival. But still noisy and crowded.
The shows were very very good in the Chorus Line Lounge. And yes, Parker was the cruise director. He's a riot and quite talented too. You know, teenagers are hard to please when it comes to having them come with you to a "show". But once they saw the first evenings show, they insisted on going to all the rest, even though my wife & I were exhausted by the 10:45pm start time.
The teen lounge left a lot to be desired according to my kids. Maybe that was for the best, as they found plenty of other things to do on board, and found themselves hard pressed to "get everything done" in 24 hrs.
In Nassau, this was the 3rd time around for us, but for the kids it was their first visit. So we did the usual shopping and saw the straw market, which has been moved about 500 yds to the right of its original location since the fire. I did take the kids over to Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island. For those who don't know, this is a public beach next to the Sheraton Hotel, which is next to the Atlantis Hotel. A cab ride over is $4 a head. The beach has jet skis, and banana boat rides available.
At Coco Cay we purchased the snorkeling package from RCL. I did this on line and the tickets were delivered to my cabin the night before we arrived at Coco Cay. Very windy on the island but a very beautiful island none the less. The lunch of Burgers, Hot Dogs, Ribs etc etc. was delicious. By around 3pm the weather started getting rough (hmmm that sounds familiar) so the Captain ordered those remaining on Coco Cay back to the ship.
In Key West we rented one of those battery powered "golf carts". This one was a four seater. This is a great way to get around Key West at your own pace. We've done the Conch Train ride - that too is a good way to get a tour of Key West - but your are pretty much stuck in your seat.
As for the Majesty, a very impressive ship. During their dry dock back in April 2002, they replaced all the carpeting, and window draperies. Plus all the furniture in both dining rooms were replaced, so the ship looked practically brand new. (It is scheduled for another dry dock in Oct 2002) The staff was constantly "tiding" up. The few times I used a public restroom, there was always an attendant either inside cleaning, or on the way inside. One evening it was raining quite hard, so the pool area was empty of people. The crew came out in their rain gear, drained the pools and pressure washed they area in a couple of hours. So by morning when the sun came back out, it was all fresh & clean. The pools are filled with salt water, but that just wasn't an issue with us. It wasn't as salty as ocean water - but so what! One thing surprised me though, the pools are deep! They are about 6 ft deep, and not a gradual drop to 6ft --- just 6 ft all around. There is a "kiddie" area much shallower and separated by a divider.
I thank Royal Caribbean & the crew of Majesty of the Seas for a wonderful cruise for our family. I was truly touched with the anniversary cake you delivered to our table on formal night.