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From a distance, the ship blends into the landscape, almost like a large apartment block in any of the coast communities where she made port. But as we approached each time – first to embark, then to return from shore excursions in places like Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta – the Majestic Princess showed her true size. Rising over 200 feet from the water level, this Princess Cruises ship is a city and community unto itself… and we called her home for a week on an escape from wintery Cleveland weather.
The Majestic Princess is one of six ships of her type, the latest ship style operated by Princess Cruises. These behemoth boats sail popular itineraries around the world, from Asia to Australia to America, and are wildly popular with cruisers for the many amenities you can enjoy onboard.
If you’ve read this site before, you know that I’ve been generally skeptical about mega-ship cruising and how much you can really experience a destination – versus spending all your time on the boat. However cruising is a huge part of the travel industry, and it’s a unique time to consider booking a cruise.
For that reason, I jumped at the opportunity to set sail with Princess Cruises in February 2022, and to share my own Majestic Princess review following the trip. As this ship is headed on to Alaska next, it seemed like the perfect time to share a review that would get you excited about the ship and inspire you to finally book that cruise.
So whether you’re on the fence about cruising in 2022 or eager to learn more about the boat you’ll be boarding for your Alaska cruise in 2022 or 2023, read on; my Majestic Princess review covers it all, from the cabins to the plethora of dining options to other special touches that help the Majestic Princess live up to her royal class status.
Before launching into my review, I want to give a few shout-outs to crew who made our trip spectacular: Jefferson, our room steward; Jorge, assistant restaurant manager at Concerto and one the best servers on the ship; and Neville, the maître d’ who helped us have so many incredible dining experiences. I hope you’re lucky enough to meet and be served by them aboard the Majestic Princess!
While aboard the Majestic Princess, I traveled to destinations that are the traditional lands of the Pericú and Totorames peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
This post was originally published in February 2022, and was updated in November 2022.
Overall Ship Details
Before jumping into the specifics of my cruise aboard the Majestic Princess, I thought it might help to start with an introduction to the ship herself. This is especially helpful if you’re planning an Alaska cruise in Summer 2022 or 2023 and might end up aboard this ship!
The Majestic Princess is a “Royal-class cruise ship” that began sailing in April 2017. She was originally built to focus on the Asian market; you’ll see almost all signs aboard the ship in both English and Chinese, and some of maps are actually incorrect, showing restaurants and shops aboard the ship from its time cruising around in Asia rather than North America.
She can hold 3,560 passengers at full capacity in her 1,780 and has 18 decks. 80% of cabins have balconies, meaning almost everyone gets to enjoy a view and fresh air whenever cruising aboard the ship. In addition, there’s a Piazza and atrium, standard for this class of ship, as well as both an indoor and outdoor pool area. There are three dining rooms, three specialty dining options, and a number of casual spots too.
All this to say, the Majestic Princess is a big ship, fully equipped to entertain you and carry you wherever you might want to go. We cruise Princess Cruises Mexican Riviera itinerary in February 2022; I’ve researched and shared her other upcoming destinations at the end of this post in case you decide you specifically want to take a cruise on this ship.
Cruising in 2023 & Beyond
As you might imagine, cruising this year is a bit different than it was a few years ago.
To board a Princess Cruise, you need to show proof of full vaccination, plus a negative PCR test taken within 48-72 hours of your departure. Mr. V and I got our tests at our local CVS and received our results the morning we embarked the boat; if you don’t have a negative test in hand, Princess will test you (for a fee) at the port before allowing you to embark (or denying you if you test positive).
You also need to wear a mask in all public indoor areas; this policy was strictly adhered to by crew, but I noticed many guests who became lax about it quickly. Theoretically, this isn’t a huge problem since everyone is both negative and vaccinated, though we all know that doesn’t prevent transmission entirely! (That’s how we got The Bug back in early 2022!)
In any case, we felt – as did many guests we spoke to – that cruising is incredibly safe right now. Cruise ships are working hard to prevent anyone sick from getting onto the boat in the first place, and contain transmission should it occur. I was personally quite comfortable throughout our cruise and didn’t mind masking up in certain areas of the ship just like I do when going out to eat or to other indoor activities at home.
