Just off Majesty last week and wife & I (and three friends) were both really impressed with our first RCCL cruise. Here are our thoughts.
Embarkation: We stayed overnight in Miami (Holiday Inn Downtown) and got to the port at about 11:30 AM. Walked into the terminal and pretty much right onto the ship. Naturally, we had the usual stops at security, check-in and picture taking but we kept looking for the lines and they never appeared. We had done our stuff online and it seemed everyone knew their job and actually wanted to do it. After our Carnival disaster, we were amazed at how efficient this was.
Cabin: We stayed in 5562, a standard Oceanview. I have friends with bigger walk-in closets, but we knew that going in so there was no disappointment here. We did miss our usual balcony a lot and the electricity was kind of a "guess when" proposition but the bed was comfortable. Besides I enjoyed having my wife climb over me to get out of bed. It's been awhile since she had to do that. Once we worked out the stowage, we got used to it pretty easily.
Staff: Uniformly friendly and competent everywhere on board. Steward Rudy did a fine job although we only saw him twice. First time was when we got there and second time was when he mistakenly walked in on my wife at an inopportune time (I was there). WE just laughed it off but he took it pretty hard and disappeared for the rest of the trip. MDR staff also very competent and when they blew it, they fixed it right away. My only problem here is that job duties apparently were assigned by General Motors. We had one guy for alcohol, another for wine, somebody else for desert, another for soda and our main waiter was more choreographer than anything else. I never did figure out from whom to order what but we always got whatever we asked for so no big deal. It was like sitting in the middle of the Mikado with everyone whirling around all over the place.
Food: MDR room was banquet typical. Nothing great but nothing bad either. Windjammer was a superb combination of food and crowd control. The food was actually better and more varied than the MDR (hear that Princess? You might want to fix that wreck of yours) and even at peak times there were tables for all and nothing even approaching a long line. On carnival we couldn't evaluate the buffet because we could never get to it. Great job here RCCL. Midrats are basically Pizza and room service. The Pizza is Domino's meh but not bad and we didn't try the room service menu.
Itinerary: Nassau, Cocoa Cay and Key West so the only non-English country we visited was Miami. Nassau was ok as long as we stayed within 3 blocks of the dock. Besides, since we were traveling with seven models on location shoots, the locals were really friendly and the police stayed nearby at all times. Cocoa Cay is really nice once you get by the Disneyland souvenir shops. I might feel differently in July at 106 degrees but I enjoyed our time there and the models in swimsuits didn't bother me at all. RCL throws a BBQ buffet which was also terrific. Not the normal cruise/ballpark fare. Key West was also fun although we were reminded that we were back in the US with it's entertaining legal system. The Westin people tossed us (models and photographers) off the area next to the dock because they didn't want us "taking pictures without insurance". I don't blame them at all given our McDonald's jury system and we found a ton of other interesting places to shoot gorgeous women.
Debarkation: Another miracle of crowd control. Went to the lounge, they called us after about 15 min. and a crew member walked us off the ship into the delighted arms of US Customs. Not even Customs clearance was a problem especially since the economy has relieved us of the necessity to buy anything. We're off the ship, on the dock about 45 minutes after leaving the cabin. No possible complaints there and the concept of friendly and efficient federal officials gave a Twilight Zone feel to the entire vacation.
The only hitch of the trip, which had nothing to do with RCL, was Avis. Our flight out of FLL was at 8:20 PM, so we rented a car and drove to Jupiter to see a ballgame. Since I don't know the area, I rented a GPS. In fact, I rented two. The first one didn't work and was immediately replaced by the second one, which worked until we got on the road and away from the rental counter. Since the GPS didn't work, we didn't get off the highway and went straight to the airport. That meant I didn't gas up the car (my bad) and I fully expected to pay for that, but $63.00 ($7.00 per gallon - get real)and an argument about credit for the non-functional GPS pretty much insures that I'm done with Avis.
Aside from the little niggles, the trip was eerily perfect, which makes it hard to write a funny review. I can only hope for a real disaster next time so I can be more amusing.
By the way, here are the pictures from the trip. You might want to take a look. http://www.pbase.com/bilsen/cruise