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1,047 Miami to Bahamas Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise, and it won't be our last. I had read the reviews online, knew in advance the ship was showing signs of wear & tear and did not necessarily have all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Still, I was quite ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and it won't be our last. I had read the reviews online, knew in advance the ship was showing signs of wear & tear and did not necessarily have all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Still, I was quite pleased with the experience. We had an inside cabin. It was small, but we didn't spend a lot of time there. We never met our stateroom attendant, but the room was always clean, and we appreciated the mints on the pillow when he turned down the bed every night. Lunch our first day and breakfast every day after that were the only meals we ate at the Windjammer. Sometimes it was hard to find a place to sit down, but the food was good. It wasn't anything write home about, just standard breakfast buffet. We ate dinner every night in the Mikado dining room. The food was good, and the service was better. Our wait staff was a lot of fun. It took us a couple of nights to warm up to the people we were seated with, but they were enjoyable. I enjoyed our snorkeling excursion at CocoCay & we took the Pirate tour in Nassau. Both were a lot of fun. However, when touring in Nassau, make sure you have plenty of $1 bills, as everyone on the tour expects some sort of tip. CocoCay was exactly what I needed... a day at the beach. Sure, the snorkeling is expensive, but we were able to use the gear all day... and just lie on the beach in between. Plus, lunch was provided on the island and was very good. I was disappointed that our excursion when we got to Miami was canceled, it meant we had to spend all day in the airport. The staff onboard the ship (besides those mentioned above) were also very nice and knowledgeable. We only took advantage of a couple of tours/events the first day, but the staff seemed genuinely nice. The shopping expert is worth every cent they pay to her. I realize a lot of the stuff they have her do is done on all Royal Caribbean ships, but she seemed to go the extra mile to get her passengers good deals when they got to Nassau. I also recommend doing the pre-board SeaPass stuff online before you get to Miami. It made check in for the cruise almost as fast as the airport. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
I have taken many cruises in the past and this was the maiden voyage for my travel partner, so we have a varied perspective on this cruise. We embarked on December 19th for a four day cruise going to Nassau, CocoCay (private RCL beach) and ... Read More
I have taken many cruises in the past and this was the maiden voyage for my travel partner, so we have a varied perspective on this cruise. We embarked on December 19th for a four day cruise going to Nassau, CocoCay (private RCL beach) and Key West. Embarkation was smooth and effortless, which I was a bit concerned about because my travel partner is not a U.S. citizen, and I wasn't sure if things were going to be more problematic because of that. But they just made a copy of his green card and off we went to the welcome lunch buffet on the Lido deck. This is pretty typical of most cruises, to have this lunch buffet to keep people occupied whilst their rooms are being tidied up. The buffet food was fairly mediocre that first day, which is also pretty typical of most cruise ships. Our cabin was quite small compared to other outside cabins I have had in the past. But heck, we spend so little time there, it doesn't really matter. Amenities in the cabin have all but disappeared -- no pen or paper or lotion or sewing kit or ship postcards. Shampoo comes out of a dispenser and you do get small generic soap. Don't expect hot water on the first or last day. (Sad, but true.) Our cabin steward was quite friendly, and the stewards on this ship still practice the old art of towel animals! Our cabin was on the Promenade Deck (Deck 7), which is not the ideal spot for an Oceanview Cabin because you can't really see the sea all that well. However, it was not noisy with traffic as I feared, although there was a bit of concern a few times about privacy! Sadly, a seaplane went down off the coast of Miami Beach that afternoon, tragically killing 20 people. The Coast Guard closed the port and our ship, along with the Carnival Fascination and Imagination, were trapped in the port for an additional 25 hours. So we missed going to Nassau altogether, which really disappointed people rather badly, including ourselves, as that appeared to be the only really good port included on our itinerary, and had the best shopping as well! None of us knows for certain whether RCL could have rescheduled us for Nassau the following day (speculations abound), so I can't be too upset at them for skipping on to CocoCay. In order to keep us happy and occupied, during our additional day in Miami's port, RCL arranged for two tour options, as well as providing each of us with $100 shipboard credit to mollify us. (Sadly, some people on board refused to be mollified and complained bitterly.) My partner and I took a tour of the Everglades on an airboat, which was pretty interesting, I'd never seen "terrain" like that. The alligators did not appear amused by our presence. That evening we watched the "Boogie Wonderland" opening show and were very impressed by the music and choreography, which was not as oriented toward old fuddy-duddies as I worried it might be, having avoided all cruise ship shows in the past. The food in the dining room (Maytime) was pretty good, although they no longer offer distinct 5-course meals as they used to -- they now try to combine soups and appetizers into one course, which I refuse to do, ordering both soup and appetizer. Our waiter was not very good, not introducing himself and being rather curt throughout the entire cruise, which is a first, I've always had very friendly waiters. Our assistant waiter was very nice, though, and got extra tip as a result. We wondered if we got less attention from waiters because the two of us, a couple, were at a table by ourselves. We finally departed on Dec. 20th at 6:00 pm. Seas were very smooth during the entire trip, which was particularly nice considering my partner was new to sailing. Weather was cloudy and a bit drizzly most of the trip, and Key West was actually chilly while we were there! So in the Winter, the Bahamas might not always be the best bet -- for guaranteed nice weather, head down to the Southern Caribbean. Day 2 was CocoCay, which is a very nicely accommodated private beach with absolutely GORGEOUS snorkeling. If you can, definitely bring your own snorkeling equipment and totally ignore their "rule" that you need to rent $6 life vests. No one enforces the rule at all, so if you're a relatively decent swimmer (or, like me, know how to float), don't bother, just head out. There are tons of really pretty fish and the lifeguards feed them while you are there, so the fish might end up nibbling on you! Lunch on CocoCay was a bit better than I'd expected, especially considering that RCL doesn't offer a sit-down lunch on board any more. They had spare ribs, which were good, and lots of veggie salads, which were also very good. Also typical hamburgers and hot dogs. The night after CocoCay offered something I was especially looking forward to -- the Chocolate Midnight buffet. Boy was that a disappointment!! They should have called it the "Leftover Dessert Buffet." Very little chocolate, except for drizzle over some of the desserts and ice cream. Within half an hour they had run out of strawberries for dipping,so we missed that completely. Basically, if you are a true chocoholic, bring chocolate with you on the trip and don't bother staying up. Next day was Key West. We had been warned by previous reviews about the long wait to get through Immigration, but luckily, the ship allowed us to disembark as soon as we, individually, had cleared immigration. Here's a wonderful little tip if you are traveling with someone NOT American - go through immigration with the foreigners. Their line is much much shorter. The line for Americans stretched out of the lounge where it was being done, down the hallway to the opposite end of the ship, and then up the stairway. Some people did not get off the ship until noon. (The ship offered free drinks during the immigration process to draw some people out of the line temporarily!) In Key West, we took a snorkeling excursion out to the "largest reef in North America." All I can say to you prospective cruisers is DO NOT TAKE THIS SHORE EXCURSION!!!!!!!!! It was horrible horrible horrible!! THe water is cloudy and the reef is already half dead and there are very few fish that you can barely see. It was cold and wavy and although we had the option to stay in the water for an hour, I think we stayed in 15 minutes even though we are normally avid snorkelers. 49 dollars wasted (each), luckily, we used the shipboard credit. (I would have been better off ordering a lot of pina coladas!) Shopping in Key West was also disappointing, with very few interesting shops selling very overpriced souvenirs. Best thing we bought was a long sleeved t-shirt because it was so chilly. Many of the souvenirs here can be purchased in Miami for half the price. Disembarkation was a long wait in a lounge watching dumb tv. Once we were called to get off, however, it was quite rapid. Overall, the food on the ship was a disappointment compared to Princess cruises of 10 years ago. (They had Italian chefs who were quite good! This one had a Chef from India, for what it's worth. Try the Indian food!) Entertainment was pretty good. The Love and Marriage game is hilarious, as is the "Scavenger" Hunt (sit in the front row if you plan to play!!!) The Rock Climbing wall was a lot of fun and not too busy. We didn't use the pools or hot tub -- hot tubs were often full of children. This was quite a mix of people on this cruise, both ethnically, and in ages and family sizes. Children are generally kept occupied and out of people's way, thank goodness. Crew were generally quite friendly except for our one waiter and the purser's desk, who all seem to be quite curt (as people who deal with complaints tend to get over time!) All in all, if you can get a good price and are not going for the food, the Majesty of the Seas is a nice ship. We paid circa $450 for the cruise plus $180 for airfare, minus the $100 credit, but don't think we would pay any more than that. Have a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
First of all, let me tell you my new favorite way to book a cruise. We booked this short cruise for December when we were on the Navigator in October. If you haven't met the loyalty consultants, you don't know what you are ... Read More
First of all, let me tell you my new favorite way to book a cruise. We booked this short cruise for December when we were on the Navigator in October. If you haven't met the loyalty consultants, you don't know what you are missing. Embarkation was smooth as always with Royal Caribbean. We arrived in port just after noon after a nice drive from our home in Orlando and we hit the ship before 1. They told us the cabins were not quite ready, but no big deal. We had lunch in the Windjammer. The Windjammers on this class are not very nice. Not much selection and kinda dreary. The cabins on this class are also pretty small. We did 2 cabins though and it was just fine. We had an outside and the kids had an inside right around the corner. It worked out well. The cabins were clean, and were very convenient. OF course, if you have cruised on the mega ships, the Majesty seems like a shrimp boat! The public areas were very nicely decorated for Christmas. It was very nice and made our time of exploring a surprise around every corner. The dining room was very nice. we had a nice table for 4 in the middle of the dining room and our waiter and assistant were great. The food was pretty good. Since this was our 5th cruise with Royal, we know what to expect and what to avoid. The entertainment was very good, especially for a short cruise. They did a great job. This was the first time we had ever been to Coco Cay, and wow, it is soooo beautiful. They have so much to do, including just exploring and relaxing. This was our 3rd time to Nassau. We just walked around and did some shopping. And folks - if you are going to do some shopping, make sure you talk to the shopping guide. She is so much help and can save you beau coup bucks. This is the one part of the cruise that many people ignore, but just do it. The process to leave was great. We originally got a late departure, but just went to the front desk, and guess what - they gave us first group. All we had to do was ask! Now, one thing I will say, this ship is quite old and probably is in need of a facelift, like, the Sovereign. The Windjammer is not particularly good, and much of the furniture in the rooms and the public areas are pretty worn. But the service the Royal gives and the entertainment means you don't always notice some of these things. For the price, this was a good fun cruise, and a nice way to start the holiday season. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
I was on the recent Majesty of the Seas 4-night Bahamas cruise. I had a good experience on the whole. The worst part was that we missed our first port of call, Nassau, since the departure of the ship was delayed by a plane crash in Miami ... Read More
I was on the recent Majesty of the Seas 4-night Bahamas cruise. I had a good experience on the whole. The worst part was that we missed our first port of call, Nassau, since the departure of the ship was delayed by a plane crash in Miami Harbor. I was really looking forward to Nassau so it was a disappointment. To make up for this, RC mgmt. offered $100 each in onboard credit to passengers as a goodwill gesture. Other than that, I enjoyed myself on the whole. This was my first cruise and I didn't know what to expect. The cabin was utilitarian mostly, but comfortable. The food was not the most healthful since it was largely meat and flour-based, but it was plentiful and quite good otherwise. The onboard shows were quite entertaining. The other ports of call, CocoCay, in the Bahamas, and Key West were fun. CocoCay is a private island owned by the cruise company and it was nice and relaxing. They hosted an island barbecue there, which was a nice touch. I'm thinking of doing this again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
This was a first time cruise for my wife and I. We went into it looking for nothing but relaxation. After reading numerous reviews of this ship, this is some of what we had expected-- a dour steward who was never seen after meeting us the ... Read More
This was a first time cruise for my wife and I. We went into it looking for nothing but relaxation. After reading numerous reviews of this ship, this is some of what we had expected-- a dour steward who was never seen after meeting us the first time, not being able to have bacon at breakfast unless we had asked for it, staff members who don't make eye contact nor speak with you in the hallways among other things. What we found was a wonderful stewardess named Sonny who took great care of our every request. Bacon was plentiful at the breakfast line and every crew member we encountered was helpful and smiling. We realized beforehand that this ship isn't the newest ship in the fleet. She is however, an oldie but goodie. Food was fine. Although I am convinced that what was advertised as filet mignon was actually a piece of London broil meat cut into the shape of filet mignon. We have London broil at home very often and you couldn't tell me what I had that was billed as filet mignon, was in fact London broil. I also read about tough and overly salty lobster tails. Found that wasn't the truth on our cruise. Lobster tail was fine. The prime rib was OUTSTANDING. We were shocked at how quickly both embarking and disembarking went. We had a late flight out of town so we weren't in any hurry to get off the ship. We had taken our carry off bag and were going to head to the Lido deck to relax until they called our color when lo and behold, the ship announced that the entire ship was cleared and we were able to get off. With that, we headed out and were off the ship in less than 10 minutes. Embarking went VERY SMOOTHLY too. Entertainment was so so. The shows were o.k. Pretty decent casino if you want to play blackjack or roulette etc. Good food at the Coconut Grove restaurant. The size of the rooms was more than adequate for a 4 day/3 night cruise. The folded towels were a trip! Everything worked fine in the room. The hot water was hot and the cold water cold. The value of the cruise was great. Overall, we were pleased and would be willing to go again on Carnival lines. One thing I didn't like. Kids running in the hallway at night. I think perhaps it wouldn't hurt if they actually put up signs that say "No running in the halls." Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
This was a memorable cruise since we received two extra days at sea courtesy of Hurricane Wilma, which closed the Port of Miami. This was our second Carnival cruise and our first cruise in over 15 years. Overall, we felt the cruise was a ... Read More
