NORWEGIAN MAJESTY 1/27/07
Before boarding the Majesty in Charleston, on 1/27/07, we spent an hour on Market St. browsing all the interesting vendors. We plan to return again as theres so much for tourists to see and do in this great town. Embarkation was uneventful as we were in the Latitudes line and on board within 30 min. We had all our bags within an hour, then toured the ship with our first-time cruisemates. After gathering at our muster station for the Emergency Boat Drill, it was time for the sailaway party. Weather was seasonable, as it was for most of the cruise.
We enjoyed meeting everyone from Cruise Critic at the meet/greet provided by NCL in the Royal Observatory. We also appreciated the extra day in Cozumel. We had to skip Grand Cayman due to an on-board emergency. We sailed directly to Cozumel, because a man was experiencing serious heart problems. He was tendered to the island at about 1:00 AM. Apparently he is ok and at home now. The quick action may have saved his life.
In Cozumel, we did the semi-submersible boat excursion(46.00 pp) where you sit just four feet below the surface of the water looking through crystal clear glass windows directly in front of you. Like snorkeling without getting wet. We were near the Chankanaab Nature Park area. "Ceasar Salad" our narrator, provided a very entertaining and informative presentation as we gazed at the undersea world of parrot-fish, baracudda, starfish, coral, sponges, anemones and other fascinating species.......including scuba divers. The damage from hurricane Wilma in 2005 is very evident.
The second day we took a carriage ride(10.00 pp) around San Miguel. And of course browsed the many shops, enjoying afternoon cocktails at the Hard Rock Cafe in Punta Langosta. Its located adjacent to the "noisy" Carlos'n'Charlies, so we sat outside at the sidewalk cafe.
In Key West we took the narrated Old Town Trolley(25.00pp) and ate conch fritters/beer at B.O.'s Fish Wagon. Taking the trolley allows you to get off and on as you wish. We walked thru Flagler Station(free) and saw large tarpon swimming under the docked historic schooner Western Union at the seaport. Took the 1/2 hr. guided tour of Hemmingway's house(11.00pp) and saw the 6-toed cats. At Mallory Square we had frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. There were a great variety of street performers: magicians, jugglers, dog tricks, musicians, and mimes. The view of the sunset drew about 500 tourists.
On board we were pleased with the food and the pleasant service that Majesty is known for. We ate at all the restaurants, buffets, and snack tables. The escargot in Le Bistro(7.50pp for early birds) was yummy! And of course I loved the rack of lamb, duck, lobster tails, and smoked salmon, since I seldom get that at home. BBQ pork ribs were great from the topside grill. Our buffet breakfasts were enhanced with popular piano music from the talented Dan Tatum(a 75 yr old SC passenger) in the Royal Observatory. "Thanks, Dan!". Latidudes also provided complimentary cocktails and prizes at their hospitality hour. We didn't miss the smoothie tasting or the Chocoholic Buffet either,
Our stateroom was 3045, (inside/low/center for minimal motion). I had a problem with the room AC, but it was resolved the next day. The starboard ice machine at poolside seemed to be out of order alot, and I would still like an ice/tea machine where they serve 24/7 burgers/pizza/fruit/salad and delicious fries at Piazza San Marco.
I liked the Majesty Production Company(talented young people), and the Rama 111 band. The "Night on the Town", "Broadway Tonight", and "Retro-Active"(50's-90's music) were well received, as was the comedian Patty Ross. She also hosted "Jokers Wild" stand-up jokes by fellow cruisers in the Frame 52 lounge. And nothing was more surprising than the performance of "Fountains" by the Majesty crew.
However, I quickly grew tired of listening to the Carribean Plus band at poolside. Every 10-15 minutes they would yell "somebody scream!" Maybe they weren't my taste. I liked Amadeus from our Majesty cruise(Bermuda) last July so much better.
Other interactive entertainment in the Palace Theater, Frame 52, at poolside, and Fireworks Lounge was a lot of fun! The juggling/comedian show "Sharkbait" had everyone howling with laughter. The 50's-60's Sock Hop crowned a Baptist minister as the best rendition of "Elvis"......so funny! Many "twisting" couples, too. The Monte Carlo Casino, Internet Cafe, and card/game rooms were not crowded. We skipped bingo, the art auction, and the spa, but managed to get our walking in.
My wife learned to make the cute towel animals from the room stewards, and the Captain's navigational bridge tour was very interesting and educational, too.
The morning we arrived in Charleston, U.S. Customs taxed me 8.00 for 5 bottles of liquor, 2 were exempt. My friend scooted thru with 6 bottles of Grey Goose and paid no tax. Go figure.
We disembarked just as easily as we embarked with no problems, and were on our way to the hotel within 30 min. Our car was waiting for us at the Wingate Inn in N. Charleston. What a great deal!!! Free parking, 2 queen beds, complimentary afternoon cocktails, free round-trip shuttle to port, free breakfast............all for 99.00. Traffic was good driving back to freezing Long Island, taking only 11 hrs driving time. We reallly enjoyed it all, and the weather cooperated as well. I can't wait to cruise again.
NCL-Majesty provides a great value cruise with a warm and friendly staff, without all the glitz of neon lights, multi-storied atriums, basketball courts, rock climbing, and 3,000 other passengers. I know why she has so many repeat cruisers.