Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Majesty
Sailing Date: February 3rd, 2007
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Majesty Cruise Review
ITINERARY: Charleston - Grand Cayman Island - Cozumel - Key West
Keep passports, ID, credit card and tickets with you for check-in. Though we are experienced cruisers, this is our first cruise with NCL and happily report check-in was quick and pleasant. The gangway opened at 12:00 for boarding.
We had booked our cruise through the internet with CruCon, Inc. Our experience with CruCon is we received zero service after making payment. CruCon emailed us only the legally required documents. Neither CruCon nor NCL sent us any additional information. After booking we needed to make a change but CruCon wanted a stiff $250 p/person fee saying we were inside NCL’s penalty period. We read the fine print contract and discerned this was false. (By the way, read your contract and understand all the rights you are signing away!) We contacted NCL directly and they made the change without a penalty. We will treat all future CruCon internet promotions as spam. CruCon’s promotional pricing did not include steep port fees and taxes.
The next group we encountered is the photographers. You should know their photos are not free and can be very expensive. If you want your photo taken, stop and pose. If not, say no thanks and be on your way. We found the Majesty photographers far less pushy and “in-your-face” than most. There were times, however, their portrait set up area constricted pedestrian traffic creating, I think, a hazard should there be an emergency.
Interesting greeting: “Welcome aboard!” “Sanitize your hands.” We commend NCL for taking steps to control the spread of germs and virus. There were sanitizing stations at the entrance of every restaurant.
Majesty is an older ship (launched 1992 – stretched 1999) and at 40,860 tons is moderately small. Our stateroom reflected this smaller scale. There’s only one outlet in the stateroom so you might want to bring a power strip. There is another up by the over mirror light in the bathroom. There is no refrigerator. Drawers are limited, shallow and narrow. Our twin beds were narrower than standard – better described as cots. There is a room safe but you should be aware that a not-so-secret master code will open them. It is wise to check really valuable items in at Guest Relations and kept in the ship’s vault until needed. We had shower jell, shampoo and liquid soap dispensers in a tiny airplane style bathroom/shower. Plan to bring your own if you prefer bar soap and specialty shampoo. Though the crew constantly cleaned, painted, and maintained, this ship is showing her age particularly in many fogged and etched dual pane windows. I heard that Majesty is scheduled for dry docking and overhaul. Deck 8 cabin windows usually view lifeboats. Deck 7 windows view walk/jog track so lack privacy.
A copy of the “Freestyle Daily” greeted us. These must be printed before the cruise begins because they are not current. We found it easier to locate the drinks of the day and evening attire than port arrival/departure times and information. We would also discover not all activities/events were held at the time/place printed.
LUNCH: a buffet was being served on Deck 10, Forward and had a modest variety of American offerings – but during the cruise we began to notice how entrees not ordered were creatively reconfigured into the next day’s lunch buffet. Today the February weather was too chilly and windy to eat outside and inside seating on Deck 10 proved limited. Look for a stairway that leads to more inside seating on Deck 9 Royal Observatory (a good place to watch port arrivals). On Deck 10 aft hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and pizza (not to personal order) are available. There’s a deli stand and pasta/soup stand poolside. Peculiar: Monday is the only day meat sauce for the pasta is available. Solution: get a hamburger patty from the grill astern and crumble over the pasta and tomato sauce. Tucked in a corner is an ice cream bar.
We had our luggage waiting outside our stateroom at 1:00 p.m. Time to explore the ship. Many of the public areas are on Deck 5. Little, pricey onboard shops will not open until 6:00 p.m. when we are off shore. Smart shoppers know to wait for the sales later in the cruise. The 4 Seasons Restaurant has the same menu as the Seven Seas. Unlimited sodas cost $42.00 per person! Yikes!! (Glad we packed a dozen cans!) Elevators not being used for bringing aboard baggage are slow and crowded. We used the stairs. Curious thing about some elevators – the deck names are different on the button panel (left over from previous cruise line owner). During the cruise the elevators tended to fill on Decks 3 & 4 (where most staterooms are located) as they went to the top decks. It became necessary to catch the elevator going down to ride it back up to get to the upper decks. The stairs often proved quicker.