This was a memorable cruise since we received two extra days at sea courtesy of Hurricane Wilma, which closed the Port of Miami. This was our second Carnival cruise and our first cruise in over 15 years. Overall, we felt the cruise was a very good value for the money. The ship was clean and everything was pretty much as advertised. The cabins were clean, the shower worked great, and the beds were comfortable. Most of the reviews I read prior to the cruise gave the food high marks and it exceeded my expectations for a cruise at this price. The menu had plenty of variety, and most of the entrees were beef or fish. It was also nice that there were decent wines available for $18 - $24. The desserts were ok, but the portions were small. Better desserts could be found at the buffet served each night in the Coconut Grove. One thing I didn't like was the soda policy. At the very least, free soft drinks should be provided at dinner. It didn't make sense that lemonade and fruit punch are freely available all day near the pool or at the buffet, but I had to buy drinks for my kids each night at dinner. I could get a second entrEe for free if I wanted, but if I want a soda with it, it will cost $2.50!? Although it wasn't Carnival's fault that we had to stay at sea two extra days, they had plenty of food and full menus available the entire time. We never had to wait in line to get seated or get food at a buffet, with the exception of the midnight buffet, and that was worth the wait. There was plenty of room on deck, and plenty of lounge chairs. The unadvertised 9-hole miniature golf course on the top deck inside the jogging track was a nice surprise for my kids. The organized activities were lacking, however. There weren't enough kids at this time of year, and the Camp Carnival activities were almost nonexistent. The shows were ok, but they were both musical reviews; some variety in between the music would have been nice. The international staff was ok, but only a few crew members really were exceptional. The 3-night cruise only cost about $300, the same it would cost for 3 nights at a hotel in Miami, so it is a great way to spend a long weekend. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
I just arrived from a 4 night/5 day cruise to Bahamas from 10/31/05 to 11/04/05 on the MAJESTY OF THE SEAS. The check in process was fairly smooth. We arrived to the terminal early and we had to wait 10-20 mins to get in the ship but that ... Read More
I just arrived from a 4 night/5 day cruise to Bahamas from 10/31/05 to 11/04/05 on the MAJESTY OF THE SEAS. The check in process was fairly smooth. We arrived to the terminal early and we had to wait 10-20 mins to get in the ship but that did not bother my husband and I at all. Once on the ship, we headed directly to the Windjammer. Both my husband and I found that the food was very tasty. We left from Miami in the evening and headed to the BAHAMAS. Second day- we went to downtown Nassau during the morning. The weather was hot and humid as usual tropical weather at this time of the year. We did not take any tour but just walked around downtown. It was our first time in Nassau and I have to say that we did not enjoy much of it. The people in were not that nice and I found that sometimes even rude. If I had to do it over again, I will probably just go in a tour. In the afternoon we took a water taxi to ATLANTIS. Now, that was a whole different experience! Everybody had a smile and were very nice to tourists. We explored the hotel and visited the casino. We were kind of late and did not have time to go to the aquarium. If I ever go back to Nassau, I will definitely spend more time in the Atlantis. Third day- we were scheduled to go to Coco Cay but due to bad weather we were unable to do so. We spend the day at sea. Although somewhat disappointed, we enjoyed the rest of the day inside the ship. Immediately, activities were scheduled aboard and everything ran very nice and smoothly, on my opinion. Fourth day- we walked around Key West by ourselves. We enjoyed the key lime pie and the shopping. The food I found was very tasty and we were never disappointed. I have to make a special mention to the desserts!!! My husband and I sampled most of them every night and they were FANTASTIC. (Please try the Praline!!!!) We happened to go every day to the Windjammer and were very satisfied with the staff. THey were always very pleasant and kind. The entertainment was great! Please don't miss the show with Jeff Harris and Dario el Gaucho, they are awesome!!! They Gym was a little small...and the machines were old and definitely needed some maintenance and updating, particularly the treadmills. Overall my experience was very good. I had read other members' reviews and I was prepared to see the wear and tear throughout the ship. I think it is great for those of us who travel on a budget. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
This is my 2nd time cruising but my first with RCL. We sailed with Carnival last year. We were looking for a quick getaway to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary and decided to take this cruise. I found the good price through the RCL's ... Read More
This is my 2nd time cruising but my first with RCL. We sailed with Carnival last year. We were looking for a quick getaway to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary and decided to take this cruise. I found the good price through the RCL's website and called their 800 number to reserve my trip 2 months ago. To give us peace of mind and since we're travelling on the second week of September (hurricane season), I also got an insurance protection through RCL. We arrived at Ft. Lauderdale airport since we got a good deal with the airline and have a limo picked us up at the airport. Everything was on time. We arrived at Holiday Inn Port of Miami around 11:30am and of course our room wasn't ready yet so we left our luggage and came back around 1:30pm. They gave us a Bayside view. What a MAGNIFICENT VIEW it was! Embarkation: We got to the port at 11 am and they haven't let anybody else check-in. Waited for about 20 minutes before they started letting people in. It only took us 10-15 minutes to check-in with the line, security and getting our sea pass card. For the first time cruisers: Make sure you do all your paperworks online and fill out the paperworks that they send you with the booklet. This saves you sooo much time. We got into the ship and went straight to Windjammer for lunch. Food was good. Our room wasn't ready until 1pm so we decided to familiarize ourselves with the ship. At 1pm, we head down to our cabin, Deck 7, and our luggage is already waiting for us. The cabin is a little bit smaller compare to the cabin of the Carnival but there were a lot of storage for you to put your stuff. After unpacking we went to Chorus Line Lounge, Deck 5 and listen to the Discover Nassau shopping show. It gives you tips on where to go shop at Nassau and they also have giveaways for the audience. At 4:30 there is a mandatory muster drill. Everyone has to show up on this one before the ship would sail. I think they are very organized. For dinner, we had requested for a small group and at second seating. Our table is good for 6 people and we got seated with the nice couples. Dinner is good but nothing too exciting for me. Day 2: Nassau- We started our day with a breakfast at Windjammer. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, French toast and fruits. They also have an omelette station where they make whatever kind of omelette you like. I chose to skip that one. We only booked one activity during this whole trip with RCl and that is the yellow bird tour. Since that one doesn't start until 1pm, DH and I took a taxi and went to the Atlantis to see "The Dig". Atlantis is a very nice place to see. At 11:30 we went back to the ship and ate lunch and got ready for our next excursion. At 1pm, we rode the yellowbird tour and it took us to Pearl Island (private island, i think) and went swimming. When we got back, DH and I went to the Straw market to get some souvenirs. Dinner- Formal Dinner is on Day 2. Portraits were taken. Dinner was really good. I had fillet mignon. It was cooked just the way I asked for. Day 3: Coco Cay- It was hot and humid day. We rented a beach mat and went swimming most of the time. Water is a little bit cloudy but if you swim a little bit further down, we saw some fish (without the snorkel gear). Please make sure to wear your sunscreen. I am dark and still got sunburn even though I had put sunscreen on. Lunch is free also and it was good. We got back to the ship around 3:30 pm and decided to order room service. They were pretty fast. Dinner was good and There was also the chocolate buffet at midnight. Day 4: Key West- Everyone had to go through immigration before they can let anybody get off the ship. It went smoothly but of course there's always those people that no matter how many times you tell them to be in a certain place at a certain time, they will not be there on time. I think I heard them announce a few names for a period of time. We had breakfast at windjammer again. Same type of food. We got off Key West around 11am and rode the trolley to see the town. We also ate at Sloppy Joes for lunch which was a good lunch. We got back on the ship around 4:30 pm and started packing. Luggage needs to be out by midnight. Day 5: Miami- Debarkation went smoothly. We were out of the cabin and off the ship at 7am. We found our luggage easily and got a taxi to go to south beach. We were at the South Beach hotel at 7:30 am. Overall- The ship itself is showing it's age. But with the price that we paid for, it was all worth it. They are very organized here compare to Carnival ship. Food was decent but nothing to really brag about. I would probably sail with RCL again but will try the other ships. When it comes to food, I prefer the food at Carnival since they have lobster night. Customer service is pretty good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2005
Check-in,no need to stand in a second line,cabin keys should have been distributed at check-in. Entire check-in took almost 2 hrs. Put the trays back in the buffet,by the time you get your entire meal at the table it's cold & a ... Read More
Check-in,no need to stand in a second line,cabin keys should have been distributed at check-in. Entire check-in took almost 2 hrs. Put the trays back in the buffet,by the time you get your entire meal at the table it's cold & a lot of food is wasted. I have helped Sr. travelers because they had all they could do to carry there plate never mind a drink & etc...Straws!!! "frozen drinks" Indeed their must be a alternative for plastic,or maybe some sort of cocktail spoon,or tell people they must use their finger's before they order one. Draught beer no one seemed to know why they didn't have any on board??? All those bars & not one draught beer. Ice buckets aren't refilled in the evening,the first night I had to call room service had to wait 1/2 hr..Second night waited 1 hr.,had to get dressed & take the ice bucket to a bar & get it refilled. Blow dryers !!! even the cheapest hotels have blow dryers.. I couldn't belive that there were none.. I guess that the ship lapel pin has been replaced by the "gold card" what good that done I haven't been able to figure out yet. After spending your money you must surrender it at customs you can't keep it as a souvenir!! We have taken nine carnival cruises in the past few years & one more carnival cruise booked coming up. However if things don't change for the better than we'll have to start looking at other lines. Private dining & extra tipping for the service that you already paid for is slowly turning the "fun ship" into the "money ship"... If the ship is too old take it out of service & up date it!!! The broadway show as always "excellent", however the comedian got more laughs from the repeatedly used "f" word, three nites was a lot too much.. This with out a doubt has been the worst cruise that we have ever been on,up until now I had nothing but praise for carnival. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
This was my second cruise so stepping on to the Imagination I felt rather comfortable considering most ships layouts tend to be the same. My first cruise was on the Carnival Spirit which had a completely different feeling. I would suggest ... Read More
This was my second cruise so stepping on to the Imagination I felt rather comfortable considering most ships layouts tend to be the same. My first cruise was on the Carnival Spirit which had a completely different feeling. I would suggest first time cruiser to cruise on a newer ship. The Imagination was built in 1994 which doesn't seem that long ago, but in ship terms, it's almost ancient. The Imagination advantages was the staff and ports of call. The staff is rated number 2 of all 26 ships Carnival offers. Our room steward was exceptional! She cleaned the room twice a day and made the infamous towel animals daily. We left Miami on Saturday (5/28/05) at around 4 p.m. I would suggest taking advantage of the skipper's club which made check in smooth and VERY expedient. Within minutes we were on board while most waited in line for around 45 mins to an hour. The suite was a nice site. Our first cruise we had a regular room with balcony, but the suite was more sq. ft. and on the Imagination only suites have balconies. I would suggest splurging on a suite if you take a cruise on Imagination. The suite's decor is rather outdated and the bathroom did have a jacuzzi tub which was nice after long days in the warm sun. Ports of call were wonderful! First stop was the Cayman Islands which suffered a devastating hurricane last year, so most of the islands vegetation was blown away. The island's residents were great spirited. Our shore excursion consisted of power snorkeling with Don Forster's. The employees at DF's were great. The views from snorkeling were great! We saw a baby sea turtle and two large Barracudas. The power snorkel made snorkeling effortless which was nice considering it was over 90 degrees. The next excursion was in Jamaica and consisted of river tubing down the White River. The tour guides were wonderfully spirited and made this something we will remember forever. I would strongly suggest taking this tour while in Jamaica. Overall the cruise ship scored about a 7 out of 10. The staff was wonderful and always wanted to help. The ships decor is rather old and needs to be updated. I would suggest going on a newer ship to first time cruiser, but if you must take the Imagination know that the staff will make it all balance out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
This was my first cruise and my travel companion's third on RCI. He felt the room was a bit small compared to the previous ships, but we found it to be very adequate. Definitely worth getting the oceanview room: we saw other ships ... Read More
This was my first cruise and my travel companion's third on RCI. He felt the room was a bit small compared to the previous ships, but we found it to be very adequate. Definitely worth getting the oceanview room: we saw other ships cruising in the middle of the night and watched a lightening storm in the distance. Our steward, Javier, was excellent and always accommodating. We ate all our meals in the dining room but snacked in the Windjammer. Our dining room waiter and assistant were wonderful. No request from anyone at our table went unattended and they were always pleasant and professional (and we had one very picky person that drove ME crazy with his whining). Even the Maitre 'd endeared himself to us with a visit each night and even a special dessert not on that evening's menu (a nice surprise). The food was prepared well and came to our table warm and delicious. Coco Cay was cancelled due to choppy seas but the ship quickly issued a new shipboard schedule so everyone could find something to do. We went to the shows each evening and they were very good. They have some very talented people. Others on the ship told us that on the last night everyone would be hinting very loudly for their tips. This did NOT happen in the dining room or with our steward. All remained professional to the end and their tips reflected our sincere appreciation for all they did to make it a wonderful memory. The only negative to the entire cruise would be the Purser's Desk (otherwise known as Guest Relations...HA). Our SeaPass was constantly being de-activated and we had to visit 3 times in one day. Long lines and sullen staff who could care less that we were being inconvenienced repeatedly. They even told us our credit card company would not authorize charges. I called my card company and they said no charges had been denied nor authorization for use of the card withheld. Bring another card in case this happens to you. We did not get our statement by 6 a.m. on our last day so we had to stand in line with the rest of our deck because no one got a statement. A purser said that anyone who just wanted a statement could get out of line and to follow her. She printed one statement and then disappeared for about 15 minutes. There needs to be some serious retraining of this staff. They were the complete opposite of everyone else we dealt with on the ship. We had a great time and are planning our next, longer, cruise on RCI. I did write to them advising of the shabby purser's desk but they have yet to respond. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
