Key West, Nassau, and more Nassau: Majesty of the Seas Cruise Review by Cork-dork

Majesty of the Seas 4
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Key West, Nassau, and more Nassau

Sail Date: February 2011
Destination: Bahamas
Embarkation: Miami
My family (me, 33, wife, 29, my father, [redacted, but old enough to be in AARP], and his fiancEe, [redacted as well]) planned this cruise so that my father and (now) stepmother could get married in Key West; we were in nearby cabins (3567 and 3055). My uncle provided a limo for us to ride in from our homes in Fort Myers and Naples to Miami, which is most assuredly the way to go if you're driving to the port -- time to have a bottle of Champagne en route, no worries about parking, it was quite nice!

The limo brought us to the port by 11:00, and we were on-board within an hour. We set up our purser's account first thing, and bought soda packages for my wife and Dad's fiancEe. A little lunch at the Windjammer -- quite tasty, and time to explore.

There was the obvious comparisons between this ship and others we've been on (most recently, the Carnival Legend for my wife and I); the decor is much more subdued compared to Carnival -- it's nautical-themed, as opposed to the More over-the-top casino-esque decor favored by Carnival. The public areas seemed more open and expansive, and there were fewer bars.

When it came time to go to our cabin, we were surprised by how roomy it felt. Now, no mistake, we were in an interior cabin, with a whopping 119 square feet of space, so it was cozy. But, the way the stateroom is laid out, there's enough space for two people if you're willing to share it. However, I did feel badly for the four girls in the stateroom across the hall... that must have been cramped! I will note that, if the beds are in queen bed configuration, you don't have a nightstand, so expect to be hunting for your glasses, etc, on the desk. Also, the bed is in a niche formed by the wall of the cabin and the backside of the bathroom, so whomever sleeps on the right of the bed will have difficulty getting out of bed without disturbing their partner.

The in-stateroom bathroom was similarly tiny. Having two full-grown adults in the bathroom at the same time would have been well-nigh impossible. There was just enough room to shower in the shower, and I couldn't imagine how a woman could shave her legs in it. Water pressure was pretty poor (to the point of making cleaning off a used toothbrush difficult), and there seemed to be no way to get hot water out of the sink at first. We figured out the last day how to get hot water out of the sink (set the shower to hot water before you turn on the sink. Weird, but it worked.).

Our luggage arrived while my wife was sunning herself on the deck, so I put our clothes and assorted toiletries away. Another thing to note with the interior -- there's just barely enough space for two people to hang all their clothes. If we were in a triple or quad, I feel we'd have been living at least partially out of suitcases.

I'll skip the bulk of the port reviews here, with the exception of noting that we didn't get to go to Coco Cay, as there were strong winds -- 20 knots, according to our waiter -- that would have made tendering dangerous. So, instead, we spent two days in Nassau. There was some grumbling amongst the passengers (including my wife), but ultimately I feel it was a good decision; much better to be safe in port than on a forced sea day, or even worse, to be anchored out near our destination and unable to actually go there.

Dinner service all 4 nights was adequate; the food itself was quite tasty, but there were some miscues during service itself (eg, my wife ordered a Sprite before dinner the first night... that arrived after the desserts. My father and I ordered NY strip steaks another night... and our orders were reversed, with him getting my blue steak, and me receiving his medium-rare.).

My major service complaint was with the wine; we ordered a bottle of wine one night -- Belle Glos "Las Alturas" -- and we were presented with a completely different wine from the same producer -- Belle Glos "Meiomi." At retail, it's a difference of around $15-$25 a bottle (Meiomi is less expensive), but since Meiomi wasn't on the wine list, I wonder if the more-expensive Las Alturas was what we were almost charged (at a restaurant, I'd expect the difference to be around $25-$35 a bottle). However, as the username indicates, I'm pretty wine-savvy, and refused the incorrect bottle. Turns out our second choice was out of stock, so we had to go to a third choice. Royal Caribbean, if you're reading this, update your wine list to reflect what's in stock, or give the dining room staff the ability to do so (perhaps a printed-menu wine list that can be easily updated by removing and changing pages, rather than the pre printed one that the ship has? Heck, even a sticker covering out-of-stock items on the pre printed menu would make sense); it's a very irritating experience, and in fact smacks of trying to cheat your customers that may not know better. It did seem that this ship didn't have a sommelier or wine steward aboard, as the person handling the problem was our headwaiter.

However, even with that annoyance (which is admittedly minor, and essentially out of the hands of any of the crew we interacted with), the trip was a great deal of fun, and I'd happily recommend the experience to anyone looking for a short vacation. Just make sure to under-pack, and perhaps bring an AM/PM alarm clock.

Kudos to Jose and Roxanne, our waiter and assistant, George, our headwaiter (this cruise is the only time any of us, with around 20 cruises under our collective belts, can remember having any serious interaction with our head waiter; the first night, he was right there, asking if we had any special requests -- my wife indicated she wanted an off-menu dessert, a bananna split, and he made it happen!), and Garnet, our cabin steward. They overcame, collectively, some miscues that could have been more than annoying, and did it with smiles, grace, and good humor. Less

Published 03/07/11

Cabin review: M3567 Interior Stateroom

Very small closet -- enough space for 2 people for 4 days, if you are willing to recycle an item or two. Very, very limited drawer space, only what's found in the desk. With the bed as a queen, if you sleep on the right side (facing the head from the foot of the bed), expect to not have any possibility of getting up in the middle of the night without waking your partner, as you'll have to crawl over them to get out of bed. Also, bring an alarm clock, as it's next to impossible to determine time of day (indeed, even AM/PM) due to lack of day/night cues in the room. Also, no night-table if the bed is a queen; expect to fumble for your glasses on the desk.

Read All Interior Stateroom (M) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

I'm not rating Key West, mainly because we arrived before anything opened (8 AM), and were off by 2 PM, just as the island was getting going. Additionally, the time we spent in port this cruise was mainly devoted to my father's wedding. However, I will say that I can recommend the Key West Garden Club, on Atlantic Avenue, as a fun and interesting non-bar-related destination on the island; it's a converted Civil-War-era fortification that has an excellent tropical feel. It's photogenic, if you're a shutterbug, and peaceful and tranquil.

Read 1393 Key West Reviews

Nassau is a great place to do some shopping; there's a ton of jewelery stores, luxury boutiques, etc, within walking distance of the pier. The straw market is a fun place to go -- but bring cash and your haggling skills (remember, the price they quote at first is a starting point, not a hard-and-fast rule, and be willing to walk away if you don't want to overpay). There's also a fair bit of history to be found, but the tour we took (through the information desk in the pier's building) barely touched on any of it, instead concentrating on things like Oprah Winfrey's house on the island. My father took a much better tour through the same method on the same day, so it seems to just be hit-and-miss depending on what cab driver you get. Honestly, we learned more about the island by asking the Royal Bahamas Police Force members near Parliament, and just chatting with locals, than anything else.

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