April 17-21, 2006 Bahamas here we come! We were looking forward to this cruise, my family and I had just experienced 3 family related deaths within a 3 week period. It was time for a break from our daily routines, both physically and emotionally. We booked this cruise along with my wife's two sisters and their families, total of 13 of us!
We made our own flight arrangements this time. The last time (2003) we took a cruise with Royal Caribbean, we had them make the arrangements for us. We of course collected our own luggage at the airport after our flight then we placed it on the bus expecting not to have to worry about it again until we got on the ship and to our surprise I had to claim it again, have it checked off and then give it to the people to place it in the ship. So we decided if were going to have to do that we would rather just do it ourselves. But to our surprise again, this time we made arrangements for transfers from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami with RCCL, we placed them on the bus and the driver announced that once we got to the port that he would take care of our luggage for us and we would see them on the ship! I like letting them make the arrangements that way if anything goes wrong with the flight they are responsible!
The embarkation: We got to the port around noon time, there was almost no one in line! It was wonderful! We separated into our groups, my 4 and my wife's one sister had her 3. It didn't but maybe 30 to 45 minutes at the most before we up on the ship at the buffet! My suggestion to everyone reading this is to make sure you have your seapasses filled out and with you before you get there and it doesn't take long at all. I would like share one thing here, is that if for some reason you arrive the night before and stay in the area, don't call RCCL and ask what time you can board the ship. My sister-in-law along with her husband and 4 kids had did this, she called and they told her that she couldn't get on the sip until 2:00PM! Fortunately she got in contact with us and we told her we were on the ship at noon and to come on! I don't know if there was miscommunication or what, but take my advice don't call just go as early as you want, you may need to wait a little while, what's wrong with that you're on vacation!
Stateroom: I wasn't really pleased with the stateroom, I guess it really showed the age of the ship, time for it to be refurbished. We did have an outside cabin which was nice since it allowed my 9yr. old son to be able to climb up in the window sill and look out, of course he was amazed. And I knew when the sun was shining and when it wasn't! Little room, it was hard when there are 4 of you trying to get dressed all at once and only room for one to stand while, one sits on the bed and the chair and other is in the bathroom! CRAMPED! But I guess its how the saying goes ' you get what you paid for'.
Ship: I was surprised that I actually liked the ship. I have been on 5 other cruises 2 of which the ship was over 100,000 tons, and it was hard to tell the difference. I think that it was so well taken care of that you really could not tell it was an older smaller ship. I was pleased!
Dining: All 13 of us ate during the main seating every night. They had set up two table for us right next to each other. We had the adults at one table and the children at another. I really enjoyed the food in the dining room, I thought there was a nice selection on the menu and being a return cruiser I know that if you want you can order something from any menus from the previous nights if they have it available (HINT!) I enjoyed the breakfast and lunch time buffets, they weren't to crowded at all. The food was good!
Service: In all the service on the ship was good. I wasn't to pleased with our cabin steward, he wasn't up the standard that I was use to. All the other cruises I have been on the first person you saw in the morning when you walked out, was you cabin steward. Not this one, we were lucky if we saw him with in a couple hours after we left our room. He did what he was supposed to do but I wasn't impressed with any of the one on my deck, they seemed very lazy. We had a fantastic waitress at dinner, her assistant was new, believe me he was GREEN! It was obvious that he was new at what he was doing by the inconsistencies. He used the wrong glass on night for getting a soda and by doing this when he went to place a glass on the table he poured the soda down my wife's back into her formal dress! I guess that explains what I mean by GREEN! It was taken care of the by the Head waiter, he had it cleaned for us for free and we told him we could tell that the assistant was new and my wife was great sport about it! We went back to our cabin just laughing about it, hey its only a dress why let that ruin our time! Hats off to the Head waiter! Overall service was great! (We had a personal interview with one the chef's!)
Children's Clubs: My hat is off to the Children's clubs crew on the MAJESTY of THE SEA!!!! My son had a wonderful time! We were really concerned whether he would want to go to the club, he and his cousin actually begged us each night to take them after dinner! It was great! I dropped him off after dinner, went to the show, walked around with my wife, just relaxed and then picked him back up at 9:45PM and if we wanted to for an extra $5.00 an hour we could let him stay until midnight! He did that 2 nights in a row. The night before we left they dressed the kids up as pirates and took them around the ship and they invaded the ship! This made my cruise! Knowing that my son was enjoying himself that much, made the last 3 months of emotional turmoil just melt away! Take your kids to the clubs, they... YOU WONT REGRET IT!
Entertainment: Stay away from the VIVA whatever show! It was terrible! My wife and I stayed only a few moments! The Boogie Wonderland show was much better! But the show of the cruise was the comedian, he was fantastic! Also they had an impersonator and he was really good! There was a lot of interaction with the audience! AGAIN STAY AWAY FROM THE VIVA SHOW, unless you want to go to sleep!
Shore Excursions: My 15 year old daughter and I went on the Stingray Express and Beach break in Nassau. It was great! They put you on a speedboat with about 25 other people and they you take you this resort area to swim with the stingrays and lay on the beach. If you go, take the first tour, we were the only ones there for the first 2hrs. It was fantastic having just a few people around the rays swimming and snorkeling! When we got ready to leave the place was packed! It gave us time to go back, get cleaned up and go back out and shop before the ship left! I recommend this excursion! When we got to Key West it was HOT! We did everything on our own, if I had it to do over I'd catch a tour. We went to the Butterfly Conservatory, it was about 12 blocks from the ship! It was nice but it's a lot further then it looks on the map! I recommend going to the Robert Frost Museum, its about 5 blocks from the ship! It was very interesting!
Disembarkment: We had it very easy getting off the ship. We had an early flight out so we didn't set our luggage out the night before we kept it with us. They allow you to go to deck four and line up by 7:45am and you are the first to leave the ship! It was a breeze! Granted you have your luggage, but there were very few doing this! We were through customs and off the ship and on our way to the airport within an hour of getting in line! I recommend if you have an early flight take advantage of this! Ask the pursers desk about it!
Summary: Overall, I really had a lot of fun! The Majesty of the Sea has a few more good years in her and if you like the smaller ship feel, I would recommend her and her crew to provide you with a wonderful time!