This was my 3rd cruise, but my first on Carnival (I have cruised twice previously on Royal Caribbean, 1. Grandeur of the Seas and 2. Enchantment of the Seas - most recently). My husband and I took the 3-night weekend cruise from Miami on ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise, but my first on Carnival (I have cruised twice previously on Royal Caribbean, 1. Grandeur of the Seas and 2. Enchantment of the Seas - most recently). My husband and I took the 3-night weekend cruise from Miami on the Fascination which goes to Nassau in the Bahamas. The cost was $315 per person including taxes and port fees - a bit high, but this was a last minute thing. Checking in at the Port was relatively easy and quick - 15 minutes to get on the boat. I think we got there around 3:00 p.m. I apologize in advance for all of the comparisons I will be making between Carnival and Royal Caribbean (RCI) - having only cruised RCI before. If nothing else, perhaps this will help other RCI cruisers gather info. about the Carnival line. The Fascination was a bit more garish in dEcor and color schemes and it had a definite "closed in" feeling, which was different from the RCI boats I had been on. This was not necessarily a bad thing, though, since Carnival is able to have additional areas that RCI's wide open spaces don't allow for. In particular, there were so many more nightclub venues to choose from all along an alley on one side of the ship which was a blessing since you could probably find a place that had the kind of music you would be interested in (I complained about my last cruise's poor disco music at the only disco on the RCI boat). By-the-way, "Flashy" was great on Fascination - he got everyone dancing and limbo-ing. As for the garish dEcor/color schemes, as a 3rd time cruiser, I have gotten over the thrill of viewing the common areas so I really didn't care. The rugs and furnishings were definitely worn and were well-used, and while I didn't see staff cleaning the common areas as often as I had on RCI, nothing seemed overly dirty or decrepit and that's good enough for me. The dEcor continued in the stateroom which looked out of date, but this is an old boat after all. The bathroom was larger than the RCI bathroom I had and that alone was a great thing since there was actually room in the shower to stand without touching the wet shower curtain all the time (as experienced on RCI). The room was fairly clean - please note that I have some of the highest standards for cleanliness and I always pull back the bedspread and blanket to reveal the sheets and pillows - searching for human hairs or other signs of recent occupancy. RCI on my last trip with them got very low marks on cleanliness due to dirty blankets and sheets. As for Carnival, they have a great system (at least on this boat) of encasing their blankets in a soft duvet cover (which did have a nice smell to it - as if it had been recently washed) and there weren't any hairs present, so the bed passed inspection with flying colors. I was satisfied with the overall cleanliness of this room, except that the carpet did have some small amount of debris on it so wasn't sure if it had been vacuumed and the closet was pretty dusty. I asked our room steward if he could vacuum the whole room again which I don't think he did. However, I know he did vacuum the corner of the room since, when we first entered the room, we found 2 separate twin beds and when we attempted to move them, we found a lot of crumbs/debris on the carpet where the bed had been. So we left the bed moving to the steward and all evidence of the crumbs were gone, so I guess that was good enough. I tend to wear shoes in hotel rooms anyway since I don't like the idea of trodding on filthy carpet that may look clean, but we all know is not. Anyway, I liked the actual room better than RCI because of the larger bathroom and duvet AND our room came with bathrobes. Don't know if everyone gets them but we were happy to have them. We had a porthole too which was new to us and it was nice to be able to see out. Service was not as good on RCI, but it wasn't horrible either - just not as good. Some examples: our steward did not give us new pool towels even after he removed the old wet ones and we had to find him to get two more. One morning we requested a table for two at the sit down dining room. The waiter tried to steer us to a table with other cruisers - while he didn't say "no" outright, he gave us some sob story about keeping the other tables "free." He only gave us a table for 2 when I told him we wouldn't eat there if we didn't get our own table (glad he did, too - they served smoke whitefish for breakfast - very nice treat!). This had never happened on RCI - indeed, after the first day we requested our own table, the maitre 'd remembered us and gave us the same table for the rest of the trip with a smile. Definitely not as many smiling individuals on this ship. Even our dining room waiters were not as friendly, although there weren't any real complaints about the service. This wasn't really troublesome, perhaps, because of the overall mood of the ship. I'm not sure if it is Carnival, this particular ship, or the fact that we were on a weekend cruise, but everyone seemed pretty laid back. The crowd seemed a bit younger, but with the exception of a few obnoxious drunks, we didn't think it was the out-of-control type spring break atmosphere. Just more mellow, I guess, and actually one of the things I enjoyed about this ship. There were 2 sit down dining rooms - ours was the Sensation and a buffet-style dining room. As for food, RCI was definitely more "refined" in its cuisine. The weird thing is that pretty much everything we ate on the Fascination was really, really salty. This doesn't bother me too much since I put a lot of salt on my food anyway, but people with high blood pressure might want to re-think this ship. Honestly, the steamed vegetables were salty, the risotto was salty, even the lobster tail was salty! By the way, as comparisons go, the lobster on Fascination was MUCH better than the lobster was on RCI. Maybe it was the salt? Anyway, the saltiness not withstanding, I will say that the food was still very good on Carnival. The fact of the matter is, there are so many things to choose from on a cruise that you HAVE to find something you like. Also, what gives Carnival a bit of an edge over RCI is the fact that they have a midnight buffet every night and they have more variety with the buffet area - which included a sandwich board - made to your specifications (we loved the smoked salmon on a bagel) and a limited opening (and portion) sushi bar. The pizza was better on Carnival as well as the soft serve ice cream - which is on par with Dairy Queen - we had it every day (RCI soft serve was frozen yogurt I think and it tasted AWFUL, but I guess the good ice cream on Carnival made up for the awful cookies they had - small, hard, and yucky; RCI cookies were great - big, soft, chewy, delicious). I guess I can't say that I prefer either line over the other when it comes to food overall. If you like more refined cuisine, go with RCI. If you want variety of choices and midnight buffet every night (which was pretty good all nights) go with Carnival. One note about desserts though - RCI was definitely better, even though their desserts weren't great either (although I can recommend the chocolate brownie sundae on RCI, and the strawberry cheesecake on Carnival respectively). I had a chance to speak with the pastry chef at the midnight buffet on the Fascination and in answer to my inquiry I found out that most of the cakes are made with shortening, not butter. I'm sure that's probably how it is on all of these cruise ships but that's very disappointing and I can see why they don't taste that good. I used to work for a German baker and there is nothing like a dessert made with fresh, all natural ingredients... Oh - the best desserts of the cruise on the Fascination were actually to be had at the "high tea" held in the piano room one day of the cruise. We had chewy, fantastic chocolate meringue cookies and strawberry tarts that were to die for and which we didn't see at any other time during the cruise - a shame. Amenities include the standard casino, big lounge for large events, many smaller nightclub venues, fitness room (bigger than RCI), 2 pools (all outdoors, 1 is a kiddie pool and 1 had a nice slide) and 6 (I think) hot tubs outdoors and 2 indoors. As with RCI, the pools were only open at weird times from day to day. I feel the pools should be open all the time. If not, they should have posted times of when they'll be open. There will probably be one or two things going on daily that you will enjoy - from Las Vegas type shows, to a talent show, Karaoke, and bingo - there's something for everyone. I can say that the cruise director didn't seem as energetic as the guy from RCI (Matt - funny Welsh dude) and the newlywed show (which was hilarious on RCI) was not that funny on Fascination, although we only watched a few minutes of it - maybe it got better. As for the excursions, you'll have to read reviews from other people. My husband and I disdain paying our hard-earned money to ride a bus for a few hours during our vacation. I can tell you that, when in port (on both RCI and Carnival), the amenities on the boat are MUCH more accessible and we found ourselves enjoying the pools and hot tubs without another soul around. The dining rooms are less crowded as well and you can take your time with the selections at the buffet. I did find the crowd on Fascination to be more relaxed about getting to the food - maybe because there were so many more extra options. On RCI there was a lot of pushing and shoving - so much for more "refined." I was originally hesitant to try another cruise line since my experience with RCI had been exceptional for my first cruise, but since my second cruise with them was not on par, I figured I would branch out. I'm glad I did since we really enjoyed our cruise on the Fascination, however, I did have one really big complaint. We had a "guaranteed" room, which means we didn't get our cabin assignment until we got to the boat. Our room, M-4, was fine but the location was a nightmare. Not to get to or anything like that - it was on top of one of the bow thrusters. Any time the boat leaves or enters a port, the bow thrusters thrust water through their openings to propel the boat sideways. Unfortunately, the noise they make is deafening. I wouldn't have cared if it weren't for the fact that leaving/entering ports are usually a morning activity. The first morning we were given a 5 a.m. wake-up call by these thrusters and it lasted for about 10 minutes. The next day it occurred at around 8:00 a.m. and the next morning at 5:00 a.m. again. This location did not lend to a relaxing morning in bed. I fumed, but when we went to complain at the front desk, we were told there weren't any rooms we could move to. Rather than demand to leave the ship, we decided to stick it out. If I cruise on Carnival again, I plan on picking the location of my room to avoid this inconvenience. Honestly - they shouldn't even rent these rooms out for all the irritation they could cause unsuspecting vacationers. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
Carnival Fascination I was set to sail on very first cruise with my fiancE, Friday, November 19, 2004. We were very much excited. Everything was packed, we took Bonnie for motion sickness and now we were on our way. We decided to make ... Read More
Carnival Fascination I was set to sail on very first cruise with my fiancE, Friday, November 19, 2004. We were very much excited. Everything was packed, we took Bonnie for motion sickness and now we were on our way. We decided to make the two hour drive from Fort Myers, Florida, to the Port of Miami. We left Fort Myers approximately 7:30 a.m. After missing two exits, we arrived at 11:45. We originally booked on the Upper Deck and received a free upgrade to the Empress Level after we received our documents. When we went to check in it confused the little elderly women but we did get the correct room keys. They gave us two sheets of paper that stated we would have to wait until 1:00 p.m. to go to our cabin because the stewards were still cleaning our rooms. We were finally allowed on the boat and the ship photographer took our picture. Lunch was being served on the Lido Deck and we had hamburgers and French fries. Little did we know that was the main menu for the next 3 days for lunch. They did have a little something different i.e. fried chicken one day and jerk chicken another day. The main thing was we was always full, but there could have been more of a variety. We were so tired after the long drive. I had a few drinks, took a lot of pictures, ran the camcorder and tried to cover the entire boat. We looked around our room and checked out the menu for room service. There was a lot to choose from, but nothing major i.e. sandwiches, salads, cookies, brownies. There was also a choice of hot and cold beverages. Room service was great. The food was made exactly the way we ordered and did not have to wait long. After that was all over we were ready set to sail 4:00 p.m. We felt a little dizzy but not sea sick, it was great. We were in the bed by 7:00 p.m. That meant that we missed our dinner. We were set for late seating at 8:30 p.m. That was ok because Saturday night was formal night and we had two excursions, one starting at 9:00 a.m. We did two excursions, one was Pirates of Nassau and Historical Highlights tour and second one was The Glass Bottom Boat that started at 12:45 p.m. We got back on the boat around 3:00 p.m. They were both good but I think next time I will choose for us to walk around the Bahamas and sightsee on our own. The boat was so large that we still did not cover the entire boat, we had to explore again. We dropped of pictures that we took with our own camera about 4 rolls. (6.99 each) We then got ready for formal night and took tons of pictures.(One 6 x 9 19.99 each) They would be ready the next day. We had late seating 8:30 p.m., the menu was good but I would have to say there is more to choose from on a Red Lobster menu. I asked our waiter if I could have some lobster but he said that was Friday night and would not be serving any more for the rest of the cruise. I guess we missed out. There was no seafood listed and some of the food was unfamiliar to me. We ate a little and then left to have more fun. Sunday we left the Bahamas 6:00 a.m. We relaxed the rest of the day. There was so much to do it was hard to cover everything in three days, so next time we might have to try for a 4-7 day cruise. All and all the cruise was great but since this was our fist cruise I think that we can explore other cruise lines to compare. If you have any questions feel free to email me at Luxurious1_1@msn.com. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
**First of all, I'd like to give some advice to those who may drive to the Port of Miami. We used Royal Caribbeans published directions from the web page and we got confused. We found the port, after backtracking and making left and ... Read More
**First of all, I'd like to give some advice to those who may drive to the Port of Miami. We used Royal Caribbeans published directions from the web page and we got confused. We found the port, after backtracking and making left and right turns where the directions said the opposite. With that said... Embarkation: We arrived at the port at about 11:45 and dropped our bags at the check station. We were parked, unloaded, and through the security checkpoint and walking to the gangway at 12:00pm. We stood in absolutely no lines from dropping the bags all the way until lunch. We couldn't enter our stateroom until 1:00, so we spent the hour in the Windjammer. It is a very beautiful place to eat, but some parts are slightly cramped. The line on the indoor section exited where the drink station was, which caused a mass of people trying to leave the line and those comming back for drinks. The line was almost always long, but I expected that because it was a full ship. I would advise eating lunch a little later or earlier than usual times, just to avoid the lines and it makes it easier to find a seat. We set sail promptly after the muster drill at 5:05pm and we were on our way to Nassau. The Cruise Dinner that night was awkward. The service at our table was very poor, we didn't get what we ordered and my water glass was empty and never re-filled. Although other tables were very happy with the same waiters. They were even pouring steak-sauce for them. We got no water though. I've been to Nassau before, so it wasn't much to see. It was very crowded as there were four ships including us was docked. If you take this cruise for the first time, I would say book an excursion to a beach rather than try it on your own. The beach we finally found was small, and not very appealing. COCOCAY was very very fun. There was so much to do if you were willing to spend some money. We were the first ship to visit since Hurricane Jeanne made a call at the island. The sun and sand was great and the food was excellent. Try the Cocolocos!! Key West was the highlight of the trip for me. I enjoyed the scenery and walking around shopping. We sat and had a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, which was the goal for the whole trip. We visited the Southernmost point of the Continental US and took pics. Lot's of fun. The Food As I stated earlier, the service at our table for dinner was very slow if it happened at all. We didn't get what we ordered and I was disappointed enough that we elected to skip dinnertime the remaining nights to view the sunset. If you want to see them and still have dinner, I suggest late seating dinner, especially during the very late summer. The Windjammer food was great, a big variety. Service there was better for me than the dining room waiters were. The pizza and hotdogs were great at the Mast Sports Bar as well. Don't miss the midnight buffet, the food there was wonderful and the atmosphere is great. Entertainment: The shows were fun. The South American Cowboy was amazing and the comedy was mostly funny. The only thing, other than the gameshows, there's not much else to do other than gamble, drink, and dance. And if you're not big on those things, you have to make your own fun. Don't miss Majesty Quest. I laughed until my sides hurt. Disembarkation: Exiting the ship was quick. We walked practically right off the ship, collected our luggage and proceeded to Customs. Since we were in a US port prior to returning to Miami, things were much smoother than my other cruises. The only line was at customs. We were on the road again by 9:00am. The ship barly showed it age at all. It was very clean and tidy. The Stateroom was interior, but small. Sufficent for what we used it for. Compared to my previous cruises with Carnival, the interior room was much smaller. It was not a problem though. With kids I would assume the cramped space would be horrible. This is a great cruise for those who need a short vacation. I plan on maybe taking it again, just to go back to Cococay. I hope this review was helpful, The other reviews were very helpful to me before I booked this ship. If you need more info, feel free to e-mail me at PDSandman01@aol.com. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
I traveled with 4 other women (3 of us between the ages of 24-34) and we had a good time. The only trip i had it to compare to was the Horizon on Celebrity, which I thought was better than the Majesty. The Majesty looks older, and a ... Read More