The mandatory lifeboat drill was at 3:30. There’s rarely a drill that some yahoos think their absence will not be noticed (all guests are assigned to a station crew who checks roll). As usual, our assigned lifeboat was quite far from our cabin. We passed numerous lifeboat stations before we reached ours. I’m pretty certain whoever makes these assignments has never run a simulation of an actual emergency on a computer.
Our 4 p.m. departure was a little later than scheduled. (As we would discover – keeping to the posted schedule is not an NCL “freestyling” priority.) We watched the departure in the panoramic Deck 5 Fireworks lounge. Though advertised as non-smoking – it reeked of tobacco odor. Once underway, the Majesty came to life with little bumps and shakes.
Dinner began at 5:30 and we went to the Seven Seas Restaurant. This is eat anytime, anywhere “freestyle” cruising so you could eat much later if you wanted. We were hustled to a table near the ship’s stern. The noise and vibrations of the engines are quite obvious there and reminded us of riding in the rear of a jet. I wondered if one of the four engines was out of sync because we experience intermittent periods of noisy vibrations. (Table utensils actually moved!) Worse, the air inside was cold – it’s 40 degrees outside and the AC is on! Now that’s acting Norwegian! We were glad we still had our jackets on. All portions are small and have a stylish European presentation so we weren’t stuffed-to-the-gills when we left. You could get a second entrée if you wished. I had the lamb entrée – two 1/8 inch palm sized slices of meat served on a pile of white beans (didn’t I have this in the Army Mess Hall? What did I just write about stylish presentation?) Rating: not-so-good. The spouse had the Argentine skirt steak – toughest piece of meat imaginable. Rating: sent back the kitchen for the mahi-mahi which was probably the best choice on this menu. The restaurant was crowded so we waited a long time between courses throughout this “freestyle” dining experience, a lot longer than we remember on other cruise ships. We found that wait times between courses was longer when the restaurant was crowded.
We went to the Palace Theater show at 7:30. The theater has an in-the-round night club feel to it. At one time the theater was probably easy to navigate, but it looks like they added swivel chairs for extra seating when they stretched the ship so moving down a row takes agility. The “stage” has a low ceiling. There are posts that sometimes obscure the view of the stage. The live band Rama 111 is good. The singer/dancer troupe is about the caliber of a college production and approachable as superstars – but they only performed 12 minutes! Sharkbait, a juggling duo, proved the most entertaining (amazing what they accomplished with such a low ceiling). But in 35 minutes the show was over! There was 25 minutes cruise director yak-yak and hawking crack-open strips – 5 strips for $20 – average “winning” $8.
At 10:30 there was dancing at Flame 52 Deck 7 aft. Though most passengers aboard are age 50+, DJ Jeperson insisted on playing only disco (ignoring requests) with predictable results: empty dance floor, few bar sales and patrons departing. Finally a slow song got played and patrons swamped the dance floor. DJ resumed playing disco tunes to an empty floor before grudgingly playing a shag tune that filled the dance floor again. This would be the pattern – our DJ stubbornly trying to get patrons to dance to disco and grudgingly playing what patrons wanted to dance to now and then. I’m thinking NCL needs to retrain/rehire their DJ’s, pay closer attention to their passenger profile and wake-up to the renewed popular interest in ballroom dancing! This DJ behaved like he knew the difference between rap and hip-hop but not ballad and swing.
Little chocolate mints greeted our turned down beds upon our return to the stateroom. No towel animals tonight, but began to appear later in the cruise. Once we retired, the gentle jostle of the ship felt like a little gremlin constantly pushing on the end of the bed. We passed through a little squall before dawn and the ship undulated over the swells. A gray, damp and chilly morning greeted our second day.
SUNDAY: at sea. There are several options for breakfast: Limited choices room service, modest buffet on Deck 10 or excellent menu choices (eggs prepared any way you want and better variety juices) in Seven Seas, Deck 5. If you have the time, go to Seven Seas.
The weather was windy, quite chilly with frequent showers. This day at sea found passengers below decks looking for something to do. I think the Majesty offered more extra cost activities than free ones.
