Around noon we drove to the Port of Miami without incident, quickly arriving at the Terminal, dropping our luggage off with a friendly porter, parked the car and entered the Terminal smoothly and quickly. There we presented our passports and on-line documents we had prepared on-line and printed out. Then up the escalators, through the scanners, shoes left on belts with buckles off, and right to the check in counter to make arrangements for how you will be paying, credit card for us and then were presented our SeaPass card. This is used for your entire cruise for payments for all on-board purchases. Next up more escalators a walk down a hallway, pictures taken (if you want, and you can buy later) then the "official" picture taken and inserted in your SeaPass, this one you don't see, but all the ships Security can. Now you are ready to board! This was all done in about 20 minutes, with no stops during the process.
We have cruised the Majesty several times, the first time when she was doing 7 night cruises back in 1992. We also cruised just after a major refurbishment she had in January/February, 2007 and every few months since that time. So we will point out any changes we noticed since our last cruise for those who might have cruised on this ship recently. This is also a ship that has a very large number of "first time cruisers". With the four/three night itinerary it is an excellent way to have an introduction to cruising without too much commitment. Our first change noticed was that instead of being able to pick up the Compass, a daily paper printed by the ship showing all the activities of the day, now it is on a large poster on deck four, near the Guest Relations desk, later we did find another on deck 11 near the Windjammer. However if you can read Spanish there were hundreds of the paper available at the Guest Services counter as well as an abbreviated version in a number of other languages. This seemed rather strange since probably a couple of thousand of the approximately 2,300 guests read English, who are expected to read the poster while the "rest" can pick up their own individual Compass. Once you can enter your cabin there is a Compass available there.
The room/cabin/suite is available at 1 PM so we headed off to the Windjammer for lunch. This is located on deck 11, the same deck you will find the pools, the teen disco, the sports deck, and the Pool Bar. The Windjammer has a pasta section, Oriental section, two hot stations, salads, dessert station and drinks which include coffee, tea, lemonade, etc. There are employees walking around selling cokes, beer, wine and liquor. Our group had a variety of the various offerings including the honey stung chicken, delicious, the pasta... today they had spaghetti with meat sauce, which was great, also the fried plantains (bananas) were great, the vegetables were al dente and delicious. There are several very comfortable booths and lots of tables. The Windjammer covers the entire front section of the ship, both sides, so lots of windows. During the very crowded times all sections and you can go up the stairs to deck 12 where there is lots of additional seating available. The management and staff in the Windjammer are excellent, offering drinks, help in finding a table and just providing a "welcome". You can take stairs from the elevator lobby or the stairs within the Windjammer leading up to deck 12 where you will find Johnny Rockets, which has a $4.95 cover charge plus a charge for drinks, Sorrento's (Pizza) and the Compass Deli (sandwiches, salads, etc), there is a charge for drinks here. On deck 12 you will also find the rock climbing wall and sports deck.
After lunch we headed to our Cabin. The Superior Ocean View has 157 square feet. The "View" means we had a very nice porthole type window and the life rafts did not block the view. There is also a little shelf under the window that you can sit and look out. You can have your bed made up as twins or together. We chose to have the beds together. This gave us a walk space around both sides and the end of the bed. We had a couch, 4 drawers and a large number of shelves, also a refrigerator. Even though it is small we had no problems finding places for everything. There was a safe in the closet and about six feet of space with hanging space top and bottom in ½ of the area. Our luggage arrived around 3:30. We had plenty of space to put everything away and put both of our suitcases in the closet.
Another "point of interest" for some... The ship did check for liquor. After the Muster Drill, or Lifeboat drill, many people were called to deck one to claim their luggage. There any liquor in their luggage had to be removed and retained by Security. We don't know exactly what happened but the rumor mill was that it was poured out.... Just a note of caution if anyone thinks the Company never checks.
We found the ship to be in very good shape, there were always people visible cleaning and we never found the public areas, including the restrooms unclean. All public areas are closed at 4 PM for the Lifeboat drill. Everyone is expected to participate and roll is taken. For the first time our station was in Bolero's which was a treat. This procedure goes quickly and by 4:35 we were headed back to put our vests away and head out for sail-a-way partying.