I traveled with 4 other women (3 of us between the ages of 24-34) and we had a good time. The only trip i had it to compare to was the Horizon on Celebrity, which I thought was better than the Majesty. The Majesty looks older, and a little more run down. On deck three you could smell sewage. We had an inner cabin and it was EXTREMELY small. there was a teeny closet and no dresser. just a few drawers in the vanity that could fit socks and underwear. There is no clock in the room and no window so you couldn't tell what time it was. We were supposed to go to Nassau, Coco Cay, and Key West, but didn't go to Coco Cay because of hurricane damage. Instead, we spent a day at sea. I would have preferred spending an extra day at one of our other ports but that was out of my hands. Our day at sea could have been a lot better. On Celebrity when you are at sea there are SOOOO many fun things to do, your only concern is how you will do them all. On the Majesty, your concern is "where are the activities?" we found it to be DEAD on our at sea day, especially at night time. Our day at Key West was fine, but i would have preferred docking much earlier, especially because we had all that extra time the day before to get back to Key West. By the time they let you off the ship it's 11 and you have to be back at 5:30. The Majesty did have excellent service, food, and drinks. Big ups to our waiter, asst. waiter and state room attendant. They were all totally fabulous. Our waiters Marlon and Frances were polite, efficient, and VERY funny. We looked forward to seeing them every night. Our stateroom attendant, Irma, knew all of our names by the first night and made towel animals that she would put on our beds at night. I would definitely cruise on Royal Caribbean again, but probably in on one of their more upscale ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
My wife and I booked through RCI website 8 months prior to sailing and we paid a total of $1,600 for a Superior Oceanview stateroom (9540) including round trip airfare and CruiseCare insurance. We received our documents about three and a ... Read More
My wife and I booked through RCI website 8 months prior to sailing and we paid a total of $1,600 for a Superior Oceanview stateroom (9540) including round trip airfare and CruiseCare insurance. We received our documents about three and a half weeks before our sailing date of October 11, 2004. Just so you know the demographics we are looking at this from, we are a Caucasian American couple. We are middle class and I am 38 and my wife is 33. If you are looking for luxury, this cruise may not be for you. If you are looking for a party all night, meet singles kind of cruise, this may not suit you either. Those cruises are out there. You may just want to look elsewhere. There were a lot of younger couples on board who seemed to be having a great time as well as older couples that seemed to be enjoying themselves, also. Couples seemed to be the main demographic aboard, though there were singles and families also. DAY ONE- We were on Delta out of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport flying into Ft Lauderdale. There were Delta reps at Cinci airport that directed us through the boarding process. On arrival in Ft Lauderdale we were met by several reps holding Royal Caribbean signs at the baggage claim area. They directed us to a waiting area and after about 10 minutes we were given transfer passes and we boarded a bus for the trip to Miami. It is about a 35 mile trip and on the day we arrived it took about 20 minutes. We were told that on some days it could take up to an hour or more with traffic. We arrived at the port and a porter took our checked luggage at the pier. We were directed to the terminal where we checked in and received our SeaPass in a matter of minutes. You have to present the card you will be charging the SeaPass to, your passport or Birth Certificate, a picture ID and your Bahamas immigration card, which comes with your documents. From Pier to ship was about 15 minutes including walking time. We entered the ship and, as this was our first cruise, were of course in awe. The Centrum area is huge and impressive. As you enter the ship you insert your SeaPass into a reader and your picture is taken. From then on, any time you leave the ship, you insert your card into this reader and your picture appears to security so they can verify your identity. This makes getting off and on the ship pretty quick and easy. We got to our room and opened the door using the SeaPass. We were pleasantly surprised by the size. Now remember this was a Superior Oceanview and, as such, is bigger than a normal room. I would compare this room size to a typical Motel 6, Days Inn, Red Roof Inn room. There is the bed, a small, comfortable corner seat and a small end table. There are drawers in two beside stands, 6 shelves in under counter unit, three drawers, several shelves behind the mirrors for toiletries, etc, as well as a closet with plenty hangers and three rods which provide quite a bit of hanging area. There is a small TV (about 13" diagonal) and, to our surprise, a very small refrigerator as well as a small safe. The announcement was made several times that there is to be no smoking in the staterooms yet on top of the mirrored cabinets, there were three ashtrays. I will not tell you if my wife chose to smoke in our room or not, but make your own decision. They definitely send mixed messages by having ashtrays in a non-smoking area. In general it IS okay to smoke on one side of the ship and in many lounges. If you are unsure where, ask any of the staff. The beds (which in our case were pushed together to make one) look like cots. We were not thrilled about this until we lay down and discovered that, despite their appearance, they are pretty comfortable. There are extra pillows in the under counter cabinets which were much needed. The bathroom is small. There's no denying that. However, it is functional. You can check out the pictures of all this at the link below. I had ordered chocolate covered strawberries and a Happy Birthday package for my wife. The strawberries were waiting in the room and were nicely chilled. The decorations, including a large centerpiece in the window, several streamers and balloons were very nice. Nicer than I had expected from the pictures I had seen. Also, to my surprise, a very good moist birthday cake was delivered later in the day. When I ordered the birthday package there was no mention of a cake being included so that was a nice extra. We went up to the deck and explored the ship then went to the Windjammer cafe for lunch. The food on board is decent. Is it gourmet? No. If you are used to four and five star restaurants, you will be disappointed in the food. If you are realistic and realize they are serving 2,500 people at a time, the food is good. There are a lot of choices and I can't imagine anyone not finding something they like. Here are two tips on the Windjammer. One, there are two main lines on the "outdoor" part. If you go into the "indoor" part of the Windjammer, there are two more identical lines so you can avoid some of the waiting. This will make sense once you are on the ship. Also, once you get through the lines, there is another area where they are carving roast beef, turkey, have hamburgers to order, etc. Also at breakfast they are cooking omelets to order in this area. So save room on your plate for that. Water, Lemonade and Iced Tea are free. We actually thought the lemonade was pretty good (Comparable to Country Time). We then stopped by the bar upstairs at Windjammer and got two "Drink of the Day" Blue Mondays. These are Rum, Blue Curacao, Pineapple juice and maybe some other ingredients. Let me just say here that on this cruise every bartender mixed the drinks STRONG! I'm talking literally at least one third alcohol. They are good but will knock you on your butt. We got the "souvenir glass", which is actually plastic" at $8.00 a piece the first time. After that you trade it in each time you buy a drink and they only charge you the normal $3.95 for the drink of the day + the 15% gratuity. We didn't get our checked luggage until almost 5:00pm so we changed into some clothes in our carryon and went to the muster drill. As stated on this board numerous times, there were several people who thought it unimportant to come to the mandatory muster and they were called by name while everyone else had to wait until they showed up. Please go to the muster drill. It's for your protection. After muster it was up on deck for dancing. My wife was dancing while I was taking pictures. I felt a little dizzy for a second and couldn't figure out why. Then it hit me...we were moving. There was no sensation of movement at all other than the buildings moving by. On the subject of motion. Unless you are VERY prone to motion sickness I cannot imagine anyone being made sick by the ship. Other than the water going by you really cannot tell you are moving 99% of the time. Every once in awhile you'll feel a light shaking. This is about equivalent to light turbulence on an airplane or what it feels like if you are in a building and a large truck goes by shaking the walls. Honestly there was a lot less motion sensation than you feel in a car. We were in 1-4 foot seas so it was rather calm but, honestly, you'd forget you were moving a lot of the time. I'll not go on with the rest of the day's activities, as they are rather boring to read. Just wanted to cover some of the highlights that may apply to everyone. DAY TWO We woke up at about 8:00am and I looked out the window. To my surprise I was looking at the side of a large ship which turned out to be Carnival's Fantasy. We were docked next to her at Nassau. We again went to Windjammer for breakfast then went down to deck one to see Nassau. We had booked a tour on Seaworld Explorer, which I would recommend to anyone who would like to see the underwater world without getting wet. My wife is not a fan of the water, as she can't swim so this was an opportunity for us to see things we wouldn't have been able to see normally. As you exit the ship your tour guides holding signs naming the tour you signed up for meet you. Nassau is pretty, but to be honest, to us it seemed rather dirty and seedy. Now, understand that we are from USA and are used to most "touristy" places being clean and nice. Nassau doesn't have the money to recover from the hurricanes as readily as most American cities and it shows. The buildings at the pier were in need of repair. There was a lot of debris floating in the water. There were light poles knocked down still lying on the pier. Having said that, the water is beautiful green and conditions are better in other areas than at the pier. We followed our guide to the boat that takes you to the Seaworld Explorer. As we walked the pier to the shuttle boat, we saw several small blowfish right at the surface of the water. We boarded the boat and pulled out into the harbor headed for the Explorer. The man driving the boat was extremely entertaining explaining what all we were seeing in a humorous way. We passed several HUGE mansions as he told us of their owners: Tiger Woods, Chuck Norris, Michael Jordan, the owner of the Atlantis resort, etc. We then approached two houses that appear to be about 30 room mansions being built side by side. He explained that these are both being built by Oprah Winfrey. One for her and one for guests. Amazing. We saw several sunken ships along the way with masts sticking out of the water. These were those people who failed to heed the hurricane warnings we were told. We arrived at the Explorer and transferred over to that boat which appears totally normal from above. Once on board we were led downstairs into a long narrow hull below water level. Both sides were lined with windows. We were then taken around the reef passing many fish, starfish, coral, a shipwreck and even a shark. After this we were taken back to the pier and we spent a few hours shopping. We took a carriage ride which, if you have never been to the Bahamas, is more terrifying than relaxing. It appears that there are no traffic laws, or if there are, they are not enforced. There was a one lane road with cars going both directions at 45 MPH. Honking horns are used in place of turn signals. All I can say is BE CAREFUL walking. After the carriage ride at a full trot we went back on the ship for lunch, again in the Windjammer. After lunch we decided to go over to see the Atlantis Resort. There is really no describing this place and I see now why everyone says to go there. We didn't pay to use their beaches, we just went in to look around. The taxi ride to the Atlantis was equally as terrifying, going 75 in 25 MPH zone with horn blazing. The sheer size of everything at Atlantis from the 25 foot tall six inch thick steel doors to the horse sculpture to the atrium to the aquarium is overwhelming. Most people have seen a restaurant with an aquarium in it but this is different. This aquarium lines one entire side of the restaurant wrapping around to the other wall. Outside the architecture is equally awe inspiring. Of course, you also have to get a look at the $25,000 a night suite that forms a bridge between the towers. After taking a ton of pictures, we headed back to the ship. This was formal night and we went to the main dining room, "The Mayfair" for dinner. It was okay but not our cup of tea. The service is excellent; however, the headwaiter told a few off color jokes that appeared to lightly offend some of the older people at our table. We had roasted vegetables as an appetizer. They were okay but were served cold which was a bit of a surprise. Some of the other choices were chilled Jasmine soup or escargot. I got the beef Tenderloin with green peppercorn gravy and onion mashed potatoes. I ordered it medium well. It arrived well done and room temperature at best. The portion was also rather small, although the waiter did offer to bring us seconds. The food was adequate but not much more than that. We stuck with the Windjammer the rest of the cruise and were quite satisfied. Another couple sitting with us said they had tried the dining room for breakfast and were disappointed also. Another annoyance that seemed to bother everyone at our table was that a photographer came around during dinner and took pictures of each couple then the wife alone. He was leaning over people while they were trying to eat and was very annoying. We just said "no" to the 200 other times they tried to get us to get our pictures taken but butting in on dinner was really tacky. After dinner we went to The Chorus Line Lounge for the "Love and Marriage" game show. I HIGHLY recommend this. It is based on the old Newlywed Game where three couples are separated and the host asks the husbands and wives questions then they have to answer what they thought their partner said. They chose a couple that had been married less than three days a couple that had been married the longest (60 years in this case) and a couple that and been married 9 years. The host, Duane the cruise director, is hilarious. If you've ever seen the old Newlywed Game with Bob Eubanks egging on the contestants and making snide comments, this is very much like Duane. He asked questions such as: "Ladies.... What is the first thing your husband touches when he wakes up in the morning?" The newlywed lady said after a long embarrassed pause, "His razor." Duane said, "You've been married three days and the first thing he touches is his razor?!" To which she replied with an embarrassed smile, "Probably not.... But that's what I'm gonna say." The 9 year marriage lady said "Himself because he always goes to the bathroom in the morning." When they brought the men back out her husband answered, "The first thing I touch in the morning is my shower slippers." Duane replied, "Well.... That's not what the young kids call it these days David." Another question was "Guys...you have to go the lingerie store and buy your wife a bra. .... But she didn't tell you what size. What size are you bringing home?" The 60 years married husband answered, after holding up his hands as if cupping certain things, "Orange size." Duane about wet himself laughing. It is a very fun and entertaining show and I think it is a must see if you enjoy the old Newlywed game. After that we went to the pool party/midnight buffet. They call this "Dancing under the Stars" which sounds like romantic slow dancing. It is NOT. It is Hip Hop, "Who Let the Dogs Out", etc. There's nothing wrong with this. Just don't expect to spend romantic time slow dancing under the stars They were grilling out hamburgers poolside with tacos, salads, pasta, etc. This is also when they displayed the ice sculptures, watermelon carvings, windmills made of bread, vases of flowers made of fruits and vegetables, etc. it's quite a sight to see. After this it was off to bed where we found our first towel animal, an elephant wearing my sunglasses. I'm a guy and even I couldn't help but think it was cute. Let me take a second here to comment on Apollo and Fernando, our room stewards. They are GREAT! I cannot say enough good about them. ANYTHING we asked for, we got. Apollo introduced himself the first day and knew my name every time after that even though he was taking care of what appeared to be the entire half of the 9th deck. They worked hard and did excellent and I thanked them by prepaying tips plus leaving them $20.00 more in the tip envelope at the end of the cruise. Another word on the staff in general. Never at any time whether on duty or off duty did we see or hear ANY crewmember, kitchen staff member, bartender, waiter, busboy, etc complain about ANYTHING. After living in America (something I am very proud of) it makes you see how spoiled we really are as we complain and whine about everything. The staff of the Majesty genuinely seemed happy to serve people. DAY THREE Through day two we were uncertain as to what would transpire on day three. We were scheduled to visit Coco Cay, RCI's private island, but due to damage sustained in the recent hurricanes, Coco Cay had been closed for several weeks. There was no mention form the crew as to whether we would or would not be visiting Coco Cay. As we left the ship in Nassau, they had a small wooden plaque near the gangway saying next port : Coco Cay so we were hopeful. As it turns out, we woke up on Wednesday morning to find the Majesty anchored off Coco Cay and the tenders to the island running. The water around Coco Cay is too shallow for the Majesty to dock there, however, smaller boats called tenders take you to the island from the big ship. