We are long time Princess Cruise customers who continue to patronize this cruise line in spite of some consistent frustrations. To some degree this is based on familiarity and is also because of the loyalty perks that we have earned.
We were doing three back to back to back cruises in the Australian and New Zealand area. We managed to be on the same ship, in the same cabin, throughout all of the cruises and that certainly made for easier logistics.
The Majestic Princess has received both good and bad reviews on this forum and there was probably justification for each of them.
We found this newer and larger ship to be reasonably well laid out with some exceptions that will be noted later. The Piazza (or atrium) was the typical Princess focal point but, on these cruises…much more than others…it was in almost constant use and we welcomed the activities even if we did not always participate. Our travelling companions described it appropriately as the “heart” of the ship. Each of the three floors featured shops, bars and restaurants. Seating in this area, as with other Princess vessels, can be a challenge depending on the time of day. We did miss Crooners, our usual go-to bar on other ships, being part of the atrium atmosphere as it has moved away from the Piazza to an isolated location on deck 6….and only when the Majestic is on non-Asian itineraries. For Asian based itineraries, the area is converted to gaming for the high rollers.
It is pretty rare that we are disappointed in the Princess front line staff and these cruises were no exception. We found our room steward, waiters and bar staff to be both professional and personable. Given that we were on board for three cruises, we got to know many of them….and they got to know us. There was a little frustration in attempting to secure a set time and table for dining but a conversation with the very accommodating Maitre D solved that. We enjoyed, as always, the food and service in the Crown Grill and were pleasantly surprised with the menu offerings in Harmony. Given our Australian itinerary, this restaurant is under-utilized but is worth trying.
We did decide to experiment in our cabin choice and selected D729 and D731 as they featured larger (and adjoining) balconies and they were at the very back of the ship. This gave us 180 degree views and we did not experience any motion difficulties.
Princess continues to give lip service to their own dress code. There is zero enforcement of the dress code….even on formal nights. They continue to permit scruffy shorts, tattered jeans, flip flops…pretty much anything goes. There is only marginal improvement on formal nights but they are unwilling to turn anyone away…even those significantly in violation of their stated policy. It is part of their brochures, the cruise contract and was printed multiple times in the daily Princess Patter. All it would take is a polite “no” to those inappropriately attired guests to enforce this policy. If we wanted to be on a Carnival sailing, we would have booked accordingly. We believe that Princess should show respect for those guests wishing a traditional and refined dining environment by properly enforcing this dress code…or stop being hypocrites and abandon the policy all together. We think that the fact that there is a large contingent of Australian passengers on board, there has been a decision made to avoid enforcing of the dress code as they are the worst offenders.
The internet service on this ship remains at dial-up speed. That we receive 250 minutes as part of our Elite loyalty status is beneficial but, at the speed delivered, your need twice as much. It should not take 10 minutes to receive emails. This will, apparently, be rectified when the Majestic goes through a refit in Singapore and becomes a Medallion Class ship and we simply wonder why, with a ship this new, it was not done at the outset. We did not find the staff member assigned to the internet office to be particularly helpful or competent. We also need to caution future guests that Princess has changed the procedures on logging out and it now requires you to click on a disconnect button and then log-out. The old “logout.com” page doesn’t exist on the Majestic and this did lead to considerable confusion among the guests.
The walking track doesn’t really exist on the Majestic. Often, on other ships, it is located on the promenade deck but not here. The promenade deck dead ends near the bow and the stern so the only other deck is 18…the sports deck. Even this is flawed as, although kind of continuous, it requires cutting through the sport court by opening two gates on the port side and a gate and a net on the starboard side. Then, on several occasions, this walking track was closed in one area for some maintenance.
On other ships, Elite and Platinum guests have enjoyed Pre-dinner drinks and appetizers in the Skywalker area up top where there was a great view. On the Majestic, we are now relegated to the Vista Lounge that has no view and the appetizers are now reduced to one type of appy per day and not the wider assortment previously available.
Princess seems to have a policy of accommodating guests who are tardy. What they fail to comprehend is that this shows a complete lack of respect for the vast majority of guests who are prompt or even early. Two examples…the safety drill and a briefing for “in-transit” guests. We were required to attend two of the three pre-cruise safety drills and, on both of them, the large majority of guests who arrived on time were compelled to wait for passengers showing up when it was convenient for them. There needs to be a stated (and enforced) cut-off time after which those tardy guests are turned away and made to attend the later session. Yes, this will be an inconvenience for them; but Princess should appreciate that delaying the start time is an inconvenience for the vast majority who wish to get this obligation over with and get on with their cruise.
The same thing happened with the information session for “in-transit” guests. The lady from customer service said that we would wait and delay the start for those guests who might be running late. Again, this shows a lack of respect for the majority of passengers who are prompt. This also included the Maitre D who had a meeting to attend.
As with so many previous cruises with Princess, a lot of the operational disappointments were made up for by the front line staff and that, more than anything, is one of the strengths of this cruise line.
Good location....large balcony.