I’m not even sure where to begin with this review as I’ve never felt compelled to leave such negative feedback about a cruise, let alone whilst I’m still on the ship!
A bit about me first, I’m 31 and considered ‘quite young’ to be passionate about cruising however this most recent cruise (which I am still currently onboard) Majestic Princess is my 9th cruise in all, 4th on Princess. Other lines I’ve enjoyed time with have included Cunard, Holland America & Royal Caribbean. I consider myself a ship enthusiast, I love the history of passenger shipping hence what draws me to modern day cruises. I’ve always been such a strong advocate of cruising and have become known in my circle as ‘the cruise guy’, so I’m often helping friends book their first cruises after telling them of my fantastic experiences.
We decided to book Majestic Princess departing Sydney, February 4th for an 8 day trip around Tasmania. We also asked my parents to join us onboard for the trip which they agreed. This is their second cruise, they first cruised 4 years ago on the Golden Princess and absolutely loved it. I chose Majestic because of how new it is and it looks great in Princesses marketing campaigns. Unfortunately that’s about the only positives I have to say. I truly hate to sound like one of those people who just complain about everything but like I said, I’ve never felt this way about any cruise before as I love cruising. I just feel that based on this experience, Princess have completely turned me off any future cruises with them and certainly any ever again on Majestic, maybe even any ship in the Carnival Corp Fleet?.
I’m a realist, I know the world isn’t perfect and I’m a very understanding and polite person. To be honest, even on past cruises when there have been negatives, I’ve completely brushed them under the rug due to my passion for ships, I’ve made excuses for cruise lines but I’m not doing that this time. It’s time to point out the flaws so that others can be truly informed about the current state of Princess Cruises.
Embarkation: The quickest embarking process I’ve ever experienced which was great and certainly helped fuel the excitement of our trip! We were onboard within 10 minutes of arriving to the terminal.
They lost my mums suitcase which she got quite worried about, being so new to cruising this is understandable. I tried to calm the situation by telling her it will turn up soon and to wait however eventually she had to go down to the guest services desk and ask after it. To which she then had to find it herself out of a pile of ‘missing bags’. She was also told by a staff member ‘why are you worrying it’s not a big deal.’ When she was worried about it. My fathers brand new suitcase also arrived to the room with one of the wheels snapped off almost fully. He then stayed up till 3am the first night trying to repair it himself using my mums eyebrow tweezers as a screw driver in their mini suite.
Stateroom: Mini suite A226. I’ve only ever travelled in suites or ‘mini/junior suites’ so the room was as expected however, compared to Golden Princess and other ships I’ve sailed, Majestic Princess mini suites are not the greatest. Certainly the smallest balcony I’ve ever had, seriously it’s about 1m deep? The layout is extremely similar to the Grand Class ships but slightly updated. I prefer the older version. The bathrooms are also small for a suite and really should have been addressed when designing this new class of ship. The toilet in the suite was acting a bit strange from when we boarded. It often wouldn’t flush properly or would take a minute after pushing the button to then flush. Eventually it stopped working completely mid cruise and had to be fixed. The bed is not comfortable at all. I read so many reviews saying how good the beds are, really!? My plush mattress at home is way more comfortable.
The ship: Yes she’s a pretty ship, the decor and the colour scheme inside is very contemporary and nice. Layout is shocking, I absolutely cannot stand everything being focussed around the Piazza area. For such a grand, lovely space, I was sick of it by day two. Deck areas are nice with lots of couches and lounges and the pools and spas all great however, the Enclave area is not fully functional, one of the saunas doesn’t work and not all the jets in the pool are working. Not something I would normally complain about, however when are these cruise lines going to question whether it is right to charge passengers full price to use these facilities that are not fully operational or as promised? That’s wrong.
I’ll also note that the hull is very rusty and dirty and is in need of painting. Obviously this is hard on a ship and I get it takes time etc but have some pride in the ships external appearance. It says a lot about the standards onboard.