THE CASINO. The Casino was filled today! The staff even offers free gaming lessons. Some common sense will go a long way. Know that the house odds aboard are much higher than Las Vegas or on the Reservation. Gamble money you can afford to lose. Just consider gambling funds the price of entertainment. After dinner I heard one couple remark that they had already lost all their cash in the casino – shopping money, too! Imagine being broke after day 1!
BINGO. This frequently announced event was to start at 11:30 a.m. Free Bingo “teaser” cards had been distributed after the previous evening’s shows and it was raining outside, so the Theater was full. It took 30 minutes to make the sales pitch for the automated bingo machines that play 18 or 36 games at one time … all by themselves! And sell alcoholic beverages (the cheapest aboard at $4 each). According to the pitch, to play Bingo – get the automated bingo machine – sit back and sip drinks – and when your machine plays music you win! In theory a fast, fun set of four games. In practice, (and a warning to those with children) the bingo caller went through a weary and at times vulgar monologue and played to the drunks in the audience. The prizes for the winner weren’t anything close to the hype. And the big jackpot wouldn’t be awarded until the last games.
PORT SHOPPING INFOMERCIALS. NCL promotes the same stores as Royal Caribbean! Our shopping “expert” had all the show presence of my old English Lit professor, Dr. Sleepeze. It’s fair to ask what the cruise line receives for this “free” promotion. Here’s a tip you can really use: record local or internet prices for jewelry, alcohol or anything you might buy BEFORE you leave home. That way you really know when you are getting a deal or hoodwinked. Prices for duty free alcohol aboard ship were HIGHER than my retailer back home – including taxes. The ship store offered a limited selection. And one more thing, should you buy a bottle of booze aboard (or in port); the ship will keep it until the night before you disembark at the end of the trip – no taking your bottle to your room. They don’t want to impact bar sales. Probably the most helpful item you will receive is a rough street map of the port. They’ll be available ashore if you catch an early tender. Savvy travelers have already downloaded and printed maps of their ports from the internet.
SPA. The spa has promotions but again; know your local spa prices before signing anything aboard. There is a fitness room and exercise programs are available. Deck 7 is the walking/jogging deck, but weather and maintenance may cause a change in plans.
ONBOARD SHOPPING: There are three small and cramped onboard shops offering very limited merchandise, one mostly NCL logo items. We consider these “teasers” for shopping in the ports of call.
ART AUCTION: Unless you know art, it’s you the novice against them the expert. A helpful resource for determining the value of an art print is the internet. Needless to say, we found the opening art bid price high. The price does NOT include shipping, frame and … what? … an auctioneer’s fee? You are paying him to auction his own property! There’s nice art and sports memorabilia to admire, but unless you require this particular remembrance of this cruise, do some research before you buy.
DINNER: Instead of the vibrating and noisy Seven Seas we went to the Four Seasons Restaurant. We found this much more to our liking. I had the chicken – a bit dry. The spouse ordered the New York strip steak – a little tough, but nothing like the South American leather steak the night before. OK – We’re thinking they really want us to eat at their extra charge restaurants, especially Le Bistro. We keep reminding ourselves not to expect five star quality meals for the price of this cruise.
SUPERBOWL NIGHT – COLTS vs. BEARS. The Majesty set up big screens and decorated the Theater and Fireworks Lounge for the big party. They sold drinks, had free snacks and played trivia with prizes during the commercials. Did I mention they showed a satellite feed in Spanish? Remember the rain in the Superbowl? The Majesty was not far away enjoying the same weather. The moderate seas were getting rougher in the stormy weather. The Majesty was beginning to rock-n-roll. This will be a Superbowl to remember.
MONDAY: at sea Majesty is crossing the Florida Straights. It is windy and the seas are moderately rough. The ship is rolling just enough to separate the landlubbers from the sailors and cause all without “sea legs” to cling to handrails. We went for breakfast at the Seven Seas and were placed at a table with a view of white-capped waves. We watched a large painting swing wildly and anticipated that it would crash to the floor at any second. The spouse (who was wearing a “patch”) got queasy before breakfast arrived and couldn’t bear the sight of eggs when it did. We immediately excused ourselves and headed top side to fresh air. We met crew members distributing barf bags. Sea sickness pills are available free from the Guest Relations Desk, Deck 5.