Additionally, this is a good time to cruise as many people don’t feel comfortable cruising. This means most ships are operating well below full capacity; our cruise was just about 1,300 passengers, or 1/3 of the total number the Majestic Princess can accommodate. That means there were no lines at the bars, plenty of pool chairs, and no issues with dining reservations. Many guests we met said that cruising at such low occupancy was spoiling them for future cruises with more people on them.
Cabin Options & Peek into Our Room
During our stay aboard the Majestic Princess, we spent each evening resting and relaxing in the ‘Mini-Suite’ cabin class. These cabins usually range from 299-329 square feet with a 36-105 square-foot balcony. My best estimate is that our room was quite standard for square footage, but we had one of the smaller balcony sizes.
The room itself was large and comfortable though – perfect for a good night’s sleep, working at the desk, relaxing on the couch (we had a few movie nights during our week calling cabin B319 home!), and enjoying morning coffee on the balcony.
As I mentioned, perhaps the best part of our cabin was our steward, Jefferson, who did an amazing job keeping my chaos in the room under control, replacing and organizing items in the room (he began straightening all my shoes left around the room into a single place near one wall!), and greeting us by name with a smile each time we passed him.
While I obviously can’t speak to comparing different cabins, I personally can’t imagine booking an interior cabin – I need that fresh air and view. If you have the budget to upgrade from the Balcony class, you’ll get a lot more room to enjoy if you opt for the Mini-Suite instead – plus welcome champagne and a starter stocked mini-bar.
Other Delightful Details
In addition to the normal cabin experience, we were treated to a few extras on our cruise; this was undoubtedly due to my being a journalist on board, but I want to mention them anyway, as it shows how Princess goes above and beyond for special occasions (like birthdays, anniversaries, and honeymoons). In particular, we had fresh flowers in our room, received a few complimentary bottles of champagne and Prosecco, noshed on canapés delivered each afternoon, and enjoyed room service (which we used only to order coffee each morning).
Be sure to mention when booking if you’re celebrating a special occasion or have a reason for your cruise; you too may discover some of these extra delightful details in your cabin during your cruise.
Standard Dining Aboard the Majestic Princess
Most people eat all of their dinners in the main dining halls, of which there are three on the Majestic Princess: Allegro, Concerto, and Symphony. These meals are included in the standard rate for your cruise, and cost nothing extra (which is why most people only eat there).
While we tried to sample each of the dining rooms on the Majestic Princess, I was more focused on ensuring we ate at the specialty dining options since those are truly unique. However, I wanted to cover these “basic” options so you’d have a sense of what to expect if you don’t want to spend any extra on your cruise.
Allegro is one of the main dining rooms aboard Majestic Princess; it’s a beautiful large room with different dining areas. While we didn’t have a standard meal in this space, we did enjoy the Chef’s Table in this dining room (more on that below). Broadly speaking, you’ll have a standard three-course meal if you choose dinner in Allegro, attended by a server and other members of the restaurant team.
Another of the three main dining rooms, Mr. V and I accidentally ate dinner at Concerto on a formal night – however, we weren’t aware of this as we didn’t read the Princess Patter correctly. 🤦🏻♀️ In any event, the dining room is lovely and large, but still feels like a nice dining experience. Our meal was enjoyable, though a bit simpler than the specialty dining experiences and special dinners we had on other nights of the ship.
During our Mexican Riviera cruise in February 2022, the Symphony dining room actually wasn’t open; I think this may have been the result of the low occupancy on our ship and the (wise) decision not to have all that extra staff expense when there aren’t that many guests.
As such, I can’t comment on this dining room exactly, but I’ve heard that it is a very similar setup and style to Concerto dining room.
World Fresh Marketplace
Everyone wants to know about the buffet, right? It’s a staple of the cruising experience: a variety of food available any time you want it! Aboard the Majestic Princess, the “buffet” dining option is called World Fresh Marketplace and usually has an array of options depending on the time of day you’re trying to eat.
