First impression from a first time cruiser - Majesty REVIEW
We just returned from our 3 night majesty cruise and here is my post. This was my very first cruise experience and I wanted to give everyone my impressions, pluses and minuses of the ship and cruising in general. Since I have never been on another cruise before, I can't really compare the service/food/ship, however, I can give you my general opinion in comparison to some of the land traveling I have done. This review will be a little long - sorry. But I just want to help with others, as many of your posts and reviews REALLY helped us and I wanted to thank everyone who participates on these boards.
I'm going to give you a brief background of my travels and my likes, so you can compare my opinions to yours. We have traveled to the Bahamas (4 times), Grenada, Aruba, Bermuda, Cancun and Barbados (him only). I am very picky about where I want to stay, so we usually try to stay in the nicer hotels on the island. And when we dine, we definitely go all out, get dressed up, and go first class.
Having said that, here goes my review. We flew out of Washington DC bright and early on Friday and arrived in Miami at 11:00am. We met up with the rest of our party and collected our bags. One thing that I have never seen mentioned on these boards are the fact that there are lots and lots of RCI reps holding up signs for transfers to the boat. I thought this was great. For $22.00 a person, you can get a round trip transfer, to and from the boat. They help with the luggage, it's easy and the charge goes directly on your room account. We got to the boat, checked in (There were NOOOOO upgrades available), and were up in the Windjammer by noon. Here is a little warning - As soon as we got out of the elevator on the 12th floor, there was a whole set up of RCI staff handing out wonderful Pina Coladas. I thought to myself, "how nice of RCI to welcome us with a drink". But before I knew it, I was being charged $5.95 for the drink. Very tricky move RCI!! But, my vacation had started, so I didn't care. The lunch at the Windjammer was nice. When we got there, there was hardly any lines. After lunch, we went down to find our cabins.
CABINS - we were in an inside K stateroom. Now, before we left, I really prepared myself for the size of the room. In knew that it wasn't much over 100 sq. feet and had seen pictures of the set up. No matter how much you prepare yourself, the initial shock of this closet sized room is there. The room is literally TINY!!! The bathroom is designed for one person at a time, the shower is standing room only. Don't move too much, or else you'll hit the walls around you. Although the room is small, I would not have paid more for a larger room. But I think on a longer cruise, the size of the room would have bothered me.
OK, here is my first opinion on cruising regarding the cabins. Although there is SOOO much to do on a cruise and you hardly have time to spend in your cabin, I did not like the fact that you don't really have the option of relaxing in your room. When we travel to the islands, I like having the time to relax in my room, have a class of wine or a drink, and maybe sit out on the balcony. I know that you can get a larger balcony room on these cruises, but the price difference is so much more. I found myself not even wanting to go back to the room for a much needed nap.
After we got down to the room, I quickly changed into something more comfortable and had to get our table assignments straightened out because they put one person in our party of five at another table. This took up a lot of my time when I wanted to be enjoying the boat and a drink already. When I finally got things straightened out, I headed upstairs for the pool and bar. Not soon after that, they had the muster drill. Which went smoothly, just took more time away from my relaxation. by the time the drill was over and I was ready to relax, the boat was ready to leave port. I really wanted to see this, so I rushed up to the pool deck.
Another advice tip - If you are trying to meet someone on board a ship that you have never been on, DO NOT set it up for the first day!! I tried to meet up with someone I met on this board, and since the first day was so rushed, I couldn't get myself straight about were the location we set up was. So I was really bummed about that and there was no way I could set up another meeting for the next day.
On the second level of the Windjammer Cafe, they had a bar set up and that is where we went to watch the ship pull out of port. We had a couple of drinks and then headed downstairs to change for dinner. I loved the location of our cabin. It was on the 6th deck midship. Close to everything, especially the dinning rooms, shops and casino. The elevators on these ships are horrible, so we usually walked up and down the stairs to get to the different levels. The walk up to the top deck was a hard one, but something needed to be done to make room for all of the food we would be eating.
