Sailed recently between 7th and 14th May 2017 on the Majestic Princess. What an amazing, large beautiful ship and I can honestly say we had a wonderful time. Travelled with friends and the other couple who booked at the same time as us, ... Read More
Sailed recently between 7th and 14th May 2017 on the Majestic Princess. What an amazing, large beautiful ship and I can honestly say we had a wonderful time. Travelled with friends and the other couple who booked at the same time as us, but as the departure date approached they chose the option to upgrade their cabin via their travel agent. We didn’t and this is what happened.
We got given B210 on the port side which is on deck 11 and forward (blue carpet) and our friends got given the equivalent cabin, same deck on the starboard side (red carpet). They chose to upgrade and got moved down a deck to deck 10 and they looked out of their balcony directly down onto a lifeboat!
Not every cabin has the same view. B210 by the way was Fabulous with a very good clear unobstructed and totally private view from the balcony out to sea. 2 Lounge chairs and a small table on the balcony. Move a few metres towards Aft and you encounter lifeboats etc. There is also an amazing Sky Walk up on deck 16 which you can walk around a glass floor and it’s like walking out over the ocean but people can also look directly down into your cabin, you can see people lying on their beds. Cabins below mine had a larger balcony but I could look straight down into their balcony as they sat eating Breakfast. Be interesting if Princess Cruises read these reviews, they could maybe attach a 360degree camera view from each cabin onto their website, be interesting but each passenger would know exactly the view and balcony they are paying for.
Chose to have the all inclusive drinks package which I can honestly say was the best thing we did. It really took the pressure off buying any drinks especially travelling with another couple. It was 43$ per day but my gosh you certainly went over that amount easily and I am far from a big drinker. We started the day with a nice coffee down on deck 5 International Café (approx $3) then went to the gym followed by a freshly prepared Melon smoothie at Ocean Terrace juice bar on deck 7 (approx $3-$5). Breakfast in the Buffet then up on deck in the sunshine with virgin Strawberry Daiquiris etc all day, bottles of water we took back to the room, then down for pre dinner cocktails (approx $6-$10) then into the restaurants.
Sometimes we had several glasses of wine and mini single glass bottles of champagne with dinner ($6-$9) then retired to a lounge to listen to music with another couple of cocktails ($6-$10). Tried nearly all the drinks on the menu over the week especially in the Wake View Bar at the back of the ship as we sailed away from ports. You can have anything under $10 in the package which honestly covers about 98% of the drinks menu, just expensive Remy XO style Cognacs that are not included.
It’s a little different than in my day however. I was a Princess Cruises Bartender for over 8 years working on the Sun, Sea, Island and Regal Princess ships. Back then the more drinks you sold the more Tips you got. Not sure this is the case and I am undecided whether prepaid gratuity system is the way forward. I could be convinced otherwise but the Jury is still out. We paid our prepaid gratuity before boarding and I asked several people onboard how exactly this pre paid gratuity system works and I was given conflicting answers.
What I mean is several and I don’t mean all by any means but several of the bar stewards
seemed to walk around like Zombies for want of a better word and trying not to be rude or
derogatory in any way. For example I sat down on deck 5 in the amazing Foyer area and a Bar steward walked past me 12 times looking very smart in his purple waist coat carrying his tray like a Frisbee. Never spoke to me, never asked if I wanted a drink at all in fact I never saw him speak to anybody. I placed my Blue cruise card on the table and he came over on his next pass. Kept it business like, asked me what drink I wanted, took my card, returned with said drink and placed my card on the table and left, not much conversation took place.
The Bar Manager position seems to have gone but I recall my old bar managers Hiscox and Chaffey would have gone crazy at you for Frisbee carrying your tray.
Looking around not many people seemed to have a drink in front of them and often throughout the cruise people would approach me and our friends and talk to us about the fancy colourer cocktails we had in front of us. Some of the drinks seemed stronger than others, so possibly a little short measuring going on or is that the old bartender in me coming out. For example I tried one cocktail one night that had 3 different spirits in it but it was like a fruit punch, I think I would have been flat on my back if this cocktail had in it what the menu said it had in it Lol.
