Heather and I decided to do something a little different for Christmas this year. Rather than buy gifts for each family member, we would instead invest in creating new family memories by taking a trip together. It was a bold idea, but everyone was onboard (see what I did there), so we went for it. (Read more about this on Heather’s blog.)
I called up Michelle, our trusted travel agent, and she went to work. Did you know that the Christmas season is a popular time for people to take vacations? I didn’t. I had always assumed people traveled to see family, but it seems they travel to escape them instead! To my surprise we had trouble finding something that was not only available, but also within our price range. After some searching, Michelle found us a 3-night Bahamas cruise on Royal Caribbean on Majesty of the Seas leaving out of Miami.
Boarding the Ship
Our Uber driver dropped us at our pier at about noon. Our first goal was to check in, find our cabin, drop off our bags, and find some lunch before the kids drove me crazy about being hungry. Good grief, I realize it had been like 4 hours since they had eaten breakfast, but they were really not going to die of starvation.
The check-in process was very smooth… I presented our passports, they were scanned, and then given back along with our SeaPass cards. These cards are what we would use for the rest of the trip to get on and off the ship, access our room, or purchase anything onboard.
From check-in we proceeded upstairs to board the ship. Along the way there were a couple of stations where we could get our picture taken by the ship’s photography team. Since every family photo we have with Chad, our oldest son who is 15, looks something like this, we decided to skip these pictures and keep moving.
The last step before boarding was getting our picture taken for our SeaPass card. (The ship’s crew uses this picture anytime we board the ship to make sure the SeaPass card I am using is actually mine.) There was a little hiccup here with the computer taking the pictures, but after a few minutes it was sorted, and we were on our way to board the ship.
The first stop on board was to get a wristband for Chase, our youngest son who is 10. This wristband tells the crew which muster station (more on this later) to take him to in case of an emergency, and he is not with us.
Next up was locating our room. Since our room was only 2 decks down from where we boarded the ship, we skipped the elevators, and took the stairs. When we arrived at our deck the doors were closed, and we were informed that our rooms would be ready at 1:00.
Suggestion for Royal Caribbean: Signs by the stairwells and elevators on Deck 4, where we boarded, telling us that rooms would not be available until 1:00, and directing us to Deck 11 for lunch, would be a great addition.
With nothing else to do we decided to grab some lunch. At this point it had taken about 30 minutes to get from the curb to the ship. Pretty impressive considering we were just 4 of over 2,000 people that needed to get aboard.