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer then headed back to the room to get ready for Coco Cay. They sell water bottles that you can take to Coco Cay but we had brought along an insulated bottle by Blue Ice. I would HIGHLY recommend one of these. This is a basic water jug wrapped in an insulated outer layer. The bottom unzips and there is a removable ice pack inside. We had forgotten to take the ice pack out of the freezer before leaving home so did not have that to keep the water cold. I found our room steward, Apollo, cleaning another room and asked if there was somewhere I could get ice for the bottle. He immediately stopped what he was doing and took the bottle to the maintenance room to fill it with ice. Apollo is GREAT. I then filled that with water and we walked down to the 1st deck to get on a tender. I have to mention here that the Majesty's elevators take quite a while to arrive at the correct floor. The biggest problem seems to be that there are 6 forward elevators. If one is full and you are waiting on the next, but you push ANY of the buttons to call an elevator up or down, it holds that full elevator until you stop pushing the buttons. It took everyone a while to figure this out so you'd get on an elevator, the doors would start to close, then someone would push the button to call the next elevator. Instead, the doors would open again, and you'd have to wait for them to close again. Then, if someone pushed the button again, the process would repeat. It got to the point that after a few days walking up or down a few decks seemed the preferred method of getting around. Anyway, we walked down to deck one and hit a huge crowd on deck two stairs waiting for the tenders. This was one of only two times that there was any kind of crowd, despite the fact that there were over 2,500 people on board. As we waited the cruise staff yelled out for everyone to have their SeaPass out and that, being as the tenders hold 350 people each, everyone standing in line would be on the next tender. This relieved the waiting, as well as making it a situation where there was no pushing or line jumping since everyone knew they would be on the next boat. We tendered over to Coco Cay through clear blue-green water. As you step off the tenders you are greeted with many small shops selling basic "souvenir" shop items. Bring cash for these shops, as they don't take the SeaPass. Bars on the island DO take SeaPass. There are still signs of hurricane damage on the front of the island. There are a lot of rocks exposed. There is also a wall as well construction netting keeping you away from this area. There was a palm tree down on the front of the island also, however, this does not take away from the beauty of Coco Cay. We walked around the island to the right to the area where the wave runners are docked. We had neither the money nor inclination to do the wave runners, so we chose one of the MANY lounge chairs and lay in the sun for awhile. It was very hot (89F) and the sun was shining hot. However, there was also a cool breeze blowing, so we knew we shouldn't lay there long or we would be fried. After we stayed there for a while I walked on around the beach taking pictures. There was one area I passed that smelled STRONGLY of sewer. This was coming from the interior of the island, not the ocean. I assume they have a cesspool for the toilets on the island hidden behind the trees. This smell lasted only a few minutes though and I came up on the part of the island where the kayaks are stored. There are many hammocks and chairs as well as a HUGE shallow area at this point on the island. This is also where I ran across the first of the Coco Cay chickens. There are several chickens running loose around the island. I couldn't think of a reason for this at first, but then thought about the fact that chickens eat maggots and that would keep the fly population down. Whether or not this is the real reason, I do not know. Key West also had an in ordinate amount of free roaming chickens, so there is obviously some good reason. I went back and got my wife and we drug our floating mats around to the section of the island I just described. If you don't like crowds, I would suggest going straight to this part of the island. There are a lot of chairs, a lot of hammocks and you can even pick up your floating mats here as they are a pain in the butt to drag around the island. It is a good walk from the tenders however. We spent the remainder of our time at Coco Cay floating in the shallow water on our mats. The water is knee deep to a child out to about 100 yards or more from shore. We saw Sea Cucumbers, many fish, a crab, a LARGE starfish, conchs, etc in the shallow water. We had been on Coco Cay for about 4 hours at this point in 89F bright sun. We pulled the Blue Ice container out from under the chair where we had kept it and even without the ice pack in the bottom it was still pleasantly cold. Very impressive performance from this jug. After spending a few hours there we went back to the front of the island for lunch. They have a BBQ lunch on the island that I thought was very good. I've heard people complain on cruise boards about the fact that there are flies on the food, etc. Well, it is outdoors and there isn't a lot they can do about that. They have the food in covered shacks in steamtables and keep it as sanitary as possible for being outside. I worked in food service for 13 years and everything was as sanitary as it can be. They had corn on the cob, good BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken (no I don't think that's why they have chickens on the island) cheeseburgers, cole slaw, potato salad, etc. All were quite good. There are covered eating areas also. I had tried a Coco Loco drink on board and wasn't impressed. Here, however, we ordered two Coco Locos and they were GREAT! Again they are STRONG. Hint: Stir them when you get them or you are drinking pretty much straight spiced rum. Once stirred, they are excellent. After two....or three.... Coco Locos, it was time to go back to the ship. As we waited to get on the tenders, I started noticing, just how in control RCI really is. They seem to have thought of everything. There is a fenced in children's play area at the front of the island where they will entertain the little ones while you relax on the beach. They were having water balloon tosses, etc. There is also a corral where they have wheelchairs with large balloon wheels so that disabled cruisers can also enjoy the island. We tendered back to the Majesty and again were through the reboarding process rather quickly. There is an x-ray machine as you enter, so have any bags, cameras, etc out and ready to go through and it makes this much quicker. After dinner in Windjammer, we were worn out from the sun and water. We stayed on deck for a beautiful sunset over the sea then went to bed early this night and got some much needed sleep. DAY FOUR By this time, depression has started to set in as you realize that you are nearing the end of your trip. The crew begins to talk about debarking and packing. However, nothing will shake the "vacation's over" blues like opening your curtains and seeing that you are anchored at Key West. Key West was my personal favorite port. For one thing we were back in USA and, to us, that's more familiar territory. Beyond that though, Key West is just beautiful. Before getting off the Majesty at Key West, everyone on board MUST go through a quick US Customs inspection. This consists of filling out form in your stateroom then going to the requested place (in our case On Your Toes Lounge) with your SeaPass, passport or birth certificate and Photo ID. They call non US residents to a separate area and I cannot speak to what the process is there since we are US citizens. For us we stood in a very fast moving line that files past a customs official. You show them your documents and you are cleared. Then comes the big wait. NO ONE can leave the ship until EVERYONE has cleared customs. And, as always, there are those who feel that they don't have to follow rules and don't bother coming to the customs inspection. So, EVERYONE waits while they page those who have not shown up as well as send crewmembers through asking everyone if they have been through customs. We were through customs about 9:00am and the majority were through by 9:20. However, because of stragglers who don't think rules apply to them, we weren't cleared to get off the ship until almost 10:20. This was the second crowded time as everyone wanted off the ship at once. However, even then we were off in less than 5 minutes after arriving at the 1st deck gangway. We walked straight after clearing the pier while the majority of cruisers turned left toward Mallory Square. By doing this we passed through several beautiful streets overhung with palm trees and ended up at Duval and Greene streets way before the crowds filtered through the shops at Mallory Square. Since we were on vacation, our first stop was Captain Tony's Saloon. We went in feeling kind of funny about drinking before noon. There were a few locals already at the bar and an extremely friendly bartender greeted us. Captain Tony's is Jimmy Buffett's old stomping grounds and Captain Tony himself is featured in Jimmy's song "Last Mango in Paris" as well as influencing many other Buffett songs. The bar is the old Sloppy Joe's Saloon and has been around for many years. There are pictures of sailors at the bar (when it was Sloppy Joe's) in 1949. I'd tell you what the walls look like but you can't see them. They are covered by layer upon layer of business cards, pictures, cup koozies, posters, album covers, business licenses, police arm patches, badges, bras, panties and about anything else you can think of, all left by former patrons over the years. It's an interesting an inviting place. We had a Rum Runner and a Pirate punch, both of which were excellent. Also the stools at Capt. Tony's feature the names of famous people who have sat there before you. John Prine, John Candy, Jerry Seinfeld, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, etc. After we left Captain Tony's we headed down Duval Street and did some shopping. Key West is a party town and one block on Duval Street had 9 bars. But, it did not seem to be a "rough" town. Everyone seemed happy and seemed to get along fine. This was, however, during the daytime. At night, with lots of drunken people and clothing optional bars, who knows? After our drinks we went to Greene Street and visited the Mel Fisher Historatorium and sunken ship museum. Mel Fisher is the man who found the Atocha, a sunken treasure ship that yielded millions of dollars worth of treasure. He also salvaged several other ships including a slave ship. Inside this museum, you will find REAL treasure from the days when sailing ships carried vast treasures across the ocean. These include, pieces of eight, bars of real silver and gold, jewelry,weapons, etc from those days. It is very interesting and includes the actual pieces as well as pictures of them salvaging the items and stories of how it was done or any interesting things that happened. For example there is a solid gold chain in one display. It tells how the divers picked it up thinking it was a brass chain that one of the other divers had dropped. They planned to bring it up and throw it away since they didn't want it to harm any marine life. After surfacing they realized what they had found and that they had almost discarded this chain worth $120,000 US Dollars. Another one they almost threw away was what appeared to be a tin from the galley. It clinked and they opened it. Inside was a huge gold cross and chain. The cross is inlaid with emeralds . There was also an emerald ring inside. This is worth over $200,000. They have many more items on display that show not only the riches they found, but the artifacts that show what life was like aboard these ships. Upstairs they have the things they raised from the slave ship. It's pretty sickening the way these people were treated. If you don't want to be depressed on vacation, don't go up here. It is quite poignant. After leaving the museum, we headed back down toward Mallory Square. By now the crowds had cleared. Mallory Square is beautiful, as is most of Key West. Lush palms and tropical flowers line the streets. We walked along the pier at Mallory Square and saw quite a bit of marine life right next to the boats. There were all sorts of fish in the clear water. One was green with purple, blue and red scales. There was a large jellyfish cruising along as well as two tarpon that were at least five feet long. And that's no fish story. These things were huge and just cruising right along the dock, We looked through more shops at Mallory Square and, as we were getting hungry, started were heading back to the ship. We passed a patio bar/restaurant called Two Friends. They had a sign up advertising locally caught shrimp, which my wife loves, so we stopped there to eat instead of eating on the ship. I'm glad we did. I got the fried grouper sandwich and my wife got the shrimp. We also both got Bahama Mamas. All were excellent as was the conversation we had with the waitress. The dining room is open walled with a roof only. People passing by on the street were stopping to talk to us. It was just a friendly atmosphere everywhere in Key West. We did the requisite stops at the Hard Rock Cafe (boring even though I am a guitarist and HUGE rock fan) , Margaritaville, Sloppy Joe's etc. Margaritaville was okay. It's a must if you are a Buffett fan however. Sloppy Joe's was also just okay. Bear in mind that it was still the middle of the day at this point. I'm sure things change at night. They served rather small drinks at the same price as Captain Tony's. They did have a guy playing guitar and singing. He was pretty good. I had a half Pina Colada/ Half Strawberry Daquiri. That was good but weak on alcohol. While sitting there we saw a couple pass by wearing what appeared to be clothes inspired by the Jetsons. They were walking a white poodle which they had dyed blue. To each his own I guess. After that we walked back to Duval and hit the shops that extend for block upon block. It was getting close to departure time of 5:30 so we headed back towards the ship. As luck would have it we just happened to pass by Captain Tony's again and had to stop in for another Pirate's Punch. I got a Margarita which I didn't care for also. Everything else was great there. We then staggered...I mean walked back to the ship. We went on deck as we left Key West and were treated to an absolutely gorgeous sunset. We also saw a shark or dolphin (couldn't tell which from the height of the deck ) and a stingray passing by as the ship pulled out of port. We had to pack this night so we went back to the cabin. They had delivered a departure package that includes a US Customs form, colored tags for the debarking process and instructions on exactly what to do the next day. You must have your checked luggage outside your door between 8:00PM and 1:00am. You attach the colored tags to the suitcases and sit them outside your door to be picked up by the porters. We ate pizza for dinner (which is available next to the bar upstairs in the Windjammer) then went to a show called the Liar's club. It was a take off on the old To Tell The Truth show. It was ok but was nowhere near as fun as Love and Marriage. After that we stayed in our room as we were tired and knew we had to be up early the next day. You have to be out of your room by 8:00am on Friday. We ordered room service later that night. It came quickly and was decent motel type food. I had a turkey and swiss sandwich and my wife had a salad and nachos. Nothing special but not bad. We also got cheesecake which was very good. Debarkation We set our clock for 6:45am so we could be up, packed and out by 8:00am. Just as we woke up and looked out the window, we were approaching the terminal in Miami. It was a nasty rainy day with lightning flashing in the sky. It matched the mood we were feeling knowing it was almost over. We showered and gathered everything together and they started calling colors to get off the ship. We went to breakfast in the Windjammer while we waited. I don't know if was just winding down or if they were running out of things but there was no milk, no eggs, etc. This was a little disappointing but not a big deal. We then went to the A Chorus Line Lounge as instructed to wait for our color (grey) to be called. They show sitcoms while you wait. They had Jim Belushi's show as well as Damon Wayan's show. Not exactly five star entertainment but better then having nothing to do. After about 45 minutes waiting there, they called grey and we went to the Centrum area to debark. This process was very quick and we basically just walked off the ship without a wait. Inside the Miami terminal there is a baggage claim just like in the airports. We picked up our luggage and headed out to the buses. There are signs above the buses saying where they are going. We got on a Ft Lauderdale bound bus and were off to the airport. The 35 mile drive from Ft Lauderdale to Miami had taken about 20 minutes. The drive back took almost an hour. But our flight wasn't due until 5:05pm and it was only 10:30am so we were in no hurry. We arrived at Ft Lauderdale and decided to check ALL of our bags instead of dragging around carryons. Yes, it would have been awful if they had lost them but we thought it worth the risk. We looked at the shops in the Delta terminal then asked where we could get food. The lady at the shop told us to go to terminal 3 and there is a Chili's inside there. They have a limited menu, but it's much better than anything else available. After that we went through the shops then waited and waited and waited. Security went relatively quickly. One woman wearing a very fancy dress and lots of jewelry refused to take off her shoes to put them through the xray. The TSA agents told her she did not have to but she would be subject to secondary search. I'm betting she wishes she had taken off the shoes. They pulled her aside and ran the metal detectors all over her body. The female TSA agent frisked her from head to toe (and I mean from head to toe.) The woman was very condescending saying "This is ridiculous". The TSA agent just kept saying "Hush. Hush" They ran explosive sniffing wands through her purse and bags. They took out all the contents of her purse and bags and looked through them. Finally she was cleared. So, the moral is, follow the program and take off your shoes. The TSA is serious about aircraft safety and we should all be glad that they are. Our plane FINALLY arrived 20 minutes late and we had an uneventful flight home. It was a shock to leave 89F and get off the plane in Kentucky at 43F. That pretty much covers our cruise. If there is anything I didn't answer, feel free to email me at natish3000@yahoo.com My wife and I took this cruise knowing that it was probably a once in a lifetime experience. Now we are planning our next cruise. Cruising is truly addictive and it holds true that once you cruise, you'll never want to vacation any other way again. There's no feeling like going to sleep in your hotel room and waking up the next day somewhere else. Maybe we'll see some of you on our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
