CRUISE REVIEW As Seen in NZ HErald, Tues 19 FEB 2019.
We board the Majestic Princess on a 13 day cruise of 5,581 kilometers from Sydney to Auckland.
Operated by: Princess Cruises.
You’ll see the Majestic Princess in New Zealand a lot this summer, as she is spending the NZ summer season doing the New Zealand and Australia route.
Some stunning statistics-
Very big - overall length 1083 ft & 126 ft breadth
Very new. It took 2 years to build in Italy at a cost of $760,000,000 and was delivered to Princess Cruises in March, 2017.
How many passengers?
Lots! The Majestic Princess can accommodate 3,560 passengers. On this cruise there were 3,481 of thirty five different nationalities.
How many crew?
1,346 crew of forty-seven nationalities.
Types of cabins? (‘staterooms’ is the official term)
1028 Balcony staterooms
342 Inside staterooms
FOOD CONSUMPTION FIGURES for 11 days.
7,349 kg of chicken
2, 049 kg of bacon
12,007 litres of milk!
There were 203 people involved in preparing meals each day and another 323 people involved in serving the food every day.
On this cruise supplies were taken on board in Sydney (embarkation port) and again in Tauranga and the ship was fueled in Sydney, Melbourne and Tauranga.
Unique Feature: The ship’s horn actually plays The Love Boat theme! Totally Bizarre!
Check in Experience: Sydney. Excellent with our Platinum Loyalty cards. We were on board within fifteen minutes of arriving at the port. It was the fastest embarkation process we’d ever experienced.
Food! Food! And even more Food!
One thing is for sure. You are not going to starve to death on a cruise!
I am just so relieved that I never discovered the delicious, fresh, Nutella oozing doughnuts until the very last day or I would have returned much heavier than when I left! We were spoilt for choice for places to eat from popcorn, hot dogs, hamburgers, and help yourself buffet, through to lobster and gourmet French and Cantonese specialty restaurants.
The buffet restaurants on the Majestic Princess were called the World Fresh Marketplace and the Bakery. They were two large adjoining areas. One area had the usual Princess furnishings and decor and the other area where the bakery was situated was lighter and more modern.
Breakfast was the usual hotel style breakfast fare with probably everything you could wish for, but it was always a struggle to find a table at breakfast time. At lunch and dinner we felt the food was often a bit tired looking or not hot enough or dried out under the heat lamps. It was perfectly edible but generally, probably because of the large number of guests, the food was cafeteria style looking, as opposed to the better and more tempting presentations on the mid sized ships.
We usually ate at the Concerto or Allegro Dining serviced restaurants and both the food and service were always excellent. There was Alfredo’s Pizzeria restaurant serving mainly pizzas and some Italian dishes and two new Specialty Restaurants: La Mer- a French Bistro ($35 per person) and Harmony -a Cantonese restaurant ($29 per person) and numerous bars and coffee places. Outside by the pools there was a Noodles Bar, an Ice cream & pop corn. To read in more detail about the food on board,click on the Read More button below.
Surroundings and decor: The ship was designed with the new upcoming large Chinese market in mind. Everything was new, glitzy and opulent looking but following the classic design of most cruise ships with the big open central atrium with winding marble stair case.
One of the unique features of the Majestic Princess is the Sea Walk on Deck 16 with its glass floor path that extends out over the ocean.
There’s an outside gym area and you can practice your golf driving in a couple of golf cages. There is also a practice putting green on top of the ship.
On the pool deck there is a fountain pool with a water colour show playing most nights.
Princess Live was a small theatre type space where audience participation shows could be recorded or shown.
The area that fascinated us the most, because it was something so different from any area we’d ever seen on a cruise ship, was the Hollywood Conservatory area. It was located at the bow of the ship with great views of the ocean out the front through the floor to ceiling windows. Large trimmed hedge sculptures of peacocks and life size family groups decorated the room. Dotted around were several large xylophones for guests to play. A life size chess set took up quite a bit of space. Recorded, but very life like, bird songs played. All in all, it was quite bizarre.
Very popular individual canvas cabanas designed for couples, complete with sun beds, were situated around the perimeter of the room. This was such a great spot to relax, read a book, snooze or take a swim next door in the indoor Hollywood pool. Unfortunately they were monopolized by early rising guests who would lay claim to the cabanas early in the morning and stay there all day.Sets of table and chairs with access to many board and card games were well used
There was also a Wishing Wall where passengers were invited to write their wishes on the wall.
There was a good selection of movies shown, but unfortunately it was usually too chilly in the evenings in October to sit outside to watch them, even though blankets and hot popcorn were supplied. However, the movies were later available for viewing on the TVs in our rooms.
The live music and entertainment was really great. The best we had experienced aboard a cruise ship but one needed to be at the theatre at least half an hour before the show started to ensure getting a seat and there was no chance of ever getting a seat in the piazza area unless you sat there all day! It was always crowded to overflowing to watch the entertainment. We found it quite frustrating. There was a casino, shopping, port lectures and art gallery and the fun trivia quizzes.
Recreation & Exercise:
Plenty on offer from swimming, the gym, golf, basketball, table tennis to walking around the deck. Unfortunately there is no “walk right around deck” on the Majestic Princess so it was either back and forth on the 7th floor or up and down stairs on the 17th to get a circuit. However the ship is so big that getting from point A to point B can involve quite a lot of walking. There were usually daily line dancing and Tai Chi sessions and of course the indoor gym with the exercycles facing out to sea and the outdoor gym which didn’t seem to get a lot of use.
We were surprised to find that the decor and furnishings were identical to the other Princess ships we had been on. Absolutely nothing wrong with them. The cabin and en-suite were comfortable and practical. It’s just that we were expecting a modernized or new version of decor on this new ship.
Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Fiordland, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier and Tauranga.
Would we return?
The Majestic Princess is certainly a very impressive ship and the service was excellent right throughout. The itinerary was also great. If the itinerary and price was right for another cruise we would return.
However, our preference would definitely be a middle sized ship (1500-2000 passengers). We didn’t like having to do battle for a seat at breakfast or arrive at the theatre three quarters of an hour before a show started to get a seat.