My Sister-In-Law and I took this cruise because she's never been to Key West and neither of us have ever been to Cuba. This was her first RCCL cruise and my second. We were supposed to go on Empress of the Seas in September 2017 but ... Read More
My Sister-In-Law and I took this cruise because she's never been to Key West and neither of us have ever been to Cuba. This was her first RCCL cruise and my second. We were supposed to go on Empress of the Seas in September 2017 but due to the hurricanes, everything was cancelled. Worked out for the best! We had a great time!
It was an easy taxi ride from TPA to the port terminal. We each had a 22" carry on roller bags and checked them in curbside. The line inside the building at 11:30am moved at a decent speed through security and then again while waiting to check in. We got our room/id cards and went directly on the ship. We opted not to get any drink or internet packages as we would be able to use wifi in Key West and then again once we were back in Tampa. Neither one of us are big drinkers. Also, reporting our every move to our friends and family was not a priority to us like it is to other people. We had a $25 credit and our first day at sea got us two drinks from the pool bar which ended up costing only 10 cents. LOL! My SIL said it was one of the best frozen margaritas she ever had and my pina colada was top notch. There was aways great music playing from both the live bands and also the dj.
Majesty may be slightly older and a little smaller but she is extremely charming. We really enjoyed the fact that as a passenger, you don't feel lost in the crowd. On our cruise, there were less than 15 kids traveling. They were all very well behaved and we never saw one child or teen running around by themselves. Everywhere that we went on the ship was always clean. We found that the cabin attendants, waitstaff and bar waitstaff were the friendliest of all. Also, the girl in the perfume shop from South Africa (I forgot her name) was wonderful and would wave at us whenever she saw us outside the store.
Entertainment: The comedians and the other guest entertainment was awesome. The ship's singers had wonderful voices and the dancers were very good. What drove me nuts was their costumes. It drove me batty seeing costumes that looked so cheaply made. To me that was a turn off that made the house entertainment sub par. It's just little things like the costumes that can bump it up to the next level if the looked like someone took the time to really design costumes that could compete with the newer ship entertainment. Dare I say they looked like hand me downs.
Food: OMG the food. Windjammer has so many buffet choices daily. We had both breakfast and lunch there. Staff was great. Food was excellent. We opted to do little taster sizes and if we wanted more, we'd just go back. However, seeing people pile food a mile high not on one plate, but two, and just when you think that second plate was for someone else then to see both plates are for one person....and this was a lot of passengers, it kind of made us lose our appetite! Acting like they never ate before or as if the food would run out (which we know would never happen) was just insane. We opted for the 8pm sit down dinner in The Starlight. It was wonderful! We shared a table of 4 with an older couple from Tampa. We never felt boxed in or crowded. The appetizers, main course and desserts were heavenly! Our table was handled by Halyna and Lokhai. With my SIL being a very picky eater, they catered to her and she had nothing but the highest praise for both of them. She loved every dish that Halyna suggested. Lohkai always had hot tea ready for her right before the main course was served. We also saw them during breakfast and lunch and they always went out of their way to greet us and see how our day was going. I can see them both as section maitre'd.
Room: See below. We had inside room #4011.
Disembarkation/Embarkation Key West - Easy peasy. No waiting in line. When returning to the ship, they had freezing cold wet towels for every passenger. It felt so good!
Key West - We were the only ship docked that day. It was awesome! No crowds and so easy to get around! We took the Conch Train tour. We didn't bother to get off at the Southernmost Point Buoy since there was a line so we took our picture from the train. LOL! We also walked around a little bit and saw the loose chickens and roosters. What a panic! Before going back on the ship, we each had a slice of Kermit's Key Lime pie. Sublime! It was soooo delish!
Disembarkation/Embarkation Havana, Cuba - Easy peasy again! We had third party tours scheduled and so we were off the ship in record time. Customs took all but 3 minutes and the only line was for the currency exchange. Word to the wise, if you are exchanging USD to CUC, there is a 13% tax. If you have money to exchange back into USD, you get charged 13% again. I figured out exactly what everything was going to cost and then added USD $20 more to it. After our tour, getting lunch and drinks and getting souvenirs we had .05 CUC left. So we just went right through security, freezing cold towels waiting for returning passengers and no line to get back on. We returned around 6:30pm.
Havana, Cuba - Wow is all I can say. We did a 3 hour Old Cars Havana tour with a driver and a guide. It was $120 CUC and well worth it! They were on time at 10am and we cruised around in a beautiful pink and cream 1956 Buick Special convertible. They took us everywhere and we learned so much. At one point they asked if we wanted to go to a cigar factory, which we didn't, and they adjusted the tour and took us around to different neighborhoods for more history. Be advised that when you go through tunnels, the gas/diesel fumes have no place to escape to so be prepared to hold your breath. We highly recommend getting a guide along with the driver for the extra $20CUC. Don't expect Club Med. This is a communist country. You will get a wake up call for sure. The majority of people only make $40-50 CUP a month. Yes, a month. But walking through the neighborhoods going back to the ship, we were stopped a few times by folks that in broken English thanked us for visiting because it means a lot to their economy and for people to see how the locals live. Lastly, make sure you bring toilet paper or toilet paper tablets with you because many of the bathrooms do not have paper. I did my research ahead of time and so we were prepared.
Havana Lunch - I did not want to go to an over-hyped tourist trap. So I did my research and found Wanda's Cafe Bar on TripAdvisor. It's diagonal to La Floridita. Russ, the owner is awesome. He's originally from Toronto. He speaks English, Spanish, Italian and French. The drinks and food are not only priced beyond reasonable, they are so delicious too! My SIL had a mojito and couldn't contain herself it was so good. She ordered another one and savored it! I had a pina colada (without cinnamon) and it was delish! I also had a mango daiquiri and words cannot describe how wonderful it was. We also had The Cubano sandwich, at Russ's suggestion. It's Cuba meets Italy. His own recipe. Excellent. Everyone that came in ordered it so it has a fan base. We stayed at Wanda's Cafe Bar until 6:00pm or so (5 hours!) and we made new friends and had an awesome time. People from Scotland and Russ's friends from Cayman Islands that made a surprise visit.
Disembarkation Tampa - Very easy. We opted to leave our bags in the hallway the night before. We walked off the ship after they announced our group and had no problems finding them in the terminal. Customs was very easy. All we had to declare was magnets LOL! Another word to the wise, don't book early flights if you are leaving the same day. We were lucky to arrive on time and the ship was cleared with no delays. But always be prepared just in case that doesn't happen. I booked our flight for a 3:50pm departure. We didn't have to rush and we had a nice tomato bisque lunch in terminal F as well as Starbucks before we boarded.
All in all, yes, I know this was a long review, we had a great time. My final bill was $400 which included 2 t-shirts on the second to last day crazy sale, 2 room id neck holders, 2 RCCL water bottles, 4 drinks, 1 bag and the per person tips. We can't wait to go on another Royal Caribbean cruise. Read Less