Majesty 3 day - I think she still shines: Majesty of the Seas Cruise Review by MattInFLL

Majesty of the Seas 5
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Majesty 3 day - I think she still shines

Sail Date: August 2014
Destination: Bahamas
Embarkation: Miami
This was my fifth time on Majesty. My first was shortly after the major refurbishment in 2007. I remember being impressed then, and I am still impressed. For a 22 year old ship competing against her own Voyager, Freedom and Oasis class sisters, Majesty still offers something I think is special – a more intimate, still somewhat traditional cruise experience. You will not have a flow rider. You will not have a large cabin (unless you splurge on a suite). You will not have a ton of specialty restaurants. But you will have what I still think is one of the friendliest crews in the fleet. You can enjoy Cococay and Nassau, or you can stay on board and enjoy a nice relaxing day away from home.

OK – specifics. Embarkation – I am Diamond and so check in was a breeze. We went from dropping off the bags and parking the car to walking into the cabin in under 20 minutes. I timed it to board right around 1pm so the cabin would be ready, and it was.

Cabin: I got a More Superior Ocean View (9016) to get the 30 extra square feet since I invited a friend along. I had requested ahead of time that they put a “bed wedge” in one of the beds since I have a reflux issue and need it for sleeping. That was not done, but our cabin attendant Jason was there in a flash, and promised it would be done by dinner, and it was. Our Diamond robes were waiting for us, too, as well as the extra pillows I asked for. Jason was an excellent and attentive cabin attendant.

For those who wonder, an SO cabin does have a fridge, and does have a safe with a code (as opposed to needing a magnetic card strip). Even though all of the cabins on Majesty are smaller than cabins across the fleet, the SO is quite comfortable for 2 people with lots of storage options. I will say this about the safe: I have a 13” Macbook air and it barely fit. It took a lot of attempts, but I got it in, and worried about getting it back out (I did). But don’t plan on the safe housing a larger laptop. There are two 120v outlets by the desk – conveniently located for the hair dryer in the drawer right under them.

Here’s what was waiting for us: An explanation of the Diamond “coupon” benefits pre-loaded on our cards, the Diamond onboard events information, our pre-ordered shore excursion tickets, and our soda cups (I had the Ultimate package, my friend had Royal Replenish).

Windjammer opening lunch: We met up with another friend in Windjammer, and for those who don’t know, there is another whole section of the Windjammer if you keep walking forward past the initial area and crowd. It’s usually less crowded and offers all the same food choices (for the most part). It was standard Windjammer fare. It’s not gourmet, but there are lots of options and I dare you to go hungry. The cookies were exceptionally tasty this trip. Staff was very attentive to cleaning tables, etc.

Spa/Gym tour: Next I wanted to book a couple of spa appointments and my friends wanted to see the gym. The gym is a bit small but well equipped. The men’s locker room is small but has a steam room. I obviously can’t tell you what is in the women’s locker room. I asked what the port specials were going to be, and decided on the “Top to Toe” massage/treatment combo for the afternoon we were in Cococay. I also booked a “Fire & Ice” manicure and pedicure for the Nassau afternoon. The daily specials are printed in the Daily Compass but you can ask ahead of time what they will be (like I did). The purpose of this trip was to relax as much as possible.

Next up was muster drill. We all hate it. Especially in the Miami August humidity. But it is what it is.

After that it was time for some cocktails. So many people ask “is the drink package worth it”. That’s a personal question though. Generally, if you have 6 or 7 drinks, a few waters, maybe some specialty coffees, an energy drink (or two) it really does pay off. And it’s easy to have that many drinks on a cruise (at least for some). All I know is that my bar bill per day has always been more than the per day package price, so it’s a no brainer for me. The one thing I don’t understand is why you still have to sign a slip after each drink. But the packages work very well. I never used the soda part, so I cannot comment on the soda package machines, other than to say I looked at the choices, and there sure are a lot of them.

Pre-dinner, I picked up the embarkation photo and my Diamond “one free photo” benefit was automatically applied – no hassle.

Usually I would have something to say about the internet and wi-fi. But since I am taking two cruises in one billing cycle, I bought the AT&T Cruise Ship plan which gives you voice, text (with picture), and data that also is good to go in Caribbean/Bahamas ports with the local carrier. That worked great for me. I took my phone off airplane mode every so often and let “cellular at sea” get me any texts or emails that had come in, and turned it back to airplane mode. They have options for just voice, or just voice and text, and you can add more data for the port stops if you want. It’s probably my first cruise ever (in the modern era) where I have not used a computer terminal while on board.

