Cruises

Full Review of our 5 day cruise:

Welcome back blog readers,

Yes, I know it’s been a while since my last post.

This post will be done a bit differently as it will contain daily updates and reviews from each day of my journey.

I’ll continue this series as one post just to make it easier. You’ll see ***** at the end of each post to indicate the end of day.

Let’s get started.

Sunday December 8, 2019

I’m traveling with my husband, we arrived at the Ottawa Airport to start our journey. My husband was able to check in online, there was a message stating that I had to check in at the airport. A bit odd, that’s the first time that’s happened.

The agent at the kiosk let me know that I was randomly selected for extra security for this trip. If the inability to check in online wasn’t a giveaway, the stamped SSSS on your boarding pass is.

My extra security didn’t take place in Ottawa, it would be during the connecting process in Toronto. I was curious as to what I should expect, probably shouldn’t have done that as it only caused emotional distress.

From what I’ve read and witnessed some travellers going through SSSS don’t get the same treatment.

I can only speculate based on each travellers past experience. Some may be completely random, some might have a history of packing items that go against TSA policy.

Once you’re identified as a SSSS, you will be going through the line that has the body scanner. Your belongings get tagged and separated from the other travellers. I was given a pat down right after coming out of the scanner, then waited to be processed further.

There was a guy, early 20’s being processed before I got there. Seems the agents took more time with him and they also had a report to fill out and asked him what he did for work.

While I was waiting my turn, I was making myself helpful by stacking the empty bins. Figured I may as well keep the process flowing. If I make their jobs easier, maybe they’ll go easy on me.

They verified that the two bins waiting were mine, they were. I was asked if there was anything sharp, pointy, or liquids exceeding the carry on allotment. There was not. I was asked to take my cell phone out from the case, turn it on and open an app. They opened my carry-on bag, sifted through things and checked the pockets of my sweater. My boarding pass was stamped, my guess to indicate that I was processed and I was able to proceed with the other passengers.

Normally we book our vacation s through Air Canada, this time we got a better deal through WestJet. The layover flight offered free drinks. The longer flight offered free snacks and no meal service because it was just shy of the 4 hours.

We were disappointed because we didn’t have enough time during the layover, thanks to the extra security to grab a bite to eat beforehand. Snacks for dinner it is.

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Monday December 9

We checked out of the hotel and arrived at the cruise port early. It’s currently 10:57am as I’m writing this at the cruise port terminal. We won’t start boarding until noon.

As luck would have it, we were able to board early. This was the most efficient boarding process we encountered thus far.

Most passengers head right to the buffet once they figure out which deck it’s on. We are no different. Once we finished refueling, we did a bit of exploring. Most passengers find the nearest bar and enjoy the sun while they wait for their rooms to be ready.

Day One on all cruise ships entails spending most of the day at the port as the ship is getting restocked, passengers are getting on, luggage is being loaded on and most passengers are navigating their way around.

Before each cruise ship leaves the port, all passengers and crew members must take part in the Muster Drill. Your stateroom key card has bits of information on it, one being your Muster station. In your stateroom on or near the door will be a visual aid to help direct you to your Muster station. Once you arrive, seek a crew member for further instruction.

These drills are to help prepare all passengers in case of an emergency if we have to leave the ship. The best thing you can do is know where to go, have your key card with you, follow the instructions and be patient. All passengers must be accounted for before you will be allowed to leave not only the muster station but the port as well.

Now that I’ve had time to experience some aspects of the Majesty of the Seas, here are my thoughts.

Normally we book a balcony room, this trip we booked an ocean view, no balcony to save a few hundred dollars. One thing we’re missing is the mini fridge, not necessarily for the mini bar, but simply to keep our drinks cold. You are allowed to bring alcohol onboard, we don’t, but if you, do don’t book any room that isn’t a balcony or better.

This ship is an older cruise ship from the Royal Caribbean line. It’s still very nice, not overly outdated like the Carnival Legend. This ship still allows smoking onboard. There are several designated areas and until January 1, 2020 you can still smoke in your room and on balconies. Going forward for those non-smoking passengers, book your room on the Port side/ left (odd numbered room). All of the designated outdoor areas are on the Starboard/ right (even numbered) side. If you have a balcony you will not be able to enjoy it.

