Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Majesty of the Seas
Sailing Date: August 10th 2001
This was our first experience cruising – it won’t be our last.
We took the three-night Majesty of the Seas cruise to Nassau and CocoCay, RCCL’s private island. From start to finish, it was a wonderful experience, with little about which to complain.
Air/sea through RCCL was not really a bargain since Southwest Airlines is a predominant carrier in our home city, so we booked cruise only, our own air on Southwest, and got the RCCL transfers. There were at least 4 RCCL employees waiting for us when we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, and after we went down to baggage claim to put our Majesty tags on our suitcases, we were on the bus and on the way to Miami. The transfer took 30-45 minutes to arrive at the Port of Miami. Check-in was fairly quick and straightforward, and we were on the ship about an hour and a half after we landed.
The cabin was nice – smallish, but well thought out – lots of built-in shelves and drawers, a good-sized closet with hanging rods for both long and short items (the hangers are those dreadful anti-theft ones, but there were lots of them, on both rods) and a safe with a guest-programmed combination, and a corner ‘sofa’ unit with, we discovered, a lift-up lid to a storage compartment underneath – very handy as a dirty-clothes hamper. We booked Category D, larger ocean view, on Deck 9, so we looked over the lifeboats but had a lovely unobstructed view of the outside world. The bathroom was pretty small but again, had adequate shelf space both outside of the shower unit and in it. Water pressure was good and the hot water was hot, both very important!
The public facilities are quite varied and well-appointed. The Windjammer Café on the Pool Deck served buffet lunch on departure day, so one gets right into the swing of things. The Viking Lounge, the highest level of the ship aft, has an incredible view and we watched our departure from Miami from there. The Schooner Bar has lots of big picture windows and is a good place to have a drink and watch the ocean go by. The Centrum has plenty to keep one entertained and informed – Purser’s desk, shore excursion desk, shops, beauty salon, etc etc. We only walked by the library, but it looked very inviting in a men’s club sort of way – lots of big leather sofas. The computer area had a good number of what appeared to be quite new computers, and 50¢ a minute, while by no means cheap, is a lot more reasonable than the $2.00/minute I read in another review of the ship! We live in a high-tax state, so the drink prices weren’t terribly out of line with what we’re used to.
The dining rooms are nicely decorated, large, and adequately staffed – I think our waiter in the Mikado had two tables of 8 and two of 6 to take care of. The food was good – not spectacular, but solidly good. The dining-room menus were varied enough so that even a picky eater could find something each night, and everything was presented attractively. The wait staff was very good – obviously, the better they are, the better their tips, but it didn’t appear forced, at least not from our waiter and assistant waiter. Four of our table of 8 had little to no English, but there were Spanish-language menus available and our waiter (Indian) and assistant (Filipina) had enough Spanish to be able to communicate. Open-seating lunch in the Mayfair dining room also worked well. The Windjammer has a buffet (i.e., a cafeteria line) for breakfast, lunch (until 5pm, very handy for an afternoon snack as well), and dinner.
Cruise director Richard Spacey has more energy than should be allowed – he was great fun and all the cruise staff appeared to be very attentive to the guests. There is a great variety of nightly entertainment, and now I’m sorry we missed the first two nights’ shows. Majesty Quest (a scavenger hunt of sorts) on the last night was side-splittingly funny. The ‘On Your Toes’ discotheque played a good variety of dance music, and my concerns about being on the same deck as a disco were completely unwarranted – you couldn’t tell at all. The Captain, Tor Bohn, seems like a very nice and patient guy, which he needs to be if he’s meeting 5000 new people a week!
The shore excursions were a good mix for both Nassau and CocoCay, there was something for everyone if they wanted it. The Nassau tour was as interesting as it can be for a place with really no dramatic history, although the fact that at both Fort Fincastle and Fort Charlotte the driver handed you over to a ‘courtesy guide’ for that location who was unpaid and guided for tips (from the tour members) was a little unfair, considering the price one paid for the tour. The Historic Harbour Cruise and Discover Atlantis was fairly interesting, but the Atlantis guide was a parody of a tour guide – walk fast, talk fast, and hope the group gets something out of it but too bad if they don’t. Atlantis, incidentally, exceeds all definitions of gross excess. Bay Street in Nassau is a good place to shop if you are in the market for jewelry, we bought a pair of good watches and when I checked prices when I got home, we had in fact gotten an excellent deal. CocoCay offers a variety of water sports (snorkeling, jet-skis, parasailing, banana boat rides) as well as lots of beach space and chairs in which to hang out and catch some rays. Lunch was a buffet barbecue (hot dogs, burgers, ribs - I was interested to note that neither the cole slaw nor the potato salad had mayonnaise - they try not to give you food poisoning).
On the whole, the staff were attentive and responsive, but I do have one complaint: unless they were trying to sell you a drink on the pool deck, generally the staff did not speak unless spoken to. Maybe I’m being too picky, but I briefly worked at a 4-star hotel where it was required for all employees to acknowledge any guest who came with in a certain distance of the employee and made eye contact. It certainly is more pleasant to at least be acknowledged by the bellmen and engineering staff, etc, rather than stared at like they wish you would go away. If the whole crew is there to serve the guests, then they should all be pleasant to the guests.
That minor gripe aside, we felt like we got a lot of bang for our buck – much more so than the trip we took to Cancun two years ago. The accommodations were fine, the food was fine, the other passengers seemed like a good bunch (our table mates were fun, and I was amazed at the age range on board - newborn to 90) and the shore excursion options were plentiful and varied. We had thought about an Alaska cruise a couple of years ago, and were looking upon this as a test to see if we could stand being on a ship for a week. It seems that we can, and we’ve got the Alaska brochure to start planning for next summer!