This was our second cruise, and the first was a 6-night Western Caribbean on Radiance Jan/Feb 2007. My wife was planning on taking our two oldest kids somewhere for Spring Break in March, and since we had such a great time on our first cruise we decided to do another. We really wanted to do a longer cruise, but because we were using our Northwest miles for airfare and had a very limited schedule on when we could both get off work the 3-night Majesty cruise was the only one that would work. We could have done a different cruise line, but we really enjoyed RCI the first time and wanted to stick with them.
My wife and I swore that we would never take such a short cruise. In fact, we had wished we had booked a 7-night the first time since it was the first vacation where I wasn't ready to go home yet (my wife is never ready to go home after vacation). We were going to have a few extra days in Miami, but we were a little skeptical if we would enjoy being on board for such a short time plus there would be Spring Break college kids on board as well.
We arrived in Miami on Wednesday March 7th around 11:00 PM. We were staying at Embassy Suites near the airport, so called for a shuttle to pick us up. I have always had good experiences at Embassy Suites and other Hilton hotels and am not the type to complain about little problems, but I certainly will not be staying at this hotel again. Took over 30 minutes for the shuttle to arrive (even though they were 5 minutes from the airport), and then the only 2 room types they had were either smoking or one with a conference table in the living area instead of a couch and table. This is after the fact I called them one week in advance to specifically tell them we wouldn't be arriving until around midnight and I wanted to be sure we had a non-smoking room held for us. The rooms had a very moldy/humid smell and the public areas were filthy and needed refurbishment. Service wasn't the best either. All this for $200 a night. We had a very early flight home so wanted to stay close the airport, but we will stay close to the port next time for sure.
We spent Thursday bumming around Miami with a rented car. Friday we paid around $35 each way for shuttle service to the Port of Miami arranged through the hotel, but I will take a cab next time. Seemed expensive and the driver was rude. Arrived at the port around 11:00, and had a short delay to board because there was a large wedding party in front of us and they wanted to board them all together. I think we were on board around 11:30. First impression was the ship looked great! I was surprised at how big it still felt. Rooms on our floor were open at around 12:45, and our luggage was already there. We had an ocean view cabin on deck 5, and the kids (daughter 11 and son 10) had an inside across the hall. Compared to the balcony room we had on Radiance it was really small for sure, but clean and comfortable for the two of us. Two rooms down there was a family of 4 in another ocean view with the fold-down Pullman beds for their teenage daughters. We almost did the same, and what a mistake that would have been. Trust me - get another room for the kids if you want to remain sane during your vacation. What was cozy and comfortable for 2 of us was extremely cramped when all 4 of us were in the cabin together.
First day was Cococay and we loved it! Probably the best day we had on either of our cruises. Great snorkeling, lots of beaches, not at all crowded, fun things for the kids to do, just an awesome day to have fun and relax. Kids wanted to know if we could just plan a trip there for the next vacation! Second day was Nassau and we did snorkeling with the Sting Rays. Was OK, but certainly not the kind of experience we had with the sting rays at Grand Cayman. Just a side note - if you are afraid of the wild sting rays at Grand Cayman, these are captive ones with the barbs removed. Didn't bother me at Grand Cayman, but I know it did for others.
My kids loved Adventure Ocean, and we could never get them to leave! At dinner or when we would get back on board for the day the first thing we would hear is when could they go back there. It was just too funny when all the parents would show up between 9:45 and 10:00 at night to collect their children and none of them would want to go. We would all just look at each other and shake our heads laughing.
Service on board was excellent - not one complaint. Dining room service was better than on Radiance and the food was very good. Both our rooms were extremely clean, and the attendants were very friendly. Staff at Adventure Ocean were awesome as well, and food in Windjammer was always nice on hot (unlike Radiance at times).
This was a Spring Break cruise so lots of 20-somethings on board. We really didn't have any problems with them and never noticed any really bad behavior. The kids actually had a good time playing with a bunch of college guys at the water park in Cococay. One of the things that really surprised me was how empty the ship felt most of the time as we thought the Spring Breakers would take over the ship. We were usually in bed between 11:00 and 12:00, but the lounges we visited before that were almost always empty. I kept wondering where everyone was. Honestly, we never felt crowded on board until disembarking.
Disembarking was the only bad part of our cruise. We also had an extra night in Miami and were in no hurry to get off. We had breakfast in Windjammer, and then picked up a mocha at Lattetudes and headed up to one of the higher decks and relaxed in a lounge. Decided to stroll down around 9:30 thinking most passengers would be cleared out, but instead it was a big mess. Apparently US Customs would only take 100 passengers at a time and they were VERY slow. An RCI staff member told us this was the worst he had ever seen it, and they were usually done with disembarkation by 9:30. We were one of the first colors called, and we still didn't get off the ship until 10:15 and there were tons of passengers behind us. If I had known we were going to end up standing in that line for that long I would have stayed on the upper deck until someone made me leave.
Other than that (which was not the fault of RCI for sure) we had a great time. The refurbished Majesty was beautiful and we would go again in a heartbeat.