Staff/service: This is the major let down of this ship, I can honestly say I’ve never experienced such an uninspiring, careless, unhappy mob of workers on a ship, the attitude of the staff have been the biggest let down. This ship has such a strange vibe, it just doesn’t feel right onboard. None of the staff are warm & friendly. Everyone seems pained to be working onboard and every simple request eg; ‘Hello, how are you today? Can I please buy a drink..?’ You are made to feel like you have bothered them. Even if they are completely not doing anything or serving anyone else at all. To be honest, I was confused as to whether the staff were all just on holiday because they all seem to just loiter around talking to each other and ignoring passengers. Restaurant staff, unprofessional and rude with no idea about the food or drinks or basic manners such as apologising when your meal arrives after everyone else at the table has finished eating there’s, this included the waiters in the Chops Grill paid restaurant who basically were too busy to even ensure we had a pleasant experience. We felt bad for even being there. Bar staff all shocking and no customer service skills at all. Not even general politeness such as ‘Hello, how are you?’ or recognition of you after constantly seeing the same bar person day after day. To be honest I’ve spent more time saying hello and asking how staff are than any of them have with me. Spa staff (after paying $150 to attended the Enclave daily) never even look up from the desk when we arrive to go in, it’s actually become quite amusing now as I’m being extra super friendly above what I normally am just to see if it makes them change their tune, no luck. They can barely look at us or say more than a grunt. Don’t expect to be served on deck either if you are in one of the deck spas. We jumped in one to watch the daily movie on the outdoor screen at night, we never got asked once whether we wanted a drink and when I flagged down two girls standing near by, they gave me the most horrible look as if I have bothered them. Do these staff even want to make any money for Princess anymore!? It seems when you want a drink no one cares, when you’re willing spend hundreds on drinks and have a good night/day, no one cares.
The Captain & cruise director, who? Never seen them or felt engaged by either, unlike other ships where you often see them out and about ensuring passengers are enjoying themselves. In fact, all ‘management’ are hidden, good luck finding any of them.
Room attendant is friendly enough when we pass him in the hall however, he’s cleaning skills are next to none. There are still items in the room left over from the previous guests such as an asthma puffer that was in the bathroom and is yet to be removed. Our used pool towels not removed or empty bottles. He also leaves the room in total darkness every night and just throws the chocolates on the bed and leaves them wherever they land. My parents have a different steward and apparently she is lovely though and does a great job.
The culture with the staff on this ship is awful, I work in Customer Service myself so I’m very aware of the lack of standards which I can assure you start at the top and work their way down through the staff. The way the staff even carry themselves and stand shows the lack of care factor. I’m shocked managers don’t also see this but maybe they do and this is apparently acceptable?
Entertainment/atmosphere: Another Major let down. Where is the atmosphere!? I’ve never been on such a dull cruise.. When we left Sydney harbour at 6:45 on a beautiful Australian summers evening the band played for 15 minutes before they were removed and the 7 o’clock outdoor movie began which completely cleared the deck. What a weird thing to do on the first evening of the cruise when passengers expect a sail away party. Being the first night of the cruise it really set the tone for what was ahead. The band have not been up on deck since! No matter how lovely the weather is, speaking of weather, so far we have been blessed with beautiful smooth sailing and lovely days so I’m not sure why there is nothing happening on deck during the days/nights other than the movie which probably gets about 10 people per viewing. I think one movie at night would be fine and more attention should be paid to entertaining guests by the pool with music etc. Most entertainment takes place in the Piazza, which is so weird. The Piazza has specialty restaurants and bars off it so if you’re trying to enjoy a nice meal or a classy drink, you’ll have to put up with the noise coming from the Piazza. But don’t worry, everything pretty much stops at 10pm. Don’t expect to be doing anything after that time, it’s all basically shut down. There is no night club on this ship for night owls or people looking to have a good late night dance on their holidays.. Ridiculous. There are so many people wondering around after 10pm unsure of what to do but not wanting to go to bed, but you basically have no other option.
Food: I personally feel the standards have dropped for Princess. Menus are uninspiring and dishes made with no love. Desserts especially have been a big let down as they’re so boring and almost child like food. Jelly in the main dining room as one of the four desert options, the others being bread and butter pudding, ice cream or a lime tart. We were also not impressed with Chops Grill having had such a wonderful meal on our last Princess cruise (Golden Princess 2 years ago) we were looking forward to a high end feed. The food was average to poor along with the service. To be honest, a waste of $35 per person. I was asked how I wanted my steak, medium/rare and I received well done. Really, at a steak restaurant?.
