What a perfect cruise for first timers! Traveled with my DH, 20 yr old DS and his GF. The GF was the only one in our group who had cruised before. Flew out of Newark to Miami. Nightmare experience here. Got to the airport 2 hrs prior to take-off as recommended (8:30 am). Flight was delayed until 5:00 pm!! Good thing we decided to fly out the day before embarkation. Flying is so unpredictable, it is best to go the day before to ensure that you don't "miss the boat." We stayed at the Marriott Airport in Miami. Very nice accommodations and they procured a van taxi to take us to the Port of Miami. The restaurant was very pricey and if we had it to do over we would have chosen to eat at the bar. The service was good and although the food was good, it wasn't worth the high price tag.
Heard horror stories about embarkation. It was a little scary handing off luggage to porters at the dock but we tipped them generously and asked that they please make sure that all of our luggage arrive on board safely. All the luggage made it on!(We did pack a few outfits in our carry-ons in the event the airline lost our luggage and ordered tuxes which were in our staterooms when we arrived and fit our men perfectly. Saved us having to pack suits and dress shoes. Definitely recommend using this service) It was easy as can be from that point forward. Register on-line prior to embarking and print out your sea-passes. My DS & GF had passports which I recommend, but DH & I used birth certificates & drivers licenses without a hitch. RCCL staff was friendly, patient and helpful from the get go. Once we traded our printed sea passes for sea pass cards (also double as cabin keys) the fun began.
Dining: We were directed to Windjammer for lunch. Amazing selection with a spectacular view. People always fail to mention the view in their reviews. GF is a vegetarian and always had a variety of healthy fare. DH was in heaven as he was expecting sandwiches and instead discovered this amazing buffet that include Paella, his favorite. There was a salad bar, pasta bar, dessert bar, beverage stations and so much more. There were chicken dishes like Chicken Picatta as well as meat and fish selections. The food was very good. There were sanitizing stations at the entrances. Let's keep on the dining thread. Sorrentos had pizza that the kids raved about and was available at all hours. The Compass Deli had a wonderful selection of paninis and wraps. We chose the late seating for dining which was perfect for our group. We didn't have to rush back from ports of call, got to view the sunsets and dined without small children about. (I love children - been there done that - In fact, I run a childcare center, but I was on vacation with adults.) Our table mates were a mother and daughter, Sandy & Jennifer who were wonderful people. I only regret that we didn't exchange e-mails to stay in touch with them. The food was great. The wait staff was friendly and attentive. Enrico our waiter was phenomenal. There was a fabulous selection of food every evening. You can order as many appetizers, entrEes and desserts as you wish. The staff remembers your preferences such as who prefers tea over coffee or what your favorite breads and rolls are. GF and I love Indian food. Every night we ordered individual entrEes from the selections and shared the Indian entrEe for the evening. Desserts were decadent and delish! Enough about food. Oh, but I must mention free ice cream machines at poolside.
Staterooms: We were in class F1 ocean view staterooms on the tween deck -Deck 6. We loved this location and we'd request this deck again if we should find ourselves on Majesty again. Yes, the rooms are not spacious, but we are on a ship, not in a hotel. Our bed was comfortable, we had room for our clothes and the vanity feature was very nice. We had plenty of room to shower, dress and sleep. After all, that is really all you need to do in your room. (Yes, there was only a shampoo dispenser and soap, but I always prefer to use my own tried and true hair and body products anyway.) We loved the ocean view especially when pulling into the ports of call. We liked the tranquil decor of our rooms. They were very clean and our steward kept them that way. He was extremely friendly and created the most adorable towel creatures for us.
Pools, Gym, Shops, Shows, etc.: The saltwater pools were fab. I never swim in pools when we travel but I was in the pools every day. It was clean, the temperature was perfect and all the time you are serenaded by a live EXCELLENT Caribbean band. Does it get better? Try the Blue Monday and Love Connection drinks. (Tea totalers can get virgin versions. Ask for regular glasses if you don't want the souvenir glasses and want to save some cash.) The kids used the gym every day and were very satisfied with the equipment. Again, an amazing view here. DH and I are walkers so we took advantage of the walking deck. (Between swimming or rather dancing in the water to island music and walking, I actually lost 1.25 lbs and trust me, I did indulge in food and drink.) DS likes an occasional cigar and loved the fact that he could buy expensive cigars at a fraction of their usual cost right on board. He would indulge at The Viking Crown Lounge - SPECTACULAR views and they have both smoking and non-smoking sections. Great place to take in the sunsets. Take advantage of the gold by the inch offers on the shops deck and poolside. Especially cool for anklets. Great jewelry stores on board. We got some really good buys on watches and rings. Peruse the photos and especially take advantage of the formal photos. I am always so critical of how I photograph and was very pleased with many of the shots. The comedian/juggler was very funny and entertaining but that was really the only show we attended. Be sure to check out the pool party. I also danced to top 40 in the Spectrum club. Fun! We went to the casino on the last night and DH won $300.00 on slots!
Ports of Call: Didn't book any excursions but will take advantage next cruise. First POC was Nassau and we contracted a local tour guide - Little D. Lots of locals were trying to get cruisers to go on tours and were really pushy trying the hard sell, but Little D was different. He wasn't pushy and was smiling from the moment we met him until he brought us back to the ship. He was very knowledgeable and his tour was informative and fun. He showed us the real Nassau from the very poor to the very wealthy areas. He had us sample local fare such as the soapadilly fruit and even climbed a mango tree to pick us some of the sweet treat. He took us to Atlantis where he took us on a tour of their amazing lobby areas, some of the grounds and part of the aquarium. Thanks Little D. Next POC was Coco Cay and my favorite. DH and I took the earliest tender out and procured a hammock on the beach suspended between 2 palm trees. We also purchased the floating mats. DH spent more time in the water than I and he as well as others were bit by baby jellyfish. They must not have liked me but then I rarely get bitten by mosquitoes. DH said they really didn't hurt as much as they were an annoyance. They couldn't have been that bad because he never came out of the water! I preferred the Coco Locos, my book and that amazing hammock. They had a barbecue that DH loved. I thought it was OK. Only regret I had was that I didn't try the snorkeling but will be doing so on the next cruise that we've booked in Feb 2009.
Key West: Can't go there without having a Cheeseburger in Paradise at Margaritaville while listening to Jimmy Buffet in the background. Use your coupon for the free earrings at the Key West Pearl Company and shop while there. I live in my earrings and bought the cutest rings for myself and to give as gifts.
Very sad that the cruise had to end. We chose express disembarkation. Which meant that we rolled our own luggage off the ship in Miami and right into the cab that took us to the airport. It was too easy! Yes, we had to be up early and skipped breakfast but it was well worth it to avoid the crowds.
I highly recommend this cruise. Majesty is a beautiful ship with a great staff. It is the perfect size and length of stay (4 days) for first-time cruisers. We've been missing Majesty every day since we got back! We loved the experience so much that we are doing the 12 day southern Caribbean out of Port Liberty NJ in February.