This is our 3rd cruise vacation. Our First was Adventure of the Seas, Second was a tiny ship with Celebrity- the Zenith, which I believe is no longer in the fleet, but we LOVED it. This cruise on the Majesty put us on a ship that was sized between the other 2 ships we had been on. The other cruises were 7 night sailings, so this was our first shorter cruise and from reading cruise critics boards I was having mixed reviews on what to expect from the crowd the cruise draws.
Our arrival to Florida was by air - arrangements made BY Royal Caribbean, which I would probably not do again. More so because I know I paid more, and the reason I did it was because the agent convinced me that it was a huge risk to do the plans myself in case of plane delays, etc. The flights were such that we had to leave our home at 3:45AM to go to the airport. We had a layover in Atlanta and our flight arrived to Fort Lauderdale at 1:30 or so. From there we were to take the bus transport to the pier in Miami. The bus was not quick for us, they kept us waiting with a small group of people for a bus for almost an hour. However I did like not having to worry about getting myself there! Once the bus showed up it was a seamless and easy embarkation. We were on the ship within 20 minutes of getting off the bus. We had all our documents in hand including our set sail paper.
Once on the ship we went to find the Windjammer, it was about 3pm and we were starving! It was crowded, as expected, although with a little patience it was fine, we waited and got a table to sit at and all our food was hot, and it tasted great. I read many mixed reviews about Windjammer food on this ship. I'm still puzzled by this because we ate lunch, breakfast three times, and afternoon snack here and always had hot food, that tasted fine. AND there is a ton of selection. I don't see how anyone couldn't find MANY things that appeal to them. It is not gourmet fare, but it isn't cafeteria quality either - I found it to be completely edible, good hot food. We never tried Sorrento's or the Deli because we were happy with what was offered at the Windjammer.
After lunch we went to our stateroom. I KNEW it was going to be tiny, but I didn't really realize HOW TINY! IT DIDN'T MATTER! It was very small, but bottom line is, it's a short cruise, there were only 2 of us in the room and we were in port 2 full days. Our room was used to shower, change, read before bed and sleep. We were completely comfortable. Deck 3 was great- we weren't far forward so there was not a ton of anchor noise, and it was quiet there and close to tendering, dining rooms, and disembarkation. The only drawback for me was the distance from the Windjammer. We are young and healthy, but there were LOTS of stairs up to the Windjammer and my husband wanted no part of the elevator- he thought we needed the exercise! (We did) But, still.... after jaunting all day at the Atlantis and having done those stairs 2 times that morning already, I didn't think I would make it to afternoon snack! Putting the suitcases under the bed was a great tip and for the smallish amount of clothes we brought for a short cruise, there was plenty of storage. The rooms were clean and in good shape, the bathroom was fine and I didn't have any issue with the shower curtain that I heard so many horror stories about. Our stateroom attendant was very good and we had 2 towel animals, not that it mattered much to us, but a nice touch. I will say I found the bed to be quite hard and we were happy to get back home to our soft bed.
Food in the dining room was mixed for me. We had mixed reviews on the dining room as a whole. There wasn't much pizazz to the room at all. It was kind of bland compared to the other ships we had been on. Although, we got our table for 2, right at a window, which was fabulous and romantic. We were very happy with this! Our waiter was technically good, but no personality at all! He was American and very opinionated on the menu which was at times overboard. The first night I had the lamb which was fabulous and the chocolate cake which was ok. I had the strawberry cold bisque and scallop risotto both as starters. I recommend both, the risotto was to die for, best thing I ate the whole cruise and it should be made into an entree in my opinion! The next night I had the filet, the lobster bisque and vanilla coconut cake for dessert. All was pretty good. The last night I had the strip steak- big mistake - no flavor. The waiter had recommended this steak or the Tempura Mahi Mahi.... I thought it sounded like fish and chips but I made a huge mistake. My husband had ordered the Mahi Mahi and it was phenomenal. I was so mad I made the wrong choice!In hindsight I could have sent back the steak and asked for the fish, but I felt it was a waste so i suffered through the steak. I had the spinach dip for a starter and they also had caesar salad on all the tables that night. I didn't really get that actually, i would rather them not choose any part of my dinner! The spinach dip was very good. My husband had the garlic soup and oh my gosh, it was STRONG! The dessert was the best dessert of the cruise and I am a chocolate girl, but this beat out the chocolate cake on the first night- the banana crunch custard dessert is a MUST!! It's phenomenal. The food was a mix of some great things and some bland things and some things that were just ok. All in all, for the price we paid, I felt we got a lot of value for our money, but the food was better on both previous cruises.
