EMBARKATION: Flawless, extremely fast and port personnel were refreshingly helpful. We pre-checked in on-line and had our Set Sail Passes which made this process effortless. We were on board in 15 minutes (12pm) Our cabin was ready at 1pm as promised, our luggage arrived a short time later.
We did quite a bit of on-line reviewing while awaiting our first cruise. Royal Caribbean and it's ships were well represented by an abundance of information. We expected the Majesty of the Seas to be an older, but well kept ship, and indeed it was. Cabins were worn but extremely clean and as comfortable as could be expected for the size.
CABIN 9074, SO (Superior Oceanview), deck 9. Superior Oceanview proved to be a misinterpretation of the term "Superior". The only view available from deck 9 are the lifeboats unless you're 7ft tall looking out at the upper most level of the window, standing on the bed. We were disappointed to pay the upgrade to 157sq.ft. from 119sq.ft. expecting a superior oceanview.....the upgrade only afforded us some much appreciated extra square footage. Cabin was clean, aft location and certainly void of any noise at all. Beds, were swayed in the middle but we were at least able to get some sleep. Our stewart was okay, but certainly not up to some of comments we have read on-line that would raise him to remarkable. We seldom saw him.
CREW: In this area it appears RCCL needs some much needed "customer service" training (excluding bar servers, they met everyone with a smile). The crew appeared tired and sometimes bored. When presented with a question they had no answer for, they were at a total loss as to where or to whom to direct you to for an answer. Purser's desk was unfortunately useless when presented with a problem, but were quick to refer you to RCCL's 1-800 number for customer service (this would require a ship to shore call) from your room or cell phone and the prevailing ship rate. We asked if there was a "house phone" direct to customer service and only received a response that included our phone in our cabin or our cell phone.
FOOD: We were extremely pleased to find the food more than acceptable. We were early seating, and were unable to change, so we ate in the dining room only twice. Wait staff was all right. Headwaiter (waitress) was fantastic. Food choice was limited in our opinion but tasty. We found RCCL loves "garlic" I truly do not think, except for desserts, that there was a dish without garlic, to include vegetables, potatoes and even rice. We appreciate garlic, and use it often, but not to the level you totally disguise the true taste of the dish. We then enjoyed the buffet for the rest of the cruise, lines moved fast, seating was plentiful and comfortable. ROOM SERVICE was outstanding could not have asked for better service 24 hours a day....!!
BAHAMAS/NASSAU: We passed on the excursions and elected to take a buggy ride through Nassau and found it to be most pleasant. Then we took off on foot. Found the people to be enjoyable, the shops plentiful but certainly no bargains that would out-weigh a good sale at Nordstroms, and found it to be true for the jewelry as well. Local food on shore was wonderful, to include Starbucks for a taste of home!!! Straw Market was what was expected, no great bargains or quality, extremely crowded with no room to view the merchandise, typical tourist spot.
COCO CAY: This was our personal favorite......and wish it would have been longer. Certainly the barbecue could have been better, but it was brought in from the ship and certainly offered more than you would expect. Salads, fruit and desserts were plentiful. Drinks with buffet were water, punch and lemonade but you could certainly purchase anything you could want and a number of locations on the island. Water was cool but clear, sand beach kept clear of debris, beach chairs more than you could ask for, hammocks hung from a number of shaded locations as well as tables and chairs. The Straw Market was merchandised nicely and offered some nice things, much better than Nassau. The hang gliding and extras you could book were plentiful and well ran. Overall, a very enjoyable experience and a pleasant day at the beach.
KEY WEST: Probably second only to COCO CAY for fun and atmosphere. Rent a 4 seat scooter/golf cart and you have Key West at your feet in minutes. Reasonably priced shops, wonderful hidden restaurants and local bars with entertainment. Definitely worth the stop.
OUR FINAL BILL: Left under our door by 6 AM the morning of debarkation, and it was exactly to the penny. We were pleasantly surprised and glad we would not have to stand in the long lines at the Purser's Desk for any adjustments.
DEBARKATION: The ship arrived in port and everything started ahead of schedule.......they certainly want you out of your cabin no later than 8AM!! We had left our luggage out the night before, not wanting to tote it through elevators and stairs, and it ended up being a good choice, it was waiting for us in the baggage area. Customs didn't seem to impact the speed of getting off ship at all. We were on Deck 9. Decks 9 and 10 were called first, something to remember in the future, we were in the parking garage within 15 minutes of leaving our cabin. Overall great experience.
TO BE NOTED: On board entertainment was abundant, but tired.....I think RCCL could freshen it up quite a bit. Pool area was well kept, however the water was ice-cold, but the ship's band that played was refreshing and upbeat.
NEGATIVE: The VIKING LOUNGE, the ship's signature element for RCCL was closed for renovation! There was no notice upon boarding ship that it was closed, no crew members knew it was closed. Four different crew members assisted in giving us directions to the Viking upon our boarding (we had made arrangements to meet several couples from the message boards there upon boarding)not one told us it was closed.....on our way back we asked them why on earth they would direct us there and not tell us it was closed. They were astonished to be told it was closed. We went to the Purser's desk and they appeared to care less about our concerns and directed us to RCCL customer service 1-800 number for assistance, for which you could only use your cabin phone or personnel cell phone at the ships current rate for ship-to-shore calls! Customer Service was astonished that the Purser's Desk would have referred us to them. We checked in on-line, RCCL surely could have posted a notice stately it was closed and apologized for any inconvenience, or at least the crew could have been made aware. We went the entire cruise not being able to find anyone. No one would expect such a closure would have happened to one of the Ship's signature elements....without passenger notification. The direct elevators to the Viking didn't even have a sign on them with any notification they opened to concrete and carpet debris. It was disappointing to pay full fare only to find that a major element was not available.
OVERVIEW: We will definitely cruise in the future, overall it proved to be a good experience. We do think however that RCCL should reserve Major Renovations during ship down time, NOT during a cruise. We understand that ship personnel are underpaid and overworked and try to take that into consideration, maybe RCCL should care more about their feedback and provide these folks some monetary support, training and up to date information regarding the status of the ship's amenities. The result would certainly be much happier shipboard experiences for passengers and crew alike. Customer service can easily make up for an older ship's appearance.