We landed at a covered table beside the pool on Deck 10. It was cloudy, windy, humid with occasional periods of rain beside the splashing waves of the pool, but gradually the spouse lost the green hue and a rejuvenated appetite signaled a return to normalcy. I had an excellent omelet prepared to order poolside and some good fresh fruit. The widest beverage selection is available only at breakfast. Afterwards, only water, strong tea and coffee are available. The omelet station later gives way to a fresh hot/cold deli sandwich counter. The poolside fruit station gets augmented by a pasta/soup and ice cream counter. The meat sauce is great, but available only on Monday. On the aft fantail, cooks were barbequing chicken and ribs. The grill was serving oversized burgers and dogs with really good fries. I don’t think it would be too expensive for Majesty to offer some lemonade to drink.
We stayed topside until a steady downpour chased everyone below decks. Round Two of the aforementioned activities were available. We took a dance class. It was well taught, well attended in a tiny space and too brief.
Dinner was “Formal Optional” and about 30% dressed up. It was also “Meet the Captain” night before the show. The menu choices sounded great: Beef Wellington, Duck and Caribbean lobster tail. I had the lobster. Rating: rubbery. The spouse had the duck. Rating – over spiced. Table mates had the Beef Wellington. Their rating: “leathery” beef (was this the Argentine skirt steak again?). Oh my, the vegetarian selection was the winner tonight!
I’m beginning to form some negative opinions about this “freestyle” eat anywhere, anytime for dinner cruise experience. I’m not certain the positives outweigh the negatives. On other cruise lines, dinner is at a set time and passengers have the same table and wait staff that depends upon them for their tips. On NCL, the table service is not as good. Most waiters are serving different passengers each evening. If passengers arrive next to you after you have begun, you will experience delays between meal courses. If another table near you finishes and leaves while you are eating your entrée, the wait staff stops to reset the table (something you seldom see on other cruise lines). There may be long waits to get tea glasses refilled. It looks to me that the table waiters are busier but the service is inferior in “freestyle” cruising. The areas are tight and the wait staff has to carefully choreograph their movements, but at least once each evening somewhere in the restaurant – “CRASH!” – someone turned left who should have turned right.
Then it was time to wait in line to shake the hand of the master of the Majesty. The Captain was pleasant and quite unapologetic about the rough ride some passengers had experienced that morning. Reading between the lines, the captain projected the attitude that he had done his job – we were on course and on schedule. If you are looking for a smooth sailing get aboard a mega ship, landlubber! This rust bucket isn’t the most modern ship in the fleet but we have the best crew. Oh, and thank you for cruising with Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Performing onstage in the theater before the start of the show was the Rama 111 Orchestra, a six man instrumental ensemble. I wish NCL would have them play for a ballroom dance in the disco lounge one night. The Majestic Singers and Dancers performed their big show, “Night on the Town”. For the most part it was soundtrack/voice over punctuated by Rama 111 and singers. The show reminded me of theme park stage performances. The muted, polite applause from the audience reflected how this show had no “Wow!” factor. The most applause was given to the Can Can segment. The performers seemed to be holding back and production weary. Maybe they left their best stuff in the rehearsal. Maybe giving two performances that night demands conservation. Even so, it was obvious the performers were not wanting or willing to “give it their best”. And worse, I think they lost their mostly Southern audience when a Pennsylvanian succeeded in insulting them with his parodied southern accent during some lame country songs. The Oklahoma songbird fared no better attempting Gloria Estefan hits … come on baby feel the beat and KEEP UP! Maybe she will sing with more energy after she has her baby. Unless you really have nothing else to do, you might skip this show and enjoy your “Night on the Majesty” elsewhere.
We decided to avoid disco paralyzed DJ Jeperson in Flame 52 Deck 7 aft and went to the Fireworks Deck 5 forward to hear the Champagne Duo. These are a versatile vocalist and a talented keyboardist performing an impressive repertoire in a wide variety of styles. Though probably intended for dancing, they prove to be worthy of sitting and listening. The only detraction is their long breaks between sets.
