Majesty of the Seas Aug. 8-11 (3 night Bahamas)
This was our first RCCL cruise so I was anxious to compare my former cruising experiences. Overall, it was pleasant but I would only travel RCCL if the itinerary was exceptional compared to the competition. The passengers appeared to be heavily from the Miami area. Most were families, peoples in their 20-30's, and a sprinkling of empty nesters. Very few elderly. The crowd was well behaved, but I did hear about a fight at the pool. The kids were well supervised and the fellow passengers appeared to be respectable, fun loving people. Nice group.
Departure: Port of Miami
We flew into Fort Lauderdale (our flights are always cheaper from there) and arranged a shuttle with Easy Express. We were their only customers for the trip, but had to wait about 25 minutes at the airport terminal for him to show up. Our return trip with them was equally inefficient, but not horrible. They picked us up, went to pick up others at the Carnival ship and then came back to pick up others at the Majesty and had us all get on a different shuttle. I suppose that happens.
We arrived at about 11:30 and the entire embarkation process was very efficient with no waiting at all. We had a visit from the upgrade fairy (increased from inside deck 2 to deck 6) but I thought it strange that we were not asked if this was okay. It turned out to be slightly more convenient for getting around the ship, but our cabin was opposite the room where all the luggage is taken on the last night and I heard banging of luggage until 3 AM that night. So, I don't think it was a great upgrade since the rooms are the same type.
We love to eat in the dining rooms whenever possible and were disappointed that only the Windjammer buffet was open for lunch. The selection was very nice but I'm not a buffet person. My husband LOVED the coconut cream cheesecake dessert.
We had to wait until 1 PM to go to our room but that allowed us to explore the ship. It is a very well kept and pleasant ship with no signs of wear and tear. The design is easy to get a handle on.
Room: Inside deck 6 Room 6557
Our room was very nice. It was the first time we had an inside cabin which turned out to be great for midday napping. I have to say I would consider an inside cabin on almost any future ship. Just be sure to bring a clock with an alarm. As previously stated, we were upgraded to a room that experienced the hustle and bustle of luggage removal on the final night, so it is not too desirable. The bathroom/shower was small but adequate. Everything is just fine for a short cruise. We always put the pop/water/room service items away to give us room. Bring a nightlight.
The beds/pillows were very comfortable. Our attendant was excellent. Two towel animals. He was always changing towels and making up our beds. He gets an A+
Dining: Main seating at 6PM (I am one of the few cruisers who routinely takes photos of my food- hey it is my favorite cruise experience)
I am used to more freestyle cruising and have to say I did not like the limitations imposed by a traditional cruise experience. We needed some time to shower and get ready for dinner and we didn't have time for the sail away experience at the pool. I am probably one of the rare ones, but it doesn't matter to me if the waiter knows me well or not. I have found waiters on cruise ships to be very attentive no matter what and I am not a demanding person who has to have my every want and need met. We did have an excellent waiter and the service was impeccable. I enjoyed our table mates very much and that added to our enjoyment. We were placed at an awkward table that was uncomfortable (soft seats, rounded booth). Oh well.
Our first night's meal was chicken marsala (recommended) and tiger shrimp. The strawberry bisque was also very good and worthwhile. My husband had the warm chocolate cake that he rated as average. My dessert was a raspberry cream type of dessert that I like better than the chocolate cake.
Our second night was the formal night. The majority of men wore jackets. I didn't see any tuxedos. A few had on jeans (a rather bohemian young man with a cap) and some younger men wore shorts (no effort). I had a beef tenderloin main course. I believe it was on the main recommendation list. Excellent. I also had lobster bisque (we both liked it) and cherries jubilee for dessert (no flames, rather unexciting).
Our third night was another casual night. I had mahi mahi (very average) and my husband had the strip steak that he enjoyed. The French onion soup was sort of Campbell's soup like without a lovely cheese covering. It looked like broth with toast on top. The key lime pie was very good but the sugar free key lime pie was not zingy at all. Caesar salad was family style for all.
I understand that the last night dinner on RCCL cruises always includes a "waiter parade" where they sing to the guests. I mostly felt sorry for these folks that they had to do this. It was pretty cheesy and took away from the dining experience. It was sort of a prelude to "where is my tip envelope" time. I so much like NCL's freestyle tipping policy where it is shared amongst all the wait staff. I think the parade, song and envelope tipping methods are demeaning to the staff.
