We cruised on Majesty of the Seas on Royal Caribbean. This is one of their smaller ships and leaves out of New Orleans. You do sail down the Mississippi to get to the Ocean, which is a neat experience. Our cruise was eight days and seven nights. We had never been to New Orleans so we went a few days early to check out the sites.
A Few Must-Have Experiences in New Orleans
- Swamp Tour - Alligators are dormant in the winter. We only saw three, but the swamp and riding on an airboat was so fun.
- Jackson Square - It was fun to walk around and see all of the beautiful buildings. Going through St. Louis Cathedral was amazing. especially for all of you architecture fans. There are entertainers in the square you can stop and watch. There are also locals who sell some fun items.
- Cafe du Monde - If food is your love language, then definitely add this place to your list. They have delicious beignets - Note: they only accept cash.
- Dining - Brickette was so good. This is a higher end restaurant and slightly pricy. But, boy oh boy, was it delicious! Monte's on the Square was also delicious and more of a family-friendly restaurant.
- RiverWalk - This is a trail that goes right along the Mississippi river. There is a ferry you can ride as well.
- Audubon Aquarium - Although it was on our list, we didn't actually go here since we ran out of time. But we heard so many good things about it.
Alright, now on to the cruise ship.
Things to do before:
- ID - You will need a passport or sometimes a birth certificate will work with a driver's license. In our case we could use a birth certificate. (make sure to double check with the cruise ship)
- Download the Royal Caribbean App - This is where you can book your excursions and buy drink packages. Also, it will have the schedule of activities on the ship which is nice because then you don't have to carry the paper agenda around.
- Book your excursions before you go - You can book through the cruise ship. We usually book through the ship because you are guaranteed to be back on time. Plus, they take care of all the transportation. I would recommend booking excursions at least a month out. Excursions can and will sell out.
- Beverage Packages - There are different kinds... Soda package - unlimited soda. You will get a mug you can refill at their soda machines. You can also get certain sodas from the bar. We got this for our kids. Refreshment Package - This includes soda and virgin drinks from the bar. Devin and I got this package and loved it. There are also alcohol packages, but we don't drink so I don't know a whole lot about them. You pay upfront for these packages. Devin was able to get a deal on our drink packages on Black Friday. If you don't get a drink package, water, milk and lemonades are always available from the buffets.
- Set up your dining time. You can request this time. If you are traveling with a group, call your ship and request to sit together.
- WiFi- If you want to be able to use your phone on the ship you will need to purchase a Wifi package.
Things to Bring/Pack
- Lanyards - you need your sea pass card on you at all times - Lanyards are very helpful for this! Get them here - you can buy them on the ship, but they are expensive.
- Water bottles - for excursions - Love these
- Backpack - for Excursions - I used this one
- A cute hat - definitely a must for all of the sunny ports and swimming - get mine here
- Check dress codes for dinners - There are casual and formal dinners so you will need outfits for both. Sometimes they do not let you into the dining room in swimwear or flip flops, so pay attention to this.
- Warmish clothes - It can get cold at night on the deck.
- Cards - if the weather is poopy or you have free time at night, it is fun to play cards. view my favorites here. Sometimes the ships will have game rooms, but that is not always the case.
- Rolling Suitcases - they make life easier. Here are ours- they hold up so good and come in different colors
- Motion sickness - If you have never been on a cruise ship, prepare for this just in case. If you tend to get motion sick easily you can talk to your doctor about getting patches that go behind your ear. I would recommend putting them on 2 days before you cruise. That way the medicine can be in your system and working. I just take Dramamine, you can get this on the ship from the medical team.
- Balcony - This time we didn't have a balcony- they do cost more money. In the past when only my husband and I have gone, we get a balcony. Let me just say this, they are worth the extra money. We only had a little peep hole this time and I missed a balcony so much. It's also nice not to have to share it with others on the ship.
- Boat Motion - I am torn on this. Some will tell the bottom floors sway less and others will tell you the top sways less. In theory the bottom would sway less... but I personally think they are different motions. This time we stayed down lower on deck 3. For me, I do better with the motion on the upper decks like 10 or 11. However my husband preferred being down lower, so I am no help here. HE HE. However, I do feel like where you are at on the deck makes a big different. The front and back sway much more than the middle.
Let's get cruising!
On the Ship
- Royal Caribbean App - This app will tell you all the things happening on the ship for that day. We did lots of fun things like: Family scavenger hunts, lip-syncs, movies on the deck, watched shows.
- Dining - There is ALWAYS food. The Windjammer is the buffet that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have a lot of great choices and change things up often. You can dine in the dining room for all meals too. Breakfast and Lunch are open seating and for dinner you will have an assigned time and table. We also had a pizza bar and a deli. My kids' favorite was the soft served ice cream. They do offer room service as well. I am sure this will vary on different ships.
- Kids - If you are traveling with kids ages 3 to 11 you can drop them off at the kids adventure area. You don't have to stay... parent free time! We were on a smaller ship so this area was smaller and my kids didn't love it. But I have heard on other ships these areas are bigger and more fun for the kids.