Mr. V and I ate breakfast here daily, and occasionally popped in to check out lunch options. To be honest, lunch was generally underwhelming, so I’d opt for the other casual dining options (below) for lunch on days at sea and when your excursions don’t include lunch (and you’re not out in port having lunch there!).
Other Casual Dining Options
In addition to the standard dining rooms which are included in your fare, there are also some casual
- Alfredos – I personally think this Neapolitan style pizzeria should be considered specialty dining; the pizzas were awesome and the service was substantially better than the other casual options (and even the main dining rooms!). I consider Alfredo’s a must-eat spot on the Majestic Princess.
- Chopsticks – We enjoyed lunch from Chopsticks, a simple noodle bar on the Pool deck, one day at sea. They offer two standard noodle bowls every day, plus a different daily special. We had the braised pork noodle bowl and it was delicious plus a perfect portion size for lunch.
- Burger & Lobster Grill – The name of this casual spot says it all: they primarily sell burgers but also have a lobster roll and hot dogs for other options. This is another great easy lunch option, though certainly not fancy.
- Swirls at Sea – Everyone loves the all-day soft-serve ice cream bar!
- International Cafe – If you want fancier coffee than what’s available by room service or the breakfast/lunch buffet, the International Cafe has good made-to-order coffee and an awesome selection of pastries.
There are also a number of bars all over the ship that you can order from; most people opt for the “Premier Drink Package” which includes all drinks (coffee, soda, cocktails, wine, beer, etc.) for $59.99 per person per day. We didn’t purchase this package, instead choosing to order wine each evening with dinner and foregoing the other drinks on the boat. (Trust me, I ate more than enough calories – I didn’t need to drink them too! 😂)
Specialty Dining Aboard the Majestic Princess
My favorite part of cruising – and perhaps the most under-utilized – is specialty dining. I know that part of the appeal of cruises is the all-inclusive nature with a good price, but I don’t know of any other place in the world where you can enjoy a fantastic three- or four-course meal for just $29 at the caliber you’ll find aboard a Princess cruise. There are three specialty dining options aboard the Majestic Princess: Bistro Sur La Mer, Crown Grill, and – my favorite – Harmony.
Similar to my photos/descriptions of the dining rooms and casual dining options above, I keep my focus on the food at each of the specialty dining options aboard the Majestic Princess. I’ll describe each place but trust me that the food is what really matters!
Bistro Sur La Mer
Bistro Sur La Mer is the French option aboard the Majestic Princess. As you might expect from specialty dining plus French bistro style, the restaurant has elements of Paris: cafe tables, chic but décontracté (casual) elements, and lots of “steel” elements to evoke the Eiffel Tower.
The menu is appropriately French or French-inspired; Mr. V and I enjoyed escargot, baked lobster bisque, and jumbo scallops; I also went a bit English and ordered fish and chips plus a merengue with custard.
Our server, Kadek from Indonesia, was a delight – he regaled us with stories from his four years working aboard the Majestic Princess and how nice it was to have guests – but not a full ship (as apparently, it can get very busy when the ship used to run cruises in Asia catered toward Chinese guests).
I had originally not intended on eating at Bistro Sur La Mer since, ya know, I know what French food is and all, but I’m glad we added this to our schedule of dinner plans (which was a serious jigsaw puzzle!). The service alone made the evening enjoyable, and the food and wine added an extra layer that makes specialty dining “special.”
Crown Grill is the steakhouse option that caters to those who want a really indulgent meal with ingredients that remind you of home (i.e. America). The menu features starters, soup and salad (go for the Black and Blue Onion Soup), then a choice of mains from either Seafood, Chops, and Steaks, followed by dessert. I enjoyed a flavorful bowl of mussels and smoked sausage, while Mr. V tried the Beef Chop – something we had heard other guests rave about.
Be prepared though – this is not a light dinner, despite your best efforts. If you’re craving a salad, save Crown Grill for another night (though the spinach, goat cheese, and beet salad was fantastic!). If you’re celebrating a special occasion, this is a great place to do it.