TUESDAY ~ Grand Cayman Island
RCCL’s Enchantment and Grandeur, Carnival’s Miracle and Valor and the Star Princess were already in port at Grand Cayman Island when Majesty arrived. The last tender back to Majesty will be at 2:30 p.m. Majesty will be the first to depart (our guess – it will take us longer than the other ships to steam to Cozumel).
We found NCL “freestyling” to be rule bound regimentation with regulations that benefit and protect NCL. Tendering required reporting to Deck 5 to receive a color coded ticket (those not signed up for NCL shore tours will depart last), standing by until your ticket color and number is called, marching single file down to Deck 2, presenting your photo ID (driver license) and ship card to security, passing through inspection, crowding aboard a rocky and smelly boat (“tender”), and making the noisy trek to George Town. You will depart the tender from the lowest deck. Once there, memorize or make note of the drop off/pick up location. One couple admitted they waited in line to get on the tender back to the ship only to discover they were in a line for the nearby Atlantis Submarine!
We did not purchase a shore excursion. Seven Mile Beach is about a mile’s walk away and to the left of the tender dock. Today is partly cloudy and warm. The periods of sun were the first sunshine we’ve experienced since before the cruise began – and it felt HOT! Pack sunscreen, mon! We walked down the beautiful beach and actually encountered the Majesty Seven Mile Beach shore excursion. What they received for their $33 p/person was a crowded taxi ride, a watered down drink, a lounge chair and a towel. There were water activities available for a significant fee.
We walked back to George Town and visited two hardy party watering holes: Senor Frogs and Margaritaville. After a little shopping it was time to get back to the tender. The tender doesn’t keep a schedule and waits until filled to capacity to depart to the Majesty. You will depart the tender from the top deck. Watch your feet as you get on and off the rolling ramp between the tender and the Majesty because the lip could catch your toe or ankle and cause injury.
The Majesty departed Grand Cayman before 4:00. A too-loud Caribbean band determined to “pump us up” drove us away from a relaxing time by the pool. I’m thinking young Mike, our cruise director, has no clue about the entertainment preferences of his mostly aged 50+ passengers. Either that, or he doesn’t care; or he’s about to finish his contract; or he is another whose NCL’s position is to decide and dictate to us. Attention! You WILL dance to my disco DJ! You WILL get pumped up by my loud Caribbean band!
Dinner offered Prime Rib and Veal. The Prime Rib was very good. The Veal was not as good. Unfortunately we experienced a trip spoiling experience. Back up to the night before: we had attempted to make reservations for the table and wait staff we liked (not by any means a preferred location window table). Though there was no one waiting to be seated, the hostess refused to take our reservation after dinner! She insisted we come to the reservation desk early (7 a.m.) the next morning. We were there, but to get a tender ticket. She was not there, nor would the desk open until 9:30 a.m. (when we were on Seven Mile Beach). At 4:30 p.m. we made reservation at the desk with the same hostess for the table at 5:30 (when the Four Seasons opened for dinner.) We made certain she wrote it down. We arrived at 5:30 and were led to our table only to discover another couple had already been seated there! We returned and listened to an incredible string of lies from the hostess who insisted that we had not made reservations! We called for the restaurant maitre’d and told him our experience (and we had witnesses) and he tried to make the best of the situation. We can understand and forgive human mistakes and accidents but we are convinced the behavior of our NCL hostess an intentional misuse of her position compounded by her lack of integrity. Her dishonesty prompted a letter to the Hotel Director. As this person prominently represents NCL, we trust appropriate measures will be taken to remove/retrain this person soon.
Our show time headliners were country music rising stars Tim Rushlow and Doni Harris. We count ourselves among their new fans. At last, we experienced a show with a “Wow!” factor.
We went to the disco lounge – no music – no patrons – no wonder why. We went to the much smaller Fireworks featuring the Champagne Duo – people dancing and buying drinks – is Cruise Director Mike paying attention? … is NCL paying attention?