Deck 5 “shopping”: The shops open at about 5pm. I thought the selection was a little thin in terms of the shops and finer products. For instance, the “top” watch brand was Citizen. Not that I was going to buy one, but was very surprised that they didn’t even carry a brand like Tag Heuer. For duty free, other than something like Absolut and the usual selection of rums, didn’t think the prices were worth lugging something that heavy off the ship. The second and third day is when they have the “sales” with the tables of jewelry and t-shirts, etc.

Never tried the café in that area, but it looked like they had a nice selection of pastries and gelatos and coffees. Some free, some not, and some depending on whether you had the beverage packages.

Diamond event: Diamond (and above) members have a special area of the Viking Crown each night where you can order beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks. There seemed to be few restrictions on your ability to order what you wanted (within reason), Each table had a set up for snacks, and they brought around two kinds of spring rolls, mozzarella sticks and chicken wings. All of it was tasty and there was a sweet and sour sauce and a BBQ sauce for dipping. There was never a shortage and never a wait. But we did not have a large number of Diamond members on this sailing.

Schooner Bar – Pre dinner, we hung out at my favorite bar on the Majesty – Schooner. Chafiq, from Morocco, quickly became my favorite bartender. Efficient and pleasant, but also did his job watching out for underage drinkers trying to use a friend’s sea pass, etc. Unfortunately his current contract is up around the end of August and he won’t be back until December. But I really could not quibble about any of the bar servers or waiters on Majesty (with one exception to come later).

Our friend did not have a package but did have the new “3 free drinks” loaded on his card as a Diamond member, good from around 5pm to 8pm. He had no trouble at all using them.

Main Dining Room – For some reason, we got a note in our cabin that we had been re-assigned to a 4 seat table by the window with a hand written note that said “for a more private experience” or something like that. It didn’t make much sense since we were just a few friends traveling together, but it was a nice table. Ronilo was our waiter and Yasmina was his assistant. The first night’s menu was “Pomodoro” – not my favorite, but still a good selection. I was not happy with one of the appetizers, and Ronilo would go out of his way to substitute and suggest things that any of us might like better.

Orlando, the Head Waiter was a delight. He took a liking to our table and kept bringing us special desserts and generally just making very nice conversation.

Before leaving that night Ronilo made it clear that even though the next night was formal night, these sailings were not very formal, and not to get worried about it. I had brought a coat and tie, so I wasn’t.

We skipped the usual first night 70’s Party in the Centrum. There’s only so many times I can watch the cruise director and company in Village People outfits. But people seem to like it. We actually did not do any of the shows this trip. There was a juggler and a comedian, and the usual “Boogie Wonderland” the last day.

Later that night we went to Spectrum (the night club). It was very crowded with a good DJ for a younger crowd. The bar service was terribly slow there, though, and poorly set up and managed. My one bar complaint. They have one terminal, not enough glasses, not enough back up bottles and beer, etc. It looked like chaos. Now perhaps it is planned that way to keep the bachelor partiers from getting too many drinks and getting out of control, but for those of us who are more responsible, it’s just a pain in the butt.

We ended the night at Sorrentos, the only late, late night option (other than room service). I think it does truly help to have alcohol in your system to find it tastier than it is. But my buddy does not drink and he found if he had it fresh from the oven (and they keep em coming one after another) it was OK and hit the spot. I was willing to cut the pizza some slack because my last trips on Majesty I found it to be a lot better quality. I think it has slipped.

DAY 2 - Cococay – we had reserved the wave runners for 11:30. Stupidly, I read the ticket that morning and realized we were supposed to leave an hour early and bring our drivers’ licenses. That was a run back to the cabin. Plus if you want a towel, you have to check them out with your card on deck 3. Anyway, the line for tenders at 10:45 snaked all the way up from deck 2 stairs to deck 3 and in around the Centrum. I thought Diamonds got priority tender. Nope. We found a nice crew member who took pity and escorted us down to make the tender to get over there. But fair warning – the 10 – 11 time frame is very popular time to go over, so plan accordingly. (And yes, I have been on Majesty 4 times before but can't remember everything )

We walked right to the wave shack, signed our waivers and reserved a locker for $8 – good for the whole day and can hold an average sized backpack. We had the safety video and were on our way. I have done it before and always enjoy it. They let the faster people go ahead and go full throttle. I was number 2. Unfortunately, on our first leg, there was a thunderstorm developing and moving by and with the possibility of lightning, they took us back in. We had to wait and see whether the storm would pass (which it did and off to the side of the island, so no rain even – it stayed sunny). Unfortunately for us, they could only get us back on at 2, and our massages were at 3. So we had to pass. They cheerfully said we would get a full refund, and we did that evening. One note though – they said the refund would go back to the original form of payment (in our case, one of our credit cards). That did not happen. We got a credit on each of our onboard accounts. That was fine since it went towards our massages then. But could be an issue for others.

