Majesty of the Seas Cruise Review by flsunnymommy: Autism in the Bahamas
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Autism in the Bahamas
My son and I just returned from a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas and Key West aboard the Majesty of the Seas with Autism on the Seas. I am a single mother and my son is 11 with autism. This has been our best vacation ever with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
The Majesty of the Seas is the one of the oldest and smallest ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet and does not have the newer attractions. It is a personable ship with a great crew and a wonderful Adventure Ocean staff. It is a little ragged around the edges and creaks a little. It has some great features like a basketball court and Johnny Rockets. It also has a hidden Compass Deli that makes amazing crepes.
We boarded the ship early and wandered about. My son met numerous Adventure Ocean staff around the ship and went during the open tour time to see Adventure Ocean. This has to have been one of the smartest things we have done on a cruise. This allowed the staff to get to know him in a one More on one environment and build a rapport. By the time he went to the kids club, they knew him by name and knew his favorite activities and that he was with Autism on the Seas. Before the sail away we also played some basketball and got some lunch in the Windjammer buffet.
Muster drill was painless. We were in a conference room socializing and meeting the other families traveling with our group. Since life jackets were not required for muster drill we headed straight upstairs for the Sail Away.
Leaving the Port of Miami was painless and we caught a great sunset. Soon we were off to dinner. Afterward, my son headed up to Adventure Ocean to be with his new friends. He played for a few hours and then we headed off to the cabin to get a good nights sleep as we were to arrive in Nassau in the morning.
We arrived in Nassau today. Since we were docked, we decided there was no hurry to leave the ship. We met friends in the dinning room and had a leisurely breakfast. Then we headed out as a small group to do a walking tour of Nassau. After our day in Nassau we headed back to our ship, relaxed and then went to dinner. After dinner the kids headed up to Adventure Ocean to participate in the pirate parade. Since Ian just learned about pirates he was ready to go. Here they color bandannas, learn a chat and prepare to be pirates. They then walk through the cruise ship chanting and being pirates. The kids and most cruisers loved it!!
We slept in this morning till about 9am and then ran to breakfast in the dinning room and were the last table seated. We had a late start to the day, but thankfully the lines to the tender (the boat that takes you to the island) were moving quickly. After we boarded the tender we were off to Coco Cay.
Once we hit the beach we were off to the water. At first the water was a little chilly, but we got used to it quickly. This is a very safe beach without any waves. There was no seaweed or jellyfish and it was not crowded so it was a nice swim.
Next we went off and started roaming the island where we ran into Adventure Ocean. There was about 5 staff members and no kids so my son decided to stay. He had fun making sand castles, quick sand and crafts. Another kid from our Autism on the Seas group showed up so they played together. While he was in Adventure Ocean, I found a hammock and relaxed in the nice breeze. Time flew by and it was time for lunch.
Royal Caribbean had a BBQ on the beach. It was a nice lunch and seating was limited. One warning, watch your food as the sea gulls will steal it the second you walk away. Next we went for a walk on the nature trail. It is a nice trail, but rocky. We were unable to walk the whole trail as we were barefoot, but we are looking forward to doing it again in August.
Amazingly the day passed quickly and it was time to head back to the ship. We took quick showers and then headed for the backstage tour of the theater. Their stage was tiny and the tour was quick so we zoomed off to the bridge tour. We loved the bridge tour!!! The first officer was great and explained everything to the kids and answered all their questions. We were able to explore the bridge and take photos. Everyone loved it.
Then it was off for a quick snack at the Compass Deli and a nap. We had another good dinner and then went to see the Magic Show. My son always loves the magic show and we had a great time.
The we were off to Johnny Rockets with friends for a late night snack. We did not have to pay the cover charge as we only ordered drinks and milkshakes. The only problem was they did not have vanilla ice cream. The place was practically empty so the kids were able to relax. The waitresses danced for us and the kids danced as well. This was a great time and the kids shared some great jokes.
The last day was spent in Key West. We did not really enjoy the farewell show as the cruise review dvd was not really used and it was more of a music review. Disembarking was delayed due to a crew member going overboard and we were understanding, however misplacing tagged luggage with the wrong colors delayed us in port by about an hour. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Then we headed towards Fort Fincastle. Along the way we made a quick stop at a local straw market. We were able to grab some water and sodas for a $1 each. I grabbed a local favorite soda, Ginger Beer. When shopping at these markets you will be approached by locals to buy their wares, but not harassed. Locals set their prices higher than they will sell them for so be prepared to haggle. You can approach different vendors and get a different price, so walk away if you do not think it is a good deal, they will most likely make you a better offer. If you are not interested, just offer a polite "No, thank you" to them and they will let you be.
After some shopping we were at Fort Fincastle. The Queen's Stairway, Straw Market and Fort are right next to each other. There are tour guides at the Fort that work for tips. The tour is just a few minutes and the information provided changes each time. You are free to explore the Fort on your own and since it is the highest point of Nassau, it gives you a great view of the island. My son loved pretending he was shooting the canons at the cruise ship as they are aimed at them perfectly.
Next we headed to the Pirates of Nassau Museum wish is an interactive pirate attraction. I was hesitant to go as I knew my son was afraid of pirates, but with our group he was ready to try it. When we went to enter the museum it was dark as it a moonlit dock, thankfully we had an iPod Touch with us that had a flashlight on it, and we went in. The museum was fantastic and everyone in our party thoroughly enjoyed it. This was his favorite part of the cruise so I am really glad we went.
Then we went and had lunch at a local place. We do not eat at the big chains found in the ports as we want to experience the real culture and atmosphere. A must try is conch fritters, they are delicious. I also tried a Goombay Punch as I love local sodas.