Occupation:Student - Stay at Home Mom
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Majesty
Sailing Date: December 17th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Majesty Cruise Review
7-Day Western Caribbean Cruise Itineraries
Before I left for this cruise,
I was frightened by what I read here. It was my first cruise and my husband and
I were taking our 1 1/2 yr old and a 3 yr old. (Many other family members joined
us as well.) We are a working class family and money is always limited, so when
I read about all of the additional fees my heart sank. To compensate for the
parking fees my mother-in-law dropped us off - $115 savings. We were able to
take some liquor on board, so we did not get pounded with bar fees - at least
$200 savings. (I'm not sure how this happened. My sister's luggage was held for
finger nail polish remover... Go figure.) We had decided just to take our own
adventures when we got off the boat, so we passed on all of the excursions - at
least $500 savings. (Side note: I noticed that you could schedule the same
activities they offered with the excursions there in person, and save at least
50%.) And the daily gratuity fee was well worth it! We even gave our stewards an
additional tip... They were that good!
Getting on board was very fast, and we got lead straight to our room. We were on the 3rd or 4th floor, middle of the ship, outside room with a window. Honestly, the room was much larger than what I expected. Right away we moved our beds together so my husband and I could share a bed, NCL provided a pack-n-play for our infant, and there was a pull down ceiling bed for our 3 yr old. Many times my family and my sister's family (4 adults and 4 children) ended up in our room, and we still had space to move around. Some key things we brought were a few favorite toys, a PlayStation to watch kid friendly movies during quiet time, a fold up stroller, and our pillows from home. (The beds we comfortable, but the pillows were less than exceptional.)
We arrived at all of the ports on time, and the tenders moved quickly. The first stop was Grand Cayman. It was OK. It was really just a shopping stop and a chance to get your land legs back. It did feel good to get off of the boat after cruising for 3 days. Next we went to Cozumel. Cozumel was my absolute favorite! I really enjoyed seeing the Mexican culture, but was saddened by how Americanized it was. (Of course that is something that I have noticed in all of the other countries that I have visited.) We shopped in the plaza that was located right outside of the port. My husband got a shot of Tequila in most of the shops while I got to look around. It was a win-win situation. We also got to see Mayan Fire Dancers that were incredible. That was all my kids talked about when they got home. At one point we ended up outside the plaza. No one spoke English and it was very dirty. I was scared enough to stop that adventure and head back to what I considered safety. The last stop, Key West, was fun. We went to Mallory Square to watch the sunset festivities. (You have to see the crazy cat guy.) All of our extended family headed back to the ship around 7... We stayed until the last possible minute. After visiting Key West, there was going to be a chocolate buffet at midnight. I had to stay up to see what everyone was talking about. It was amazing to see what they made out of chocolate, but didn't taste half as good as it looked. (I tried to take some pictures, but I must have had one too many Mahi Thais in Key West. They all turned out blurry.)
The first day on the boat we ate at the buffet. It was good food, and you could eat poolside. But once I discovered there was no additional charge for eating at the Seven Seas or Four Seasons, we only ate at the buffet for late breakfast. No matter where we ate we always had exceptional service and the food was wonderful. (My favorite was the Orange Roasted Duck in the Seven Seas.) I still haven't gotten used to eating out and actually paying the bill now. It was also nice to be able to order room service at any time during the day. If the kids needed a snack before bed, we just placed a call and within 20 minutes it was there... Free of charge. That blew me away.
I wanted to make sure that my kids enjoyed this experience. As mentioned earlier I brought some toys and a PlayStation to play movies for them, which was a life saver. I did leave my 3 yr old at the Kids Club one time, but he HATED it. The counselors were rude and said that I could not sit there and help him warm up to the idea. My 1 1/2 yr old was too young to go to the Kids Club, but that was OK. (The minimum age was 2.) They did need 2-3 hours in the room every afternoon to unwind. There was a lot going on and they drew a lot of positive attention from everyone on board. I completely understood; I can only deal with people for so long myself. They had a 24 hour spot on the 9th floor that served all of their favorites - pizza, fries, hamburgers. That was one less thing I had to worry about. Also as I mentioned earlier, the room service was another life saver with the kids.
Since we did have small children, we only attended one of the evening shows. It was fun, but I would have been fine staying in with them for the evening. One thing that was fun, that I discovered thankfully on one of the last nights, was the slot machines. I didn't win any money, but my husband walked out of there with $100 more in his pocket. I was impressed! Everyone said the odds we set in the boats favor the last part of the week. He must have known how to do it.
We received VIP passes, so getting off the boat was as fast and smooth as possible. (I'm not 100% sure, but I think we got the passes because my mother was in the owner's suite. Speaking of which, the owner's suite was HUGE - It even had a living room. The only problem is that it was in the front of the boat. When the boat got rocking it was really bad in their room.) I didn't hire someone to help haul our bags to the Custom's House, where my mother-in-law was picking us up, because we didn't have change. That is the only thing that I regretted on the entire trip.
Overall, I couldn't have been any happier! In my opinion, NCL gets an A+. They turned us into a cruising family.