A gorgeous new vessel from Princess has arrived in Australasia, bringing all kinds of new experiences to Down Under cruise fans - but what exactly is in store for those lucky enough to have an upcoming voyage aboard the Majestic Princess? I recently had the chance to take a few days exploring this magnificent vessel, trying all the different kinds of fun on offer, and to give curious cruisers a headstart on their Majestic journey I’ve picked out the very best experiences you can find onboard. You may end up with a different set of favourites once you spend some time aboard the Majestic Princess, but there’s only one way to find out!
Best free eatery
Food is a hugely important part of any cruise, and you could quite happily spend an entire sailing on the Majestic Princess without even once paying extra for a meal. The International Cafe was a strong contender in this category, purely for the fact that it’s got tasty morsels available 24/7, but it just couldn’t compete with the World Fresh Marketplace. For this eatery, Princess took the standard cruise buffet concept and put a fresh (hah) twist on it. Featuring various sections which draw culinary inspiration from different regions around the globe, the World Fresh Marketplace provides a refreshing relief from purely generic buffet fare while still managing to serve up all the classic dishes you’d hate to miss out on. Don’t forget to pick up one of their tasty pastries and round out your meal with a sweet treat.
Runner up: Lobster Grill. You do actually have to pay extra if you want to get a lobster dish, but the fare-inclusive burgers and hotdogs are delicious, perfect for a casual lunch or just to tide you over between main meals.
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever find yourself bored while sailing on the Majestic Princess - there’s always something to see or do onboard, which made picking out a top entertainment choice pretty tricky. In the end though, I just wasn’t able to go past Fantastic Journey. This psychedelic theatrical extravaganza has been lauded as ‘the most technologically advanced show at sea’ and there’s no question that it delivers on that score. Screens wrap around the sides of the theatre for an immersive, 180 degree experience, drones glide around the stage like carefully choreographed fireflies and towering pieces of staging slide smoothly from one scene to the next. The visuals are dazzling and the performances are tight - the sheer spectacle is likely to knock your socks off.
Runner up: Movies Under the Stars. Snug up under a blanket, dig into your complimentary popcorn and get ready for a classic Princess experience. Movies Under the Stars has featured aboard Princess ships since 2004 and it’s as awesome today as it ever has been.
This is a little bit of a contentious category, with so many drinks to choose from and everyone having their own idea of what makes up the perfect beverage. In spite of that, I’m going to have to go out on a limb and pick the Raspberry Margarita I tried at the Wake View Bar. The first thing that struck me about this drink was its sheer size. It was full to the brim and had enough heft to it that you might start to get tired holding it if you don’t sip fast enough. Size isn’t everything of course - this twist on a cruise classic was genuinely delicious and utterly refreshing.
Runner up: Bubble Tea from Gong Cha. It’s pretty rare to find a bubble tea joint on a cruise ship, so this drink gets plenty of brownie points on uniqueness alone. The flavour is on point as well, so if you’re partial to a bubble tea or want to try something new, definitely drop by Gong Cha.
Again, this is a category that leans heavily on personal preference, with some cruisers quite content to lounge by the pool all day and others keen to fill their time with everything on offer, but whatever your cruise style, you’ll be missing out if you don’t do the SeaWalk. This glass-floored walkway which curves out from the side of the ship on Deck 16 gives you the chance to look down and see the ocean waves rushing by far beneath your feet. If that sounds a little too intense, you can always avoid looking down and just appreciate the expansive views provided by the massive glass panels which line the Seawalk in lieu of a railing.
Runner up: Whiling away the afternoon at the Hollywood Conservatory. This is the perfect place to escape the bustle of cruise life and simply unwind. The Conservatory is an adults-only area, so there’s no need to worry about loads of kids running around; you can sit down with a puzzle or board game, wander through the striking sculpture garden or match wits with a friend at the giant chess set.
Best specialty restaurant
As I mentioned right at the start, the Majestic Princess has plenty of spots to find a meal that’s included in your cruise fare, but specialty restaurants give you the chance to pay just a little bit to try cuisine that would cost a fortune on land. This category was a tight race, but in the end I couldn’t pass up the French bistro restaurant unique to the Majestic: La Mer. The craftsmanship of the dishes was the first thing that impressed me, closely followed by the perfectly balanced flavours. Each dish is a carefully constructed piece of art which more than delivers on the taste front - not too surprising, as La Mer’s menu was designed by a three-starred Michelin chef. I’m always a little worried when I go to fine dining restaurants that the dishes will be so dainty that they won’t fill me up, but by the time I finished off my delicious dessert at La Mer I was entirely satisfied.
Runner up: Harmony. This is the other specialty restaurant unique to the Majestic Princess, and honestly it was a bit of a coin toss as to whether La Mer or Harmony took the top spot. Specialising in Cantonese cuisine with a modern twist, Harmony serves up hearty portions bursting with flavour. Be brave and try the jellyfish - it’s actually delicious.
The Majestic Princess now homeported in Sydney and has a bunch of exciting itineraries lined up around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, so it’s easy to experience for yourself all that she has to offer! Let us know in the comments if you agree with our top picks, or if you have your own set of favourites you think should have come out on top.