Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Majesty of the Seas
Sailing Date: March 24th, 2006
Majesty of the Seas Cruise Review
This was our second cruise, the first was on the Voyager of the Seas. I was interested in the itinerary for this cruise and decided to book on the Majesty. I was a little afraid that I would be spoiled by the Voyager and wouldn't enjoy the smaller ship experience as well. I was right. Everything about the Voyager was far better than was offered on the Majesty. If you decide to book the Majesty and have been on larger ships, just go into this trip with lower expectations. We did this and had a wonderful time.
Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived at the port shortly after noon and were on the ship within 20 minutes. Make sure you have all of your paperwork filled out ahead of time, it will save a lot of time! On our previous cruise, we were greeted in the embarkation area with smiles and cookies from RCCL staff. Neither of these were present this time. It was a hurry up deal, with no time for welcomes from the staff. You won't be allowed into your staterooms until after 1 pm, so make sure to bring a change of clothes in your carry on so you can go up on deck and enjoy the sunshine immediately! A wonderful lunch buffet was waiting on the 11th deck in the Windjammer. We signed up for the soda package for our two daughters, which was $24 each for the 4 day cruise. It seemed like a good deal, however, you spend most of your time at port and this isn't honored in the dining room. Not a good deal at all, I wouldn't do this again. At least on an itinerary with sea days, like the Voyager had, you got use out of these packages. I dreaded to see what our staterooms would look like...We had a balcony room on the Voyager and the only balconies on this ship are suites, which we did not book. We had a window on the 5th floor. Originally we booked on the 8th floor, but beware! These rooms all have obstructed views from the life boats so we changed to the 5th floor. I couldn't believe how small the room was! Our daughters slept in bunk beads that folded out from the wall. When these were down in the evening, it was so tight that two people couldn't be in the bed area at the same time. We spent as little time as possible in there, which was a shame. We spent a lot of time on our balcony on our previous cruise.
The ports of call were excellent, which was the only good part about this cruise experience. The weather was perfect throughout. One word of warning to those that have motion sickness tendencies, bring dramamine or a scopalamine patch! I never had a problem with this on the Voyager, which also sailed out of Miami. The first day when we sailed out, me and my 11 year old were terribly sick from the motion. The pursers desk was handing out sea sickness tablets like candy and they worked well, thank God! Only kept us down for about an hour.
I couldn't even say which port was my favorite, I loved them all. In the Bahamas we booked the Atlantis Beach Day excursion through the shore excursions desk on board. Previously, I had booked all shore excursions on line. I would highly recommend this if you know exactly what you want to do. We weren't sure and waited until on board to finalize our plans. If you do book on board, be very sure they are booking you for the correct excursion! Unfortunately, the desk agent booked us on the wrong one. She booked us on the Atlantis Tour, where we paid a ton a money to have a narrated tour of the hotel, grounds and aquariums. The beach break excursion would have provided us with a chair and towel on the Atlantis private beach, a ticket for lunch at the poolside diner, and privileges to tour the hotel and grounds on our own. BIG DIFFERENCE. It was disappointing, but we ended up making the best of it. We had to rent chairs and buy towels and lunch, but still got to enjoy the beach for the day. The surf at the beach was so much fun, huge waves and beautiful tourqoise water! You will get hounded as soon as you get off the ship with people wanting to braid your hair. If you're interested in this, make sure you talk them down in price. My daughters had their crowns only done and the prices started at $70 each and got down to $45 for both of them. You'll also get hounded at the straw market. Don't pick anything up unless you think you want to buy it. As soon as you pick it up, they'll be all over you! Senor Frogs is right off of the pier and was a lot of fun for lunch/dinner or just drinks.
Coco Cay was awesome! I was so glad that we were able to stop there. I read a lot of reviews and many times they aren't able to stop because of rough seas or high winds. It truly is an island paradise. So many people got terribly sun burned there. Make sure to keep applying sunscreens throughout the day. The snorkeling was good, with interesting things to look at. I liked the fact that you could snorkel at your leisure throughout the day. They have a shipwreck and an air plane at the bottom with lots of colorful fish swimming near by. We also saw a barracuda in a deep hole. If you plan on bringing your own snorkeling gear, they will insist that you rent a vest for $6. We saw people try to sneak in without a vest and they got caught and weren't allowed to snorkel without renting one.