I kept reading how awesome the staff was on this ship and I did not find them to be overly friendly nor not friendly- just ok. It was pretty standard service. I was happy on Coco Cay when I ordered the Coco Loco and did not like it- it had a berry taste that I did not expect. They must have seen my face when I tasted it at the bar because the bar tender asked if I liked it, I told her it wasn't what I expected and she offered to replace it with something else of my liking. I was very impressed - she gave me a pina colada for no extra charge, of course I tipped her quite well.
Speaking of Coco Cay.... we did not rush off the ship first thing, we had breakfast and then headed to the tender, we did not have to wait in line at all. I would say it was 9:00 or so at that point, maybe 9:30. We headed off the tender and kept walking and walking to find a secluded and quiet area. We found great chairs under some palm trees and right next to a hammock. There was a sand bar way out so we waded out to that and looked at all the conch and some fish that were swimming around. We sat out there and the tide started rising eventually. When it was to our chests when we were sitting in the water, we headed back to shore and read the entire rest of the day on our chairs. We never moved except when I went to get my drink. We weren't hungry at all so chose not to brave the chaos that I saw at the BBQ.... we chose to go back to the ship around 3:30 and that was when we had to wait in the long hot line for the tender. Oh well, you have to get back to the ship I guess! It wasn't all that bad, just hot. We went to the "Freeze" when we got on the ship to get a snack and cool off. It was NOT what we hoped. It was basically bad ice cream with toppings. They lead you to believe it's like a cold stone creamery experience where they mix it with toppings on a slab. The slab was there, but there was no mixing....we thought maybe the guy working it was new and chalked it up to inexperience. The next day however I saw the same thing going on with other workers, so that was disappointing and I mentioned so on my survey at the end.
The next day was Nassau. We had arranged to go to the Atlantis. We got a great rate on a room at the Atlantis- cheaper than the Comfort Suites, just a couple days before we left to sail. We got off the ship and were assaulted by the folks in the building on the pier that you HAVE to walk through. My advice..... go outside and get a taxi out there. Inside the building we wanted to take the water taxi and the guy told us to stand to the side while he got more people. After 10 minutes and no more people, we opted for a regular taxi. That guy did the same, told us to stand there until he got more people. I had in my mind that I bet there were taxis waiting right outside if we went out. We waited and he collected some more people, but that was another 10 minutes. When we got outside, sure enough, plenty of taxi's. I don't know if they would make you wait... but I wish we had just walked out there from the start and ignored the folks inside.
We were at Atlantis in no time and checked in and they gave us a room right away. We went up and put our money in our safe and took only what we wanted handy and off we went to find our way around. It was definitely intimidating in the beginning because it's huge and we had no idea where to go. We collected a map at the desk and headed to a towel hut. We were asked numerous times for our room keys as proof of being allowed there until we got our wristbands. Once we had our wristbands on, no one bothered us at all. We found lockers for what we had with us and we grabbed chairs near the lazy river at aquaventure and left our towels, map and flip flops there. They were not bothered all day, we checked back over a few times to grab more sunscreen and such, and no one ever bothered our stuff at our chairs. The aquaventure was a ton of fun, I loved that lazy river! So much fun! For us, this was a treat because we have a 20 month old, she was left home with my sister for this trip. We love rides of any type and hadn't done anything like this since well before I had been pregnant with her. We really enjoyed ourselves here! This was a great balance to the prior day of reading and relaxing. Fun in the water and jaunting around Atlantis and the Dig all day was great, although TIRING! I will say, while we did not purchase any kind of food or drink there, we saw the prices and they were STEEP! So be prepared if you plan to eat lunch or get a drink there! If you are there without kids, or with and want a souvenir for kids, they have a great Atlantis Kids store inside and we found the most adorable things there for our daughter.