My husband, Mark, and I just got back from a three-day cruise on Carnival's Fascination to Nassau in the Bahamas, out of Miami, Florida. This was our sixth cruise; we've also cruised on Carnival's Jubilee, Imagination, and ... Read More
My husband, Mark, and I just got back from a three-day cruise on Carnival's Fascination to Nassau in the Bahamas, out of Miami, Florida. This was our sixth cruise; we've also cruised on Carnival's Jubilee, Imagination, and Fantasy, and Celebrity Millennium twice. For background info, I'm 27 and he's 29 and we live in Orlando and drive to the ports. On this cruise we were sailing with two male friends, ages 29 and 31, who stayed in a different cabin. Day 1 - Embarkation The first day was simply the embarkation day. We left Orlando around 9:00 and arrived at the Port of Miami around 1:00. We parked in the parking garage first and took our luggage over to the pier. The Port is under a lot of construction but it was fairly easy to find our way around. Got in line and got through embarkation easily and painlessly. No problems there, it was very easy. We boarded the ship around 1:30, first went to see the Maitre d' about our dining reservations, and then all went up to lunch. I didn't find much on the buffet I liked and hit the pizza bar. We went to our favorite spot on the Fantasy-class ships to eat, the patio area on the very aft end of the ship behind the Lido deck restaurant. After lunch we went to our cabins. Mark and I had booked a guarantee cabin and ended up with R32, a forward oceanview cabin on the Riviera deck. It turned out to be a nice cabin location and was very quiet. Our friends were in R18, an inside cabin just a little further forward from us. They didn't have any complaints about the location either. The rest of the day was spent exploring the ship and relaxing. The Fascination is really a beautiful ship. Of course, we experienced the lifeboat drill, but I was surprised by how brief it was. We went to our muster stations, listened to the lecture, and then it was over. I had thought they would make us go outside to the lifeboats, but they didn't. That evening we had the late seating dinner at 8:30 in the Celebration dining room. We had originally requested a table for four so the four of us could eat by ourselves, but we were put at a table for eight. The Maitre d' had said he couldn't move us unless we wanted to change dining times to early seating, so we stuck with it. Our tablemates were very nice, but kept to themselves. Our waiter and assistant waiter both did an excellent job. I'll talk about the food a little later. We were very tired that evening from staying up late the night before and getting up early that day to leave, so we went to bed after dinner. Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas On the second day we had ordered a room service breakfast before we arrived in Nassau. It came twenty minutes early, which I didn't appreciate because I wasn't dressed. During our time in Nassau, one of our friends wanted to go snorkeling, so Mark and I booked the Blue Lagoon Beach Break and he booked the same tour along with the Stingray City snorkeling. Our other friend stayed on the ship all morning. We absolutely loved the Blue Lagoon excursion! It was so much fun. We met in the Palace Lounge (main show lounge) at 9:00 and set off for the ferry boat from there. There was free rum punch on the way, along with a bar with tropical drinks for $6. We tried the free rum punch but the rum was very watered-down! Mark filled his glass three-quarters full of rum and put just a splash of the fruit punch in and you could barely taste the rum. Upon arrival at Blue Lagoon Island, our friend joined the Stingray City group, and after a little exploring, Mark and I got some Piña Coladas and staked out a hammock. The island was just beautiful, and there were no vendors harassing anyone. There were all sorts of amenities... things for sale, tropical drinks at a bar ($6 for a delicious Piña Colada), hair braiding, swimming, snorkeling, hammocks, picnic tables, basketball, clean restrooms, showers, hiking, calypso music. We dozed in a hammock until our friend got back from snorkeling. He was hungry when we met up with him so we went to the lunch bar. Unfortunately, the prices here were outrageous! They were charging $8.50 for a hot dog or hamburger and $11.50 for barbecued ribs or chicken. Our friend got a hamburger but Mark and I decided to skip lunch. The Piña Coladas were filling anyway. After he ate, he swam some more and Mark and I walked around the island to a stone structure called Blackbeard's Tower. Great views from there! Then we decided to head back to the ship. There were two ferries you could take, at 2:00 or 4:00 and we decided to go back on the 2:00. Back at the ship, Mark and I and our friend met up with our other friend, grabbed some pizza and then got ready to head off to Atlantis. We took a taxi and asked the driver to meet us at the entrance at 7:45. We wandered around the building but did not pay to get into the Dig. Spent some time (and $$) in the casino, then we walked over to a wonderful little restaurant down the road from Atlantis called Anthony's Caribbean Grill. We all had drinks, shopped a bit in a neighboring store, then headed back to the resort to meet our cab. He was there promptly at 7:45. The usual fare is $4 per person and we gave him an extra tip for meeting us. After returning to the ship we had just enough time to change for dinner. That night was formal night. After dinner we explored the ship a bit, wondering why the bars were all empty, and went up to the Lido deck and discovered the deck party. I would say that 75% of passengers (including us) changed into more casual clothing after dinner. Day 3 - Fun Day at Sea On the sea day we woke up and had a late breakfast at the buffet, snagging a couple of boxes of cereal for the next morning since we were going to be doing self-express checkout the next day. We spent the morning wandering around the ship and taking pictures. At lunchtime we decided to eat in the dining room because my husband wanted the ribs. He loves Carnival's ribs. After lunch we went to the pool and watched the pool games, then in the late afternoon went to the casino and won a little money. My husband and I went back to the cabin to take a nap before dinner and ended up sleeping through it. So we had pizza late that evening. They also had the midnight buffet that night. We were tired though and went back to the room to pack and go to sleep. Day 4 - Disembarkation Although I had set my alarm for 6:30, we were awakened at 6:20 by our phone ringing (I hadn't ordered a wake-up call.) So much for sleeping in a few minutes! Got up and finished our packing, then got our friends up and headed to the Palace Lounge for self-express checkout at 7:30. Carnival is trying a new debarkation option in Miami in which if you can carry all your luggage, you don't have to leave it out the night before and can just take it all and leave early on debarkation day. It only took about thirty minutes from the time we left the cabin to the time we were in our car. It was without exception the easiest and most organized debarkation we've ever experienced. Traffic in Miami wasn't too bad, either, as everyone seemed to be going the opposite direction as us. Be careful and lock your doors as you cross the bridge from the port area into the city, because that isn't the safest area of town. Trip Highlights The Ship The Fascination is a beautiful ship. The Coconut Grove restaurant on the Lido deck was my favorite Lido deck restaurant of any ship we've been on, as far as dEcor. The palm trees were such a neat touch! The ship was always kept immaculately clean; and although some of the railings could use a coat of paint, and the windows could stand to be washed, it was a very pleasant ship. The wide variety of lounges, bars, and clubs on the ship could not all be visited in a short cruise, and there is one to suit every taste. The cabin was large enough that we did not feel cramped. Food The food on the Fascination was very good. I would have to say that it is much better in the dining room than it is on the Lido deck. There was always something for everyone on the menu, and everything was consistently good. The appetizers were especially good, and I found myself ordering several of them instead of a salad. Desserts were top-notch. Entrees were generally small, but you could always order more. On the Lido deck, the food was served buffet style and was generally about average quality. It was filling, and they always had a variety of choices, but it wasn't the best food I'd ever had. My favorite food item on the whole ship would have to be the pizza. It was delicious, with a thick, chewy crust and delicious sauce. They offer plenty of spices with which to dress up your pizza - Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper flakes. The only thing I didn't like about the pizza was the amount of cornmeal on the crust - it made the meal very messy. Entertainment We are not people who enjoy Vegas-style shows, so we didn't see the shows any night of our cruise. One of our friends saw the midnight comedy show and said it was very funny. In the lounges there was always someone playing the piano, or a live band, or a DJ spinning tunes. All of the entertainers in the lounges were excellent. Tips We used the prepay option with our tips, and won't be doing that again. Our cabin steward never introduced himself to us and kept moving our things around so that we had trouble finding things. He didn't seem to go out of his way to exceed our expectations. Dining room service didn't suffer, but didn't stand out either. Overall, the trip was very fun. Just remember that how good a time you will have depends on your attitude. Expect minor problems and don't let them ruin your cruise. No vacation is perfect, and we can't expect them to be or we will be disappointed. Go in with a realistic idea of what to expect and a great roll-with-the-punches attitude and you'll have one of the most wonderful vacations of your life. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
Background: This is a review of our Majesty of the Seas cruise from February 16-20. Sorry for the delay, I had tried to submit once before but apparently it did not go through! My husband Bruce and I are from New York, we are married 26 ... Read More
Background: This is a review of our Majesty of the Seas cruise from February 16-20. Sorry for the delay, I had tried to submit once before but apparently it did not go through! My husband Bruce and I are from New York, we are married 26 years and this was our third cruise. We were bringing our 17-year-old Andrew son on his first cruise. Also joining us were our friends Debbie and Benny from Boston and their 17-year-old son Jason. Pre Cruise: Flew down on American Airlines two days early to see my in-laws who winter in Delray Beach, they drove down to Miami to see us. We did not rent a car, used cabs to and from airport and port, and either walked or used free Metromover in Miami to travel. My friend Debbie and I had booked rooms at the Downtown Hyatt Regency online some months prior for $57 per night. This is a bit high by online standards but bear in mind it was President's Week and there was a boat show in Downtown Miami. Turned out to be a great bargain. We got rooms on the 22nd floor, city view, the rooms were lovely, no problem getting two double beds to accommodate us and our son. Nice dressing area, great hairdryer and lighted makeup mirror, towels and amenities. My sole complaint was that the bathroom (toilet/tub area) is very dark; could use more lighting. Ate a late night dinner at hotel when our friends arrived from Boston, food was good, not badly priced. Went with the in-laws in their car to South Beach Sunday and wandered around. We ate dinner with them at Bubba Gump's in Bayside Marketplace; went at 5:00 on a Saturday night, no problem getting in, great food, good time had by all. Many stores in Downtown Miami within walking distance, and Bayside is only about 10 blocks away by foot. Cruise Check in: Snagged two cabs from Hyatt at about 10:30 and went to port. Checked in very quickly, no problems or lines, we were on the ship by 11:30 at the latest. It was a real breeze, no waiting at all! Found our cabins and ran to Windjammer for lunch before the crowds arrived. Did a tour of the ship, drank my first of numerous BBCs and did some laying by the pool before Muster Drill, which was typically boring but necessary, especially given two weeks ago they called it out on this ship at 5am due to a small kitchen fire. Cabins: We had three inside cabins and knew they would be small, which is why we put the 17-year-old boys in their own. Cost me exactly $25 extra by booking me in one cabin, hubby in other, and using two C&A coupons. We just got extra key cards coded for my son and I and we flipped them. Easy as cake. Our travel agent surprised us with $25 credits for the two adult cabins (he had previously sent us wine, which was nice also). This was on top of the $100 in cabin credits I had gotten for booking the two cabins on my Serenade cruise! Nice to have "free" money to play with. Our cabins were three of the 8 inside cabins on deck 7; most of the insides are on Decks 6 and down. I don't know if it was because we were on deck 7, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a safe in the closet! The other advantage to deck 7 was that it was the promenade deck—even though I was in an inside, we were steps away from the fresh air and chairs outside without any stairs to contend with. Cabins were quite small but functional, OK for two people; I cannot imagine 4 in one of those insides. The cabin was a bit run down, torn wallpaper in one spot, bathroom door slightly rusted—I learned how THAT happened after my first shower, which totally ran out of the shower area onto the floor. After two cruises with the nice glass sliding shower door, the shower curtain was a riot! I'm fairly small and it stuck to me every move! We had a hairdryer, worked fine. Our cabin attendant was Murado(?), I don't remember where he was from, he was pleasant, nothing spectacular but did his job and props to him: he managed to keep up with the whirlwind the two 17 year old boys called their home for four days, including making them some hysterical towel animals using their caps, glasses, etc. He got extra tip from us just for pulling THAT off! Appearance of ship: I was truly pleasantly surprised by this, as was my husband, who was convinced we were taking a step into hell after cruising on Voyager and Radiance classes. Everything sparkling clean, obvious fresh carpeting in many areas, no dirty dishes lying around, always someone at work cleaning or fixing something. The ship is getting a total refurbishment in a year, and I hear the cabins will be totally redone, and they will freshen up the rest of the common areas. I also liked the shopping area on Majesty, which was nice and spread out. Nothing beats Explorers' promenade, but I thought Serenade's store area was cramped. Food: The endless Cruise Critic board discussions about "bad food" always surprise me. Considering the ship is feeding over 2,000 people, I think they do a darned good job. The Windjammer is a bit more congested than on the larger ships but it worked fine, and blissfully, it was open post-Galley fire! Food quality was good there although some of the breakfast food (pancakes, French toast) was sometimes cold, and as usual, as on every one of my Royal cruises, I have not been able to get a good piece of melon! Oh well....Also at breakfast, lox (known as smoked salmon for you non New Yorkers!) was missing after the first meal, and I do enjoy that. My one other issue: for the entire trip, the soft serve ice cream machines only had strawberry ice cream, no vanilla or chocolate, and I HATE strawberry! All in all, however, I enjoyed Windjammer. It is divided into two sections; don't stop at the front area, the area further aft is prettier and you have the option of going up a level to find tables. We ate every breakfast and lunch at Windjammer except for one of each meal in the dining room, dinner always was in the Dining Room. The upstairs area of Windjammer also served as the Mast Bar. Pizza and frankfurters and often some sort of sweet are available here into the wee hours, and they had great sandwiches out during sail away. Dining Room: We were assigned to the Mikado on Deck 4, had requested a table for 6 late seating and got it with no problems. Our table was in a nice location, and although the dining area is not as spectacular as on the newer ships, it was still beautiful. Our waiter was Yavuz from Turkey. Suffice it to say he was a little on the odd side. Barely saw him during the meal, although our food arrived promptly with no problems. Then after dinner he would stop by to chat and went on and on, and