WEDNESDAY – Cozumel
The Star Princess and Carnival Miracle were moored at the Cozumel docks by the time Majesty arrived. Then an astonishing announcement was made, “Due to strong currents we are unable to dock in Cozumel. We have made arrangements to tender.” I’m thinking part of the price of shore excursions must pay for docking fees and Majesty hadn’t sold enough to make docking profitable. The weather was rainy and at times the rain was heavy. For $3.00 passengers could purchase a thin, short plastic poncho. The lesson here is prepare for rain when you pack. Delays resulted from tendering causing many to miss their shore excursion. Those who had purchased vacation insurance received refunds. The shops near the dock are not why people come to Cozumel. For that you will need to arrange transportation to nearby Playa del Carmen. There simply was not enough time left in port for us to do this.
We waited until after lunch and fairer weather before boarding a tender to Cozumel. The port is crowded with shops and there are party clubs selling less expensive drinks than aboard ship. The main street has all the trappings and traps of tourist enclaves, but some bargains and good times can be found here. Majesty was again the last cruise ship to arrive and would be the first to depart Cozumel and all too soon we had to catch a very crowded tender back to the ship.
The Restaurant Manager called saying the Hotel Director had given him our letter regarding the hostess. We answered his questions and made our statements. We have the impression that we were given the opportunity explain, received a promise an investigation will follow, but ultimately very little or nothing will be done. We went to dinner. The best entrée this night was turkey.
Rama 111 performed a good tribute to Glenn Miller in the theater. The jugglers Sharkbait performed in the theater. Former Ringling Brother Circus clowns, this duo will not fail to entertain and amaze. Enough of their show is interactive that each presentation will be a little different. Bring the children to this show.
We went to the “Sock Hop” in the disco lounge. In just under an hour it was over and blaring disco music drove the patrons out the door. I’m thinking our DJ is either stubborn or musically challenged. Actually, the individual in charge of entertainment is the Cruise Director, Mike Witte.
We finished up the evening dancing to the music of Champagne Duo in Fireworks.
THURSDAY – Key West
Majesty rolled and pitched across the Straights of Florida on her way to Key West. It was too windy before noon to stay out in the open very long. We checked out the sales from the onboard shops. Chicken and ribs were getting barbequed on Deck 10 fantail and as we neared Key West the seas calmed. Because of the following wind we arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule but had to wait for a Celebrity ship to depart and clear the narrow channel. Before we could go ashore we had to clear U.S. Immigration. Authorities checked our passports and punched the ship card. They called upper decks first and worked their way down – kudos to the crew who took line crashers out of the line. The process went fairly quickly.
Once cleared, we went to the gangway and stood in line for the conch train. Passengers are not permitted to freely walk the Navy pier. Those who had purchased shore excursions were allowed to board the trains and vans when they presented their tickets. Others were in for a long wait. Passengers are taken to Duval Street, where many watering holes and touristy shops ply their wares. A little window shopping will soon convince the observer that many items appeal to Spring Breakers and this place has no moral compass. Except for alcohol, prices are about as obscene as the T-shirt slogans. Less touristy businesses close at 5 p.m. We took in the sunset from the pier and watched the sailboats in the harbor. Trains and vans return to the ship when they fill. Authorities check your ID and bags before you are taken to the ship. The ship inspects these again when you board.
Awaiting you in your room is your departure information. We packed light, will carry our one bag ashore ourselves and delivered our completed Express Departure form to the desk. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. tonight instead of 5:30. The chicken Creole entrée was pretty good. The crab/lobster ravioli was not-so-good. Unless you plan on bar hopping in Key West, this would probably be a good evening to book the extra price Le Bistro Restaurant. The theater presented crew members in a talent show production. None of the crew members we had met were performing. The late theater show featured comic Alex who served up a few good laughs that may not be suitable for children. We danced in the Fireworks. The Rama 111 ensemble played in the Polo Lounge (actually a bar in a wide spot in the passageway outside the theatre – not much place to sit and enjoy or dance – how lame is that?) Tonight was the chocolate buffet. NCL makes an effort to keep this a civilized affair, but a few trough hogs and inconsiderate must-sample-everything-plowing-down-the-line tractors manage to try the patience of those whose mothers taught them better.