You don’t get any record of what drinks you have, your cruise card disappears when you order and then gets returned, anything could be added or any amount of drinks could be added to your account but you never get to see what drinks you have had or this itemised break down is not included in your Cruise card breakdown which you can check on line at any time.
Each bar has its own style, drinks menu and theme which is a fabulous Idea. For example you can get Newcastle Brown Ale on draught in the Fountain Pool bar on Deck 16 but no place else. Each bar has different style quality menus; some leather menus some wood offering different drinks and wines. This does move you around the ship and I liked this whole different bars offering different choices theme.
When you order a drink and your cruise card is returned it is sometimes just placed on the table without any words being said, the more experienced waiters talk to you and read out first names and hand the individual person their respective cards back which I think is a very good idea and should be Princess policy in my opinion. For example in one bar a chap took away our 4 cards and then brought the drinks over, ten minutes later the cards appeared back and got placed on the table. It was a few minutes later before these were picked up and one of the cards belonged to a complete stranger! The waiter just immediately dropped into denial and shoulder shrugging and it wasn’t him !! Before an experienced waiter overheard and immediately sorted the situation and calmly stated they would go down to reception immediately and sort it out. They disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a correct new card.
The ship is designed for the Asian market and I am sure Princess has spent some considerable time on this and I am sure they have got it right. BUT. For example there is no Night Club. They have stuck a DJ in The fountain pool bar on deck 16 at night but it’s not a night club, it’s like an after thought, went once didn’t ever go back. They have an
amazing Foyer area on deck 5 which has a stage with music and dancing but you get a
handful of couples on the dance floor and it’s FULL, that’s it. Lots of people sat around watching and I thought yes they want to dance like me and my wife but there was no room what so ever.
Bellinis bar on deck 6 was our favourite bar, the only daft thing was it closed at 11pm with music in full swing, every seat and every bat stool taken as was every night but they closed which was a shame. We would stay in the bar as did everybody whilst the bar was wiped down and lights turned off as the band still played on. The other bar downstairs is still open.
There is another small band/singer in The Crown grill bar near a (pay Extra) Grill restaurant but it felt to me again an after thought. The band squash in and its like a few tables have been moved and maybe 4/5 couples could possibly dance on carpet. There is a marble circle nearby as if that should have been the dance floor, not sure really. No place else on this massive ship that you could have a dance with your wife ?? I was very surprised at this but again it’s designed for a different market. You would often see people just dancing in corridors and by the lifts.
There is a beautiful Games lounge with purpose built card type tables and lovely chairs with a stage. They do the bingo in this room (Bingo was great and well worth it, very professional and funny compared with Bingo in my day) and shows but one night there was a Hypnotised show on stage at 9pm and at 10 minutes to 9 I saw numerous couples lift the lid on a monopoly board games etc. The lights went down at 9! Which is fab don’t get me wrong, everybody is different and if people want to play board games great but just shows the difference cultures wants and enjoyments people have whilst cruising.
The food was outstanding throughout the ship and there is not much to say on this subject, I can’t image anybody could ever complain and the chefs need a pay rise. It was strange for me coming from an old school Princess back ground as not all the restaurants were included in your sailing package. Several restaurants you had to pay extra for.
We ate `Anytime` dining and turned up at Symphony and Concerto restaurants and only had to wait a few minutes before being shown to a table. We paid extra for the Crown Grill restaurant and wish I hadn’t paid the bill but I will cover this later, However the Grill restaurant was fabulous food and service and tipped our Mexican waiter, lovely knowledgeable chap extra.
We paid extra for the Chinese food Harmony restaurant which again was outstanding with very traditional Asian food, this wasn’t to the liking of the couple we travelled with but it was a surprise the restaurant was almost empty all night and most nights when we walked past.
The Buffet however was always full and I mean full, I’m sure some times are busier than others but I never seemed to ever go when it wasn’t busy. We often spent time wandering around with a plate of hot food trying to find a table. Its sort of 2 buffets in one really. Princess have tried to separate them with different furniture but they are directly next door to each other with similar food but one does have an amazing walk through bakery with cakes to die for. The food as I said is wonderful and the choice is out of this world, anything you can image is in the buffet apart from drinks.
