WARNING : (long but in my opinion accurate!!)
just got off the Majesty of the seas...I sailed with my wife and 2 children (ages 3 & 10) and my wife's parents who were in a separate cabin down the hall...Embarkation was pretty smooth..(plenty of representatives from R/C to guide you along... flew into Ft. Lauderdale, and drove down to Miami the morning of the cruise,(about 40 min. ride) was on board by 12:30. room was ready by 1:00 pm
Immediately they guide you to the Windjammer Cafe lunch buffet. Lunch buffet was just so-so.. good variety but nothing special. salads, meats, burgers, hot dogs, dessert.. they offer iced tea/lemonade which is included, but we opted to purchase the soda sticker for my wife and son to share (wife only drinks diet coke. a bit much at $19.00 for a refillable travel mug but does includes tax and gratuity. One item of information to pass along..SODA IS NOT INCLUDED WITH ROOM SERVICE ORDERS WITH THE PURCHASE OF THE SODA PACKAGE. THEY WILL SELL YOU CANS OF COKE FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE...(Found this out the first night, we ordered nachos from room service, and when asked for coca cola, and told the person I had the soda sticker, he told me the soda package was not extended to room service orders..VERY ODD? I mean what's the point of paying $19.00 if you cant get a soda any time you wish?
The cabin was an inside unit, a little cramped, but we knew that going in. it had two single beds on the floor, and 2 flip down bunks that pulled down for sleeping. and were in the "up" position during the day.. the room attendant did a fine job keeping the place neat and tidy, along with making a few towel animals for the kids...
There are 2 sit down restaurants on board... Maytime,and Mikado. we were assigned a 6:00 dinner seating at Maytime.. dinners were excellent..great selections, nice presentation, food taste was very good. of course we sampled several appetizers and desserts each night, and our wait staff made us all feel welcome.
There were a few items I would like to point out that I feel need to be shared with my fellow cruisers... first off, there WAS an odor of sewage on several decks where our cabins were located.. it seemed to come and go during the day, and at varying degrees of intensity...
Also the elevators to get around are SLOW, SLOW, SLOW to arrive !! (and when the doors open, it's like a cattle stampede to get in) since we are younger, we took the stairs often, which left more opportunity for the many seniors we saw traveling with us on board.
The pools ARE saltwater, and are NOT heated.. the kids did not utilize the pools as much as we originally had hoped. (We sailed on Disney Wonder in april.. all pools were fresh water and heated).
The outside temps in the Bahamas were about 75-77 degr. but very windy..made it for a chilly pool experience...
The pools were not really used by anyone the entire cruise, the 2 hot tubs were seeing more use...
Another small annoyance was that there were very few garbage receptacles on the decks. it may sound strange but I was always searching when I needed to throw away a napkin, gum wrapper, etc..
The bus boys cleared the used plates of food, but what about just general garbage??
The ship's condition is in pretty good shape, however it does show signs of wear in the cabin bathrooms, and indoor/outdoor carpet around the pool areas..(worn out) the ship is decorated in the 90's color schemes teal blue, gold, kinda like Miami Vice... its not a very big ship, but the common areas where people would go seemed to be the most recently renovated, some with flat screen televisions.
We saw several shows on board, a latin style dance show, and a very funny comedian Dan Bruner who made us all laugh, and worked CLEAN !! no foul mouthed jokes... my older son laughed to tears!!
The Bahamas was OK, were were there before so we avoided the tourist traps like the straw market or the overprice excursion to the Atlantis hotel. (It is beautiful, but they charge handsomely for the privilege of using their facilities for only 4 hours)
Save the money and splurge on a massage on board !!!
The day we went to R/C's private island cocoa key, the tendering process took a long time, due to rough conditions they attempted to launch the tenders from both sides of the ship, which caused people to back up into the stairwells until they could properly load the smaller boats (this was obviously a safety decision, but delayed getting to the island by about 45 minutes) the Barbecue lunch was very good that was provided for us on the island, and the water was crystal clear, with many fish to be seen by snorkeling!!!
Key West was a great place to visit, with lots to see and do.. we went to the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, which we found a fun way to see some really odd and unusual things.. then off to the areas that Hemingway made famous, followed by passing local landmarks like Sloppy Joes Bar and grill and then the Hard Rock Cafe.
The disembarkation process was very smooth, they give you a colored luggage tag that you affix to your luggage the night before you leave, and you place all your luggage outside your room on your last night. the next morning you have the option of eating at the buffet breakfast or sit down restaurant, afterward you are guided through customs.. We were off the ship by 8:30 and getting into our rental minivan for a quick ride back to Ft. Lauderdale ..
OVERALL I WOULD GIVE THIS CRUISE ABOUT A 7-8 rating out of 10.
Likes: Smooth boarding/disembark process, very good quality food at sit down restaurants for lunch/dinner. nice shows, plenty of activities on board for all ages to keep busy/entertained staff very friendly and accommodating. value priced...
Dislikes: Odor of sewage on some deck hallways, elevators very slow to arrive, no soda with room service after you pay for soda package, buffet food just OK, cabin bathrooms in need of updating, pools were saltwater, not heated.. no garbage receptacles on decks..overpriced photography packages,
Conclusion: This cruise is great for a quick getaway. we booked at a very affordable price ($1260.00 for 2 adults and 2 children through www.hotwire.com)which makes it a great value...
The time of season may have had an impact on the amount of fun the kids had, maybe the would have used the pools more if it were say May through August, where a heated pool wouldn't be necessary.
As long as you keep your expectations in order, this is a great way to get away, for a very reasonable price.. I wouldn't recommend it for a honeymoon, or if you crave the amenities that the larger ships offer....
However, it definitely fills a need for those looking to escape the cold winter and have fun doing it!! all at a reasonable price!!!