Key West was also a fabulous stop. I had never been there before and wanted to take the trolley car tour to get a tour of the whole city. I had done this same tour in San Diego. You could stay on for the whole narrated loop, or you could get off at a stop and look around and get back on the trolley when you were ready. I tried to book this through the shore excursions desk also. This time I asked a lot of questions to make sure I was getting what I thought I was getting. They kept telling me that the trolleys don't make stops, that it was a 90 minute narrated tour. I'm really glad I didn't book it. When we got off the ship, it was easy to find the trolley station at Mallory Square. We bought tickets there (much less than RCCL pricing, of course) and were able to get off and on as we liked at the different stops. I found out that RCCL's trolley excursion was different and did not have stops. It's sad that they couldn't tell me that if I wanted to purchase a tour that made stops that I could do that in Mallory Square. I had to find this out on my own. We were able to see the entire island and got off at several spots: At the Key Lime Pie Factory for some Key Lime Pie in a beautiful little courtyard behind the store. We got off in the center of the Duval St. action and went into Sloppy Joe's and did some shopping. I found this spot to be the best for shopping for T-shirts, etc. We also got off at the Southern most point and had our pictures taken there. We stopped at Higg's Beach for a while and just relaxed on the beach. Although the island is small, it would have taken the entire day to walk to all of these places (or plenty of $$ to take taxis). The trolley was an excellent mode of transportation and you get to see everything. At the end of the trolley tour, we asked our guide where we could go to inquire about parasailing. He pointed us to a booth behind Mallory Square, the boat dock was by the A & B Lobster Shack. We ended up getting tickets for $35 each, and were able to fly tandem andleave right away. RCCL wants $79 each to parasail in any of the ports. HUGE savings! And this was a reputable island company. They were so friendly and explained everything to a nervous group of 4 that had never parasailed before. It was the highlight of our trip, an absolutely incredible experience! They took us behind Sunset Key and we flew for a long time, certainly longer than the 6-7 min. that RCCL gives. We went off of the platform on the boat and going up and down was very smooth. They did foot dips for free, where I saw other companies charge an extra $10 for this. The views of the ship and water were absolutely amazing from 400 feet up!
We had the late seating for dinner this time, on our previous cruise we had main seating at 6 pm. I actually like the late seating because we didn't feel rushed to get back to the shop from port to get ready for dinner. There was always pizza or wraps in the Windjammer for late afternoon snacks when we got back on the ship that tided us over until dinner time. I noticed a huge difference in the friendliness of staff between this cruise and our previous 3 years ago on the Voyager. The staff on the Majesty weren't going out of their way for you. The wait staff in the dining room were o.k. The head waiter spent about 30 seconds at our table each night. On our last cruise, the head waiter knew all of our names and asked us about our day, etc. Even our waiter never asked about our day or if we were enjoying the cruise. He was fiendly, but there was nothing special about how any of them treated us. Our assistant waiter seemed ticked off that we didn't order drinks at dinner. We're not big drinkers and I like water with dinner. My water glass sat empty several times and I had to ask to have it refilled. ???? The dinners were a bit disappointing...I'm not one to complain about food at a restaurant and don't feel my standards are high. I had heard there was no lobster, and there wasn't, not on a short cruise. The dinners were not in line with a 5 star restaurant, that's for sure. So go into the cruise with this in mind. I would say it's about what you would get at a supper club, not an upscale restaurant. There was shrimp one night. Otherwise a lot of steak, chicken and pasta dishes. The food was "good", nothing spectacular, but always barely warm. The cesear salad was always warm also and limp, every single night. The desserts were very good and we always ordered several for us to share and sample without a problem.
I had heard there were some great shows not to miss....the Wild, wild west show and others. They didn't have any of these! There was a comedian one night, that was pretty funny. Another night there was a comedian/magician. He was o.k. The other two nights were the ship singers and dancers. The dancing was excellent but they didn't "wow" me with their singing. I've heard much better on American Idol!
It's hard not to compare to previous cruises. We had a fabulous experience on the Voyager previously and the Majesty fell way short in every aspect, from the rooms to the service to the food and the entertainment. You can definitely see the wear and tear from the years she's been sailing. If you can look past all of this, which we knew we would have to do, the cruise was worth it to see the ports of call. These definitely make the trip.