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Majesty of the Seas (Long Review)

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Old March 27th, 2004, 07:45 PM
mark hunacek
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Default Majesty of the Seas (Long Review)

My daughter and I recently finished a four-night
cruise on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas,
sailing from Miami to the Bahamas and Key West. This
was our second Royal Caribbean cruise; our first, on
the Grandeur of the Seas, was about eighteen months
ago. This was my daughter's fourth cruise, and my
eighth. Neither one of us had ever taken a four-night
cruise before, however.

I was somewhat surprised at the amount of
duplication between my two Royal Caribbean cruises. The
menus on this one were identical to the ones on my
previous cruise, the shipboard games were exactly the
same, and even one of the shows was exactly the same. I
suppose some repeat cruisers would consider this a good
thing, but I would have preferred a bit more variety.
Here are some detailed comments concerning specific

EMBARCATION: The pre-cruise information provided
us said that boarding was at 2PM, but we got to the
Port shortly before noon and boarding had already
commenced. At this hour there were practically no lines
and we got on board quickly.

ITINERARY: The planned itinerary was Nassau,
Coco Cay (a private island) and Key West, but the
middle stop was cancelled because of rough weather. I
gather this is not an uncommon occurrence. Also, one
thing that I didn't know before the cruise was that in
Key West nobody is allowed to leave the ship until
every single person has cleared customs. Thus, it is
entirely possible that you might not get off the ship
until around 11, a fact to keep in mind if you were
planning to sightsee in the morning and take an
excursion in the afternoon. Of course, on our cruise
there were, as I suspect there are on every cruise, a
couple of idiots who didn't follow directions and clear
customs when they were supposed to do so; they had to
be called by name on the PA system after delaying 2000
people from getting off the ship and enjoying the port.

SHORE EXCURSIONS: In Nassau we took a morning
excursion to snorkel with stingrays and in Key West
took the afternoon Fury Catamaran trip to snorkel on a
coral reef. The first excursion was quite nice and the
second was awful.

are two stingray snorkel excursions. We opted for the
more expensive one, called the express, because it
promised a more intimate experience with the rays. By
using a "thriller boat" we got to the stingray area
much faster (and had an exciting ride) and spent about
an hour snorkeling in an enclosed area with a bout
thirty rays of all sizes. We also had a chance to feed
them. Adjacent to the enclosed area was an excellent
beach where you could body surf, but we didn't spend a
lot of time doing that because we thought the stingrays
were more fun.

The Key
West tour might have been fun were it not for the rough
weather. When we got to the reef there were four-foot
waves, which made snorkeling very difficult. The choppy
water also dramatically decreased visibility. Between
fighting these waves and not seeing very far, nobody
saw very many fish. I thought it was outrageous that
the trip even took place under these conditions. At the
very least people should have been notified of the
conditions and given an opportunity to opt out. I'm
sure some people took the tour just to have a boat ride
and drink free beer on the way back, and they may have
had fun, but those of us who went because we wanted to
snorkel were very disappointed.

STAFF: Our waitress, assistant waiter and cabin
attendant were pleasant and competent. I didn't think
too much of the cruise director (perhaps because the
cruise director on the Grandeur was excellent and I had
high expectations).

FOOD: The food gets an A+ for quantity and a B
for quality. If you want to, you can eat pretty much
constantly during the day. The three main meals can be
eaten in either a formal dining room or the Windjammer
café on Deck 11; after lunch the Windjammer also
provides a "snack" (really a complete buffet) and from
noon to 2am pizza and hot dogs are served in a sports
bar on Deck 12. There is also a midnight buffet just
about every night, but I never stayed up for any of

I ate all my dinners in the dining
room and had some lunches and breakfasts in both the
dining room and Windjammer. I thought the dining room
was better for breakfast and Windjammer was better for
lunch. You should also be aware that the menus in these
venues are not co-extensive. For example, in Key West,
I really wanted to try a slice of Key Lime pie, which
was not available in the dining room but was available
in the Windjammer.

As for quality, the food was OK, but hardly
memorable. The four dining themes were, in order,
Caribbean night, the Captain's gala dinner, Italian
night, and International night. Steaks are available
every night in addition to the five entrees.

SHOWS: On this cruise there was a comedian, a
comedy magician, a pair of acrobats, and a
song-and-dance group, The Royal Caribbean Players. It
was the latter group whose show I saw on the Grandeur,
but the others were new. The comedian, John Joseph,
seemed to get the most raves from the passengers; he
gave two shows, one on the first night and an
adults-only show (which really wasn't all that risqué)
on the last.

SUMMARY: I definitely prefer weeklong cruises to
four-night ones, not only because I like cruises and
therefore prefer longer ones to shorter ones, but also
because I think you get a better connection to the ship
on a longer cruise. This cruise was certainly pretty
good, but I wasn't wowed by it as I was by other
cruises I've taken. I certainly don't rule out the
possibility of other Royal Caribbean cruises in the
future, but I'll probably look elsewhere for my next

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