Room service menu is also the exact same menu they’ve had for 10+ years.. Apparently they can’t think of anything else. Breakfast in room is only continental, so don’t expect any eggs/bacon in bed.
I also wanted to note that if you’re watching the late night movie under the stars that starts usually around 9:30 the grill and noodle bars on deck shut at 10pm sharp (NO EXCEPTIONS) so if you feel like a snack half way through the movie, too bad. Why wouldn’t you keep them open to match the movie running time? Ps: don’t expect drink service during the movie and don’t do what we did and sit in a spa to watch the movie. They won’t come over to you, you will have to get out to order drinks.
Tender service: This is actually what compelled me to review this cruise. This was the straw that broke the camels back so to speak. We had one tendered port on this cruise and that was at Port Arthur. What an absolute joke that whole experience was. It started off fine, tenders leaving the ship from around 7:30am, we decided to leave for shore around 11am which we thought was good as we didn’t have to wait to get on a tender, we got on one almost straight away, then from
that moment the issues became clear. After leaving the ships side, we were still on the tender 1hr later waiting to dock at the shore! The trip to the shore itself took around 5-10 minutes however they were only docking one tender at a time at a dock that was also shared by other boats doing tours of the harbour from Port Arthur. We sat there in the water for an hour waiting to dock, there were 4 tenders at once doing as we were. When it was our turn to dock, we noticed the horrifically long line of guests waiting to get back on tenders to come back to the ship! I actually took photos which I have included below, the line must have been 300m long, we couldn’t see the end of it. It looked like an evacuation but no, it was just Princesses complete mismanagement of the situation docking one tender at a time for 3500 guests. We decided to not even get off the tender and take it straight back to the ship due to how hectic the situation looked. My parents were on the tender in front of us and waited as long as we did to dock, it also took their driver 6 attempts to dock their tender correctly. In perfectly calm and flat waters. They then got off the tender (not knowing they could stay on) and jumped straight back in the line to get a tender back to the ship as they were worried they would have to wait so long. It took them 1hr of waiting in line to get back on a tender. So all in all they spent nearly 3hrs to tender to shore and come straight back. We literally missed Port Arthur, because of how horrible the experience was.
There was no apologies or acknowledgement of what was happening. No mention from any of the staff that the wait times had blown out, no mention from the captain when we departed Port Arthur at the end of the day, nothing. Not even a free apology from anyone... What on earth has happened to Princess Cruises?
I guess I will leave my review there. As I said, I know the world isn’t perfect and I know that some people will just find anything to complain about but I am not that person. I consider myself an advocate of the cruise industry however, after this experience I am even questioning now whether I will ever cruise again. I know my parents will not, after such a positive first cruise with Princess, their second cruise has been a nightmare and I doubt they will return.
We confronted the duty manager today at the Guest Services desk about our concerns and experience in a very polite and collected way and would you believe, he agreed with all criticisms and was not only shocked by some but was well aware of most as he himself has seen it with his own eyes but he had also had a number of complaints on this cruise.
I wanted to leave this review because although I love cruising, I understand how big business works and as customers, we are not doing ourselves any favours by not exposing the negative truths! I feel too many cruise passengers just stay silent and put up with poor cruises and I think that is wrong. These cruises are not cheap, you are promised the world and yet they can blatantly fail to deliver, take your money, kick you off at the end and take on the next lot.. It’s just not right.
I feel Princess, perhaps all of Carnival Cruise Corp to be honest have a new attitude of ‘Oh well, near enough is good enough..’ well we as paying guests should not accept that. We are spending big money on these cruises and we also have a choice as to whether we even cruise or not and I feel like we are being taken advantage of. Perhaps the cruise industry has gotten too big for its boots and has lost touch with reality?
Well if this is the acceptable standard, I can assure them that there won’t be a cruise industry in the not too distant future as the younger set, the cruises of tomorrow will take their money elsewhere when they wish to holiday.
I’m sorry for such a long and negative review but I felt compelled to share as this particular cruise on Majestic Princess has completely ruined my faith in cruising.
Only 3 more sleeps and we can get off and go home! What a horrible mindset to be in whilst you’re on holiday. I’m so disappointed by this cruise that I actually feel upset that we even came and I feel stupid for wasting our money.