Breakfast in the dining room.
The menu is always the same and rather limited. The food tended to be greasy. The service was good. Can you believe there were no in season fruits except melons which were not terribly ripe? I believe orange was the only juice offered. I had banana pancakes that were two 3" circles. Oh, well, I didn't need to eat too much anyways.
Coco Kay day: we did eat at the beach as I believe the dining rooms were closed for lunch. The buffet at the beach was a very nice picnic type of selection. Everything was fine.
The food at the Compass Deli looked very appealing although we didn't get to eat there. The pizza at Sorrentos is very average quality. Kids would like it.
We ate at the main dining room for lunch just one day. I had the Asian chicken dish that was pretty tasteless. I ate the chicken and left the noodles. Very little sauce and it was bland. My husband had the fajitas which he enjoyed very much. The best part of the meal was the dessert: Lemon curd cheesecake. To die for! My favorite food on the ship! I also had the pumpkin, feta spinach salad that was excellent.
The midnight buffet was perhaps the worst part of the experience. Most of the food, with the exception of CORN DOGS (yes, they featured CORN DOGS), looked to be recycled food from the buffet or Coco Kay outing. Folks, I'm not a gourmet, but I could have prepared this buffet myself. We saw a sign that said "suckling pig" and my husband said it was like some sort of processed meat. Yuk. They had a few desserts that were okay. The whole thing, quality and presentation were like leftovers at your local hometown buffet.
The folks dancing with the cruise director seemed to be having fun and it was fun watching them.
I was disappointed that the ship did not use some of the other eating places or lounges for some specialty breakfast places like other ships do.
Ports of Call:
Coco Kay- Lovely island, everything is well done. We had a great time for several hours despite two thunderstorms. Tendering was easy and efficient. Lots of chairs/hammocks.
Nassau- We took a water taxi to Atlantis. Don't be the first onboard or you will be waiting for a while. It was quick and pleasant. It is a bit of a walk to Atlantis- be prepared. There are some places you can enjoy for free at Atlantis. We saw part of the aquarium, enjoyed the casino and walked around snapping photos. Many areas inside were quite warm and uncomfortable. Every visitor should go to Atlantis just once at least.
We took a taxi back to the shopping area. Be warned that all the upscale shops are closed on Sunday and a few others also. You will have no trouble finding t-shirt shops and rum cake shops. The straw market is really hot and stifling. I didn't enjoy it at all, but did buy a shirt there (of course I bargained-25% from her offer) The rows are so narrow, no air circulating, the items are up high, etc. We stayed there about 10 mins. tops. Nassau is just a sad place.
Overall I thought the entertainment was quite disappointing on this cruise. Two comediennes and one musical performance. The other lounges featured karaoke, soloists and latin music, etc.
First night: Comedienne- just okay. Nothing special. I would have skipped this.
Second night: Action comedienne- very entertaining and worthwhile
Third night- Singing/dance group...very talented, worthwhile if you like musicals, dance reviews, etc.
Cruise director- mildly amusing, sometimes irritating. I guess he is important if you like to do the dance party thing. One of the weaker ones I've seen.
Lounge acts/entertainment- minimal. A few soloists were pretty sad and poorly attended. I felt so bad for them. The Latin groups were very good and kept the crowd happy.
Cigar lounge on 15th floor- that is the saddest use of space I've ever seen. This is a beautiful 360 lounge perched high on the ship dedicated to cigar smokers. What a waste! A few old guys puffing away on their Cuban cigars.
Gym: I used it briefly just one day. No attendant was there during that time, mid afternoon. Machines are minimal but all nice looking, newish and in good shape.
Pools: very nice and kudos for providing tons of deck seating.
Disembarkment- We chose to eat breakfast in the main dining room. They even close down some of the selection on the limited menu! Geez. I was ready to leave at about 8:30 so we just took the suitcases down to level 4. The line to leave wrapped around the dining room and we got out quickly. We chose the "do it yourself" luggage system which worked just fine since we didn't have to be separated or wait for our luggage. I would only do that if you had just one roller bag/case. I didn't see them checking anyone's color coded tags for release. Some people described their disembarkment as horrendous. I imagine it might be if you really followed their instructions. For us, it was just fine. Expect to be walking in a long line to enter the customs area.
Overall, it is a very nice, inexpensive cruise.