Thursday, October 29, 2015

Travel Diary: Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas (Nassau, CocoCay, Key West)

My recent vacation included a trip on the Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas 5 day cruise! We went on it because it was one of the best deals we found. I've only been on one other cruise which was last year from Vancouver to Alaska on Holland America so my review will be based on my experiences.

Majesty of the Seas is the oldest fleet in Royal Caribbean, I believe it was built in 1992, which would make it as old as me! The ship mainly does short Bahamas cruises departing from Miami.

Pricing/Deals: To begin our search, we had a rough idea of when/where we want to depart, but we were completely open to the destinations. We searched on Red Tag and booked this September cruise in April. The rate we locked in was $398 CAD (base fare $296) per person for an oceanview room on a 4 night cruise including taxes and port fees! I believe the rates went up closer to the cruise date, although not more than $100 per person.

Food: The ship has two main dining rooms, a buffet area, two additional fee restaurants, and one pizza parlour. Compared to my other cruise, the dining options are definitely limited.

The dining room serves a three course dinner every night and there are always tons of fantastic options to choose from. We also had fantastic servers who were attentive and friendly. We were even allowed to bring our wine into dinner. This was the best place for variety and quality.

*Tip: if you are a party of two, you will most likely be put into a communal table. Therefore, when you first board the cruise, ask to see your table and request to change to a private table. The earlier you can do this, the better!*

However, the problem I had was that after 9pm, your only option for food is the pizza parlor!!! I mean, where are the midnight snacks? That's what cruises are all about right?! And by 11pm, the only pizzas available are cheese and pepperoni. Safe to say, I was hungry and craving for snacks most nights.

Programming: The shows they had were quite hilarious. They draw upon the crowd's participation quite often and people were very down to participate. I really enjoyed one of the comedy shows, as well as the couple quiz show. They do not have as much programming as other cruises however, and as a result there was ALWAYS a line up to everything.

Hurricane Season: The reason that the cruise is so cheap is because of hurricane season. On most nights, there would be thunder showers but it didn't affect us because we were on the cruise. We even went to the beach in Nassau when the clouds were thundering. In the case of a hurricane, the cruise ship would choose other locations to dock, so if you are not too picky about your port of calls, September is a great month to travel.

I really enjoyed the port of calls this itinerary had. The times allocated in port was sufficient and the weather was nice and warm in all cities. Maybe a bit too warm actually, most days were about 30 degrees even in late September.

Nassau: The main attraction in Nassau is the Atlantis resort. But we didn't feel like paying $100 each so we walked around downtown and then took a taxi to Paradise Island. At first we were skeptical about the taxis, but they are not going to scam you. Just be prepared to go in the taxi with other parties.

CocoCay: This little island is owned by Royal Caribbean, so the only people on it are going to be from the cruise. On the day we went, our ship was the only one docked so it wasn't very busy. Since it's owned by Royal Caribbean, you won't be able to get away with the high prices. We rented our snorkle gear (mask, snorkel, fins, vest) for $37 each. We also rented a day locker for $10. Everything charges to your seapass so you do not need to bring your wallet around.

Although the snorkeling was expensive, the experience was definitely worth it and is a highlight of our trip! There was tons of fish and some coral formations. We saw a sting ray too! Although be careful because I think we got stung by some small jellyfish.

Key West: There wasn't too much in Key West so we walked around the port area and then decided to rent a scooter. This allowed us to visit the "Southern most point on continental USA". It was a nice quiet day to round off the cruise. If you are craving more variety in food, try some of the happy hours. They are really great deals and cheaper than getting drinks on board the cruise too.

Overall Review

Overall, the Majesty of the Seas was definitely lacking in terms of variety of food and shows. Additionally their service was no where as friendly as the Alaska cruise. However, given the price I would still admit that it's a fantastic deal. The sit down dinners were amazing and I had a ton of fun in the ports.

If you are not too picky about your experience and just want a few relaxing days of vacation at a good price, this is for you. If you've already been on several cruises, I'd pass on the Majesty of the Seas as you will be disappointed by it's amenities. Next time you are planning to visit Miami, I'd recommend checking out these short cruises as an add on to your vacation!

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask!

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