Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Majesty of the Seas
Sailing Date: January 8th, 2006
Royal Caribbean International
Majesty of the Seas Cruise Review
Let me start off by saying that we got married on this cruise, and it was a GREAT experience that everyone in our party enjoyed. I think it is a great way to get married for those who want everything included for one price and don't want to have to plan every last detail themselves. Royal Romance (the wedding subcontractor) arranges flowers, food, location, licenses ... everything. Your primary responsibility is to get your paperwork back on time, double check their paperwork when they send it to you (read it carefully .. they could use some proofreading help!) and - most importantly - get your final guest list to them at least 30 days before the cruise.
The wedding coordinator and officiant meet you and your guests before the cruise and walk you through everything. There are a number of wedding packages available including different levels of service. We picked the very simplest package, then added on a reception luncheon and it was wonderful. So, that is how we began our cruise. (The wedding happens when the ship is still in port, so non-sailing guests can attend.)
After that, we started cruising! Let me start off by saying that I had read a number of reviews here before our cruise, and I was most worried about the ship being outdated and the food being substandard. We didn't find either one to be the case.
We were on the last cruise before the ship is taken to dry-dock for refurbishment, but the ship was VERY clean, maintenance was constantly being done, and everything was in top form. Some of the decor (especially the pictures in the elevator!) did look a bit dated ... but absolutely nothing was dirty or worn. It just had sort of an 80's look (which actually made me think back a bit nostalgically to high school). But our bed linens looked sparkling new, the cabin was wonderful and well arranged, and the bed was super comfortable as well as spacious enough for two. Also, we were VERY impressed when our shower drain was slow, we called for maintenance, and a very friendly maintenance person was there in under five minutes! (He fixed it, too!)
We also thought the food was great. There is a HUGE variety, particularly at breakfast. The breakfast is what you would expect at a rather all-inclusive buffet restaurant - all well-prepared, and with attention to presentation. I was impressed that there were some premium items - like platters of fresh lox! - and many health-conscious choices, like turkey sausage. I was also impressed that they made an effort to incorporate some variety. For instance, every morning, there were plain scrambled eggs and another type of scrambled eggs. I think the first day was scrambled eggs with veggies, the next day with cheese, and the day after that was "herbs". (As far as I can tell, the "herbs" in question were strictly parsley. But hey .. I guess that's an herb ...)
Another thing that impressed us - the ship offers such a smooth ride! When we weren't near a window, we could literally not tell 90% of the time whether or not the ship was moving. I never saw anyone get seasick at all or mention feeling seasick.
Dinners were also very good .. the staff is super attentive, and when I ordered two appetizers at most meals, this wasn't a problem at all. (One day, I liked two desserts and ordered both, and that wasn't a problem, either!) There was a "theme" for dinner each night (Italian, French, Mediterranean), and the food loosely matched that evening's theme. Overall, I had the feeling the food was prepared to be as non-exotic as possible, to keep the greatest number of people happy. But it was very good - I just wouldn't classify it as particularly exotic or adventurous. There was always at least one entree that seemed to be quite "simple", so even the fussiest eater would have a very simple meal they could select. If you wind up sitting with others who are friendly and outgoing, it helps a lot. We changed tables to be with my parents, and their companions were more outgoing than at our original table. This does make the cruise experience a lot more fun!
Our first stop was Nassau, and while it was nice, it was our least favorite of the stops. We started off by walking around town, and that was good. We stopped by the library and museum and a very kind gentleman walking by decided on his own to stop and tell us a bit of the history of the place. That was great!
The straw market was not that impressive, and the bathroom in the straw market is a definite "don't use unless desperate". (It has no toilet seats, no paper towels and no toilet paper). Bring your own toilet paper!
The straw market is very cramped, and you have to climb over others to get down the aisles. The vendors sell pretty much identical merchandise and even though I enjoy bargaining, I didn't like the constant clamor of vendors trying to get our attention.
We took the Yellow Bird cruise and it was WONDERFUL .. we would definitely do that again! They give you free rum punches out and back, and the live band on the ship is wonderful. It was very relaxing, and we had an hour on the beach, where we did some snorkeling. That was definitely the highlight of Nassau! (My parents took the glass bottom boat and also really loved it).
The next day was supposed to be Coco cay, but that was cancelled due to wind. Instead, we went to Freeport. Communication about this was a bit scattered and inconsistent. The excursion desk ended up not being able to schedule any excursions for this stop, and the Australian gentleman at that desk gave us and my parents the rather confusing advice that "there are no activities in Freeport".
That was a pity, because Freeport is actually VERY nice (my Dad said it reminded him so much of Hawaii!) and there is quite a bit to do. My husband and I were able to easily find a glass bottom boat tour to take (much cheaper than what the Excursion Desk would have charged us, too!). It was very nice .. beautiful blue water, lots of fish, and some sharks. It was a bit choppy, but we saw a lot.
Freeport has a nice mini straw market, which we vastly preferred to Nassau's straw market! The stalls were larger and there was more variety of merchandise. (Prices were also a bit higher). The merchandise really covered the gamut, from junky stuff to very nice necklaces, bags and clothing.
Freeport also has some beautiful shops, including many major brand names, and wonderful restaurants. I didn't see any real bargains, but I did see a lot of merchandise that I really liked! Also, all of the major hotel chains seemed to have resorts in Freeport, and they had all recovered from their recent hurricane damage, as far as I could tell.
Our third stop was Key West, and we loved this one. We were lucky enough to have an EXCELLENT guide on our Hemingway House tour, and he really brought the town to life. He went way "above and beyond", telling us many interesting stories about the town and local legends. The house was great as well (for cat lovers as well as for Hemingway fans!). I would definitely recommend that tour!
Afterwards, we went on our own to the Maritime Museum. It was more exciting than the name implies ... lots of information about pirate treasure and recovery operations of sunken ships. I had low expectations, thinking it would be dry and boring .. and I was wrong. We enjoyed it a lot.
Another thing to not miss in Key West was the little enclosed mall next to the Customs House which includes the Blue Cat shop. We LOVED the Blue Cat .. it has lots of cat and dog merchandise, pictures of cats from around the world, and a very friendly proprietor. The rest of that mall had some wonderful shops, too, with high quality merchandise .. we were impressed.
If we had had more time, we also would have toured the Little White House .. my Dad went, and said it was great! There are at least a couple of day's worth of activities in Key West, including the sponge shop, Customs House museum, the reef, etc. We were also impressed by how clean, beautiful and organized everything is. We would DEFINITELY visit Key West again!
Overall, we had an EXCELLENT cruise, and no major complaints. I would recommend bringing a small pass holder to carry the sea pass in .. it makes life easier! Get your picture taken as often as you like .. you are under no obligation to buy it unless you like it. On formal night, they have numerous backdrops against which you can get your picture taken ... that was a lot of fun.
Also, we really enjoyed the comedian the first night, although that was the only show we had time to attend. We found a few bargains in the on-ship shops, including some Kahlua at a great price. The clothing, on the other hand, was high quality but VERY expensive!
Overall, it was a great cruise, and we really enjoyed it!