We took a taxi back to the ship and went up to "afternoon snack" - this was great. We hadn't had anything since breakfast and by the time we returned to the ship we were feeling it! We had a great plate of snack stuff and went up to the deck to take some photos of the Atlantis from up there. We then headed in to shower and change for our dinner. (Note, we were in Nassau on Sunday- no traffic at all, so taxi was quite fast, although I hear that on other days the traffic can be at a standstill and you might want to use the water taxi in that case.)
This was the night to pack our luggage and leave it outside. We also chose the prepaid tipping which was easy, and then we just added additional cash to any that we felt deserved more. This way we didn't have to expend our cash on tips and we still had plenty for food at the airports and when we got home to pay for parking at the airport, etc.
The worst thing that happened.... someone else took my suitcase upon arrival at the baggage off the ship. We were the last group to be called off the ship and we found only one of our bags. I had to fill out the loss report and I was really upset. I had a lot of new and nice things in my suitcase, having had a baby somewhat recently and having lost weight since last summer, I had bought a lot of new clothes for this summer, a brand new formal dress, basically everything I owned that fit me and wasn't workout wear was in that bag. The good news is that today- 2 days since getting home- we received a phone call from the Ritz Carlton in FL. Their guest had collected my bag by accident. They are arranging with Royal Caribbean to ship it to me. I am very relieved. We had the cruise insurance, so I know we would have been able to file a claim, but I don't know how much they would have paid for my stuff. So I am glad to be getting it back! Hopefully we receive it with no other issues. I will say that I had thought of carrying our bags off, all we had was 2 small roll aboards... but they make it sound like you have to do that at 7am. We didn't have a flight until 2pm and were using Royal transportation back to Fort Lauderdale airport. Well, when we did disembark, plenty of people had their stuff with them.... so I could have avoided all this by bringing my own luggage off the ship. I think next time we will do that. Note that I hear if you didn't have the cruise insurance or insurance through someone else, all Royal will do for you if your bag is not found, it offer a $50 shipboard credit on the next cruise. This is what a young worker at the baggage collection area told me.
Please know when reading this review- we are a 30 year old couple with a young child who were looking to get away and relax ALONE for the first time since having our daughter. We were not at all interested in the partying aspect so I don't have a lot of comments on the lounges, entertainment, pools, we really spent a lot of time keeping to ourselves and staying away from where the masses gathered. We found the ship to be in great shape, the food was standard fare, the service was fine, the ports as we experienced them were great. I did feel that the vibe was that this was more a party cruise than the longer cruises we have been on.
I will also say that while we followed the dress code for dinner, and were probably more dressed up on casual night than they requested. There were people on formal night in T shirts. This was disappointing to us, I know there is a lot of discussion on the attire for dinner, but we liked having a nice night out and I do think it's disappointing to be all dressed up and look at the table next to you and see people in t-shirts. That's just how I feel, but take it as this- if you are sailing on this cruise and are worried about the dress code, you will see everything on every night, so wear what you will.
All in all we enjoyed our first short cruise, and I survived leaving the baby for the first time!! There was nothing disappointing except the suitcase incident and the strip steak at the last dinner.
To you foodies- you are right, the desserts on this ship are lacking, however, they are all edible - but nothing that you couldn't just bake at home. I would rather some good dessert than no dessert at all!