Last year, our family took a Thanksgiving cruise because our children and I are off for the week of Thanksgiving. My husband learned of an outstanding one day sale for this several weeks before the cruise and we couldn't help but book it. We actually went on this ship back in 2003. It has since been refurbished.
We live in Florida and so we did not need to use a hotel in Miami.
The ship Majesty of the Seas is a lovely ship. It is smaller than many of the RCI ships and it typically is used for their 3 and 4 night cruises. It was refurbished a few years ago and is what I'd call understated classiness. I believe it holds about 3300 passengers. It never seemed crowded to me, which was a pleasant surprise.
I was impressed with the list of activities that they offered on this cruise. We didn't do much on the ship because it was only 4 nights long and there were three ports of call.
All of our party found the service to be excellent on the ship. The staff and crew members were very gracious. It was some of the best service I recall on a cruise ship.
We did not use any of the ship's offered shore excursions because they are typically overpriced. The first stop was in Nassau, Bahamas. The second, was Coco Cay, RCI's "private island." The third was Key West, FL. All cruisers had to go through immigration before going to the island. They started it at ten and there were people who stood in the line for TWO HOURS. The line went ALL the way ACROSS the ship on the fifth floor. It was ridiculous. We didn't even bother getting in line. We hung out at the pool for a while, then got lunch. At 12:30, we went to immigration and walked right through. I know that the line was very frustrating for many people.
Coco Cay is their private island. This was a very fun stop. We went directly to the closest beach when we got off of the tender. It was also the busiest section of beach. However, as you went further down the beach, certain areas were almost like quicksand because of low tide time. The snorkeling was very good here. We had our own masks and flippers, but they make you rent a vest, which is $6 per person. Those sneaky little RCI planners! There are a lot of activities you can pay to do, or you can just enjoy the beach. There is a "nature trail" but it's very short. There is a shopping area, of course and the people working there are actually all people from the outlying islands. They have plenty of restrooms and a few freshwater showers. A lunch was provided on the island and there was a decent selection for the lunch. There were things like burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken pieces, ribs and various salads, along with a few desserts and lots of drinks. All in all, that was a very fun day.
We live in central FL, and were actually staying in Naples the previous night with some family. We drove to the Miami port and parked in an off the port lot. The particular company we used was NOT good, but it looks as though Premier is a good parking choice and it's much cheaper than parking at the port.
The stateroom was a very small interior stateroom. Because the ship is a bit older than many of the big ones, there were fewer balconies and the rooms, in general, were a bit smaller than other ships. The room was very very clean, thanks to an excellent room steward. It was well maintained and the carpet and furniture were in good condition. It had two twin beds and two bunks that pulled down. There was a little pop up table between the beds, a small desk with drawers and one side on the top with little shelves. There was also a little closet with a good bit of hanging space. The bathroom was little with a shower, but it sufficed.
The food was excellent. We had dinner in the Starlight Dining Room every night and our servers were great. My children especially liked the assistant waiter who did a new magic trick every night for them. My son appreciated this waiter because he helped him out when he saw my son in the buffet restaurant one morning at breakfast. There was a nice menu every night. The chicken marsala night was outstanding. I wasn't crazy about the duck when I got that one night. We had lunch and breakfast in the Windjammer, which is where the buffet is served. The breakfast selection was exactly what was available in the main dining room and it was always very good. The lunch selection was varied and everything was delicious. We also really enjoyed the Compass deli where they had a variety of premade specialty sandwiches, a small salad bar, and three soups with bread, along with a couple of desserts. The crepes there were a very tasty treat, as well. Our kids especially liked Sorrento's pizza. There was a constant supply of fresh baked pizza selections available when they were open. The yogurt and soft serve ice cream machine were open for limited hours. I never tried it, but heard the stuff was very good.
The children's facility was very nice, but we did not use it this time around. Since we were in port every day, our children stayed with us and were actually pretty tired by evening. I met a few of the workers and they seemed very nice and the kids appeared to have a lot of fun.
The entertainment was average to excellent. On opening night, the comedian shared for a while and was hilarious. My kids even loved him. I didn't see his regular show that was the following night. I think it might have been more suited for adults, from what I heard. There were two shows presented by the cruise singers and dancers. I'm a musician so I am fairly picky. Only one of the four main singers was very good, and even he had only a limited range. The other guy was fairly quiet and one of the girls sang WAY too loud and was off pitch. The other lady had a tough time singing out on her part. The dancers were very good but the choreography was pretty flashy and their costumes drew your attention away from the dancing, really. The themes were 1960's music and soul music each time. The afro wigs were just cheesy! During the soul show, I found it unusual that they were singing songs that were all done by African American performers, and they were showing slides of African American performers, yet only three of the cruise singers/dancers were African American. The band was actually one of the best I recall hearing perform on a cruise. They were the best part of the show. There was a juggler who had won some international competition. He was AMAZING! He had written and recorded all of his own music and his performance just blew my mind. The whole audience gave the guy a long standing ovation at the end of his performance, it was so good. It reminded me of the type of thing you'd see at Cirque de Soleil.
We were supposed to disembark at 9:00 a.m. We did not get called to leave the ship until about 10:00 a.m. Then we stood in line for 15 minutes. Then we were sent to get our bags and customs, where we stood in line for 30 minutes. The backup was an annoyance to us, but would have been disastrous for someone who was needing to get to the airport. We were told that this had something to do with Thanksgiving, but when you are dealing with so many people, a business needs to be better prepared to handle something like this.
The only real negatives were the lines in Key West and on disembarkation day. Overall, it was a wonderful cruise. The ship was enjoyable to be on, the service was excellent, and the ports of call were a lot of fun.