Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Majesty of the Seas
Sailing Date: September 11th, 2006
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Royal Caribbean International
Majesty of the Seas Cruise Review
Let me preface this review by saying that if you cruise in September there are upsides and downsides to the experience that you can expect: #1: this is the cheapest time of the year to cruise, so you can get exceptional deals, #2: because the cruise is cheap EVERYONE can afford it, so the quality of the your fellow cruisers might leave something to be desired, #3: September is prime hurricane season so it will probably rain at least one day of the cruise and #4 school is in session this time of year, so if you would like a mostly adult vacation, this is a good time to go If you've ever cruised in July you know that often the ship is overrun with kids (parents are conspicuously absent) and you won't have that problem in the Fall. That being said, here is what else I thought about this particular cruise.
This is my third time sailing with Royal Caribbean and this ship was the oldest of the three. If you've never cruised before you will probably be very impressed. The ship is in relatively good condition and the staff keeps it pretty clean. One bad thing: I was very surprised to find that they actually allow smoking on the promenade decks (5 & 6) of this ship, and of course it's always very smoky in the casino. Majesty of the Seas definitely needs to enter the 21st century and allow smoking only on the top deck in the open air. The ship's food is good but not spectacular. The setup of the Windjammer, which is the casual cafeteria, is a little odd and I noticed frustrated people searching for the entrance lines even on the second day of the cruise. The Windjammer's food isn't always the right temperature, but there are lots of choices and everyone should be able to find something appetizing. The dining room is very attractive and the variety of dinner choices is excellent. I would especially recommend the mahi-mahi tempura and the alternate selection New York strip, as well as the tuna carpacchio appetizer. The meat was cooked to order and the service was timely. The breads are all delicious, and the desserts were excellent. You will never leave the dining room hungry, because you can order additional appetizers, etc. any night. The wait staff was good but not great, although I attribute part of that to the short period of time they have to break the ice and get to know each guest. Judging from my personal experiences on RC, I think that they also save the best waiters for the more expensive itineraries and newest ships. Try to keep in mind that as is the case in most facets of life, you get what you pay for, and this is an extremely inexpensive cruise so you shouldn't have the same expectations you would have on a 10-night cruise on a luxury ship.
My biggest disappointment on this cruise was my stateroom. It is a little smaller than on the other 2 RC ships I have cruised on and it didn't have a safe in the room, but the worst issue was the placement of the room. I booked a room that was the very last one at the end of the hallway on the Deck 2. I thought this was going to be great, because I don't mind walking all the way down the hall (you have to work off all that food you eat cruising somehow, right?) and I assumed there would be minimal foot traffic from other cruisers in front of my door. At the end of the hallway beside my stateroom was an emergency exit. You would think that would never be used, right? WRONG. That is the door that the crew uses when the go down your hall to make up rooms, deliver room service, etc., and when they pass through the door they just let it slam shut. This is very loud and it happens at least every single minute throughout the day, and at least twice an hour at night. It is useless to try and speak with any particular crew member about closing the door quietly because so many different crew members use the exit. A piece of advice here: book a room that is at least 5 rooms away from the end of any hallway. I would have willingly paid much more money to assure a quieter room.
In Nassau we took the SeaTrek Sail and Snorkel excursion. I have never been on a sailboat before and I liked it. It was very relaxing and the weather was perfect that morning. You will have plenty of time (about an hour and a half) to snorkel, and the reef is pretty interesting. If you've never been snorkeling before, you should expect to spend some time just figuring out the equipment, but the staff is helpful. The unlimited rum punch was sweet but effective. I would definitely recommend this excursion. Since you are at port in Nassau between 8am and midnight, you will have plenty of time to shop in the straw market or head to Atlantis if you'd like. Beware of the vendors in Nassau! From the time you set foot on the island they will accost you with offers to sell you straw purses, leather frames, Conch shells and hair braiding. If you show them any interest at all, it will be difficult to get rid of them. However, if you are going to buy anything you should bargain for a better price. They are expecting this, so don't feel guilty about it.
Coco Cay is awesome. There are hammocks and beach chairs on the beach, as well as waverunners, parasailing, a children's play area and a small market. The good thing about the market is that the vendors won't badger you if you are just walking by, the bad thing is that their merchandise is more expensive than at Nassau and they are less willing to bargain. You have to remember that although Coco Cay has lots of activities they aren't cheap, because Royal Caribbean owns the island and therefore has a monopoly on them. There are multiple beach bars on the island, which brings me to a tip for beer drinkers: Do NOT try the Royal beer (Royal Caribbean's signature beer). It is supposed to be a Belgian brew but it really tastes worse than Coors light. You'll enjoy a nice barbeque on the beach, which the crew brings to you from the ship. They also serve fresh fruit, hot dogs, hamburgers, healthier wraps, rolls and chocolate chips cookies. If you like cook-out food, you'll be happy. One last note about Coco Cay - even in September it is hot and you will need to apply and reapply sun block while you are there. Everyone at our dinner table was sunburned, and we are all from the South so we are well acquainted with the sun's effects. I am fair skinned and covered myself 4 times throughout the day, and my shoulders were still red.
Key West is great. It's nice and relaxing and the natives are super friendly. We took the Old Town Trolley tour, which you can book through the ship or at the Old Town office just off the pier. (It is only $1 more expensive through the ship, which is surprising). If you like history, you'll enjoy this. The tour guides have a lot of personality and are happy to answer your questions, and you can get off the trolley at any of the 10 stops and another one will come around every 30 minutes to pick you up whenever you are ready. If you are a drinker, you'll like it here because there are tons of bars and people start drinking there early in the morning.
A couple of final notes:
the embarkation/debarkation process at port in Miami was very efficient. I have
often read of nightmarish experiences others have had waiting hours to board or
leave the ship, and that has never happened to me on RC. I think we waited about
15 minutes total to get on, and maybe an hour to get off at the end. Customs
were a breeze. After boarding the ship we also received our luggage within 2
hours, which is pretty fast. Finally, let me say that our stateroom attendant
was fantastic. He had a great personality and always greeted us when we passed
him in route to/from our stateroom. The last word on this ship: good, but not