half the time we had no idea what he was talking about. Just a strange dude. In contrast, our assistant waiter, Carina from Argentina, was truly spectacular. She knew what everyone liked to drink after the first night (anyone who remembered Earl Grey tea for me and English Breakfast tea for my son is amazing), was constantly in attendance, and took care of all sorts of stuff for us. Saw the boys' soda cards the first night and from that point on the Cokes and Sprites kept appearing without asking. Told us all sorts of stories about her family and heritage (Italian/Argentinean) and was quite entertaining. She also got a nice tip from us! Our headwaiter was Wellington from India and he is the best headwaiter I've had. Attentive, friendly, and actually visible; came over and chatted at length with us every night. Our friends were blown away (as was my son) when he took the shrimp scampi out of the shell! As for the food, in general it was great. The RCI menus were exactly the same as on my four night Serenade cruise and I knew what I did and did not like. The first night, however, they had the infamous ranch steak (albeit in a special marinade) and I was in a steak mood, so I cracked and tried it. Not the best. Kudos to the prime rib, the duck (which I asked for nice and crispy and got!), shrimp scampi, shrimp cocktail, escargots, Key Lime Pie, and lots of other goodies. We had one breakfast there (the day we disembarked, as we were in no hurry) which was pleasant, and one lunch, on what turned out to be our sea day, since we did not make Coco Cay. More on that later, but the lunch was excellent. I have to add here that the 2 17-year-old boys went to town at meals. The funniest night was when my son Andrew was eating shrimp scampi with one hand and Fettuccini Alfredo with the other. They also LOVED room service nachos. There were two buffets, a midnight one as we sailed away from Nassau (which was nice) and a midnight chocolate buffet that the adults missed due to total exhaustion but the boys raided. They pronounced it to be outrageous. Ports: We unfortunately had crummy weather, more or less, our entire trip. There was a cold front across Florida and the Bahamas and we landed right in the middle of it. Our two days pre-cruise were OK but not pool weather. Boarding day in Miami was fairly nice and my husband managed a suntan. The day in the Bahamas was overcast. We went in the morning into town and did some shopping, my son got a Casio watch, I got a Skaagen, and he bought sunglasses. We ran back to the ship, had a little snack and were picked up by Stuart Cove snorkeling for their excursion. We took a half hour bus ride to their boat, got to see some local sights (since we had stayed at the Atlantic for three nights a few years ago, we had already seen a lot of Nassau). The water was a bit rocky, it was gloomy and raining on and off and I was a bit dizzy, bear in mind you ARE snorkeling off a boat in the middle of the water! The rocking prompted me to jump into the ocean and try snorkeling for the first time very quickly. I had a ball in the water, and felt much better there. Our friends chickened out, but my husband, the boys and I had a ball. After we got back, we were starving, so we attacked the pizza at the Mast Bar. What is it about vacation that makes you constantly hungry? Alas, the weather and 10' swells also cancelled Coco Cay. It was very disappointing but I'm sure the captain was concerned with safety. We actually met with Captain Per Kristoffersen in a corridor later that day and he was very pleasant, explained at length why we could not get there, especially with tenders involved. We had been looking forward to this, especially my son, as they have beach volleyball there and he was raring to go (he plays varsity in HS). The ship increased onboard activities for the day and did hand out free Screwdrivers and Bloody Mary's from 10am-noon by the pool, not that you could sit there without being blown off your chair and into the water! It felt like my Canada cruise....in any event, we compensated, the boys caught up on sleep, had a nice leisurely lunch in dining room, played some games, visited the casino (no luck there), shopped, etc. We arrived in Key West to lovely, 70-degree weather. The ship now had to go through immigration since we were back in the United States, and although it went smoothly, we sat in port until 10:30 until it was completed, which was a bit annoying looking at the beauty outside. We were going to take the Trolley tour but opted for walking. Did the tour of Ernest Hemingway's house (as I wanted to see the cats!) and walked to the southernmost point. We walked back toward the pier on Duval Street, lost Debbie & Benny to the stores, and the boys went right back to the ship for "lunch, sun, virgin pina coladas and basketball." Bruce and I went in search of the Kino sandal store; if you don't know about them they have a very inexpensive sandal factory and make great flip-flops. Other family members have brought them to me so I reciprocated and bought some for them, and we made our way back to the ship for lunch at the Windjammer. "Our" Carina was working there that day and kept bringing us goodies! After that Bruce went in search of a lounge chair and I went off ship again for some solo shopping time; I didn't buy much but enjoyed people watching and strolling around. I joined Bruce for some sun, bought some photographs, and we showered and got ready for dinner before sailaway from Key West. Don't miss that sunset, but watch it outside (Bruce and I watched from the Viking Crown Lounge and apparently the polarization on the windows cut out some of the coloration of the skies). Entertainment: The two production shows were "Wild Wild West" and "The Beat Goes On." Honestly, I had heard the former was not too good, and I agreed, we walked out. "The Beat Goes On" was pretty good and I enjoyed reminiscing with some of the music. Comedian on cruise was Greg Otto. He was hilarious; he did the first night cruise and also a late night comedy act the last night. My son was rolling in the aisles. The first night show also featured "Cowboy Dario El Gaucho," who does a comedy/music/everything else act and is a treat. Also entertaining was Hal Frazier, who did a comedy/singing act beyond explanation. If he's on board, make sure you see him. We also went to Quest (funny, although a bit repetitive the third time around: I really think RCI should consider something new) some game called Liars Club on our at sea day, and Love and Marriage game, which is always funny. My husband loves watching Karaoke and we spent some time watching this. It's Worth it just for the antics of Bar Waiter Desmond, who becomes part of the act and is hysterical. We didn't do the rock wall, much of the dancing scene, bingo, art auctions, spa, not enough time to do everything (hey, I need to sleep, I'm not 22 years old!). Bruce, who likes to exercise, was disappointed by the Gym and pronounced it horrible compared to our two other ships. I assume this will be part of the refurbishment next year. The Cruise Director is Tim Seivert, who I thought did a great job. Young, dynamic, funny and truly seemed like he was enjoying himself, as did the assistant cruise directors and other staff. Disembarkation: Alas, it was already Friday morning and time to leave. Since we were in no hurry, had aforementioned breakfast in Mikado, retrieved our luggage, went quickly through customs (remember immigration had already taken place) and were off the ship by 9:00 am. Were at our internet booked $42 a night room at Embassy Suites hotel at MIA (since we all had morning flights Saturday, we opted to stay by the airport) by 9:30. Rooms were not ready yet (not unexpected) and although this hotel is a great value for the buck (free Managers' Reception at night with drinks, free cooked to order breakfast and free shuttle bus to the airport) there was NOTHING to do around here (it's truly an airport hotel) so we laid by the pool and vegetated until we could get into rooms. Ended up eating both lunch and dinner at the hotel as my son was feeling lightheaded (which we thought was post-motion but found out later was not, as he came down with some sort of bug); there IS a Bennigan's fairly close by but aside from that you're really stranded without a car. Got up the next AM and went to airport for our flight back to New York but that's a horror story that I won't go into here, as it isn't cruise related! Final impressions: We knew this wasn't going to be the same sort of experience as cruising on the larger and newer ships, but a vacation is what you make of it and we had great fun with our friends. They got hooked and booked another cruise; the Loyalty Ambassador, Kim, was really nice, but go see her early if you plan on booking on board to get a cabin credit, as she is totally overwhelmed with people making last minute bookings. There's more action on the larger ships but this one did have a great crew and plenty to keep you busy. I do understand they miss the Coco Cay port often due to tendering problems; keep that in mind, as it was a disappointment. Robin Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Thanksgiving Majesty Review (Sort of long!) After reading mixed reviews, I was nervous about our Thanksgiving cruise on the Majesty of the Seas, but to sum it all up it was really fantastic. Hubby and I were to be taking his mom and my ... Read More
Thanksgiving Majesty Review (Sort of long!) After reading mixed reviews, I was nervous about our Thanksgiving cruise on the Majesty of the Seas, but to sum it all up it was really fantastic. Hubby and I were to be taking his mom and my aunt & uncle (all in their 70's) on their first cruise. As it turned out, my uncle had a heart attack and was unable to travel, giving us a first-hand experience with the value of cruise insurance. He's now out of the hospital, and hoping to get strong enough to make the trip in the future. Details: Pre-cruise - Spent two nights at the Embassy Suites by the Airport, arranged through Priceline. Decent hotel at good price. Enjoyed seeing some of Miami - shopped at Bayside and visited Bubba Gump's. Embarkation - Very smooth! Arrived at port around 10:45. Went straight up to security check. Moved through sea pass receipt and was on board and in cabins by noon. Signs at check-in said ship was full - no upgrades available. Cabins - We were on deck 9 in category D. Had booked handicapped room for my uncle in wheelchair and room for M-I-L two doors down. Hubby and I were to be on other side of hall because that's what was available. Began asking upon boarding if it would be possible to move to my uncle's cabin since it would most likely be sitting empty, and that would put us closer to M-I-L. At first told no - cabin had been re-booked, but that evening was told to go ahead and move. The cabin 9034 would have been perfect for my aunt & uncle. Lots of space to maneuver wheelchair. Bathroom had great roll-in shower. Two windows. We felt very spoiled to have the space. I'll try to figure out how to post the handicapped room photos for those who are curious. Our attendant was Mary from the Philippines. She was sweet, knew our names right away, and took great care of us. Food - Quite good. No, it's not gourmet, but enjoyable. We've done windjammer in the past for breakfast, but since this was a slower pace cruise for us with no kids, we ate more meals in the dining room and enjoyed them. Our waiter was Onur (I've probably spelled that wrong) and he was delightful. Assistant was brand new, Sandros, a bit nervous but friendly and eager to please. Head waiter was Dario. We had early seating and never felt rushed. Thanksgiving dinner was a lot of fun - our waiters seemed quite proud of their role in providing us with a special meal. They had a special commemorative menu for us. "Chocolate Buffet" as we were told the one late night buffet would be was actually more of a general buffet with lots of desserts. Poolside sailaway buffet was great. Never tried the pizza - can't say we were ever hungry! Ports - Nassau we did some shopping and took taxi to Atlantis. Didn't get past the guards to see the beach or pool. Would have tried another beach but M-I-L was tired. Coco Cay was warm enough for swimming, food was better than previous experience on Labadee. More salads that were good. We snorkeled and spent the day in the sun. Key West was OK - expensive shopping, OK trolley tour. Everything was open despite the fact that it was thanksgiving. Had the chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick. Yum! Entertainment - Probably biggest disappointment. I guess vocalist entertainers were ill - comedian did a couple of shows on his own. I don't remember his name. He was OK - but not really enough to carry the farewell show on his own although that's the way it worked out. Marriage show was OK first night - not too exciting. People who got picked seemed sort of "rigid" and didn't get very creative with their answers. Second marriage show on final night swung the other way - some of the answers were quite shocking to part of the audience, I'm sure! Quest was OK - secret to winning is to be seated close to the stage I think. Cruise Director Ricco was OK. A little "looser" than the what I've experienced before. Party on deck on Nassau night was a lot of fun. Casino ate our money but didn't give us anything back this time. Fellow passengers - Met some great people. If by chance they see this, hello to crazy birthday boy Phil, and my hubby's beer buddy, Larry. Our Tablemates, Susanne & her daughter Sarah were delightful. Lots of families enjoying thanksgiving together. Lots of kids and teens - but no rowdies that we witnessed. Seemed like a subdued crowd in some ways. Disembarking - Immigration is done prior to disembarking in Key West. Line at our appointed time was horribly long - but in a half hour it was all clear. Go early if you're up. Final day our color was the third to the last scheduled to be called, but we were called while we were eating breakfast in the dining room. Took our time, got bags very easily, sailed through customs, and within minutes were in a cab and on our way to the airport... with three hours to kill! Final thoughts - my concerns about ragged conditions and sewer like smells were unfounded. But... I'm taking a group of 40 on the Sovereign next year and I'm more concerned about those comments from that ship. I'd love to hear from others who have recently sailed on her. The Majesty proved to be a delightful way to give an older relative a taste of cruising, while making great new friends and enjoying a hard working crew. Cheers! Lisa in Pittsburgh Read Less
Sail Date November 2003
Day 1: We arrived at the terminal around noon. There were no lines for security and check-in. We were held in the "boarding area" for less than 30 minutes. We got on board and dropped our carry on luggage off. The Coconut Grove ... Read More
Day 1: We arrived at the terminal around noon. There were no lines for security and check-in. We were held in the "boarding area" for less than 30 minutes. We got on board and dropped our carry on luggage off. The Coconut Grove (casual restaurant) was open for lunch. The food was average. Nothing exciting, just buffet food. After the muster station drill at 5:00, we pulled away from port around 6:00. Ate dinner in one of the formal dinning rooms. All of the entrees were good. Attended broadway-style show in the Palace Lounge. It was very good. Day 2: Nassau, We took the Blue Lagoon-Snorkel with the sting rays. Blue Lagoon was where the movie was filmed. The island itself is beautiful, but the beauty has been cheapened by tacky pink, purple, and turquoise trash cans, benches, picnic tables etc.. The 45 minute ferry ride over was pleasant. A band played "island music" and we each received a rum punch drink. There are some other options @ Blue Lagoon. There is a dolphin encounter and a "day at the beach". Each of these packages is priced differently and must be booked on the ship. The sting ray snorkeling was OK. It was in a "fenced off" section of the bay. The water got rough as jet skis and small boats zoomed by. Everything was provided for snorkeling (mask, snorkel and life vest) You can bring your own equipment if you prefer. Others in our group took the excursion that snorkeled off a boat. We were told the water smooth and there were lots of fish. After the ferry back to Nassau, we went back to the ship to change into dry clothes and better walking shoes. We wandered around town using the "shopping guide" the cruise provided. Most of the stores on the guide were over priced. We also visited some of the liquor stores. For the most part their prices on rum and vodka were the same as the ship's store. The only bargain we spotted was the Crown Royal. We also stopped in at Senior Frogs. We each one of their signature giant drinks. They were tasty and strong! Dinner was the formal night and Captain's party. Day 3: Day at sea. Had lots of fun by the pool and hot tubs. Bought the drink of the day which includes a refillable plastic glass. The refills on the drink of the day were less than $5 ea! Another broadway-style show that evening. Also a midnight comedian..he was pretty funny. Tried out the casino, we didn't win...but others around us were. Debarkation: Cattle Call....Depending on where your cabin was you went to a particular club. Cheap cabins wait in the Palace Lounge. The ship is unloaded by the most expensive cabins first, starting around 8:00. We escaped the Palace Lounge around 10:00. Unlike the rest of the cruise, there was no entertainment during the wait. Feel free to go to breakfast before go to your waiting area. Once we were called (color of luggage tag), we were able to walk to the exit. There was some congestion. Once we were actually in the terminal, it lightened up. Our luggage was in the designated area...we breezed through customs. Lots of Taxi's waiting to take you to the airport, hotel etc... Overall this was great cruise. There were plenty of activities throughout the day, just watch the daily newsletter! Read Less
Sail Date June 2003