While on the island waiting to see about the storm, we had the BBQ lunch. I had heard horror stories about it. I think it’s just very basic. Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribby things or maybe it was pulled pork (didn’t try it), and a selection of “salads” plus fruit. I thought the quality was fine. Just don’t expect the Windjammer as far as variety goes and it’s not Martha Stewart in terms of imagination.

If you are looking for the quiet areas, keep walking once you are off the tender. People just tend to stop at the first beach. There are plenty more options if you explore.

Since we went back to the ship at 1:15 ish, there was no waiting for the tender.

Spa – We went for “Top to Toe” massages – 75 minutes, with a back massage (I opted for the hot stone upgrade), mini facial, exfoliating body scrub, scalp massage and ankle and foot massage. It was great. A slight attempt at the upsell for products at the end but not a hard push when it was obvious I wasn’t buying them.

After my treatment, I stopped at the Compass deli, my favorite snack place on Majesty. The sandwiches are always fresh and good and some made to order (and they’re all free). There’s also a selection of soups, a good salad bar and some desserts. I had the grilled cheese panini. Since Majesty does not have a specialty restaurant, they do a “Taste of Tuscany” dinner a couple of times a cruise at 6:30 in Compass deli, with “unlimited” wine and an Italian menu. It’s $30 per person, and although we did not do it, others were raving about it. On the 3 day cruise, they currently do it on night one and night three. (On night two they do a Chef’s Table option that is more limited than other RC ships, but also got rave reviews.)

Since it was night two, as with 99.99% of all cruises, it was formal night and the Captain’s welcome event. There was a special repeat cruiser (Platinum and above I think) event that night, which was nicely done. I shook Captain Arias’ hand and met the hotel director and another senior officer. There were plenty of other officers around and they did a nice “welcome back” speech and presentation and called out the 3 top cruisers on the sailing. We had some “legendary” Pinnacle members on our cruise, with the top couple having over 1100 points, and each of whom are regulars on Majesty (and I mean regulars, like sailing back to back to back to back, etc). They upgraded the hors d’oeuvres for the event, to include things like salmon on toast, etc.

I’m sure because we are both Diamond, we also had a plate of chocolate covered strawberries in the cabin. Yum. Dark chocolate, too, my favorite.

For dinner in the MDR, it is decidedly getting less and less formal. For me, that is OK. I know it bothers some. But I certainly did not see anyone wearing anything offensive or shorts or anything like that. There are still those that go all out. Just not as many as in cruises past. The menu was “Saffron” – I decided to try the a la carte filet mignon for about $17.00 (You can also order a Maine Lobster or surf and turf. I think they were in the $30-$40 range, but not sure). The Filet was excellent and worth the money. There was a group of Indians on board (it was India’s independence day, I think they said) and Orlando brought us their special Indian dessert for the night to try. It was truly good. I have no idea what it was other than some sort of sweet rice, but really really good.

After dinner was the traditional second night deck party. They used to call it the Caribbean night, now they call it the “white party”. Since no one knows in advance, very few are wearing white. There used to be a BBQ/buffet. They don’t do that anymore. But frankly, considering 2nd seating is at 9, I was too stuffed to eat anyway. The party was well attended and looked fun. I’m not the line dancing type so we just observed.

Later on, we went to Johnny Rocket’s before the closed at 1am. It’s an excellent JR’s – very good servers and very good burgers and onion rings, etc. I got my fiends to try the apple pie with cheddar cheese, and they loved it. I’m usually a much later night owl, but I was exhausted and then went to bed.

Day 3

My plan was, if it’s sunny, stay on board and enjoy the ship being fairly quiet. If it was cloudy, go do the aquarium at Atlantis (the only part of Atlantis I have not seen). It was sunny, so I stayed on board. But I can tell you this after many stops in Nassau – I think Atlantis is the most entertaining option with the aqua park. The slides are great, and the lazy river thing is the best. Yes, it gets pricey, but you basically get full access to everything except the dolphin and sea lion encounters. And if you hunt around there are options for purchasing your passes ahead of time besides from the ship. I personally would not do it through the ship because I don’t like being herded on buses and it’s easy to get a cab to Atlantis and get back. I hear good things about some of the beach places, but can’t give any personal advice. Check the Bahamas board on CC – there are very helpful people there.

Anyway, so we stayed on board and enjoyed the pool. The pool is salt water, by the way, if that matters to you. It’s great to have the pool not be crowded and easily get a lounger, etc. There are plenty of drinks waiters around and it’s a nice afternoon.

I’m not a breakfast person, so I can’t tell you a thing about it. I can tell you that Diamond and above have a special area for breakfast in the MDR, if you want.