FOOD/DINNING - Our dinning experience on RCI was wonderful. Although the food was not nearly gourmet, it was still pretty good. What made our experience so great was the wait staff. Our head waiter (SANDRO) and his assistant (ALIN) were just outstanding. It was equal to the type of service one would expect from a five star establishment. There is no lobster on a 3 night cruise, but on the second night, I had shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque and filet minion (all very good). On the last night I had salmon pate (not good), cesar salad and prime rib (good). The first night I had potato soup (good) and shrimp with risotto rice (shrimp very good, rice good). Some other entries at the table were duck, mahi mahi, strawberry soup (everyone who ordered this unanimously agreed that it was too sweet for a starter - should have been dessert). For breakfasts, we always ate in the dinning room. The service was just as good as dinner, poached eggs were great and smoked salmon platter was pretty good as well.
CAPTAIN'S RECEPTION - I wouldn't miss this. This was on the formal night and everyone looked so wonderful. I was surprised to see as many tuxes as I did on a 3 night cruise. There are appetizers and free flowing Champaign. Lots and lots of RCI staff walking around with trays full of drinks and food. It gives the feel of being at a very ritzy Hollywood party.
DRINKS - drinks were not as expensive as I would have thought. They were very reasonable and equal to what one would pay around our area. I didn't find the drink specials of the day, as was mentioned on these boards, so I just stuck to my usuals. We missed the Champaign bar ½ price hour but went there anyway to enjoy a drink. This is a very nice bar. They bring out chocolate covered strawberries and is very elegant. We paid $9.00 for a glass of Champaign ($18.00 for two glasses plus tip) When we went to port the next day in Nassau, we found a bottle of the exact same Champaign for $15.00, so we brought a bottle and had it in our room before dinner the next night.
They have a great Library that one can sit in and enjoy a nice cigar (you can get Cubans in Nassau and enjoy it on the ship). The waiter from the Champaign bar will bring you drinks and Coniacs. This room has cards, games, lots of books. (If it were at all possible for one to get bored on this ship)
MIDNIGHT BUFFET and SHOWS - unfortunately, I was looking forward to both of these, but we just could never find time to attend any shows and missed the buffet. Maybe next time.
CASINO - This casino is very small and hardly enough tables for the number of passengers. But when you finally do squeeze in, it's great. The dealers are all very friendly and we had a great lively craps crowd on our ship.
PORTS - Since I've been to some very beautiful islands, I wasn't that excited about the Bahamas. When we got to Nassau, we walked around the shops for a while and then caught a cab to Atlantis. I have stayed at some wonderful hotels and this resort definitely ranked up there. I was actually surprised with how nice paradise island was and how blue the water was. I didn't remember the Bahamas as having beautiful water and beaches. We walked through the shops and the aquarium and relaxed on the beach for a little while, and then headed back to the ship.
Cococay was very nice. We were very lucky because we were the second cruise in two months to be able to go there. The weather was perfect our entire cruise. The island of Cococay and the water was OK. But it was nice to be able to relax by the beach for one day. We went sailing (a LOT of fun) and snorkeling (not that great). The barbeque was nice.
SHIP - The ship was very nice. Although you could tell this was an older ship, they really kept it clean and shiny. The cabins were very clean and the public areas, restrooms, etc, were all very nicely taken care of.
VIKING CROWN - we didn't find this until the last night. This was the best. We sat at a table by the window, had some drinks, and watched the sun disappear into the Caribbean sea. Absolutely breathtaking.
STAFF/SERVICE - The only word I can think of is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could not get over how wonderful each and every staff member on this cruise was. You would literally see them working VERY hard day and night and yet they were just absolutely wonderful, attentive, and happy all the time. Our cabin steward was Patrick and he kept our room wonderful and restocked our ice buckets all day (even though we didn't ask him too). He even noted that we had a bottle of Champaign and went and got a Champaign bucket, filled it with ice, and put our bottle in it. So we had wonderfully chilled Champaign waiting for us when we came back to change for dinner. The waiters and staff at breakfast were great, the bar staff, the pursuer's desk, just EVERYONE!!! They are what made this a truly enjoyable vacation. Kind of like the staff in any 5 star resort such as the Four Seasons or the RITZ.
NEGATIVES - the only real negative about this trip was that it was way too short and the ship is just so big and there are just SOOOOOO many activities that it leaves on whishing there were more hours in the day. I really wanted to get a chance to do some things that I missed out on.
I would DEFINITELY cruise with RCI again. It was a wonderful vacation. Sorry this was so long.