We selected this cruise because it was inexpensive for a last minute deal. My husband and I went alone. Our ages are 26 and 37 so we are still relatively young. It was my first cruise and his first cruise since childhood. PRE-CRUISE: We ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was inexpensive for a last minute deal. My husband and I went alone. Our ages are 26 and 37 so we are still relatively young. It was my first cruise and his first cruise since childhood. PRE-CRUISE: We stayed at the cheapest place we could find, Howard Johnson's, across from the port. We drove in from North FL and we were able to park our car in the garage at Howard Johnson's for the length of the cruise and a fee of only $5/day which was less than at the port. Let me say that the Howard Johnson's is not, by any means, a fine hotel. But, as I said, we decided to do this cruise only two weeks before departure so we were looking for a very inexpensive tropical vacation. Howard Johnson's is within walking distance to the port and at the time it fit our needs. EMBARKATION: We got up early, ate breakfast at the hotel and then called for the shuttle to take us to the port. We had to wait forever for it. Several people from our hotel were headed to the port also, including a group of single women who'd been out partying hard the night before and they were barely dragging out. They were on our ship so we shared some conversation with them on the way. We arrived at the port and went in. We waited in line for a while, then got to the desk and gave our credit card and documents. We were sent through a hallway and then we waited in another line for our ID cards. They didn't have our cards and we were told we'd have to go to the purser's desk when we got on the ship. We were ushered through to a huge waiting room alongside the ship. We waited for what seemed like an eternity but I think I was just really excited. FINALLY, we were able to get on the ship, around 1:30 pm. We had our picture taken and we were on our way onto the ship. The line at the purser's desk wasn't too bad and we were finished before long. Total embarkation time was a little over an hour. THE SHIP: The ship was pretty but as has been previously mentioned here, is decorated with a lot of neon. I'm also not a huge fan of orange and it seemed there was a lot of that, too. The carpets and stairwells were showing some signs of wear. Aside from that, everything seemed in decent condition, given the number of people who have sailed on her. OUR CABIN: We had a low category, inside stateroom on the Empress Deck. I enjoyed being on the Empress Deck because its central to where you get on/off. Our room was in a great location and I didn't notice much noise. We did feel a very strong vibration in the mornings as the ship pulled into and out of port. After we got onto the ship, we went straight to check out our cabin and we were very satisfied with it. It was spacious enough and we made ourselves at home. The buffets weren't ready yet and I feel asleep until the muster drill was called. We went down to the lounge where it was being held and I'm estimating it took around 40 minutes. I was a little nervous since it was my first cruise and the muster drill made me feel a little better. After the drill we went to our cabin and relaxed for a while and then we went out to watch the ship pull off. Very cool! FOOD: We ate in the dining room, late seating, for all meals except one where we ate on the Lido deck at the buffet. We were not too keen on the idea of having to have dinner every night with people we'd never met but it turned out so much better than we could've imagined. All of our tablemates were around the same age as us. We really hit it off with one couple and we hung out with them on the last night, going to clubs and bars on the ship. They were so fun and we were bummed to leave! The food was mediocre and I wasn't all that impressed with any meal I had on ship. It wasn't horrible but I've had better. I ordered steak one night, seafood newburg one night and prime rib one night. They were all decent, but not thrilling. Desserts were decent, also. There wasn't much dessert variety and we ate a lot of tiramisu. I got the fountain fun card for adults since I'm a coca-cola addict and my husband had alcohol with his meals or tea. We ordered a few really good mixed drinks but we aren't huge drinkers so we are by no means connoisseurs. The buffets were all well presented. One night, the midnight buffet had salami and similar meats and we passed that up. My husband loved the pizza from the Lido deck. PORT (we only had one): We went on the itinerary that docks in Nassau for 24 hours. We loved the idea of having time to explore the day and nightlife of the area. We didn't do any of the excursions offered by the ship because some of my friends who are more experienced cruisers said we could get the same thing for less by finding our own way. That was a HUGE mistake. We took a water taxi over to Atlantis. The cost was $6 per person for a round trip ticket on the water taxi. The only problem was that I am very proned to motion sickness. I had the patch on but the driver insisted on filling the boat past capacity and since we were some of the first people on the boat, we had to sit and wait while he went out and recruited other passengers. The boat rocked heavily up and down and I started to feel really queasy. Just when we were about to get off the boat, he returned with our fellow passengers and the boat took off. From there, things were fine but I refused to ride it on the way back and so we took a land taxi. Atlantis was gorgeous and we looked around but never could find the entrance to the aquarium. They are very careful about not letting anyone on their beach who isn't staying at Atlantis and you can only enter and exit through certain doors. We ended up gambling in their casino for an hour or so, where I won a little money! As you get off the ship, you'll have people harassing you to have your hair braided and even little children asking if they can sing you a song for a dollar. Who can say no to that? After the third song, however, my husband informed me we were going to have to say no if asked again! It was very obvious that there was a lot of poverty. We went to the straw market and we were grabbed by the arm and ushered to various tables where ladies were trying to sell their creations. I ended up buying a really neat dolphin bracelet for $14. I also got a few bottles of nail polish and a T-shirt that change color in the sun from a store in Nassau. Nassau was a neat port and when we go again in three weeks, I'm going on the ship's excursion so I can actually see the beach! EXTRAS: This was a fun cruise for the $500 we paid for both of us to go. It was a reasonable was to get away for a few days and we had a very good time. We found our own little table by a window at the casino bar that was very quiet and we could stare out and just chat and we returned to this spot several times over the course of the cruise. The cruise was very relaxing and I was so sad to leave. We are cruising on Celebrity's Mllennium in 3 weeks and I am so excited. It will be our first 7 day cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2002
there's nothing like running away to turquoise water and ivory sand while snow and ice rains down from the heavens at home . . . but I digress. this is my first critique, but third cruise: my first was on the Carnival Tropicale on a ... Read More
there's nothing like running away to turquoise water and ivory sand while snow and ice rains down from the heavens at home . . . but I digress. this is my first critique, but third cruise: my first was on the Carnival Tropicale on a 5-day Caribbean jaunt with a beau, my second was a seven-day inside passage sailing on HAL's Ryndam with my mother. (I state this now because it does influence some of my perceptions, as you'll see below.) For this, my third, but my best girlfriend's first, we chose a last-minute, three-night sailing over a weekend to keep her time away from work to a minimum, and take advantage of USAirways' last-minute Florida sale. I'd never done Royal Caribbean, so off we went to Majesty of the Seas. EMBARKATION: a breeze. We're both veteran single girl travelers, so we had backpacks and carryons. We arrived at Miami very early (10:30 am) and tooled down to the port with a Supershuttle full of Majesty passengers (none of whom we saw for the rest of the trip!). I had done my pre-board info on line, but she had not; still, we zipped through registration (despite our desire to flirt as much as possible with our very cute and very helpful registration agent), and were on the boat by noon, if not earlier. We completely disregarded the request to not head to our stateroom until later on; we were tired of toting luggage, after all! And even though they weren't quite finished, Garfield, our wonderful steward, let us stash our gear so we could head to the Windjammer with both hands free for pina coladas. I must admit, being used to Carnival and HAL rooms, I was a bit astonished by the, er, size of the room, and we could have used more storage space. However, we learned quickly to tuck things under the beds and that, if we kept our chaos down to a minimum, it was an efficient use of square footage. (We didn't mind it being an inside cabin; it made it so much easier for mid-day naps!) Off we went to the Windjammer for drinks and lunch. A serviceable buffet was served, though not memorable; however, the pina coladas were scrumptious (and potentially deadly), and we happily went off to scout our surroundings from top to bottom. Majesty, despite its refurb, is beginning to look its age, though the crew does an admirable job of keeping things shiny and clean. Two of the six elevators in the forward part of the ship had problems throughout the cruise, and there are some unbelievably dated things on board (really, don't you think RCCL could spring for new graphics in the elevators to tell you what's on each floor? they look older than my 80's legwarmers). However, most of the worn items are more nitpicky than anything else, and besides, what do you expect for a ship that turns around 4800 passengers a week? The obligatory emergency drill went smoothly--I was impressed by how the crew neatly lined everyone up on deck, the first time I'd seen that in a drill; I'm used to the heaving masses milling about, bumping into each other with the life jackets like bobbing apples :->. The weather was warm but overcast -- we spent a lot of time dodging raindrops on the pool deck, and the retractable roof on the HAL line was greatly missed. Still, as we pulled out of Miami (waving to the locals on the breakers as we left), we knew it was far better than the windchills we'd left up north! Dinner was in the Mayfair -- we booked late, and so had main seating. Note to RCCL: get rid of those chandeliers! They look like a bad 70's craft project! Our waiter was charming, our table mates were quite cordial, and we had a great time, even if we had almost nothing in common! :-> After the impeccable cuisine of HAL, I must admit that I was less than impressed with the selections. However, everything my friend and I ordered was tasty and well-presented, except for the desserts, which were not at all special and, frankly, a disappointment -- except for one chocolate cake that I could have happily eaten non-stop the rest of the cruise. I should note that the cruise contained a goodly mix of all kinds of people -- old, young, you name it. There weren't too many children around -- just enough to make it fun, and not enough to make it really annoying. I was surprised, expecting to see more families on a weekend jaunt. After dinner, we caught the stage show -- a 'retrospective' of life as seen through the music of the 60's, 70's, and 80's. I'm pretty sure that Freddie Mercury was spinning in his grave to hear Bohemian Rhapsody edited to a two-minute Vegas production. All in all, not one to go out of your way for. We skipped the shows after that. Off to Karaoke -- a blast! And, it was 70's night, or so we were told, so the disco was just that -- and packed beyond belief. Having been up at half-past-creation to catch planes, we made an early night of it. DAY 2: Coco-Uh-oh We awoke to a painfully loud announcement (if there was a volume control in our room, we never found it) that CocoCay had been rained on for 24 hours straight and, as a result, was a big sandy mud pit. However, they had gotten clearance for us to head straight to Nassau, giving us almost 36 hours straight in port! We docked at 12:30, and headed on foot to Paradise Island, poking our heads in a few shops along the way. It's a trek, and not for the faint-hearted, but it felt good to burn off that chocolate cake . . . . we spent some time on the beach and, when the clouds started gathering, walked to Atlantis and poked around a bit before catching a cab back for dinner. (As for the braid/taxi/whatnot vendors; yes, they ask you if you need fill-in-the-blank, but a polite and friendly "no, thanks," sent them along their way. I didn't find it nearly as pushy as, say, some salespersons at the mall -- and let's face it, how can you be cranky when they keep prefacing it with, "would you two beautiful ladies . . . ") Dinner - the formal dinner - had a bit of steam taken out of it by being in Nassau early. Still, it was lovely (tho I had to satisfy my desire for lobster with the bisque). Then off to wander around to the various live acts. Steve in the Viking Crown, who we'd stumbled across earlier in the library, kept us quite entertained -- talented and a quirky but friendly style. Sadly, we are not as young as we used to be, so we headed off to bed before the midnight buffet, which looked like it was getting rained out; it poured buckets after sunset. SUNDAY: Nassau, part due . . . Another day in Nassau! And now that we knew were we were headed, off we went. A woman we saw in port the day before told us, "Nassau sucks on Sundays! Everything's closed!" And yes, not all the shops were open, but really, how many not-so-great-bargain-bejeweled-globes do you need? We sauntered out of downtown and found a free beach between the Colonial Hilton and the Quality Inn -- not as picturesque or smooth as Paradise Island, but not as crowded, either. It was a local's place, so we had a great time watching the families play in the surf, until it started to rain. :-> So off we went, in search of the Queen's Staircase. A gentleman gave us a speed lecture on the history of the staircase, the hospital, the island, the capital, the fort, the motor scooters . . . . okay, maybe not the motor scooters, but you get the idea. We trooped up the staircase and up to Fort Fincastle -- a great place for a photo op with Atlantis behind you! And then it started to rain. Again. So we headed back to the ship. Nap time. (see? inside rooms are very useful!) It was Superbowl Sunday, so the big decision was: Patriots? or prime rib? the Patriots won out. The crew gave over one big bar, the casino, AND the showroom to the broadcast -- the latter projecting it onto the stage-sized scrim -- and set up buffets with appropriate munchies (hot dogs with kraut or chili, wings, and sandwiches). It was clear in the showroom that folks were partial to one team or the other, which made for a lively evening -- MUCH more entertaining than what we'd seen on Friday night! It was ESPN's Latin American satellite feed, so we missed out on the more, um, non-traditional parts of the event. But to hear American commentators doing "football for dummies" was worth the price of admission alone, as they explained EVERYTHING, assuming the audience didn't understand the quirky nature of American football. After that excitement, we went up to the sky deck and watched the stars go by as we sailed back to Miami. DISEMBARKATION: a rude reintroduction to reality . . . . We were finishing our packing and toilette (remember, we had carryons!) when, at 7:30 am, an announcement was made that the ship was cleared for disembarkation; they then promptly called THREE different tag numbers, out of FIVE listed in our disembarkation packet. We paid no attention, because we were in no hurry: our flights didn't leave until the evening. so we sauntered down to the dining room for a leisurely sit-down breakfast . . . . and discovered a madhouse. The poor waiters couldn't keep up with the orders fast enough, and the passengers seemed terribly cranky to be fed fast and gone. We calmly had our coffee, and juice, and omelettes, and exited at 8:45 to find the line of all lines on the disembarkation deck, waiting. and waiting . . . so we made ourselves useful until 9:15 or so, when we finally decided if we didn't go stand in line, we'd be fighting off the OTHER two colors who hadn't been called. So we did, and after much herding, were finally off the boat and taxiside by 9:45. Now, there is construction going on at the port, so I can understand some confusion. But the lack of signage, to say nothing of any port employees on site to lend a hand or brain cell, made for nothing short of sheer chaos. We had thought to catch a shuttle to Bayside and decide our plan of attack there, but we couldn't find the shuttle. Couldn't find a shuttle stop. Couldn't find someone who could explain what to look for or where to go. So we decided to get a cab, instead. Not one, but TWO, cabs refused to take us, pointing us out to the nonexistent shuttle. While I understand that the fare would not be as lucrative as, say, an MIA run, I was astonished (and fully intend to write the port of Miami as soon as I finish this!). However, their obstinacy was our gain, as we gave up and caught the first rental car shuttle to the airport, where a very lovely woman at Alamo cut us a great deal on a convertible, so we spent the day tooling around SoBe with the top down before reluctantly heading home to sleet, snow, and minus wind chills. Long story short: I'd recommend the cruise for first timers, as it's a great introduction to cruising, and Nassau has something for everybody. However, I don't know that I'd recommend Miami as a port, because the departure experience was enough to fray the nerves of anyone, let alone a newbie. hope this is helpful. happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date January 2000

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