My wife and I took Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas 4 night Bahamian cruise on 4/25/11 from Miami. This was our first cruise and we honestly didn't know what to expect. We had a free flight on Southwest so we flew from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale in the morning. We had booked our transfers with Royal Caribbean and we had no issues with the trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. However, it did seem like the drive from the airport to the port took forever. I would recommend flying into Miami if your ship leaves from there.
The boarding process wasn't too awful. We waited about 15 minutes before getting to the check-in desk. The process was smooth, but the gentleman working our counter did not give us a Cruise Compass or a map of the ship. I noticed that people who had gone to other counters received these. It would have been nice reading while waiting in line to get on the ship.
After we got on we went to our cabin #2069. The cabin is an interior cabin and it was very tiny. We had the beds pushed together and they were pushed up against one of the walls. I drew the short straw and slept on the wall side. It was rather difficult to get out of the bed while my wife was still sleeping. The bathroom was very tiny, to the point where I would think a larger person would have some difficulty maneuvering. There was a closet that provided enough room for us to hang our clothes and we shoved the suitcases under the bed. There were a few bottles of water that we could purchase on the counter. We should have had our stateroom remove them because they ate up valuable space. The bed was very comfortable. We never noticed any exterior noise while we were in the cabin and we never felt any unexpected motion from the seas.
After checking out our cabin we went up to the Windjammer for lunch. The food was good but not great. We purchased the Coke package and felt rather encumbered by having to carry around the jumbo thermos-type bottles with us. I don't know if the Coke package was necessary for me, but my wife has a Diet Coke addiction so she made the most of it. We explored the ship a bit before we left port and had a cocktail in the Viking Crown Lounge. There were several spots in the floor that seemed like if you put your foot in the wrong spot you would go crashing down to the deck below. The views were great and the cocktails were good.
We had the mandatory muster drill, which wasn't any fun, but it was fairly short, only about fifteen minutes to a half-hour. We then went to the shopping informational program in the Chorus Line Lounge. My wife spent the $30 for the coupon book. We eventually used a few of the coupons so we got at least what we spent back in savings. I'm not much of a shopper so I wish my wife hadn't bought the book and then dragged me to every jewelry store in Nassau to get her free gemstone.
We had chosen to do the My Time Dining so we went and got changed for dinner and then headed to our assigned dining room, the Starlight on Deck 4. We were told that there weren't any two-seat tables available and we were asked if we wouldn't mind a four person table and eating with others if needed. We said we didn't and we were seated right away. A few minutes later we were joined by another couple. This is when I realized the dining room dress code is not enforced. The man that ate with use was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, flip-flops, and a baseball cap. The couple was about our age (late 20's, early 30's) and we still keep in touch with them.
The food was fantastic. I don't recall what we ate since I'm writing this about five months after our cruise. The service was even better than the food. Our waiter was Inoman and he was great. My wife and I bought the 5 bottle wine package and it was definitely worth it even though we went with the low-end package. We really don't drink white wines so we stuck with Cabernets and Malbecs. Every bottle that we had was very good. Being our first night on our first cruise, we didn't know that we could order more than one appetizer, entree, and dessert per person. More on this in a bit.
After dinner we explored a bit more and went into the shops since they were now open. There really is nothing special to report about the shops -â€“ overpriced souvenirs, miscellaneous toiletries, and a poor selection of books and magazines. However, if you need jumbo cartons of cigarettes and gigantic bottles of booze you're in luck. We walked through the casino a bit and made friends with the bartender there since it is one of the few places you could smoke inside.
We spent the rest of the evening exploring and hanging outside on the deck. Since we had a long day we called it a relatively early night. When we woke up the next morning we were just arriving in Key West. My wife had been there in high school, but it was my first time. We had breakfast in the Windjammer and, again, it was good, but not great. We then got off the ship and walked around Key West. My biggest complaint with the cruise is the timing of the port calls. We got to Key West at 7AM. For those of you who know nothing about Key West, it is a night town. There was literally nothing open when we arrived in port. We walked down Duval Street and the stench of the alcohol from the night prior was pretty foul. We made our way down to the Southern-most point and took some pictures and then we headed to the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. We had a 2 for 1 admission coupon from the coupon book my wife bought. This was one of the highlights of our trip. We both loved it. Well worth the time and the admission fee. Do not spend the extra money to do this as an excursion from your cruise line. The walk isn't bad if you're in decent shape and have gym shoes on.
