Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Majesty of the Seas
Sailing Date: February 12th, 2007
Royal Caribbean International
Majesty of the Seas Cruise Review
Cruising was never something I truly had an interest in, but it was a suggestion made by my boyfriend for the week we had off. 4 nights seemed just right for me. I've never cruised before and this site was especially helpful in helping a first-time cruiser such as myself anticipate what was going to happen; it is probably the best way to prepare before getting onto your own cruise! As it was February, I didn't know just how warm the weather was going to be... After checking local weather listings over the weeks, the majority of what I packed was summer wear: shorts, shirts, bathing suits... but the BEST thing you can do for yourself is to bring a sweater or two if not for the cooler nighttime breeze, or the cooler air on open waters then for the air conditioning inside the ship! Also, make sure that you've got all necessary documents (get your Set Sail pass online before leaving home!) for travel--depending on your cruise, they will list which ones you will need for your trip on the RCL website.
We arrived in Miami the night before **this is RECOMMENDED just in case anything should happen (i.e. flight delays) and you miss the cruise** We stayed at an airport hotel and learned that most hotels around the airport have a shuttle service to the Port of Miami at least once a day, at around 1PM which we found to be PERFECT for the cruise leaving at 5.
Actually boarding the boat was a little bit tedious--it was a long lineup, but it went relatively quickly considering just how many people there were. After dropping off your bags, the first line up is to check that you have all necessary documents, which leads into the next line up of getting your Sail Pass card, which is the only form of payment accepted on board and at some ports of call. They will take a credit card number to link to your card, and all purchases made with your Sail Pass card will immediately be charged to your credit card--you will receive the bill at the end of your trip.
**BE CAREFUL! We were
warned many times that with the Sail Pass card, it's easy to lose track of
expenses, and it's true! KEEP ALL RECEIPTS until you receive your final bill!!!
IN ADDITION, your Sea Pass card will be your EVERYTHING--your key to your room,
your ID on and off the ship, so it is IMPORTANT to keep it on you at all
The next couple of line ups are for x-ray screening prior to boarding and then another line up to have your picture taken before boarding the ship. Though it's NOT necessary to have your picture taken, I really liked the way ours turned out... **Professional pictures will be taken at most ports of call and most nights during the cruise. Each night, all pictures taken will be posted for sale for around $19.95/per photo... some were cheaper** The whole process takes about 1.5-2 hours.
We were fortunate to get the Majesty just out of dry dock, although because I had not seen it prior I didn't notice any changes. We had enough time to go to our room and drop off all the stuff we still had with us and noticed that our other luggage had not yet arrived to our rooms. We learned that the crew has up until about 8PM to get bags to the rooms, so be patient and don't panic! We went up to the Windjammer for lunch--and it is a FANTASTIC place to grab a bite! They have a great selection of food! One of the things we noticed almost IMMEDIATELY is how FRIENDLY the crew is--not just people who deal directly with you, but EVERYONE! Anyone who is a crew member--wait staff, room attendants, captains--will greet you upon passing, ask how you are doing and make sure that you're attended to. Since we had chosen the main seating for dinner (which was only about 2 hours away) we decided not to eat too much, and went back to our rooms to wait for the muster drill.
**The MUSTER DRILL is MANDATORY... you will find your MUSTER STATIONS on your closet door/back of your room door, to which you will have to report with your life jacket ON at the time of the drill** About a half an hour before departure, the crew will conduct this drill... at this point, all hallways and staircases will become incredibly crowded with the entire ship trying to make their way to their stations. Once you arrive, the crew takes attendance and you stand in a group within your stations, until everyone is accounted for--this is a little tedious and takes about 45minutes of just standing around, waiting for everyone to show up.
Oh, before I forget...
