We had our best holiday to date on the Majestic Princess to New Zealand. It had some frustrating times (like worrying about the kids in the pool - aged 11 and 9) but overall it was a fantastic and relaxing holiday. We were really able to live in the moment and forgot about the everyday stress at home. We have already booked our next Princess cruise and will be back on the Majestic Princess!
3 out of 5
Embarkation was ok, because we were on deck 15 we had a late embarkation time. This I believe was due to the capacity of the terminal and not due to Princesses policies.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
We had TOO much good food on this trip! But as a family of four we always found food we loved. My husband was probably less excited about the menu in the dining room - but it always satisfied me. I like that they have hand washing stations before you enter the buffet, and they were used by the majority of people. The only negative experience I had was lots of bones in anchovies in a salad in the Concerto dining room. I had a sore throat for a few days. I question the enforcement of the dress standards of the dining room. A person can be very smartly dressed in long shorts (collared shirt, smart shoes) and turned away but jeans, sneakers and t-shirt is ok?
3 out of 5
Our kids loved the fountain pool and spent as much time as we would allow. It can be difficult to supervise kids in the pool when the chairs besides the pool were all taken. There were a lot of adults sun baking by the pool who were not using the pool. The were other kids not supervised by the pool and unfortunately not enough was done about this. On a previous cruise the pool had Youth Security to keep everyone safe. My daughter had another child jump on her head in the pool. Security did try to increase their presence by the pool after I reported this, but the behaviour continued. My husband did enjoy going to learn the NZ Haka onboard. The Maori Cultural Educators who taught the haka and did some other activities on board were fantastic. The Movies Under the Stars was our favourite activity. It was nice to be able to snuggle on a chair and watch a good movie. If you missed any part of the movie you could watch it again for free in your cabin on-demand the next day. We enjoyed being able to watch a movie while the kids enjoyed the pool. Was missed a Navigation activities were the ships 1st and 2nd Navigation Officers explained how the Majestic Princess operates etc. We did manage to watch this on-demand in our room. I will definitely keep an eye out for this on future cruises. Overall there was not a lot we were enticed to go to. I would have liked to see more activities that could be done as a family. Lol we enjoy spending time with our kids and they were not enticed to go to Kids Club.
3 out of 5
Unfortunately we never made it to a stage show, we did manage to get along to Liar's Club in the Vista lounge which was fun and very entertaining. We did catch some of the entertainment on play back in our cabin on-demand. On our sail away from the Bay of Islands (heading for Sydney) there was a great DJ playing on the Lido deck. But some presumably 'higher priority' guests asked him to be stopped so they could have the audio for an orchestra performance being shown on the big screen. This was really disappointing for the families by the pool, as there are not as many areas we can be together for some fun.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The staff are one of the best features of a cruise ship and the staff on the Majestic Princess were wonderful. Remembering our names, a warm and welcoming smile really made you feel at home on the ship.
5 out of 5
For as many people as there were on the Majestic Princess it rarely felt crowded, the design and the logistics management was so well done. Even port days with tenders went smoothly. There was always maintenance and cleaning being done to keep the Majestic Princess looking fantastic. The only thing my husband found, being 6 foot 5 inches, is it really does assume you are not tall. My husband did hit his head or had near misses a few times. We did lose access to our balcony a few morning due to scheduled maintenance however this was mostly on port days.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We loved our cabin, it was close to areas we used most, like the Lido deck and Buffet/Bistro. On the Portside of the ship we had fantastic views at the majority of ports. On the sailing back into Sydney we had the most amazing view of the Opera House and the harbour. The mini-suite is ideal for a family of four, with a Pullman bed over a single sofa bed, you do not lose valuable floor space which helps you not go insane sharing essentially one room with your family for 2 weeks! There were times we had both TV's on and it was manageable with the curtain closed between the main bed and the 'kids area'. It did get pokey in the wardrobe and dressing area, but we all coped. Only downsides were: it is a interconnecting cabin - we were really lucky our neighbours were very quiet and considerate and we endeavoured to return the favour, but it could have been stressful if they weren't as considerate. It is a longer walk to the laundry room, but if you chose your time carefully it wasnt a wasted trip (carrying heavy laundry).
Listen out for the Captain's updates from the Bridge. Not only does he have the most amazing voice to listen to, but his tips of what to look out for when approaching ports etc were gold!
Sydney is a great place to visit. One of favourite days was spent cruising on the ferries on the Harbour. Sydney really knows how to move a lot of people around efficiently. We did have some smoke haze which impacted visibility, especially on the day we embarked.
Your first glance of the coast of New Zealand is awe inspiring when you visit the Fjordland first. Milford Sound is humbling in its majestic, natural beauty. We did not have any excursions but did enjoy listening to the commentary from the expert who boarded the ship.
Port Chalmers is quaint and charming and the Dunedin is gorgeous. Port Chalmers offer free wifi for cruise passenger in the port (which was not common to find). Port Chalmers put on a craft market for the passengers, which lost of information and people to help you find the hall where it was held.
A shop were we bought some drinks was willing to accept Australian dollars for anyone without $NZ. We spent the day with a local tour provider hearing jokes (mostly at Australian's expense). But we thoroughly enjoyed our time with him and his good natured jokes. Lanarch Castle with someone who can talk you through the features and history is well worth the visit and time!
Akaroa is now on my bucket list to return to. We did a Princess tour that took us out of Akaroa for the day, but I would love to return and explore. It is beautiful and green and the French influence makes it so alluring. We did a FANTASTIC tour of Canterbury Station and Mt Sunday to see a Lord of the Rings film location. The bus we spent the day on was really comfortable. The provided morning tea and lunch (held in a small towns RSL club) was fantastic. the location was amazing and hearing about the NZ climate, economic position and government policies was informative.
Tauranga is also high on the bucket list to visit again as we again boarded a bus and left the very pretty port. From Tauranga we visited Hobitton which totally lived up to our expectations. It so well run and even though it can have up to 4,000 visitors a day they manage the logistics so well.
Auckland is a bustling city which was undergoing some infrastructure upgrades ahead of the Americas Cup and some other planned events. It wasn't the best time to visit, but I could still see what a spectacular city it was. It reminded us of a smaller scale Sydney.
Gorgeous, magnificant, fantastic! We had a lovely morning on a Princess organised tour of the Bay. We really enjoyed the catamaran and the commentary of the skipper. We visit Russell, were the cruise ship quickly doubled the population of the town. There were a lot of great souvenir shops in the Main Street to buy some quality gifts (including handmade) there was also a craft market put on for the cruise guests and I saw a lot of purchases made here also.
5 out of 5
I couldn't believe how fast we disembarked. It was handled really well and seamlessly. It made the pain of leaving the cruise and ending our holiday a lot less drawn out than I anticipated.
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