This was a five-night cruise from Fort :auderdale calling at Key West and Havana.
The Majesty of the Seas entered service in 1992. The ship is 880 feet long with a beam of 106 feet and has a gross tonnage of 74,077. It is the second oldest ship in the current Royal Caribbean fleet, after Empress of the Seas. The ship has a capacity to carry 2,744 passengers and has a crew of 833. It is powered by diesel engines turning two propellers and has a cruising speed of 22 knots.
Majesty was the third and last ship of the Sovereign class, entering service after the Sovereign of the Seas in 1987 and the Monarch of the Seas in 1991. Sovereign and Monarch are no longer sailing for Royal Caribbean, having been transferred to Pullmantour Cruises and renamed Sovereign and Monarch respectively. All three ships were built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, which also built the Normandie of 1935, the France of 1962 and the Queen Mary 2 of 2004.
The Majesty of the Seas has an elegant profile, with a cruiser stern reminiscent of the Normandie. The signature feature of the Majesty of the Seas is the Viking Crown lounge, which completely encircles the funnel.
During our cruise, the Captain was Per Kristofferson from Norway and the Chief Engineer was Marijo Buric from Croatia. The Hotel Director was Mark Rook of the Netherlands. The Cruise Director was Mickey Urrutia, from Lima, Peru. By coincidence, he had been the Assistant Cruise Director on our cruise aboard the Empress last year.
We had been alerted a week in advance that boarding of the ship would be postponed until 5:00 PM, as the ship’s crew would be “conducting necessary system maintenance” before we boarded. The necessary system maintenance turned out to be a thorough cleaning of the ship. Accordingly, upon our arrival at the airport shortly after 11:00 AM, we were picked up and transported by bus to the pier, where we dropped off our luggage, and then transferred to another bus, which took us to a mall in Fort Lauderdale to spend time until boarding commenced. Each passenger was given a credit of $20.00 to pay for lunch at the mall.
At about 4:30 PM, we boarded a bus for the ride back to the pier. Passengers had to wait on long lines to check in. We finally got to our stateroom at about 6:00 PM.
This stateroom was located on the port side, forward of the Centrum, and was one of 670 ocean view rooms. The stateroom was not overly large, but we had sufficient room. There were plentiful hangers in the closet, as well as four metal shelves, one of which contained a safe. We also had a desk with four more drawers of storage on each side. A small flat-screen television was attached to the wall. There was no mini-fridge.
There are two main dining rooms on board. The Moonlight Dining Room is on Deck 3 and the Starlight Dining Room is on Deck 4. Both were basically the same, distinguished from each other by dark wood chairs in the Moonlight Dining Room and blonde wood chairs in the Starlight Dining Room.
Dinner the first night on board was open seating, so instead of going at our scheduled time of 8:00 PM, we went at 7:00 PM. On all other nights, we had assigned seating in the Starlight Dining Room on Deck 4. We found that we had been assigned to a table for six. Since we preferred a table for two, I went to the maître ‘d to request a change. He found us a table for two adjacent to a window on the starboard side, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
We found the food in the dining room good, but not gourmet. Each night’s menu listed only two or three new food options for starters, main courses and desserts, while several other options, like Caesar’s salad and shrimp cocktail for starters, chicken and steak for main courses and apple pie a la mode and ice cream for desserts, remained the same each night. I had apple pie a la mode on three of the five nights. Fortunately, it was very good. On the other two nights, I had coconut flan and cherries jubilee, which were also very good.
The other main dining option is the Windjammer Café, at the forward end of Deck 11. This buffet restaurant has two dining areas, one of which overlooks the bow. There are separate food serving stations in each dining area. We utilized this restaurant for breakfast and lunch.
On Deck 12, above the Windjammer Café, are Sorrento’s Pizza, Compass Deli and Johnny Rockets. Johnny Rockets had a service charge of $9.95.
Sports Facilities and Entertainment
Aft of the Windjammer Café on Deck 11, there are two pools. One of the pools, called Splashaway Bay, is for children. There are also several hot tubs. As you enter the pool area from the forward elevator lobby, the Pool Bar is on the port side and a soft ice cream serving station, with an attendant, is on the starboard side. Towels are made available to the passengers by an attendant who scans each passenger’s SeaPass Card to ensure the towels return. Further aft on Deck 11 is an area for teens and a sports court.