**FORGET USING THE ELEVATORS, ESPECIALLY on the first night when bags are still
coming up. There are 8 elevators that are constantly being used and we found
most of the time it was easier just to suck it up and take the stairs because
the elevators were often crowded. The BEST time to use the elevators are when
the ship is at a port of call and most of the passengers are out and about**
Choosing the main dinner worked out well for us. Our wait staff was INCREDIBLY nice and always made sure that we were taken care of. Our waiter always made recommendations with the food (each night being themed) as well as advised us what was worth doing/seeing at the next port of call. Although it is not mentioned, you're free to ask for second servings of anything on the menu! We heard some other guests throughout the cruise saying that the selection at the Windjammer for dinner was pretty good too, if being waited on isn't your thing. At first we were afraid that choosing such an early dinner would hinder any plans we may have had for each port of call, but you were typically back on the ship by 4-5PM anyway. Also for the FORMAL NIGHT, make sure you bring something nice to wear. They let you in regardless, but it's really something to see everyone so dressed up. On this night in particular, the line ups to have your pictures taken were a little bit longer than usual...
**When BOOKING an EXCURSION, it is best to do this on the FIRST night as the excursions tend to fill up... at the Excursions desk on the main level, there will be a flyer with activities for each port of call along with prices... these trips range anywhere between $30/ea-$180/ea for things like glass bottom boat tours, dolphin encounters or parasailing...** We tried to choose excursions that were relatively inexpensive, but would also allow us to see each port in a different way so we chose the Yellowbird Boat Tour for about $30/ea for Nassau and the $34/ea Kayak Tour for Coco Cay, but nothing for Key West as we decided that might be a good place to explore ourselves.
The Cruise Compass, a daily newsletter delivered to your room each night, is a first-time cruiser's best friend. It'll describe each port of call, the various activities that can be done at each port as well as events happening on board throughout the day. As dinner lasted about 6-730PM and the live shows (which my boyfriend and I LOVE) didn't start until around 9-10PM, the little gap gave us time to explore the ship, relax, or hang out in the casino but not too much time that we were bored.
It was BEAUTIFUL when we arrived in Nassau but since our boat tour didn't start until the afternoon, we took the time to walk around the surrounding area of the Port. We stopped by the Straw Market, but it only takes an aisle or two to realize that they're all selling the same things and since the aisles are incredibly narrow and hard to walk down, we left to walk around a little further. From there we bought hot sauce and rum cakes, which seemed like the perfect things to bring back. The beginning of the boat tour was breathtaking but as we neared the beach we were supposed to stop at, the rain came down in sheets. Instead of a half hour on the beach, we all remained on the boat... this would seem like a downer except the band kept playing and the rum kept coming, which kept everyone in high spirits.
This made us a little weary for our next port, but we woke up to sunny skies! As the port in Coco Cay was too small for the Majesty, they had little boats take us there... getting on the boat from the Majesty was an adventure in itself. The waters were a little rough, which kept both the boat and the bridge from the ship to the boat rocking--not for someone with a weak stomach! Coco Cay (Little Stirrup Cay) is owned by RCL, so the island was entirely ours! We were disappointed to find out that our kayak trip had been cancelled due to choppy waters (which we'd been informed about before we made it all the way to the kayak station) and spontaneously decided to take a wave runner instead. Although it was a little more expensive, it was entirely worth it--TONS of fun! There was also a mini straw market where the boats come in.
On this night, we received envelopes in our room asking if we wanted to pre-pay our gratuities. Now this was something I'd been worrying about since before the trip, not knowing what was enough but the form simply asks you if you want the gratuities charged automatically to your Sea Pass card and the following night, you'd receive individual envelopes/coupons with the gratuities for everyone necessary... this made life a lot easier!
We had nothing planned for Key West, so we simply walked around--which wasn't a bad idea in the least. There were lots of trollies to take people on a tour, and TONS of stands for people to rent scooters and bikes which also looked like a lot of fun. We walked along the harbor and then back into the city and along their main road (which our server had recommended the night before) to do some shopping... next time around, I would probably take a scooter or a bike though.
I would definitely cruise with them again... the service was nothing short of fantastic, I was consistently entertained and the atmosphere was so much fun!