While booking this cruise online, we talked to an agent from the cruise line that assured us that we could book a table for two during our My Time Dining in the dining room.

Apparently that request didn’t go through, not just for us, but many guests as well. We showed up at 5:30 expecting a private table only to be directed to a large table of 10. We were directed to the manager outside of the dining room and the line up started. Most people had the same concern, while others were following the herd and assuming they were in line to get seated.

Seems all of the seating was reserved, no tables for two were available, but we could come down at 6pm and hope that a table opens up/ guests don’t arrive. That was the suggestion to all guests the requested a table for two, or we could wait and reserve a table during the 8pm seating. PASS. In most cases they serve the same dinner at the buffet and you can easily sit by yourself. The bonus, I don’t have to dress up to eat. 😛

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Tuesday December 10

Day at Sea, heading to Key West, Florida.

Here are a few pictures.

We are still at sea, making our way to Key West. We don’t have any excursions planned, we’re just going to wing it. More than likely we’ll walk around the touristy area, check out the shops and I’ll pick up a Christmas ornament to add to our collection.

We did manage to get some people watching in. It’s not as creepy as it sounds.

I had a daily budget in reference to the onboard spending. I’ve exceeded my budget in one day.😒 All I have to say in my defense is that the casino is not cooperating. I seem to have a knack for playing on a machine next to one that pays out. So much for my Irish Luck.

**************************

Wednesday, December 11, Key West

*

Today we had the chance to explore Key West, Florida. I had been here 20 years ago and I remembered there was Ripley’s Believe it or not attraction.

My husband had never been there so we made a point to check it out. If you are ever out that way, I highly recommend it.

There is so much to see and do at this port, it’s really worth getting off and exploring.

I’ve been told there is a bar called Garden of Eden, a clothing optional bar. It’s not my thing, but for those that are curious, check it out.

********************************

Thursday, December 12. Day at sea.

There’s not much to tell. Above are pictures of the daily itinerary that gets delivered to your stateroom and a visual of the ship’s layout.

I left two copies of my book at the reading nook onboard. One book is signed, the other was not.

One fellow cruiser took the unsigned copy and never returned it. No complaints. Hopefully, they liked it enough to leave a review.

On this day we were on our way to Nassau, Bahama. It was quite windy and the seasickness was getting the best of me, as well as many other guests.

Getting yourself to any midship location helps. I’ve been told to focus on the horizon to help get a visual and the inner ear to work together.

That bit of advice doesn’t help me. Getting to midship helps, focusing on the horizon, not so much. I got myself back to our room in case I get sick. Closing the curtains and laying down helps me. After a few hours, I started feeling better.

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Friday, December 13 Nassau

The first thing I noticed looking out from our window was the tourist area was fully gated.

In our experience from places like Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico is that security is heavy because the locals are heavy on haggling.

As soon as you get through the security checkpoint you are bombarded with locals wanting your attention to sell you their services and goods. It can be a little overwhelming.

On another note, if you enjoy gambling you may want to check out Atlantis. Just set an alarm, don’t lose track of time. Atlantis is shown in the picture above with the two very large buildings in the distance.

Shortly after leaving the Port of Nassau we were alerted that one of the engines was not functioning at full capacity. We were expected to arrive at Fort Lauderdale at 6am, the new ETA was 10:30am

After an hour, a slight adjustment was made and a new ETA was 9am. Just one more reason to consider booking a later flight home. I suggest anytime after noon just to be safe.

Overall, I rate this cruise a 7.5 out of 10.

The Majesty of the Seas is an older ship from the 1990s and some aspects show.

Key West was the better port. Nassau made me feel anxious and less friendly.

We gave up on the My Time Dining and ate at the Windjammer for every meal. Here’s a tip. Once you get your food, take your plate upstairs where there is extra seating and more food options.

Sorrento’s pizza is up there, FREE and the Compass Deli also FREE. We met Alfonso from Mexico, he works the lunch shift. Super nice guy, very polite and friendly.

Well, that concludes this blog post. I’m happy to answer any cruising questions.

I hope you enjoyed my five-day cruising recap and review.😎

One last thing.

Here are the Christmas ornaments that I picked up on this cruise. Yes, I know one is a keychain, but I will turn that into an ornament.

img_20191216_1123475539093463088518239.jpg

 

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