My wife and I sailed on the November 17-21 Nassau-Coco Cay-Key West cruise from Miami. We successfully booked the cruise, hotel and air travel from Chicago by ourselves. We highly recommend the Best Western On The Bay for their comfortable and clean accommodations, location and shuttle service to both MIA and the Port Of Miami (only available with their "cruise package". Be advised that the shuttle to the Port runs late and you'll want to get to the ship early enough to book spa appointments and make any dining changes.
This was our second cruise on Majesty Of The Seas in four years. We were eager to see the improvements that were made in 2007 but found that the most apparent changes weren't all that impressive. The upper deck of the Windjammer (now Windjammer Market) is now fully enclosed. This was likely done for safety reasons, but we missed the outdoor feel. The Windjammer was also extended to the aft edge of the deck. The pizza area was re-named as Sorrento's.
The spa was enlarged, but not to any impressive proportion. Another change was that the hot tubs which used to be near the rear pool bar were replaced with two whirlpool tubs located between the two pools. Balero's was added as well as the Compass Deli and Johnny Rockets (who's exterior top deck appearance was that of an old diner cast in stainless steel which seemed out of place for a ship like Majesty).
With the good, come the ugly...
While the millions were spent upgrading the glitz, more money should have been used to fix Majesty's aging problems. While still an opulent ship, many exterior areas from deck 6 to the top deck had large patches of visible rust and flaking paint. Most of the sliding glass windows along the pool deck were sealed shut due to broken, missing or rusted hardware and a couple windows were missing altogether. The handicap lift from the pool deck to the top deck was broken with an aging "out of order" sign which didn't suggest that any repairs were in the works. Various lights needed replacing in the elevators and the lights in Bolero's often flickered. Some tread-worn carpeting was noticed in some areas as well as loose carpeting on some stairways. The ship noticeably moaned and groaned on the lower decks while moving more than it had in the past and the area near table 466 in the Starlight dining room featured extreme vibrations when the ship was moving around 15-17 knots.
Our inside stateroom was small as usual, but comfortable for the price we paid.
Activities were numerous as usual, but some offerings were stale. After four years, did we need to see "Boogie Wonderland" again?? The act for the Farewell show in the Chorus Line was awful. The dancers and the singers would have had Simon Cowell leaving in disgust. The talent was much better on our first trip.
Service for the staterooms was outstanding as usual, but the head waiter was worthless. Other dining staff made up for his barely noticeable performance. The quality of the food in the dining rooms was actually lower than our previous visit although the Windjammer offerings were better and more numerous.
The real low point in service was when we purchased a Tequila gift set from the shop on board. It was not delivered to our room as promised. It took the staff nearly an hour to get a replacement before we disembarked which almost caused us to arrive late at MIA. Our planned early departure was over an hour late. Otherwise, disembarkation was smooth, but painfully crowded.
My wife and I love Majesty. It represents the fading line of cruise ships where you can enjoy the outside as well as the insides of the ship. The newer, larger ships have fewer open decks where one can find a peaceful area to relax, enjoy the mystical beauty of the sea or find some quiet time for a romantic moment. I find that ships built to look more like cities and shopping malls are contrary to RCI's phrase of "get out there". "Get IN there" doesn't work for me. Several passengers echoed the same sentiments. We fear that since Sovereign Of The Seas was sold off, the last two Sovereign class ships will soon disappear as well.
I would also recommend finding a smoother process to deal with Customs inspections. The long, slow moving lines were enough to roughen the nerves of otherwise friendly passengers. This was a very sour point in the cruise.