Occupation:Retired school head, teacher
Number of Cruises: 8
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Majesty
Sailing Date: March 25th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
NCL - Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Majesty Cruise Review
We live near the harbor in the Charleston area
and have often watched the Majesty arrive and depart, so we decided that it
might be interesting to take it without having to travel to a distant port of
embarkation. Last spring we drove to Ft. Lauderdale Easter weekend to take the
Celebrity Century, and this turned out to be the “drive from Hell” with
congested, stop-and-go traffic most of the way down and back.
Our opinion of the Majesty is fairly similar overall to what I’ve read in so many other reviews. It’s an older ship by today’s standards, and smaller than most newer ships designed for mass cruising. We’re not that hard to please, and we felt that “a bad day cruising is better than a good day at work.” We actually liked the smaller size, and we didn’t mind the fact that it isn’t a very modern, “flashy” ship.
Embarkation went fairly quickly and smoothly. We didn’t park in the paid parking area, but it would have been good if the cruise line had advised passengers in advance what the charge ($105) would be and that only cash or checks would be accepted. When we boarded, nobody really showed us to our room, but we were already familiar with the deck plans and knew how to get to it. Even though we embarked fairly late, our bags were in front of the room door.
We had an ocean view stateroom (#349) on the lowest deck amidships; in fact, we later learned that one of the gangways was right under our room. That didn’t bother us, though, and we even enjoyed watching some of the later comings and goings out of our window. We already knew the room would be small, but it was fine other than the amount of storage space was very limited. One advantage of freestyle cruising is not having to bring as many clothes, so we were traveling rather light and had enough room. The room stewards were efficient and accommodating, but the attention wasn’t as constant as it was on the Century.
We found the food to be just average overall. The wait staff was always efficient and polite, which was the case with the entire staff of the ship. We enjoyed breakfast each morning in the Seven Seas main dining room, especially the wonderful smoked salmon! We ate dinner in both the Seven Seas and the smaller Four Seasons dining room and didn’t find much difference between the two. We ate one night in Le Bistro and didn’t find it to be worth the surcharge. It’s a very small space with tables crowded in and the kitchen entrance in a corner so that staff are constantly running in and out in the midst of diners. The best kept secret is the Pasta Cafe on Deck 9 forward. It requires a reservation but has no surcharge, and the food, service, and ambiance were superior there. We only snacked at the buffets and thought the food was just passable. Tables on the decks weren’t cleared as quickly as they should have been.
The only entertainment we consistently took in was the shows, and the entertainers were quite good. The Cruise Director and one of the singers cracked some “bodily function” type jokes several times, which we felt was inappropriate except possibly at a late-evening comedy hour.
The only shore excursion we signed up for was the Stingray Sandbar/reef snorkeling at Grand Cayman. We had very windy weather during the night as we approached the island, and in the morning it remained windy. We were taken out on a very choppy, half-hour boat ride (which didn’t bother us since we’re boaters) only to learn that it was too rough to see the rays. Our charges were cheerfully refunded without our even having to ask. At Cozumel we found a very nice cab driver and had him take us to the San Gervasio Mayan ruins, which we very much enjoyed. We were struck by how much damage to the foliage Hurricane Wilma had caused all through the countryside, although we shouldn’t have been surprised since we went through Hurricane Hugo in Charleston in 1989.
We were two hours late leaving Cozumel due to a malfunction of the clutch used to hold up the anchor when it was brought up, and we weren’t able to make up any time on the way to Key West. We docked there at 5 p.m. instead of 3, and by the time we went through immigration and were shuttled in from the Navy pier it was 6 p.m. All we really had time to do was walk around a bit and enjoy a pretty sunset and all the attending confusion at Mallory Square, since the last shuttle left at 9:30. It would be nice if it were possible to set up the ship’s itinerary so that it could make up some time when necessary, but perhaps this isn’t possible in this case.
Of course the weather can’t be controlled, so you take what you get. There was a stiff northeasterly wind all the way down and most of the way back. This made the open decks very comfortable going south, as we were going with the wind. However, coming back into the wind the decks were so windy that they were mostly unusable except in certain spots. It was also quite cool even in the Caribbean. I’m sure the people from colder climes still thought it was like summertime, however.
Disembarkation took awhile since we were the last deck to be called, but it went smoothly enough. We didn’t have that many bags, but we really had to hire a porter to carry them on his cart out to the street. We were clear of everything by 10 a.m.
We heard on the ship and later learned from online messages how overrun with rowdy college students the ship had been on several cruises preceding ours. There were hardly any college-age young people on our cruise. Lots of families with children from infants to high school, and people were very well behaved.
Other than our cruise last year, all our other cruises came between the 1960’s and 1990’s. On these more recent cruises, we realize how much more “mass produced” everything is these days. Just something we all have to put up with in these times of more people traveling, increased security, and the like. We’d recommend the Majesty to anyone who thinks they’d be satisfied with an “average” overall cruising experience.