I am not sure Princess have got the drinks service right in the buffet. Its find a seat with your food and someone comes over and serves you coffee and Orange juice. Sounds great in principal but it’s a Buffett at the end of the day and as it’s very very busy mostly
the shameless got their coffee and juice first, those who were prepared to shout for the waiter. We always got coffee and juice but more often than not when you had finished your breakfast.
You get a bright Blue coloured plastic credit card style cruise card as a first time cruiser
and you use this for everything which is very clever. If you come again for a second
cruise this changes to a Gold colour and so on, the more you cruise the more your card colour changes, very good idea and I am sure keeps you coming back to Princess cruise. A lot of people carry their card around their necks on a clear lanyard holder to show off the colour of their cruise card, which is sweet.
The onboard Casino, I was surprised at being totally honest. It was on my to do list as I was prepared for it to be out of this world I thought as the ship is designed for the Asian market and they like a casino I thought it was going to be out of this world with water jets, lights and things moving, something on pare with Las Vegas. It was Ok, very practical and square shaped, not very big but practical and a bit boring being honest with little atmosphere.
Asian market type slots around the outside with tables in the middle, all in American dollars as is everything onboard. You can get cash added to your cruise card to then use on the slots and electronic Roulette games but if you win, the money stays on your cruise card until you cash out in the casino. You then get given CASH only in the casino!! You can’t have any winnings credited to your cruise card account. You are handed physical American Dollars, but no where else onboard takes cash only the casino.
You would then have to physically take the cash down to deck 5 reception desk, queue and have this money put against your onboard cruise card account. Bit naughty really I thought and I was surprised at Princess Cruises, yes other cruise companies would deploy this tactic to keep you spending your cash in the casino but not Princess. I took home some American dollars as I had paid my bill already.
Some of the croupiers were brand new and certainly hadn’t come from a Lake Tahoe or Vegas background and but were very nice people but several didn’t have any casino experience at all.
Photographers are around as in any place you visit and take some great pictures of you all week. Its very clever facial recognition system they deploy and you enter your cabin number into one of the many monitors and it recognises your face and up pop your pictures. $249 for your pictures I thought was a bit steep or am I being a skin flint? We bought a couple of photographs that’s all at $25 each and they appeared on our cabin door slot overnight, not the best quality prints I have seen being honest, for example if I bought this prints back home in one of the many print your own style units you see in supermarkets etc after putting in your memory stick I would have asked for a refund, I thought they were a little pixalated and not in any cardboard frame etc just loose.
You get a cruise ship shape memory stick which is Fab on a plain lanyard also with your pictures, it was a shame the lanyard strap didn’t have princess cruise printed on it. The poor quality of the print would probably prevent me from ever buying physical photographs onboard in the future but would just buy them electronically on a stick to print myself at home but some great pictures taken, not sure about the red Lobster when going ashore, is that the best thing they could think of or did I miss the meaning.
Show Lounge was very large, not grand but big and practical with lots chairs in it and we enjoyed a great light show. Its like a cinema style seating so everybody had to stand up to let you past if you wanted to get to some seats and it was a tad of a squeeze to get past, you cant cross your legs whilst seated. I saw a couple of drinks waiters walking around before curtains up and I wanted to order a drink but with half a dozen people either side of me how was this waitress going to get this drink to me and with no place apart from the floor to put the drink as there are no tables I didn’t order anything, would have been nice to have sipped on a cocktail during the show, something I remember from years ago passengers doing and me thinking yes I will do that when I cruise as a passenger one day.
There was when the curtain went up lots of people walking around in the dark trying to find seats. I didn’t see anybody helping here but there was lots of single seats all around me as people had left a single seat between them and the next person, it would have been easy for staff to politely ask people to nudge up a chair and get more people seated,
seat staff finders needed.
Noodle bar on deck 16 was very tasty, they give you a beeper and it lights up you’re your food has been prepared to go back and collect. On the other side of the deck is a pay extra Lobster bar but this also serves Burgers and chips which are not any extra, I didn’t get that.
Watched Movie under the stars at night. They put a very soft red lounge chair cover on deck loungers which is ok to lie down on in your clothes and they have red blankets to put over your knees and bags of popcorn, it was fantastic. Watched Star Wars fabulous.
