Review of the December, 12, 2011 sailing on The Majesty of the Seas from Miami.
The Majesty of the Seas is my favorite. A small ship, I think, feels more like classic cruising. Better service results from a better crew to passenger ratio. Less time in lines to get on or off, and far fewer lines on board. This was my forth cruise on Majesty. The last one was a year and a week before, so I got to see a year of differences.
The ship is looking a bit more worn. While I understand that the Majesty is scheduled for dry dock, most of things I saw were just a simple lack of general maintenance. More things were broken and left that way. For example:
Water jets in the hot tubs. Only the bubbles worked.
Major dents from a tender.
More rust showing in many places.
Many lights around the ship were out, including the pool deck.
Most of the windows were dirty. My cabin window was foggy from salt build up on the outside.
Leaking fire hose connections
Broken elevator buttons
Don't get me wrong, I do think that she's in good shape for her age. I think most of the issues in dry dock will be to update the styles. Not my area of expertise, but the 1990's chrome look is dated I guess. Just a thought for future designs, a choice of classic design will need less updating over the ship's life.
With no new ships on the way, I have to think RCL will keep her going for at least a few more years. When she must be retired, I hope you will bring another smaller ship to Miami.
The biggest omission is closing both of the hot tubs at 11 PM. When the ship is refurbished, I understand that they can not put in any new ones. That's a real shame. But please make the two huge to compensate. And there is NO technical reason that they need to be closed at the same time. Each should be totally independent. As crowded as the Majesty hot tubs are you have to realize you need more space and more hours.
The pools are ice cold. When people from Chicago say they're too cold, you KNOW they're too cold. And the highs were in the 80s so we can't blame the weather. There are huge amounts of free heat available from the engine room. USE IT to heat at least one of the pools. And throwing the ice sculptures in the pool just adds insult to injury (and also looks lazy).
I hope for the day that all smoking is banned from all ships. But in the meantime, cigars on the pool deck this time were bad. I was smelling some 100 feet away while at dock. I don't know where you can put them, but the pool deck isn't working.
I brag that the service is better on the smaller ships. This cruise was no exception. Dining room, cabin, all excellent service. My cabin was spotless twice a day. One problem with a clogged shower drain was fixed quickly.
Entertainment was down a notch this time. The dancers a year ago, especially Pete and Nicolas, had a lot more spirit. They were dancing around when talking to passengers even when they weren't officially 'on'. This year it was like they were waiting for a signal to entertain, then they danced. Then they left the party. They were friendly, but not the usual outgoing ice breaking party starters I've seen before. Last year it really felt like they enjoyed making us enjoy the cruise. This year it was just part of the job. I got the impression this was the second string. Again, not bad, but not as good as before. No one grabbed my attention this year enough to point them out.
About the music. I totally understand that the pool area is made for the Caribbean music. But after a couple days, I've had more than enough Bob Marley. Please let some of the other bands play at the pool. The rock and latin bands were quite good but I only got to hear them in passing. Let them have a few hours at the pool.
Bar service at the pool in the evening was lacking. I would have been happy to have another beer, but no one came around for hours. If the bar is open, why not have someone walking around to take bar orders?
Thanks for the second ice cream machine. You have a hit here. Make it your own. Try getting blue cones with a logo. In the quantity you use, it should be practical.
About the refurb coming up. There's what seems to be a lot of wasted space on 12 above the Windjammer. I get the impression that the priority on the last refurb was to add space to the Windjammer but the space above was just defaulted to be more tanning area. Think about doing an adults only section here with a bar and hot tub. Add some shade. This space would give an alternative to the noise of the pool area.
On food, Windjammer was good, as usual. One suggestion, leave some yogurt out at all meals, along with the fruit. Many of us eat a little in the evening as a healthy alternative to desert. For the dinners in the dining room, all was good, except the NY Strip Steak. It was dry and tasted like it had been under heat lights for hours. I understand that when serving that many people at once there's no way to serve fresh off the grill, but this time it was worse than I remember it last year. And last year it was pretty bad too. You might want to omit NY Strip from the menu. The sliced steak was good, just too fatty. But I asked for more and I got it quickly, so no complaints there. The best meal was the lamb shank. A classic done very well.
Our early arrival at Key West and the resulting REPEATED announcements to come to Immigration check ruined my day. I was up late the night before and this was just too early. When I got back and tried to get back to sleep, the announcements just continued. When you have to do something like this, use technology. When someone hasn't come, use an automated phone system to call the cabins. Once everyone in the cabin has checked in, stop calling that cabin. Let the rest of us sleep. Of course, where people are already awake, like the public areas, you can continue to announce.
I'm sure you have heard it before. The two ports of call are backwards. Key West is a nighttime town. That's where we should have stayed until midnight. Nassau at midnight just seems like killing time in a cheap parking space. The dock we are at in Key West does not block Malory Square's view of sunset, so I don't think that's the excuse. Please consider making Key West the first night of the 4 night. Then Immigration and Customs are back to being the same time, in Miami, when we all have to be awake anyway.
Again, overall, a good cruise. I will be back aboard the Majesty. But I think I will need to wait until the dry dock before scheduling my next one. I hope it will also return some of the spirit that was missing on this cruise.