We arrived in Miami a day before the cruise, which turned out to be for the best as the airline had "misplaced" our luggage. We spent the night, as planned, at the Airport Holiday Inn - a nice stay - and got our luggage later that night. In the morning, we took the hotel shuttle to the pier at 9:30.
Embarkation seemed extremely easy. We had to wait in lines here and there, but that was expected. We were on the ship by 11:30 a.m. We were greeted with lemonade and punch. We skipped the soda cards, as we could live on the free water, ice tea, and lemonade. We made our way up to the Windjammer Cafe where lunch was already waiting for us.
The pools (yes, for anybody who may not know, they ARE saltwater) and hot tubs (fresh water) were fantastic and a nice way to relax from the hot Miami sun. We stayed up on deck until the ship began to pull away, enjoying the view of Miami passing by and the excitement of the Bon Voyage party.
We had second seating dinner (8:30 p.m.) in the Mikado dining room. The dining room was beautiful, and our service was the best. The service was always immediately available when needed, offered the suggested meal of the night, and the food was fantastic every night of the cruise. Also, breakfast in the dining room is highly recommended, especially if you enjoy meeting new people. The midnight buffets (one every night) ranged from a poolside barbecue to the famous chocolate buffet. Each buffet was amazing, from the ice sculptures to the taste of the food and desserts.
Our room was surprisingly large. I had been warned before that the rooms are much smaller than a normal hotel (which they are), but I still had plenty of room to sleep, get changed, shower, etc. And if you are spending too much time in your room, you're kinda missing your cruise experience. We had an interior cabin. Make sure you take an alarm clock if you get an interior cabin.
The shows available each night were fantastic, including two comedians and a musical revue. Also enjoyed meeting the Captain and drinking the free champagne at the Captain's Gala.
The first stop was Nassau. The shore excursion we took was the guided tour of Atlantis. Atlantis is a marvelous resort, and the tour was extensive. After the tour, we looked around the resort for awhile, played in the Atlantis casino, then went back to Nassau for some shopping.
Next was Coco Cay. Coco Cay is the closest thing to a relaxing paradise that I have experienced. The beach is wonderful, and snorkeling is great. Saw several rays, tons of fish, and even a shark. Take an underwater camera with you! The island barbecue is also a nice change of pace for lunch. Others recommended the jet ski rental and parasailing, but we were having too much fun relaxing and snorkeling.
Final port of call was at Key West. My girlfriend convinced me to go on Lloyd's bicycle tour of Key West. I was skeptical at first, but the price was worth it. Lloyd took us to numerous out-of-the-way sights in Key West that you would normally not see, including Shel Silverstein's house and the Key West Conservatory. We also got to sample some fresh coconut and fresh mango. Don't take this trip though if you think you are too far out of shape, as it did prove to be a nice workout. After the bicycle tour, we did some shopping. Be warned that quite a few of the shops in Key West are very sleazy. We decided to stop shopping after one shop tried to charge us 12% sales tax, and were treated rudely by the store employees. We spent the remainder of the day on the ship enjoying the pool.
On the final day, we had to return to Miami. I was sad the cruise was over. Disembarkation went along very smoothly and we got off right after we had breakfast in the dining room. As a word of advice, if you are worried about getting of the boat in a timely manner, you may want to consider booking a shore excursion at the return port. We booked an excursion on an airboat in the Everglades. The excursion was very interesting, fun, and we spotted a lot of alligators. And, we were the first group called to disembark.
The only complaint through the entire trip was at the very end (unfortunately). It seemed there had been a minor hiccup when attempting to transfer one of the shipboard accounts to a different credit card, it changed all of the accounts to that card. The minor hiccup became a little more major when the understaffed Purser's desk could not change the accounts again until a manager showed up. A manager had not shown up before we had to disembark, so we had to make the changes ourselves. In our case, it wasn't a huge deal, but it was still an annoyance.
For my first cruise, I was extremely pleased with Majesty of the Seas. She is a beautiful ship with an attentive crew. I will definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again. Coco Cay was the standout port of call. Nassau was good. Key West was good, but avoid the sleazy shops.