Only saw the captain once from a distance during the week but the Captain of this ship certainly gave you confidence with his regular detailed announcements and updates. He tried to get into one port several times but it was blowing a gale (nothing to do with Princess) so the captain aborted the port and moved on. I don’t think nobody could have complained the way the captain updated people and reassured people he had everyone safety at heart. Massive decision not to go into a port but I never heard anybody mention it around the ship or anybody moaning whatsoever and that was due entirely too how the captain handled this situation. Top man.
The security onboard was Ok but that’s as far as I would go, I was a little surprised in this
day and age. You arrive they take a picture of you on an Ipad style handheld device and when ever you disembark or return on board they scan you cruise card and up pops your picture, they know who is ashore and who is onboard, very good system.
It is when they get busy the security cracks appear. When you embark you get your cruise card scanned then move onto the scanners, you place your bags and belts etc into a tray just like at the airport and it goes through the scanner and you step through the metal detector, all very good and reassuring. However one port we came back from via tender, people were queuing from the tender with one guy with one foot on the tender and one foot on the ship as he couldn’t go forward because of the long queue ahead, it was hot and people were getting frustrated The metal detector buzzer was going off but people were being usured through and not invited to go back through the metal detector after producing a coin or similar from their pocket !!
I saw that at least twice and I even saw one elderly Asian man walk around the metal detector as he was frustrated at the queue and he was not challenged! The chap watching the security bag scanner, some one was chatting to him constantly and he didn’t have his full attention on the monitor. Maybe chairs or more scanners are required for the infirm. I would have queued for ages if I was assured that everybody was 100% checked, I think everybody onboard is of the same mindset, get more gangways if the numbers are too many to cope with on tender days but 100% check everybody every time. If some lunatic is going to do anything they are going to test the security at peak times as in any place around the world. This security area needed more officer supervision I thought at this vulnerable time. I am sure officers were walking around the ship but I didn’t see any but it is a very big ship.
As an ex princess cruises bartender I wanted to do the engine room and bridge tour, at $150 per person !! I couldn’t afford that, but that would have brought back some memories and I would have loved that.
They had an Art gallery to wonder around and look at, some fabulous paintings, I was surprised at how some of the artwork resembled an artist called `Stanley King` for example the Red Hearts and American flag in POP art style but that could have just been my imagination, be interesting if Mr King has any opinion on this.
And finally we booked a table for four at the pay extra Crown Grill restaurant. Got a lovely table and we all ordered a lovely steak. It was going great until two passengers, a couple of tables down from us stood up and started arguing at the top of their voices and nearly punched each other. They were shouting and screaming at each other but what was a surprise was no body did anything !! the white coated head waiter just disappeared and nobody did anything. A young Asian couple left their meal and walked out, I stood up to go over but my wife went ballistic at me and said I wasn’t a Princess Employee anymore so I sat down.
They eventually stopped arguing but they should have been approached and they should have been offered to move tables or something, Princess got that wrong. Is that lack of experience or a situation that doesn’t happen very often I don’t know but it certainly ruined
the atmosphere for everyone in the whole restaurant and I cant imagine other passengers have not fed this back. If a waiter had sorted it then everyone could have relaxed but it was like it wasn’t over between these two guys, the constant jibs and loud remarks for the remainder of the meal certainly ruined the experience of paying extra for this meal.
If you had been in another restaurant you would have walked your wife away but it was because you had paid extra but then I thought afterwards no don’t pay the extra, complain and book for another night that would hopefully not get ruined, but being British you just tend to get on with it. Food great and well worth the extra but a ruined experience.
All in all I loved sailing as a passenger on Princess and it brought back loads of fond memories. I will certainly sail again with Princess Cruises and I am looking forward to getting my Gold cruise card oooh. Would I sail again on Majestic, probably not being honest. Lovely ship but on my next cruise I want to go to a ball room class and learn to dance, I want to find a lovely cocktail bar and dance in my tuxedo with my wife to the odd song. I want to chat to the drinks waiters and bartenders without a language barrier. It doesn’t lend itself for you to do any of this on Majestic. Read Less