Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Majesty of the Seas
Sailing Date: October 4th, 2002
Itinerary: Bahamas 4 Day/3 Night
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Sailing Date: October 4th, 2002
Day 1 - The Port of Miami is
undergoing some construction so it took an extra few
minutes to find a parking space and make our way into the
terminal. RCCL lists 2pm as the boarding time for this itinerary and we
arrived at the Port of Miami at about 3pm. The line to check in was very
short and we were walking onto the ship within fifteen minutes. You board
on Deck 4 right into the Centrum. I believe RCCL started this concept and
the Centrum area is very pretty with glass elevators, sculptures and
artwork. This is always a great place to take pictures. We met up with
some friends from our group and heard that they were able to board
shortly after 12pm, so they had a few extra hours to
We quickly found our cabin and met our Cabin Steward who welcomed us and gave us some information about the upcoming muster drill and she also asked about how we would like our cabin set up. Throughout the entire cruise, she was wonderful. Our cabin was on Mariner Deck (Deck 8) towards the front of the ship. The Majesty (along with it's sister ships Sovereign and Monarch) are known for having small cabins and this was no exception. We expected this and were not disappointed as a result. The bathroom is small as well with a tiny shower. RCCL lists all cabins on this deck as having a partially obstructed view, but our cabin had a fine view and we were not disappointed at all.
Our muster drill was on starboard side of Deck 7, which at that time of day was in full sunlight and it was very hot. We only had to stand out there for about fifteen or twenty minutes but everyone was dripping with sweat.
We departed Miami at just a few minutes after 5pm. The top of the ship (pool area) was packed with people and music was blaring around the pool. Stations were set up everywhere to sell drinks - beers between $3 and $4 and blender drinks for about $5 or $6. The prices were not out of line but the blender drinks were very weak - very little alcohol.
Our dinner was in the Maytime dining room on Deck 3 and we were pre-seated with our group. The food was very good as were the staff. Our assistant waiter was Romanian and fairly new to the ship. She had not yet mastered English and occasionally stumbled on requests due to the slight language barrier. Taking a moment to explain what you were asking for was all that was needed.
The casino was very busy and we didn't hear of anyone hitting any jackpots. Most people in our party had lost money and a few had managed to break even. This held true for the duration of the cruise.
The overnight ride to the Bahamas was smooth and hardly any motion could be felt from the ocean.
Day 2 - We awoke at around 9am and saw the Carnival ship, Fascination, out our window so we knew we were in Nassau. We had missed breakfast in Maytime so we ate at the Windjammer Cafe, which had extended hours. The cafe is large and airy and located at the front of the ship. Though there were a lot of people there, we quickly found an empty table. The food was okayed, not outstanding, but there was a large selection to accommodate any appetite.
We had passes to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island and I inquired at the excursion desk about how to get over there. The options are a taxi for about $4 or $5 each way per person, or a water taxi for $6 round trip. We thought the water taxi would be fun so we opted to do that. It was a mistake.
After making our way towards the market to buy our tickets, we were bombarded with people trying to get us to take tours, buy things, etc. This is pretty standard when visiting the Caribbean islands but it can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. The water taxi was a beaten up, old boat that held about fifty or so people in cramped style. No information was given on the use of the life vests, but if we started to go under I think I'd have faired better just treading water on my own. The condition of the vests I saw was awful. The twenty minute ride to Paradise Island is made worse by the shouting of the boat Captain who points out items of interest along the way. No p.a. is used, so he just shouted at the top of his lungs and deafened those seated near him. When we were about to dock he reminded everyone that he accepted tips for his tour.
It takes about fifteen minutes to walk from the dock to Atlantis and it's very well maintained and appears to be safe as well. Atlantis is a beautiful and very impressive resort. Built on the site of the old Resorts International and Britannia Resort, Atlantis appears to be a top-notch operation. The property is immense with pools, water slides, restaurants, shops, an aquarium and a beautiful selection of artwork. The casino is also massive. You'd be hard pressed not to impressed as you take it all in.
We made our way back to the ship after about four hours at Atlantis and endured another water taxi ride, on a different boat but it was just as shoddy and we were subjected to the same top of your lungs tour. I think they make up the information along the way as the dates, times, historical facts we were told on the way over were not the same as what we were told on the way back. This time we were asked for tips before docking in Nassau and the gentleman made his way around the tiny boat with his hat extended into which we were supposed to place money. Next time I'd definitely take a regular taxi but it's recommended to negotiate the fare in advance as it can fluctuate.
Dinner on the second night of the cruise is formal and most everyone was dressed up. Long lines for picture taking were everywhere in the Centrum (shopping area) of the ship. Again, the food and service in Maytime was very good.