Lunch was another Compass deli stop and then mid-afternoon I had opted for the “Fire and Ice” manicure/pedicure. I know it may seem weird to some for a guy to get a mani/pedi, and I never do it on land, but the way they do it, it’s pretty relaxing and your nails/fingers/toes do look great. No polish. Just buffed to a nice shine. My favorite part is the exfoliation of your feet (soles and heels). Hard for the ticklish (like me) but makes them super smooth. With my Diamond discount off of one regularly priced service, I had 20% taken off the pedicure. Again, thankfully, no hard sell of any products.

I spent the time after that wandering the ship, bought another photo, had another Compass deli snack, stopped to have a drink with Chafiq, etc. Met up with my friends and we did the Diamond “coupon” for 3 free spins in the casino – no luck, oh well.

At the Diamond event that night, there was a family that was not part of the event (it’s a in a roped off section of the lounge) who were letting their little boy (probably about 6 and 7) run rampant through the lounge (including the event area) yelling and carrying on. One of the people at the event sternly, but politely, told the boy to stop running and calm down. The mother got very upset that someone would dare say anything to her child. The two got into it a little bit in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish, but I am told that the woman stayed polite with the mother but basically said “why aren’t you controlling your child and why do you think it’s OK for your child to disturb everyone else – especially in an area where there is clearly an adult event going on?” The family went on their way. I know there are a lot of feelings on this type of thing, too, but I have to admit I was glad the woman said what she said.

Other than that, I saw very little of what I would call “bad behavior.” I know the weekend cruises have a reputation, and it is certainly a younger crowd and more prone to the weekend party atmosphere, but I never saw anything out of control. The passengers were, for the most part, as pleasant and polite as the crew.

The last night’s menu was Pimiento, which is basically an Italian menu and my favorite. I can’t tell you all the options of these menus. I’m just not that much of a foodie. But there are plenty of message threads on here with pictures of the menus and the food for those interested. I remember I had the strawberry bisque, which I always enjoy, and the eggplant parmagiana, which was very good.

I know everyone has different feelings on tipping, and we had prepaid our gratuities, but I still give extra cash on the last night for excellent service (as we received). I can tell you the crew really appreciates the gesture.

Quest is at about 11:45 or Midnight. Always extremely popular and fun, and if you want a seat you really have to go to whatever event is in the Spectrum right before it (that night it was karaoke). I think Quest is better in the "Studio B" environment on the larger ships and I think other cruise directors do some funnier stuff, but if you've never experienced it, you simply have to stay up and watch. I've played it many times, so I sat this one out. Since it's the last night, everything quiets down quickly after that. Played a few slots and went to bed.

Last morning – back to reality.

You can opt for express departure (carry your own bags off) as early as 7:15. Express goes to about 8:00 (officially anyway). We had chosen it because we were carrying our own bags off. I got 7:15 tags. Our friend really needed to get to work, so we traded my 7:15 for his 7:45. I asked our cabin attendant what was the latest we could stay without screwing up his schedule and he was kind enough to give us an extra hour. Once your tag has been called, you are free to walk off, so even though it was 8:45, there was no problem joining the line to disembark. We went from our cabin, to exiting the ship, through customs and were out of the parking garage in about 45 minutes. Since it’s a peak time for disembarking, that seemed fine.

So that was number 5 for Majesty and I would happily go back to her again. She doesn’t have the Voyager, Freedom, and Oasis amenities (except for the rock wall), but her crew shines and there is plenty to do in Cococay or in Nassau if you need stuff to do. If you want a relaxing cruise weekend, she’s great, and there are weekends where the prices are really really good. Just always manage your expectations. Less

Published 08/22/14
2 Helpful Votes

Cabin review: SO9016 Superior Ocean View Stateroom

I got a Superior Ocean View (9016) to get the 30 extra square feet since I invited a friend along. I had requested ahead of time that they put a “bed wedge” in one of the beds since I have a reflux issue and need it for sleeping. That was not done, but our cabin attendant Jason was there in a flash, and promised it would be done by dinner, and it was. Our Diamond robes were waiting for us, too, as well as the extra pillows I asked for. Jason was an excellent and attentive cabin attendant.For those who wonder, an SO cabin does have a fridge, and does have a safe with a code (as opposed to needing a magnetic card strip). Even though all of the cabins on Majesty are smaller than cabins across the fleet, the SO is quite comfortable for 2 people with lots of storage options. I will say this about the safe: I have a 13” Macbook air and it barely fit. It took a lot of attempts, but I got it in, and worried about getting it back out (I did). But don’t plan on the safe housing a larger laptop. There are two 120v outlets by the desk – conveniently located for the hair dryer in the drawer right under them. The view is "obstructed" like they say, because you are on top of the life boats, but you still see straight out.

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