Live music is all over the ship, and we felt it was fun, varied and the artists were talented. Our "favorite" places for "Happy hour" were the Schooner on deck five and the Pool Bar on deck 11. This in large part because we located bartenders we had met before and it was fun talking with them. We also found former bartenders in Boleros, on deck 7. Unfortunately we could not spend any time in the "signature" lounge on deck 14. The Viking lounge is now a Cigar lounge. Even though the smoking is only allowed on one side the lounge is open so the smell is everywhere, we had someone in our party who is very allergic to cigar smoking so were prohibited from that venue. We have noticed some increase in pricing but still in line with costs "back home". Be aware there are local taxes added to any order placed while in a US Port, for our trip this meant Miami and Key West.
Dinner: We were on second seating. Our table was on deck 4 in the Starlight Dining Room. The service was fantastic. We found the Head Waiters were so attentive, both at dinner and at breakfast. We were so impressed with the Maitre'D, the Food and Beverage Manager... we met both and were impressed with how dedicated they are to making sure everyone was being served and satisfied. The food has been discussed in every review and we feel is very subjective. We will just say we were very happy, and never left hungry! And yes, they do offer "My Time Dining", also referred to as anytime dining.
Shows and entertainment: We love all the "live" music available on the ship. Even on this "smaller" ship there are so many venues, so many choices, from the piano, Karaoke, 70's music, Latin music, Ballroom dancing, a live orchestra, so many choices from early to late. The Headliner shows are very good. The Production shows are wonderful. If you sail often you will see a repeat, but the cast changes, so we always enjoy. On this cruise we had the comedy of Steve Bruner and Rick Novel. The two production shows were Boogie Wonderland and Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
Activities: There is so much to do. I can't believe it when I read "we got bored"???? Anyway the Activities Staff were excellent and had more activities available than we have seen before. Some have commented that there is only one activity at a time... that is true, but if they had several at the same time someone would be unhappy that they could not get to all events. The events included many, many trivia sessions, Sudoku, many, many pool activities, Wii challenges and much more. So much to do in so little time!
Ports: Nassau was our first port of call. We have visited this port since the 70's and think Nassau is an excellent port. For any first time cruiser we recommend a visit to Atlantis for the water activates, which are great, not the Casino unless you are on a ship that is there at night, it really loses a lot in the daylight. The straw market is great for souvenirs and straw products. It is large, crowded and has anything/everything.... Just don't "believe" that you are getting a name-brand for $40!!! On Baystreet you will find lots of places to shop for jewelry, fragrances, linens, etc. The ship will give you a map of suggested shop choices. You will also find the Hardrock within walking distance. During the day this isn't as much fun as the nearby Senor Frogs which is on the water and visible from the ship. This generally is very active especially if there are a couple of ships in Port. There are also a number of tours that you can take. You can book from the ship (which we always recommend just in case something goes wrong... the ship will leave at the posted time!) additionally when you leave the ship you will find a number of taxi drivers offering their services. Also there are a number of vendors selling a horse and carriage ride. Coco Cay: This is RCCL's private island. You can see the entire island from the ship and the water is beautiful. There are hammocks, lounges, drinks, food, spa, games, swimming areas, beaches, rental "toys" etc. We had a beautiful day, a great lunch and a super drink at one of the many bars. There is a small shopping area for the locals to sell their products. You will need cash here if you wish to buy. Your SeaPass card is used for any drinks you want to buy on the island. The food/lunch is free. Key West: One of our favorite ports. Be sure to pick up one of the Maps from the Shopping Guide or as you leave the ship. Another "new" thing on this cruise. In the past we have had to clear Immigration at this port, not this time. Non-US citizens had to "check in" with Immigration as well as those holding ARC cards and those who boarded in Nassau, the rest were cleared without doing anything. We were off the ship just after 10 AM. The weather was beautiful! There is so much to do. Right as you exit there are stores, then two Museums... don't miss the statues on your left just before you get to the street. Mel Fisher's is right across the street, with many treasures found on sunken ships. There are bars everywhere and you can carry an "open container" on the street, which isn't allowed in many US towns/cities. There are lots of shops for T-shirts and other souvenirs, and many places to eat. One of the local items is Key Lime which is done in pies, on sticks, etc. We do suggest you try, at least once. If you are able this is a great city to just walk, also one tourist attraction is to check out where US highway 1 starts or stops, depending on your perspective. Also check out the marker indicating you have reached the Southernmost spot in the United States.