- To Do - Every ship is different so make sure to check out your ship. My kids swam A LOT, rock climbed, played soccer, and went to shows. They have fun entertainment on the swim deck throughout the day, Like a belly flop contest or the sexiest man or live music. It was nice because most of this was on the main deck. We found some loungers and camped out there most of the days at sea while the kids played.
Key West Florida
- Sailing and snorkeling - we rode on a sail boat out to Florida's coral reef to go snorkeling. That was so cool. I didn't know that it is the only living reef in North America. All kinds of fish were swimming around us. And wow, it was absolutely beautiful. You do have to be 5 years old to do this. We booked this excursion through the cruise ship. But you can book it on your own through Fury.
- Butterfly Conservatory - This was very cool. You walk into the conservatory and butterflies are flying everywhere. There were all different colors and sizes. A few of them even landed on my daughter. Right before you go out the door they have butterflies in their cocoons in all different stages. There are also birds in there - like flamingos and other rare birds. We saw turtles too. My middle daughter who loves animals was in heaven.
- Shopping - There are a lot of fun souvenir shops there as well. We loved Ron Jon's Surf shop and I stopped to get myself a pair of Kino sandals.
- Houses - I loved walking around and seeing all of the houses and architecture. Did you know they paint the top of the porches blue so bugs think it is the sky and don't make nests. I think I need to do that in my new house. A lot of their roads are brick too!
- Chickens - Chickens run wild there. They are friendly, but they will steal your food so beware, ha ha.
- Food- They have key lime on a stick that is a must. It is key lime pie covered in chocolate on a stick. Normally I don't like key lime pie. But, that was delicious.
- Sothernmost House- What a beautiful home. We ate lunch here right on the beach.
CocoCay - Royal Caribbean's Private Island
- WOW!!! I didn't care where we went I just wanted to go to CocoCay and let me tell you what! It didn't disappoint. There are always only 2 ships on the island each day. When we were there it was not busy, but we were on a smaller ship, and the other ship there with us wasn't one of the huge ones. I would recommend getting off the ship as soon as you can and going straight to the thrill waterpark. That's where you will get lines. We were able to get on all the slides at least twice before there were huge lines.
- Thrill Waterpark - A mega watersports paradise with 13 waterslides, a record-breaking Wave Pool, Adventure Pool and Snack Shack serving complimentary food and snacks. Guests under 42 inches in height are required to wear a swim vest to use the Adventure Pool and Wave Pool. To ride the slides in Daredevils Tower you have to be 48 inches tall. This is an additional cost... would I pay for it again?? ABSOLUTELY YES.
Little buddy couldn't ride the big slides, but he loved the lily pad jump, the tube slides and the wave pool. If you don't pay you can't enter this area of the island even if you are just going to sit and watch.
- Chill Beach - We hung out for quite awhile here. The water was clear and blue with fish swimming around you. And don't forget the white sandy beaches, perfect for sand castle building.
- Oasis Lagoon was so pretty and had a swim up bar which is fun. But since we went in January the water was a little chilly so we spent most of the time on Chill beach in the ocean.
- Food and Drinks - Food and drinks are included on the island as well. You don't have to pay extra for them. They also have towels on the island.
- Zipline and Helium Balloon are extra as well. We didn't do those though. This is such a big island it almost takes the whole day just to explore.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to go to Nassau. A big storm moved in and they were expecting 18 foot swells. So we had to turn around and head back to Key West. So we ended up spending 2 days in Key West, Florida. This is a risk you run with cruising. They take safety very seriously which I appreciate. However, this is our 4th cruise and the first time something like this has happened.
My husband and I went to Nassau last year though. Here is my opinion:
Nassau is a very dirty city, even the public beach is bad. We had friends that went there and they were offered drugs several times. If you go to Nassau you want to either go to a private island or Atlantis.
Devin and I went to a private island and did a dolphin encounter. We loved it so much we were planning to take our kids back there this time. I was sad we didn't get to go, but I was also grateful we stayed out of harms way.
Costs and Deals
- Deals - Devin and I just watched Royal Caribbean's website. At the time we booked it was $300 off and kids sail free. You do have to pay taxes on the kids, which are around $150. Most food is included in that (not drink packages). There can be some restaurants that aren't. We had Johnny Rockets on ours and it was additional. However if you have the refreshment package you can get milkshakes from Johnny Rockets for no additional charge. Most entertainment is included as well. When you go will also dictate the price. If you go during hurricane season it is cheaper. All of our cruises have been during hurricane season and other than this cruise we have had no problems. They really monitor the storms and weather. If a hurricane is coming the boat can actually outrun a storm as they move faster and they will often reroute.
- Costs - Our biggest expense for this trip was the airfare. If we had booked our cruise earlier we would have had more time to find deals on airfare. Our next expense was excursions. These can get a little pricy, but they have a lot to choose from. You don't have to do excursions if you don't want to either.
- Total cost for our cruise- $1420 for the cruise, and $1400 for excursions, drink packages and WiFi.
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