Early 2020 AD. Danny and I embark on a 21st century Odyssey. On the Majestic Princess from Sydney to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji. Back to Sydney, then to Melbourne and flying back home.
We did this cruise before the coronavirus epidemic became a pandemic. We are very aware the travel industry and in particular the cruising industry is hit hard by the consequences of the pandemic. Travelling and cruising may never be the same again. But this is how we experienced cruising on the Majestic Princess in January and February 2020.
There are many bars and restaurants on board Majestic Princess. Let’s discuss the restaurants.
- Allegro Dining Room;
- Concerto Dining Room;
- Symphony Dining Room;
- Harmony Restaurant;
- Crown Grill;
- Bistro Sur La Mer;
- Chopsticks Noodle Bar;
- Alfredo’s Pizzeria;
- Lobster Grill & Hamburger Bar;
- World Fresh Marketplace (Buffet);
- World Fresh Marketplace (Bistro);
- International Café;
- Swirls Ice Cream Bar.
Allegro Dining Room, Concerto Dining Room and Symphony Dining Room form the ‘main restaurant’ with table service. Throughout the cruise, some dishes remained as fixed items on the menu. But every day there are daily specials. In the evening six specific starters and six specific main course options.
Variety is okay but ideas and ingredients come back often. After a few days I had the impression “it’s always the same”.
But quality is good and the portions are small enough not to overeat. If you feel like it, you can order more than one entree and /or more than one main.
When you go to a dining for breakfast, you order from a menu. Lunch is lighter.
The wine list is extensive, also the per-glass options. Having invested in the drinks package, we could order drinks up to AU$ 16. More on that next time.
Service is attentive, efficient and friendly. After the first week we had a fix table with Nigel and Michael. Our waiter and his assistent remembered our preferences. Good job. I wish I could remember his name.
On sea days, you can go for afternoon tea. Those are a disappointment. We got one sandwich, one scone and one pastry and no choice of tea. Very subpar and uncharacteristic for the rest of the F&B on board.
World Fresh Marketplace (Buffet) and World Fresh Marketplace (Bistro) are the buffet restaurants. They’re the same and different, with a different interior design. Their offering is similar and different.
The Bistro emphasizes bakery items and pastries more than the Buffet. Which by the way are delicious in every restaurant. Extra kudos for de pastry chef!
As with the main restaurants variety is good and not at the same time. But there’s a good mix between European, American, Latin, Australian and Asian favourites.
Extra remarkable is how hot – as in warm – the food stays at the buffets. Congratulations.
Lobster Grill & Hamburger Bar, Chopsticks Noodle Bar, International Café and Swirls Ice Cream Bar are the fast food options when you feel peckish. Their names are self explaining, really.
They were okay but not remarkable. The International Cafe is the ‘Starbucks‘ on board.
Alfredo’s Pizzeria, Bistro Sur La Mer, Crown Grill Restaurant and Harmony Restaurant are the specialty restaurants. Except for Alfredo’s there’s an extra charge.
We tried all of them.
Crown Grill is a steakhouse with humongous portions, Harmony is a westernized Chinese-Cantonese restaurant and Sur La Mer serves classic French cuisine. These restaurants do indeed up te game compared to the main restaurants.
On a two-week cruise, it’s worth booking them.
Room service is free, except for pizzas. For some reason that is universal on cruises. Room service is specially popular for breakfast.
You can order your breakfast via a paper form the day before or via the internal offline website. More on that later.
The offering is good for breakfast. One hot breakfast muffin, pastries, cereals, fresh items. The works.
The Majestic Princess sails in Asia and Oceania and it is adapted to these regions. Prices are in Australian dollars and there were always Australian and Neo Zealandian items on offer such as pavlovas, Vegemite and heaps of beetroot.
Next time: bars and drinks.