Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Majesty
Sailing Date: December 16th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Majesty Cruise Review
Cruise feedback: I picked the boat, I picked the port, I picked
the date, and I chose to bring my kids. I take full responsibility for my cruise
experience. That being said ...
We ate most of our meals in the Seven Seas dining room or the Four Seasons dining room. Those were some of the best meals we've had aboard any cruise ship. Even with only one night of lobster, which is something that people seem to bitch about on the internet cruise review sites. The room service menu was meager, and mostly junk food type stuff. The sandwich they delivered was awful. The grill was burgers & dogs. The buffet was surprisingly upscale & varied, except for breakfast, which was bacon, eggs, sausages, cold cuts. No bagels, but cream cheese on top of cucumber slices. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants. I had a drink at the piano lounge and was pleased that there were only three other people in the lounge with me.
The waiters, housekeepers, and the people at the reservation desk were polite, friendly, respectful, eager to help, and eager to make a good impression & give good service. Their smiles were a real pick-me-up when the kids were dragging me down.
Speaking of kids, the NCL Majesty offered kids programs for 2 year olds. and up ---- and nothing for kids younger than two. So we had the little guy with us 24 hours a day for seven days straight. The boat is physically not equipped to offer a good program for 3 yr. olds like our son, especially compared to the facilities on the Disney Magic. No water slide. The kiddy pool was about the size of maybe three hot tubs. The pools (including the adult pools) were drained of water more often than not. The activities were not attractive enough to make my boy want to go back: he cried whenever we talked about going back to school. The worst part about the program is the hours. Normal hours were 9AM to 12, then 2-5, then 7-10PM.
One other problem with the boat is that the theatre is not large enough to accommodate real Broadway style shows (it has a low ceiling). So there aren't any. This is the only boat in the NCL fleet that doesn't have the Jean Ann Ryan company, which we didn't know. The entertainment is less than what you would expect.
The location of our room was perfect. We had no common walls with any other cruisers, so we didn't have to worry about our screaming kids waking anybody up. The beds were comfortable. The bathroom smelled, however and no amount of cleaning could make the smell go away. We eventually became desensitized to it. Later the toilet overflowed due to a clog in a neighboring line. The phone stopped working and they didn't fix it despite two requests. We put the "do not disturb" and "make room immediately" signs in the champagne bucket, along with a bunch of other NCL literature. The cabin steward mistook it for trash and disposed of it. We asked for replacements and were told that there were none. Because had at least one kid with us (and usually two) at all times, we weren't able to do much except walk around or stay in the room. The room was about the size of a good walk-in closet.
I'm told the Charleston Port is not set up to accommodate the crowds that go with the bigger ships, which is why NCL put the mid-size Majesty there. The port itself is very old and run down. The Port Authority people who do the security and direct the traffic seem to be the only people in South Carolina who don't know how to smile. They're police, I think, and they treat everyone like a criminal. They should get some training. That being said, we got off the boat without having to stand in a line. There was a line, but it was short, and it never stopped moving. Carmela remembers the Disney debarkation and says that this was smoother and faster. There were plenty of porters to carry the bags, a convenient shuttle, and very little walking. Covered parking cost $120 for the week.
Destinations: Key West is simply not exotic and by virtue of the fact that you can drive there it shouldn't even be a cruise stop. Cozumel was a world famous scuba/snorkel destination because it used to have the best reef in Mexico. By best, I mean "colorful, alive, covered with colorful fans/tubes/fingers/ appendages, and teeming with brilliantly colored fish." Hurricane Wilma killed the reef and the scuba/snorkeling now is awful. It's no good on the north shore at the Coral Princess Hotel and it's worse 20 miles south and a mile out to sea at the Palancar reef. The fancy colorful coral appendages are gone, and what remains of the reef is an ugly, brownish green, dead stump. There is now absolutely no reason to go to Cozumel. You should not trust anyone who says anything to the contrary. Grand Cayman is still an ok snorkel spot because the hurricane didn't kill the stingrays, which is what snorkelers go there for. I suppose you could count Charleston, South Carolina as a destination too. And if you did, then (sadly) it would probably be the best of the four. As far as history, architecture, and natural beauty, Charleston beats Key West, Cozumel, and Georgetown hands down.
Carmela and I decided that we won't be taking the kids on another cruise. The fact that we had to spend so much time with our own kids made this the worst cruise ever. We are pretty much done with the Caribbean too, due to the crummy snorkeling. We'll probably be doing something in the South Pacific, Africa, or Far East next time. Maybe Hawaii. Maybe Australia. We'll have to find a way to research the state of the reefs in the various destinations since that will be a determining factor. Another disappointment like Cozumel might make me give up cruising for good.