For background information, we are a 50-something couple sailing with our children and two grandchildren. This was my 12th cruise (5 on RCI) and my wife's 14th (7 on RCI).
The Majesty of the Seas is nine years old, but looks like a new ship. I was amazed at how spotlessly clean it was. New carpet had been installed within 2 weeks of our cruise, and the lady was beautiful! From our first view of the ship at the dock until we first entered the atrium, everything went very smoothly. Check-in was very smooth, and we were onboard within 15 minutes of our arrival at the dock. We boarded the ship around 12:30 and our luggage was delivered to our staterooms by 2:00 p.m.
Our overall impression of the 3-day cruise, on a scale of 1-10, was somewhere in the 8-9 range. Royal Caribbean still offers a quality experience, but we noticed that they're beginning to follow the lead of some other cruise lines by reducing services to cut costs. For example, we were very disappointed to learn that RCI no longer employs sommeliers in the dining room. Now, the waiters take care of the wine for their tables. Not entirely bad service, but they don't (and can't) know as much about their products as a real sommelier does. It showed. Thankfully, we found the wines we wanted on the wine list and didn't have to ask for a recommendation.
Another area where they're cutting back is in the food availability area. Breakfast is served in the Windjammer Cafi until 11:00 a.m., but lunch doesn't start there until 11:30. In the dining room, lunch doesn't start until 12:00 noon. There are no hamburgers, hot dogs or pizza available between 11:00 and 11:30 (or at any other time). Since we had shore excursions that started at 11:45 and 1:00, we were unable to eat lunch before leaving the ship. I had eaten breakfast on Saturday at 7:00, and had no choice but to eat another light breakfast before meeting my ride to the dive shop at 12:00. My wife's and children's shore excursion met at 1:00. Due to the Windjammer not opening for lunch until 12:00, there was an extremely long line. My wife tried to get a little something but found herself still in the line waiting to get food 20 minutes before she was supposed to meet the shore excursion.
Another area where they fell short of minimum expectations concerned life jackets for the children. Both the purser's staff and the muster station leader told us that we could get children's jackets from the stateroom attendant. He never produced them. The muster station leader said not to worry, for there were plenty of them available at the lifeboat stations. Of course, no one bothered to instruct them as to how to put one on a 2 year old. Not good enough, in my mind, in the event of an emergency. Wonder what the USCG would say about this...
Other than those three areas, everything seemed to go very well, and we had no problems. Our four-year-old grandson loved the kid's program, both onboard and at Coco Cay. We enjoyed all meals, both in the dining room and in the Windjammer. The buffet on Friday after we boarded was superb. Our filet mignon dining room entrie was outstanding, but my prime rib was a little tough. Not too bad, but not up to par. The barbecued ribs and chicken at Coco Cay were terrific. That wonderful Royal Caribbean fruit bread and iced tea hadn't changed a bit. The Internet Cafi was very nicely done and cost $5.00 for 30 minutes.
Our stateroom was a regular outside stateroom. It was plenty large enough for us, even with all my dive gear, and for once, the air conditioning system was cold enough for us. There was lots of storage space, more than enough closet space, etc.
Dining room service was superb. Our waiter, assistant waiter and headwaiter all worked very hard for us, especially considering that we had two fairly "high-maintenance" children (ages 2 and 4) at our table who didn't want to spend two hours eating dinner. The wait staff was extremely good.
We didn't attend any of the onboard entertainment. The remote for our cabin's TV had dead batteries, but one word to our cabin attendant fixed that. Since we were on a Mothers' Day weekend cruise, they had lots of roses and cut flowers for sale on Sunday. Reasonably priced, but didn't last like the ones we bought on Celebrity in March. They'd been out of water too long when we bought them.
The photographers weren't in our faces at all, but the photos they did take turned out extremely well. We bought several. These were definitely the best "pro" photos we've seen on any ship we've sailed. Good job by this contractor.
On Saturday, my wife, daughter, and the grandkids went on the RCI Blackbeard's Island excursion in Nassau. Great tour for the little ones! Great beach, not crowded and facilities available. They enjoyed it. My son-in-law and I did the shark feeding dive at Stuart Cove's Dive South Ocean. Awesome. This was the second time I'd done that dive, and it was much better than the first time. We had somewhere between 40 and 50 sharks all around us for over an hour, all between 4 and 8 feet long. What a hoot! Mutual respect, too: I don't eat shark meat, they didn't eat me. I did have 3 of them swim into and rub against me, but that wasn't a problem for them or for me. My son-in-law had one almost knock him over with a pressure wave by turning right in front of him. It was probably the best 65' dive I've ever done.
Saturday night, we made arrangements through the Pursers staff for "in-room" babysitting, so that the adults were able to spend some time together away from the little ones. Very professional. The charge was $8.00 per hour for up to 2 children and they require a 3-hour minimum
Our Sunday was spent at Coco Cay. It was the first cruise in over 2 weeks that they'd been able to get to the island. We had light winds, compared to the 14-17 mph they'd been having for the past several weeks. As a result, the island staff was fresh and eager to please. The Coco Locos were pretty good, but couldn't compare with the onboard Piqa Coladas (I think I gained 4 pounds in 3 days on them alone).
One of the cocktail waiters in the Viking Crown Lounge was absolutely outstanding. Courteous, polite and professional, he remembered our names and drink for the remainder of the cruise after serving us once. The bartender made great Piqa Coladas up there, too. By the way: this ship has a Viking Crown Lounge that wraps all the way around. The promenade deck wraps all the way around the ship, too. Very windy out there, but very nice, too.
The shops had some pretty nice soft goods at reasonable prices. Liquor, jewelry and perfumes were as one would expect. There were no restrictions concerning taking liquor purchases back to your rooms, and no one cared about bringing liquor onboard.
During this cruise, I never even entered the workout area. I didn't feel guilty about it, either. :o) My wife did peek inside. There were 6 treadmills and a fair amount of good equipment. The aerobics classes that were offered had a charge. First time we have seen this.
All breakfasts and lunches in the dining room are open seating, including the last day. On Monday morning, our last, we were required to be out of our stateroom by 8:00. This wasn't a problem, though, for they called all but the last two colors of luggage tags before 8:00! Disembarkation was truly outstanding. The new RCI customs facility, built for the Voyager of the Seas, is wonderful. We got our bags from a carousel (one carousel for each baggage tag color) and were in cabs on the way to the airport by 8:30.
Overall, it was a very nice cruise, and we recommend it to anyone wanting a short getaway.