We sailed on Majesty of the Seas for a 3-day cruise to Nassau and Coco Cay on Dec. 3, 2010. We are a thirty-something married couple without children. We took this trip as a quick getaway and packed lightly so we didn't have to check bags at the airport, knowing we wouldn't have room for appropriate clothing for formal night.
I must admit that I had little expectations for Majesty of the Seas. I had only ever sailed on the voyager class of ships with their wide open Royal Promenades and easily navigable decks. I was worried that the absence of a Royal Promenade would make the ship feel like the two Carnival ships I sailed on with awkward layouts that seemed to lead to dead ends or bottlenecks with every turn. I was also worried that the ship would seem crowded, because I had heard multiple time the word "small" to describe her.
I was pleasantly surprised. The ship never seemed crowded. The Centrum, which seemed like a predecessor, to the Royal Promenade, was roomy and the layout of the ship was very easy to navigate. The cabins are notoriously small, but I called the week before the cruise since I saw a price drop and asked for an upgrade to a SO - Superior Ocean View Stateroom which is about 25 sq. ft. bigger (stateroom 9562.) I was glad that I called. I recommend doing the same.
We left a day early and got a room at the Marriott Biscayne Bay. It was a great hotel, although under remodeling construction. It was a 20 minute bus ride to Miami Beach via a nearby transportation depot called the Omnitert. The cab ride to the pier was approximately $10.
Embarkation was very easy. We got to the pier around noon and we were on the ship within 20 minutes. They had a sailaway party as we were leaving port, with frozen drinks and a calypso band.
My Time Dining
This was the first time we tried My Time Dining. We didn't want to be on a schedule so we didn't make a reservation. We decided just to walk up and try to get a table. We didn't have an issue. They sat us with a group of 6 who were already served their bread so we didn't get any until late until our meal. It was fine overall, but service was slow and we ended up leaving before dessert to make the show. The second night we skipped dinner/formal night to stay in Nassau. The third night we made a reservation and got seated in the same section as the first night. I think they give the waiter a slip of paper with our contact info, because he knew our names and asked us why we skipped dinner the night before. I think I would probably go back to traditional dining, because I preferred just walking into the dining room without waiting in line to check in with the host. It's just easier to do traditional dining. If you have a large group, I highly recommend traditional dining.
The food was pretty good on the cruise. It's always a challenge for us, because we are vegetarian. I ate Indian food each night. It was good, but I've had better. On the second day we discovered the Compass Deli for lunch (open 12-6, I think). I highly recommend it. They make fresh crepes and have a variety of delicious sandwiches.
We were in Nassau the entire day until 11:30PM. There were at least 6 ships in port, but it did not seem overly crowded on the island. We decided to skip doing an excursion since this was a quick and cheap getaway and we did 3 excursions on our last cruise in May. We ended up walking around Nassau, up to the Queen's Staircase, and Fort Fincastle. They are definitely worth a visit, but it will only take you a short amount of time to visit. We then decided to take the water taxi to Paradise Island and to Atlantis. It cost $3/person each way. It sounds very romantic, but in reality it was poorly run and the boats looked like they were about the sink. They have an "un-salaried tour guide" who works for tips and screams island trivia at the top of his lungs, because the boat is not equipped with a speaker system. The boat leaves you off in a confusing area and you have to walk pretty far to Atlantis. It was fine for us, but if you are out of shape, you might have some trouble. We took the land taxi back for $4/person.
While we were on Paradise Island, we visited Atlantis. It was very odd. We couldn't walk around most of the resort, because we didn't have wrist bands. Apparently, there is a day pass that you can get that costs over $100. The cruise ship sells several excursions as well. We kept encountering staff that would tell us that an area was off-limits. We ended up seeing a few aquariums, a sea turtle tank, the beach, the casino and shops. It didn't seem worth buying the pass and we were glad we didn't. Atlantis would be cool in Las Vegas, but there's a lot of natural beauty in the Bahamas and I found it odd that people were swimming in and laying out by manufactured lagoons rather than on the natural beach.
After we returned from Paradise Island, we walked around Nassau. There was a Christmas market going on with crafts, marching bands wearing lively costumes. That was really interesting to see and really made the day. Most everything closed at 6PM so we headed over to the British Colonial Hilton Hotel to sit on the beach and watch a few of the cruise ships leave port. We ended up at Senor Frogs. It was fun to people watch there and we had a few overpriced beers.
We missed CocoCay due to high winds/rough seas. I was disappointed since I have never been there, but it was nice to have a relaxing sea day. I grabbed a book from the library and read by the pool all day. They did the traditional belly flop contest and other pool games. That evening they had a reception for Crown and Anchor members with free booze and appetizers. It was fun and relaxing.
As I mentioned before, the layout of the ship was very easy to navigate. The common areas were spacious. There was always room to find a seat in the Windjammer and the ship was tastefully decorated throughout. As far as holiday decorations, I only saw a Christmas tree and menorah in the Centrum.
Areas for Improvement
The only area of improvement I would recommend for Majesty is to install additional hot tubs. They only fit 6 people per tub and were always full. The other suggestion for RCI corporate-wide is to offer a better selection of beer. I'd like to see some microbrews. I miss Royal Ale!!!
Since we didn't check any bags, we stayed on the pool deck for as long as possible and exited the ship around 9am. It was smooth. We found a guy to share a cab with back to the airport. Fare was $27.
I'd definitely sail on Majesty of the Seas again. The price is right for a quick getaway. I just can't wait to compare it to the Allure of the Seas. Ha ha.