We then headed back up Duval Street, did some shopping, and stopped at the Hog's Breath Saloon for key lime pie and fried conch. The conch was very good, the pie was nothing special, and the service stunk. We then walked back to the ship and got ready to head to Nassau. Our time in Key West was from 7AM to 2PM. I noticed that Royal Caribbean has changed the order of this cruise for 2012. Key West is now the last stop instead of the first and the port time is 10AM to 6PM. This seems like it would be much better than our time frame there.
After the amount of walking we did we were ready for the pool, a lounge chair, and lots of adult beverages. The Long Island Ice Teas from the pool bar were basically pure booze. Well worth the $8. We found a couple of chairs and read, swam, and drank the rest of the afternoon.
This was the formal night in the dining room and my wife and I dressed the part. I do not recall seeing any tuxedos on the men or evening gowns on the women. Most men were in suits and the ladies in dresses. Some men went with slacks, a shirt, and tie. Again, Royal Caribbean really didn't enforce the dress code. This is where we found out that we could order more than one of each course. We had the same server and he basically brought us one of everything on the menu. We noticed that the couple next to us had even gotten a plate of French fries. Of course, we ordered a plate for ourselves. We absolutely gorged ourselves.
The next day we had breakfast in the dining room which was much better than the Windjammer breakfast. We then went up to the pool deck for the cruise into Nassau. We arrived in Nassau and my wife hit up every jewelry store for the free thing from the coupon book. We then took the ferry / water taxi to Atlantis. We explored Atlantis for a while, but unless you're willing to spend several hundred dollars for a shore excursion to allow you access to the actual resort there is no point in going except to gamble. We took a cab back to the port area and then walked over to the open air market. This was a unique experience for both of us. We then headed back to the ship around 4PM. We were docked from noon until midnight. My wife and I thought this was far too long, but there were folks still returning to the ship right before departure.
Another evening in the dining room and another fantastic experience with loads of food and great service from Inoman. We then went to the casino and they had a James Bond trivia contest. I answered a question correctly and got $50 to bet on red or black for one spin of the roulette wheel. I lost but the cruise director then gave me $75 to bet on red or black again. This time I guessed correctly and left with $150 extra in my pocket. We met back up with the couple we ate with on the first night and the couple that they had come with and we spent the night in the various bars having beverages.
Our final day was spent in CocoCay. We got on one of the first tender ships and headed to the island. We rented the snorkeling equipment and the floating mats and found a couple of lounge chairs near the snorkeling area. My wife loved the snorkeling. Me, not so much. I'm not the strongest swimmer and I couldn't get the snorkel to form a tight seal with my mouth so breathing was a challenge. We took a break from snorkeling and basically walked around the entire island. The water park looked like fun but we didn't partake. The beach BBQ lunch was good. The menu was burgers, chicken, hot dogs and the like. The biggest problem was the crowd. It was very difficult to find a spot at the picnic tables.
That night we asked if we could dine with the two other couples we had met on the cruise. The head waiter gave us a time that he would have a table ready for the six of us. We were disappointed to learn that we wouldn't be in Inoman's section, so we asked the head waiter if Inoman could serve us. He was more than happy to honor our request and Inoman literally brought us two of everything on the menu that night, plus another plate of French fries.
The rest of the cruise back to Miami was great. We hit the Schooner Bar and the singer/guitar player was great. Lots of Beatles songs which I loved. We never did make it to any of the shows. We really just relaxed, chatted, swam, and enjoyed adult beverages for the majority of our cruise.
Getting off the ship took a fair amount of time. We were assigned to wait in Boleros for our time to debark and it seemed like we were in there for about an hour and a half. Once we got off, we waited about a half-hour for our bags at the baggage claim area. No troubles with the ride back to the Ft. Lauderdale airport. We did make a mistake in that we scheduled a 6:30PM flight home so we had to kill about 6 hours in the airport.
All in all, I think this is a great cruise for first time cruisers. It is also a good couples cruise. There are some children's activities, but there aren't nearly as many things for kids to do as on other ships. As a result, there weren't too many kids on board which was nice. I do regret not getting to the shows, but my wife and I needed a relaxing vacation where we didn't have to rush to get to anything. I am not sure if I will go on this specific cruise again because the new schedule spends 16 hours in Nassau and that is far too long. I preferred being at sea to being in port. However, this ship does a 3 night cruise that eliminates Key West and spends only half a day in Nassau. I'm thinking about that for my wife's 30th birthday in a few years.