On Deck 12, there is a running track amidships overlooking the pools and a rock-climbing wall behind the funnel. The Viking Crown Lounge encircles the funnel above Deck 12.
One welcome feature on the Majesty of the Seas is the wraparound promenade on Deck 7, with plenty of deck chairs. It is one of the widest promenades I have seen, even wider than that on Deck 7 of Queen Mary 2.
On Deck 9, above the Spectrum Lounge, the Vitality at Sea Spa and the Fitness Center offers views overlooking the stern.
Sports and Entertainment facilities
There are four main entertainment venues on board, two of which are located aft. A Chorus Line Theater spans Decks 5, 6 and 7. In this venue, the nightly entertainment featured singers, comedians and production shows. Above the theater, on Deck 8, is the Spectrum Lounge. Here you could participate in karaoke. On Deck 7 forward of the theater is Boleros, a venue for Latin music. The fourth main entertainment area is at the bottom of the Centrum, where there was a band playing rock and roll favorites and a small dance floor. This entertainment space is located between Decks 3 and 4. The Centrum continues upward through Deck 7.
The Photo Gallery is located on Deck 3, just forward of the Centrum.
On Deck 4, surrounding the Centrum, are the Shore Excursions and Next Cruise offices on the starboard side and Guest Services and an internet facility on the port side.
The Centrum Shops are located on Deck 5, as is Café Latte-Tudes. Aft of the Centrum on the port side is the Schooner Bar, while on the starboard side is Casino Royale.
* David G. Hume is past chairman of the World Ship Society PONY Branch, Mr. Hume has been on more than 80 cruises and crossings as well as numerous ship visits. All photos on this page are courtesy of Mr. Hume.
Exploring the ports
The itinerary of the Majesty was identical to the itinerary of the Empress, which we sailed aboard a year earlier. The only difference was that Majesty left Havana at 2:00 PM on the second day, whereas the Empress stayed until 5:00 PM on the second day.
The weather forecast prior to sailing had indicated that we would have rain and cloudy skies during our cruise. We were pleasantly surprised to have sunny skies throughout our cruise.
As on Empress, our first day was spent at sea, enabling passengers to make bookings for tours.
On the second day of each cruise, we docked in Key West, close to Mallory Square. This time we visited The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and the Harry S. Truman Little White House. We also did some shopping along Duval Street.
We had been notified in advance that the first tour we had pre-booked in Havana, the “Historic Hotels in Havana”, had been cancelled. Our preferred alternate, “Walking Old Havana with Hemingway”, was also cancelled. We ended up taking a walking tour during which we saw the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, now a war museum, El Capitolio, the Gran Teatro de La Habana and the adjacent Parque Central. Nearby was Bar Floridita, where I sat at the bar beside the bronze statue of Ernest Hemingway and had a Cuba Libre while being entertained by local musicians.
On the evening of our first night in Havana, we took a tour to Hotel Nacional de Cuba, which opened in 1930. Here we saw a show at Cabaret Parisien, a night club in the hotel. We were each given a complimentary mojito, said to be Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink, and treated to a colorful and energetic spectacle of singers and dancers.
On our second day in Havana, we took another walking tour during which we saw, among other things, the Plaza de San Francisco, the Plaza de la Catedral, the Plaza Vieja and the Museo Palacio de Gobierno. On display adjacent to the Museo is Coche 99, named “Mambi”, of the Ferrocarriles de Cuba, the Cuban railroad. This train car, now a museum, was made in the United States and arrived in Cuba in 1912. It served as the Presidential Car. The car is decorated with mahogany paneling and furniture. It contains a sitting room at one end, followed by a children’s bedroom, two adult bedrooms with shared bathroom, a dining room, a kitchen with adjacent sitting area for the cooks and waiters and a cold storage area at the other end. It was last used by Fulgencio Batista.
The early afternoon departure from Havana gave us memorable views of Morro Castle on the starboard side. After leaving the harbor, we took a last opportunity to explore the ship and walk along the promenade on Deck 7.
Our disembarkation from the ship was relatively fast compared to the boarding process and we were soon on a bus heading to the nearby airport.
Above: The Viking Crown.
Below: The main pool area.
Above: The Starlight Dining Room.
Below: The Centrum.
Cruise ship review - - Royal Caribbean International - - Majesty of the Seas - - Cuba-Key West