The Majestic may be the biggest fleet of Princess, but it is the worst cruise ship and cruise experience I've ever had (and this includes the time I went on a cruise to Alaska - also with Princess - and we hit the tail end of a ... Read More
The Majestic may be the biggest fleet of Princess, but it is the worst cruise ship and cruise experience I've ever had (and this includes the time I went on a cruise to Alaska - also with Princess - and we hit the tail end of a typhoon and the waves were coming up to the 5th floor).
Embarkation/disembarkation: The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, so that's a positive. We were one of the first onboard and our room was ready for us. Left relatively on time and it was smooth sailing. Disembarkation was also very quickly and we were able to conveniently take a bus to the airport straight from the ship terminal.
The ship itself: The layout of this ship is so disjointed and I have no idea what the designers were thinking with some of their choices. For such a huge cruise ship that can carry more than 3000 passengers, why in the world was the Princess Theater so small? I think it could only hold 700-800 passengers, and it was the smallest theater I have ever seen on the 6-8 cruises I've taken with 3 different cruise lines. You had to show up at least half an hour before show time for the less popular entertainment shows, and even when we showed up an hour early for the last night's show (a relatively boring magician with card tricks and not much else... oh wait, he also incorporated coins), half the seats were already full. There was an altercation next to us between 2 husbands trying to save seats for their wives, and another couple of women who told them that's wrong (which it is) and not right. The seats are also very tiny and narrow, considering the average size of most cruise passengers.
The "library" consisted of a couple of bookshelves in the very crowded and tiny internet cafe, where there was a line of people who didn't know how to connect to the internet. It wasn't the kind of space you'd want to sit with a book - not that there were more than 3-4 chairs available for sitting in.
The VIP lounge seemed like an after-thought; it was on the 14th floor amongst other cabins and next to the meeting room. I've been in VIP lounges that actually had a view and were places you'd *want* to go to.
The casino was huge, but we didn't spend any time in there, and from the looks of it, neither did most people. I felt bad for the staff standing at tables hoping someone would join.
Food/buffet: The buffet layout is also disjointed and weird. There wasn't much variety with the food, but they do love offering a majority of Asian dishes, and lots and lots of meat. Wish there were more pasta and vegetarian options, and I'm not even a vegetarian. At least the watermelon slices were yummy, although I wish they offered watermelon slices for breakfast as well, but they were only available for dinner.... which if you came to eat after 8pm, half the buffet closed and the options were limited to mostly.... slices of meat and fried Asian food.
Buffet service: TERRIBLE. It's not that the staff were rude or crappy themselves (although a couple seemed like you were inconveniencing them by asking for something), but you could tell the ship must have been understaffed because just getting some water poured in our glasses or getting a refill of orange juice in the morning took a long time. Some meals, I'd be more than halfway done before someone finally poured us some water, unless we flagged someone down (which feels kind of rude and pushy). The juice glasses in the morning were so small! I don't know about other people, but when I wake up in the morning, I'd like to have a normal sized glass of orange juice. Then maybe the staff wouldn't have to walk around refilling glasses as often. It would have been more efficient if I could just pour my own juice or water.
Stateroom: We had a mini-suite which had a large couch (which is good because we ended up spending a lot of time in there since most of the activities were catered either towards older people, gamblers, art auction lovers, and kids), but our balcony was so narrow! We set the thermostat to the lowest it could go to (it's just a dial so you don't even know what the temperature actually is), and it was still too hot. Woke up every morning in a sweat because it was so stuffy, and was a sweaty mess after showering and blow drying my hair. Opening the balcony only provided relief if it was a cooler windy day, but even then, not much help since it was mostly humid and warm most days.
Steward service: Our beds were made, or turned over for the evening, and the bathroom was tidied, but the shower or the bathroom floor still had hairs in it, and you could tell the desk was never touched the entire time because you could clearly see the water stains from glasses, and fingerprints on the surface, so that was strange. Our steward was very nice though.
Stateroom bathroom: Ugh. At least we had a tub, but the ventilation in there was terrible. Also, from the very first day when we first walked into our stateroom, there was an overwhelming smell of urine in the bathroom. I mean it was strong - like gas station bathroom strong, like someone had missed the toilet and pissed everywhere else. You had to hold your breath in there. We mentioned it after a couple days when it didn't go away, and they replaced our shower curtain and said they gave the bathroom a good scrubbing. The smell was still there. My dad reported it again to them (and we are not usually ones to complain about most things, which is why this cruise just felt like such a disappointment) and said it was probably a plumbing or ventilation issue, and the supervisor (who claimed there was no urine smell that she could smell... okay, so more than one person is just imagining things then? Right.) said she would tell the plumber to look into it. I don't know what they did, but after that the smell did improve, although it was smellier some days than others. At least it was more tolerable. They also gave us a free dinner at Crown Grill (which is good that it was free, because the filet mignon wasn't that tender and the food was less than memorable).
The passengers: Encountered some rude passengers. Encountered a lot of bad elevator etiquette. Just horrible. I felt bad for older passengers who couldn't walk to the elevators fast enough because people would push the close doors button without waiting for others to get on. That said, the elevator layout was a little weird, and also the elevators were tiny. They say each can fit 20 people, but maybe they mean 20 small children.
Our travels to the last port (Dunedin) and Fiordland Nat'l Park were canceled due to weather. I was so disappointed. I know there's nothing that could be done, but there's not much you can do to alleviate the disappointment of having travelled more than 6,000 miles to a destination where you can't see the thing you wanted to see the most (Fiordlands). They promised to "make it up" with "even more entertainment!" but didn't really deliver with anything worth writing home about.
Overall, if this was the first cruise I'd ever gone on, I'd never want to cruise again, so I hope first time cruisers on this trip had better experiences/lower expectations. The previous cruise I went on (2 weeks in Greece and Turkey with Royal Caribbean) was beyond amazing and excellent compared to this - great service, great stateroom, great entertainment, a theater that can actually fit more than a third of the passengers.... I've cruised on Princess before (to Alaska), but will never cruise on Princess again if I can help it. We only chose this cruise because of the destination ports/timing/cost/availability, but I'll just try to think fondly of the ports we experienced, and not the cruise itself. Read Less