If I had to make a bold assertion about dining on the Majestic Princess, I would say that Harmony is the best restaurant on the whole boat. This Asian-inspired restaurant is awesome and set the bar very high for Mr. V and I at our first night’s dinner.
As with all standard and specialty dining options, you’ll enjoy a multi-course meal at Harmony; one highlight was the salt and pepper chicken – it reminded me of the delicious chicken we had at 8 Fat Fat 8 in Honolulu. We also tried the crab rangoon, hot and sour soup (delish! could have eaten just this for the meal), Sichuan chicken, General Tso chicken, and a fantastic dessert of sake-soaked melon gelato.
Like Alfredo’s among the casual dining options, Harmony is another spot you must eat aboard the Majestic Princess. As dining experiences go, it’s worth far more than the $29 charge for the multi-course meal, and I wish we’d had an extra dinner time available to go back!
I had the pleasure to experience my first Chef’s Table dinner aboard the Coral Princess back in 2017; when I heard that they were still offering this (though modified to skip the galley tour, due to health precautions), I know I had to introduce Mr. V to this incredible add-on dining experience too.
For $90 per person (including wine), you’ll join a small group of guests at a private table for the “Chef’s Lumiere” in the Allegro dining room. There, you’ll be treated to a ~10-course meal, including several desserts, and multiple main courses. It’s a wonderful way to try the best food that the galley has to offer, and is personally guided by the head chef and maître d’. Chef Nilo and our “Director of Restaurant Operations” (formerly the maître d’ title) Neville made this a truly incredible experience – on top of the great food.
To request a seat at the Chef’s Table, you need to express your interest to guest services or introduce yourself to the maître d’/”DROp” when you see them in the various restaurants or dining rooms early during your cruise (they make the rounds each evening).
On this cruise, I also learned about another specialty dining experience offered on Princess Cruises: the winemaker’s dinners. Princess works in partnership with various winemakers and vineyards to create a menu of wines and food pairings; tickets are $40 per person including wine.
Our winemaker’s dinner was the final night of our cruise, and was a four-course meal paired with wines from Silverado Vineyards in Napa. We enjoyed four courses paired with two Silverado wines (a red and a white), followed by a dessert wine; this dinner was served in the Concerto ‘wine cellar,’ another semi-private dining area within the main dining hall.
To request a seat at a winemaker’s dinner aboard Majestic Princess, you need to express your interest to guest services or introduce yourself to the maître d’/”DROp” when you see them in the various restaurants or dining rooms early during your cruise (they make the rounds each evening).
Other Shipboard Amenities
Of course, there’s more to shipboard life than just meals and hanging out in your cabin. In addition to all kinds of short events, trivia nights, gameshows, live music in various parts of the ship, and a casino, there are a few other amenities worth mentioning.
I’ll admit that I don’t remember seeing a single show aboard my first big ship cruise; when Mr. V and I cruised on the Norwegian Encore in 2019, we rectified this with a few live shows. That meant I paid special attention to the Princess Patter on this cruise to see what shows and other entertainment were available. From live music performances (like a tribute to Whitney Houston) to Princess’ popular “Movies Under the Stars,” there was plenty to choose from.
We decided to attend a show the first night, put on by illusionist Naathan Phan. His combination of magic, mystery, impressions, and singing were delightful; we also attended his second show a few nights later.
All this to say, be sure to check the Princess Patter daily to see what entertainment options are available – Princess does a nice job of choosing an interesting variety to keep your evenings occupied.
Vacation is relaxing, but I love to level-up my unwind with a spa treatment early during each trip, if my itinerary allows it. Aboard the Majestic Princess, that need was met at the Lotus Spa where I enjoyed a luxurious salt scrub on our first day at sea. They offer a number of other treatments like massages, facials, and other esthetic treatments too.
There’s also the Enclave, a private pool and sauna section within the Lotus Spa; you can buy a day pass to escape the energy on the rest of the boat and relax here for a few hours if you need even more relax and unwind downtime on your cruise.
Cruise ships nowadays – they all have something funky that goes out over the water and gives you a thrill, don’t they? On the Majestic Princess, that’s the SeaWalk, a pair of glass-bottomed walkways that swing out from the sides of the ship and give you a dizzying view of the decks and water swirling down below.