FRIDAY – at sea
Majesty makes just enough bumps and sways to remind us she’s steaming northward up the Florida coast. After breakfast a flurry of announcements for Bingo, special sales in shops, $4 drink specials, today’s activities and customs information begin. The Captain makes his announcement from the bridge – interesting we’re told the latitude, longitude, depth (in meters and feet) and water, air, pool and Jacuzzi temperature - but we are not told where we are (at this hour near Ft. Worth). The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Form arrived along with more information – interesting what Uncle Sam requires to know.
Majesty Singers & Dancers presented one performance of “Broadway Tonight” at 3:45 p.m. Their director must have lit a fire under them, or they like performing this show, because this is their best show. The five dancers and the three singers gave a good accounting of their talent. But the show doesn’t flow well. As highlights there’s a medley of tunes from West Side Story (and some hack must think he is a better arranger than the composer Bernstein) and a medley of tunes from Rent (same hack arranger). Then what sounds like an opening production number comes at the end. Even though the show is presented at a strange hour, this show is worth seeing.
We received notice that an automatic $10 per person per day gratuity charge ($70 p/adult) was added to our account. This tip will be spread evenly to crew members, whether we believe all have earned it or not. Though this policy has merit, it seems to invite the poor or even abusive service we received from the Four Seasons Restaurant hostess. For us, this is another “freestyle” negative. It is time to settle our account. For many, this is when passengers discover that their bar tab, shopping tab, and casino tab can double the cost of their cruise. Experience has taught us to take this precaution because it is easier to settle billing discrepancies now than during tomorrow’s rush. Each guest will receive a statement in their cabin later. Our account was both pleasantly detailed and accurate.
We did not think our final Dinner aboard was any special effort to mark the occasion. The snapper and loin were pretty good entrée choices.
The Singers & Dancers presented “Retro-Active” – a medley of 50’s to 90’s music. This show lacked the energy and appeal of the afternoon show, but managed to be entertaining if only because of the costume changes and effects. There are a few notable performances both vocal and dancing, but I suspect there is a lack of consistency from show to show. I found the most distracting part of this show to be a wimpy background soundtrack that seemed to make soft rock of every decade and style.
We finished the night dancing in the Fireworks. All too soon it was time to go to the stateroom and pack our bags. As Majesty steams northward toward Charleston the sleeves and pants get longer. Reality check: the February air feels pretty chilly outside tonight.
SATURDAY – disembarkation:
Majesty tied up at the dock at 6:00 a.m. At 6:30 we ate breakfast ordering from an abbreviated menu in the Seven Seas. Just as we finished breakfast they started calling for Express Departure from upper decks to go to the gangway on Deck 5. We gave the stateroom one final check, grabbed our bags and with ship card, passport and Customs form in hand walked out the door zipping by a long, slow moving line for passengers who had exceeded their customs allotment. We were through customs and aboard the shuttle in the quickest disembarkation we have ever experienced. The shuttle took everyone to the covered garage. The taxi stands were just outside the exit door. We were dropped off right at our car back at the motel (but this taxi ride cost $19.00 for two) and we were on the road homeward bound at 8:15. We suppose some people who exceeded their customs allotment are still standing in line on the Majesty.
This cruise is an outstanding value. Our hope is that it stays that way. Most every passenger we spoke with stated this as their reason for deciding on this cruise, and almost all were experienced cruisers. We met a few first-timers who couldn’t believe a cruise could be any better – so it’s all relative. The second most cited reason for taking this cruise is the convenient location of the port of Charleston. NCL, Charleston and passengers have a win-win-win situation. Let’s hope no one does something to mess it up. I’m convinced that if one’s expectations are kept realistic, then this promises to be a great cruise experience away from February’s weather and into the warmer and mostly sunny Caribbean. If one is looking for a cruise experience offering glitz and glittery atriums and promenades, five star dining, large cabins, Vegas quality entertainment, vast high end onboard shops, endless series of onboard activities, more ports and longer stays in ports, then this cruise will not satisfy you.