We departed Nassau at midnight but the party on the ship was just beginning. Music, drinks and buffet were set up around the pool and it seemed like 1/2 the ship was up there. I turned in around 1am but a lot of people kept jumping till after 3am as the discos were still operating and the bars were still pouring drinks.
Day 3 - After all the noise and excitement of the night before, waking up to see Coco Cay (RCCL's private island) and the calm ocean was a welcome sight. I got up early enough to have breakfast in Maytime as I expected it to be much better than Windjammer. The food was okay but I didn't think any better than Windjammer. The only things that were different was that you ordered off of a menu and the selection of items is more upscale.
Tenders operated every twenty minutes to take you to Coco Cay. After the horrible water taxi in Nassau, the tenders operated by RCCL were a welcome sight. They were clean, large and well maintained. The RCCL staff operating them was very friendly and one of the women working down on Deck 1 (the boarding area) wouldn't let me pass until I danced with her.
Coco Cay is a great place to unwind and work on your suntans. There is a fair amount of construction going on as you first enter the island, it looked like shops were being built, but if you continue walking down away from the first lagoon you could still find plenty of lounge chairs and other places to get into the water. The hammocks, as I feared, were all taken early in the morning. If you walk down towards the volleyball nets, there is a very friendly resident cat who will greet you and demand some attention before you can go by. He appears to be very well cared for so he probably lives with a caretaker on the island - he might even be on RCCL's payroll.
Floats and other items for the water are available for rent and it was worth the $8 per person to get a floating mat to lie down on and relax under the sunshine. Just a word of warning - a lot of the beach areas are very rocky and you can easily hurt and/or cut yourself. Just exercise caution before running down the beach and into the water. We saw a woman who had her foot bandaged as she cut it on some coral and had to be rolled in a wheelchair back to the tender to go to the ship. For the more adventurous, parasailing and jet skis are available, for a fee of course.
The afternoon barbecue is a lot of fun. Music is playing and there is a lot of food. Salads, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, etc. Water is free and sodas and alcoholic drinks are available for purchase.
There are bathrooms and sinks available but there are no fresh water showers on the island. After about 3.5 hours, we were sufficiently baked and salted so we were ready to head back.
The quick ride back to the ship is a great opportunity to take some pictures of the ship out on the water so have your cameras ready. Despite being surpassed in size years ago by larger ships, Majesty still looks very impressive.
Lack of sleep from the previous nights and all of the constant activity and food was starting to take its toll on people. There were some people on deck chairs taking their last opportunity to work on their tans, and a good amount of people were taking advantage of another copious buffet at Windjammer, but everyone looked distinctly sleepy.
Some RCCL branded merchandise in the Centrum was marked down 50% so it was a good time to buy souvenirs. Also, we found the duty free liquor to be much better priced on ship than in Nassau. The same goes for watches and jewelry. Other gifts available in the gift shop, clothing, knick-knack's, etc. were very overpriced and not worth the money.
Our final dinner in Maytime went off without a hitch, though the turkey option wasn't that great - I should have stuck with the prime rib, which was recommended by our waiter.
The last night is also the time to distribute tips to the waiters and your cabin steward. RCCL doesn't publicize it, but you do have the option of pre-paying all tips to your on board charge by going to the Purser's Desk. If you don't do this by early on in the last day of the cruise, you'll join the hundreds of people lining up to get small bills. This is always a huge pain so avoid it if you can by pre-paying your tips early on in your trip.
Day 4 - We docked in Miami at around 7am and announcements were made for disembarkation. We were in the "orange" group so we knew we had some time for breakfast in Windjammer. Despite this being the day that everyone departs the ship, the crew was just as friendly as ever and our assistant waiter from Maytime saw us and came up to chat for a few minutes. I'm sure RCCL encourages this type of interaction but regardless of where it comes from, it's a very nice touch.
Departure from the ship was painfully slow. We didn't clear U.S. Customs until after 11am. Whether this is the fault of the ship or Customs and I.N.S., I don't know. It's probably a little bit of both.
All in all, Majesty of The Seas gets a definite thumbs up. This is my third RCCL cruise having previously been on Sovereign of The Seas and Nordic Empress. Sovereign was looking pretty tired when I sailed on her, but Majesty (being a sister ship and a few years younger) was in great shape. Everything was fairly well maintained and I really can't fault the ship about anything in particular. The main guest elevators are always fairly slow and usually full but I can't say that, that is a problem exclusive to Majesty.
My next cruise is in November aboard NCL’s Norwegian Majesty. It’s a similar itinerary so I’m looking forward to making a comparison between the two lines.