While this might not be as fancy as some of the adrenaline-inducing experiences you’ll find on other ships, the nice thing is that it’s literally always open and available to all guests; no tickets or timed entry is required.
Hollywood Conservatory & Pool
While our Princess Cruise was basically kid-free (I don’t think I saw or heard a single kid!), you might end up aboard the Majestic Princess with families depending on your destination and cruise season. As such, it’s nice to have an adults-only place to escape the delightful excess of energy younger humans bring to the cruising experience.
That’s where the Hollywood Conservatory, pool, and bar come in. Located on the 17th Deck forward, this is a haven of general peace and quiet – until later each night when a DJ spins tunes to inspire the nightlife to come alive. We worked here a few times and greatly enjoyed the atmosphere, which has a very different vibe than the outdoor Pool Deck (16th Deck).
Medallions, Medallions, Everywhere!
Hands down the coolest innovation in cruising, Princess Cruises “Medallion” system was my favorite discovery of the cruise. When you board, you receive a “medallion” which is tied to your room (the door unlocks itself as you walk up) and serves as both your ID and payment onboard the ship – and at some offshore vendors through “Medallion Pay” agreements with local businesses.
Additionally, your Medallion is used when heading on/off the ship, lets your steward and other team members know when you’re in your cabin (for champagne deliveries) or not (for room cleaning), and allows Princess to easily do contact tracing in the event your cruise experiences a health concern.
Additionally, the MedallionApp is a handy tool for getting acquainted with the ship, browsing shore excursions, booking dinner reservations, and more – I feel like I barely scratched the surface of what the app includes, but I used it daily on board.
Finally, there’s MedallionNet, the wifi service offered by Princess Cruises. Gone are the days of “minutes of access” – now you can purchase a package for the number of devices you want to connect, and leave them connected for the entire cruise whenever you’re on board. Best of all, the wifi connection is fast enough to handle things like uploading Instagram stories (including videos), sharing Reels, and even working on this photo-heavy blog post!
Upcoming Majestic Princess Itineraries
Now that you know all about the Majestic Princess and what makes her special, you might be keen to book a cruise on this ship. Within the Princess fleet, she’s a Pacific boat, so all of her itineraries for the next few years focus on destinations around the Pacific rim. Here’s the next few years and the various destinations the Majestic Princess will visit; if these change I’ll try to update it ASAP – or if you notice an error, please let me know in the comments below this post.
Oceania (Winter 2023)
After Alaska in 2022, the Majestic Princess made a trans-Pacific repositioning from Vancouver to Sydney with stops in Los Angeles, Hawaii (both Maui and Oahu), Tahiti, American Samoa, and New Zealand. She’ll spend her “winters” there – don’t forget that means it’s summer in these Southern Hemisphere destinations!
After repositioning, she’ll spend the rest of each season doing runs around New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania, and Fiji.
Alaska (Summer 2023)
After a Transpacific crossing in April, the Majestic Princess will spend the summer in my favorite place: Alaska! For summer 2023, she’ll do runs from Vancouver to Whittier and back on the “Voyage of the Glaciers” itinerary. This includes stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Glacier Bay.
Given the Majestic Princess‘s many options for scenic viewing – both outdoor (like the back deck) and indoor (like the Hollywood Conservatory) – this is a great boat for an Alaska cruise.
Oceania (Winter 2024)
Like 2022-2023, the Majestic Princess will do another Transpacific crossing to spend her “winter” in Australia and Oceania. You can expect many of the same itineraries that are available in winter 2023 again next year (2024).
Asia (Spring 2024)
After cycling twice through Alaska and Oceania, the Majestic Princess will make her way back toward her initial waters in Asia. Currently, the ship has only routes announced to take her to Hong Kong as summer 2024 begins – it’s likely she’ll return to the Asian waterways she was originally designed to serve for that next season. (I’ll update this post once more routes are available.)
Sold on cruising aboard the Majestic Princess? Let me know any questions you still have after reading my Majestic Princess review, in the comments below!