We have been on 13 cruises and spent 147 days at sea, we are Platinum members with Princess, this review is from our perspective and is based on our experiences on previous cruises we have done and the video and written marketing ... Read More
We have been on 13 cruises and spent 147 days at sea, we are Platinum members with Princess, this review is from our perspective and is based on our experiences on previous cruises we have done and the video and written marketing expectations created by Princess.
Embarkation was a disaster with people queued for 2.5 to 5 hours in the heat with one person being taken away by ambulance, I accept Princess can't control Chinese Immigration but they can control the comfort of their guests whilst waiting in the queue, there was 2 air-conditioned terminals in use, the first one was used to drop off your bags, you were then ushered outside into the heat to queue for 1.5 to 3 hours to get to the next terminal, they could have seated us in the first one and shuttled us over when space was available, reading other reviews about the Majestic from Shanghai it seems they encounter this issue often and have failed to resolve it.
The ship itself was impressive to start but as the cruise went on you encountered the flaws, the Hollywood area was our favourite area, we found most of the bars to be too small only seating round 20 people and very hard to get a seat most of the cruise, The Theatre and Princess live rooms were cramped with tight seats and nowhere to put your drink, overall it did not live up to their marketing videos.
Included restaurants: Very disappointing, at best I would say equal to a cheap RSL club meal and not as good as that at times, an example of one night Filet Mignon was on the menu, my wife ordered it and what came out was 4 tough rump cubes on a skewer, when we said that was wrong and repeated her order we were told, yes that's our version, when I said everywhere in the world it is a piece of eye filet steak wrapped in bacon, we were told he would let the chefs know what we said, the standard of food only increased in the last 2 days of the 22 day cruise, when we left Brisbane where a group of travel agents and I think some company executives boarded, that night in the dining room we had rack of lamb cooked to perfection and an amazing chocolate dome desert, the next day in the upstairs buffet, the spread of food was the best we had seen all cruise, to the point even the chefs were coming out with their phones and taking pictures of what they had put out on offer, I can only assume the travel agents were scheduled to have lunch there. The Pizzeria Italian place had basic pizza and 2 pasta dishes that remained the same for the whole 22 day cruise and were quite bland in flavour, certainly nothing rememberable, the Lobster and Dim Dum bar that was supposed to be an included eatery (according to their web site), turned out to be a free burger bar (with bad burgers) and lobster that you had to pay $24 to $29 for and not a Dim Sum to be seen, The Stir Fry place had 3 items on it per day, 2 of these never change the whole cruise, we eat there twice and found we had to put chilli on to get some flavour into the dishes.
The Chefs table: The Majestic videos create a great expectation and as soon as we got onboard we rang and got put on a list and despite several calls had to wait 10 days to be told that we were going to receive an invite to the chefs table at a cost of $125 each, instead of the usual Hors D'Oeuvres & Champagne followed by a 7+ course degustation with different wines matching each course, we received 3 Hors D'Oeuvres with Champagne served in the Galley whilst standing at a trestle table, then taken to a very impressive table within the dining room, to be given what was essentially a 3 course meal with a sorbet between entrée and main with one white wine, one red wine and a desert wine, which made it the most expensive and least impressive chefs table out of the 9 we have done.
Speciality dining restaurants: After the overall experience at the other eateries we decided to give the Crown Grill ago, again very disappointing and not worth the $35 each cover charge, the Filet Mignon was at least eye fillet but still no bacon wrapped around it, no sauces (eg pepper, mushroom etc) available just a gravy, limited vegetables and when I asked for carrots and beans/peas I was told they did not have any but could go down to the other restaurant to get them but it would take a very long time, in other words my meal would be cold or finished by the time he got back, after that meal we decided not to waste any more money on the speciality restaurants, we asked other passengers if they tried the French or Chinese ones and got mixed responses but neither of these were busy and the French one is in a bad position open to the Piazza which had bands playing so you had to raise you voice to hear each other during dinner.
Again very disappointing, only 3 production shows for the whole 22 days, other cruises had 2 to 3 per week, the first one was excellent and set a standard that was never meet again, the second was like a free RSL Tuesday night show and only went for 2 thirds of the time, the third was a bit better, let’s say a Friday night RSL free show. The other guest entertainers were of a free RSL mid week level and the piano player in Crooners bar was given the nick name by a few passengers of "the Screecher" which speaks for itself and the guitar soloist had to have the "echo" of the vocal microphone turned up to cover the quality of his voice (the same way they do it at karaoke) except for the band "The Drop" which we felt were very good, the entertainment was a low standard.
There is no night club and the bands play in the Piazza area, so it’s like dancing in a Westfield mall, later the DJ plays in Crooners bar which was the VIP casino when it was based in Asia, so it has a low ceiling, partitions blocking the view, no real dance floor and bad acoustics, the DJ was told on many occasions to turn the volume down by his superiors.
We had an inside cabin and thought it was the best cabin of that type we have ever had, the beds were awesome and we always had a good night’s sleep (the pillows were soft which my wife loved but I was not so keen on), there was a large screen TV with movies on demand, which was great for a long cruise, everything was clean and kept that way by our cabin steward, when we arrived 2 draws had their runners broken but they fixed it within a couple of hours when we reported it.
We only did 2 of these the first was in Busan where the guide took us a different route which turned out to be harder for the older people and some could not make it all the way to the Temple, on the way back I left the group and followed the original route which was more scenic and would have been less strenuous for the group as the steps were in small groups and low level, when we were asked which way we wanted to go there were only 2 responses, 1 for each way so the guide made the decision. The second tour was in Nha Trang, the guide could hardly speak English (not like the ship told us) and spoke at such a low level that if you were not in the front 2 rows (as the majority of us were) you could not here or understand anything, at each stop we were told "the attraction is up there be back in 20mins etc" and left to do our own self guided tour, at one stop he lost 6 people due to bad instructions and we had to wait for 30 mins while he went off to find them. In Hong Kong and Singapore we did our own thing and got the Hop on Hop off Bus and had a much better experience.
We went on board with high expectations created by the Princess marketing and were very disappointed with what we received, we had intentions of purchasing a future cruise deposit for a 31 day Mediterranean cruise next year on the Emerald Princess but after what we experienced on this cruise we did not get one and if this is an example of the new offering from Princess, we are unsure if we will sail with them again, surely on their newest and biggest ship which has been sailing for over 12 months they should have had time to get it right.
Nice ship designed for the Asian market but I don’t think it will suit the Western market without some major adjustments to the bar and entertainment areas as well as a major improvement to the food and quality of entertainment. Read Less