We flew into Miami Thursday night meeting my parents at the airport. My parent’s luggage was on the plane after them, so we had to wait an hour to pick it up. Delta would not deliver to the hotel before noon, but said they would deliver it directly to the port. We did not trust them and waited. They lost it once, and who wants to chance being on the ship without their luggage.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Marina Park (formerly Best Western). They have remodeled and made many improvements. The next morning, we took a cab to the port at 11:00. Check in was easy and we waited about ½ hour to start boarding. Once on board, we dropped off our carry-on luggage and got shore excursions, dinner reservations, etc. out of the way. Lisa the concierge was not in her office and would not be until 7:00, so we took care of everything ourselves. We had two suites on deck 9, one on each side of the ship. We REALLY liked the walk out bay windows. We got more use out of that than we do a balcony! The rooms are comfortable with nice large bathrooms and a large walk in closet. Slightly dated décor, but overall my favorite room so far. While most of the public spaces were somewhat dated in their décor, they were all in decent shape and clean. This ship is just the right size for my parent’s first cruise and to get the feel of navigating around a ship.
We ate most of our meals in the Seven Seas dining room. We did have dinner one night in the Four Seasons dining room. We liked the atmosphere better in Seven Seas. The food was noticeably better than The Norway when we sailed in December even though the menus are the same. The wait staff was always efficient and most of them friendly. One night when a member of our party wanted “Nothing” for dessert, they brought a plate with “Nothing” written out in chocolate. Sunday night we ate at LeBistro. The cover was $10, as opposed to $15 on the Norway and $12.50 on the Star. Again the food was better than LeBistro on the Norway, but not as good as the Star. The room has terrible atmosphere on the Majesty. As has been noted in other reviews, the tables are 3 inches apart and the kitchen has a curtain hanging in the doorway and you hear all the clanging of pans and dishes. It is like they carved LeBistro out of a coat check room.
We were disappointed that there was not a chocoholic buffet on this cruise, but you cannot fit everything into a 3 day cruise. The snacks at midnight and mid-afternoon are only for those who are famished and cannot make it until breakfast. This was the worst food of the cruise, and worse than anything we got on the Norway.
We did a number of the activities on this cruise, as it was my parent’s first cruise and they were trying everything out. While Ricky Matthews (Cruise Director) was full of energy, he was a terrible host of the Not-So-Newlywed Game, Family Feud, etc. He lost his place, gave away the answers and just generally did not keep the pace going continually. Kim (the Assistant Cruise Director) did a much better job. She should and will be Cruise Director of her own ship soon. There were two comedians who each had a show Friday and Sunday and we saw all four. Susie Loucks was fantastic! We and the rest of the audience were laughing until we cried. Peter Sasso was the WORST comedian I have seen anywhere. When no one laughs and the comedian is saying “Come on people, that was a funny joke” you know there is a problem. We only saw him the second time because he and Susie were together and they brought him out first. The big show on Saturday Night, “On the Radio”, was fantastic; A very high energy, fast paced show with talented performers. Make sure you do not miss that one!
This was our first trip to the Bahamas, and well; we certainly did not lose anything there so there will be no reason to go back. We did the city tour, and it was interesting enough. The tour of the fort was the most boring part. The guide sounded like a recording and even acknowledged it at the end. The Pirate Museum was reasonably interesting if there was nothing else to do. No one in our party liked the Straw Market. Crowded, hard to maneuver, full of junk not worth carrying home. We did not go to Atlantis. I know it is VERY nice, but we were not going to stay there, so why go look at it? I have several friends who love it, but I prefer cruising over resorts so it was not that important for me to see it. Overall: For sightseeing, beaches or shopping, there are better islands. I am sure many will disagree, but that was the opinion of all our party and we are a well traveled group.
And now……drum roll please……of course we did not make it to Great Stirrup Cay. We did not on the Norway in December either. Does it really exist? Noting the Casino and Bingo sales on the “unplanned” day at sea, one would begin to get suspicious. Before everyone jumps on me about “NCL only being concerned for passenger safety”, would it not make sense to either make improvements to Great Stirrup Cay to make it more usable, find a different island, or scrap it altogether? Just my opinion.
And now for the two unpleasant items from the cruise: On my parent’s side of the ship, something happened with the plumbing system. I do not fault NCL at all, just noting what happened. They literally had a huge trash can emptying the sewage lines from the ceiling into it. Of course there was a spill somewhere along the way and the hall smelled like an open sewer for two of the three days. Luckily the smell did not come into the rooms, and the worst part of it was all the way at the other end of the ship. You could smell it on other floors at times. It was terrible!
The other negative: Two of us requested a “Friends of Dorothy” meeting from Lisa, the Concierge. For those of you who do not know, the purpose of the meeting is for gay people to meet each other and socialize on the cruise. Most ships (including other NCL ships) will provide a space, put it in the Freestyle Daily and some even provide snacks. To my surprise, Lisa had no idea what I was talking about and said she would have to check with Ricky. She called back to say we needed to make the request in writing, which we did (when we asked Alex on the Norway, he informed us it was standard procedure to have one scheduled and that requesting was not necessary). Ricky then called to say that he would need two or three more written requests and could I find some others to write them. After explaining to him that the whole point was to meet others and how I could not find people I did not know, I went on to explain that for a three day cruise it was now getting to be much more hassle than it was worth. He blamed it on his bosses. Someone is homophobic, I’m just not sure who. I will be filing a formal complaint with NCL. Depending on their response, I may have to consider more friendly cruise lines.
Other miscellaneous items: The spa was almost not there. Do not take this ship if you are into a really nice spa. The disco was fine, nothing spectacular. The casino is small but has a good variety. The lifeboat drill was the longest and most serious I have attended. I know it is important, but we were lined up facing forward like we were in the army for 45 minutes. It could have been condensed. The hot tub on the port side of the ship is supposed to be for adults only and has signs all over it, but on this cruise no one could read and no one enforced it. One day, six kids were in the adult hot tub with ice cream cones complete with sprinkles.
If anyone has any questions, I will be happy to try and answer them. Overall, it was a fun cruise on a nice ship. I think if I sailed this ship again, it would be on the 4-day Mexican Itinerary.
I enjoyed your review. My partner and I sailed on the new Norwegian Dawn 12/8/2002. I posted a review on this message board, check out the revised one. Anyway NCL had a Friends of Dorothy meeting posted everynight. When we were last on the Norway two years ago, there were two. I think NCL is the most gay friendly cruise line. If you two guys like cruising with NLC, try the Dawn, I think it is their best ship to date. The food in the dining rooms was outstanding.