Returning from a Majestic Princess cruise in Alaska: successes and failures


(4 p.m. EDT) – There is a certain normalcy, even in these COVID times, to seeing a familiar sight.

For me, it is the presence of the Majestic Princess of Princess Cruises in the port of Alaska. Originally launched for the Chinese cruise market from Shanghai, then moved to Australia and New Zealand, the Majestic Princess appears to be the perfect vessel to carry on the Princess tradition of sailing to the last frontier. – something the line did every year from 1969 until the pandemic struck in 2020.

Seeing the Princess Sea Witch logo atop the ship’s funnel – visible from all over town at one of the three ports we called on on our week-long cruise last week – was downright reassuring. A staple of the “times before”, it is now a sign that cruising to Alaska has not just returned, it has thrived in the short season.

Funnel of the majestic princess.  (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Our end-of-season trip from Smith Cove Pier 91 cruise terminal in Seattle took the classic Alaska route, stopping at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, with a scenic day cruise through Ketchikan National Park. Glacier Bay. The trip showed us that COVID-19 did not diminish Princess’s ability to deliver a great cruise.

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After a full week aboard the Majestic Princess in Alaska, here is our opinion:

Shots

Departing from Ketchikan aboard the Majestic Princess (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

It’s Princess in Alaska: Princess has been sailing to Alaska for decades, and although Majestic Princess is a newcomer to the area, that princess charm still stands out in The Last Frontier. The port times are fantastic and the route, while more traditional – don’t expect to find newer ports like Icy Strait on the calendar – reaches all the classic Southeast Alaska hotspots that cruisers can find on the schedule. new and regular expect.

The Crown Grill specialty restaurant aboard the Majestic Princess (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Specialty food places: As expected, the food served at the three specialty restaurants on the ship was superb. The Chinese-themed Harmony was so good we indulged ourselves twice, while the French-inspired Bistro Sel de Mer was only spoiled by its busy location at the top of the Piazza atrium, this which makes for a somewhat noisy dining experience. The huge panoramic windows and the exceptional service, not to mention the dining experience, make it worth it. For a chic night out, try the clubby Crown Grill – and don’t miss the locally sourced Alaskan seafood offerings on the menu.

The indoor Hollywood Pool Club is one of the best features of Majestic Princess in Alaska (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Hollywood Pool Club. I found the Majestic Princess surprisingly well suited to the temperamental Alaskan climate, thanks to the addition of this indoor spot throughout Deck 17. We had liquid sun for most of the week, but there was always a glazed place to enjoy the passing scenery which included gorgeous views and even remarkable wildlife sightings.

Medallion Class: After a few unstable previous cruises where the line’s digital OceanMedallion technology either did not work or only worked intermittently, Princess finally pulled off a home run with her MedallionClass technology aboard the Majestic Princess (for the most part, see below).

MedallionClass will unlock your cabin door for you.  (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Ship-wide room service and beverage orders were delivered correctly and on time; the Medallion correctly unlocked my cabin door for me each time; and never needed reprogramming once. Portable RFID tags that replace old-fashioned key cards serve a dual purpose in these times of COVID-19, acting as a contact tracing guarantee for passengers and crew. It took a few years, but think of me as a MedallionClass cruise convert.

Free Movies: Not everyone takes a cruise to watch movies, but it’s certainly nice to have a full range of free movies and TV shows (not to mention the many seasons of “The Love Boat”) to relax on. evening in the privacy of your cabin. All the other lines I have sailed with this year have generously invoiced this privilege; kudos to Princess for providing it for free.

Failures

The MedallionClass app: While Princess Cruises has come a long way in improving the functionality of its MedallionClass technology on board the ship, the app itself is still bulky software that sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. While restaurant reservations were easy to make and change once on board, the app told us that friends we sailed with in 2019 on Caribbean Princess were on board (they weren’t) and have insisted that I hadn’t even boarded the ship long after we left. from Seattle. We also found it odd that the OceanMedallion app did not allow you to purchase pre-cruise drink packages; to do this you will need to log into the Princess Cruises website and do it “the old fashioned way” through the Cruise Personalizer.

Main dining room food: Unlike the ship’s paid specialty restaurants, food in the main dining rooms was lacking. It’s not bad, it’s just not particularly memorable. The problem is, the food at other free places – like Alfredo’s, the International Café, and the Noodle Bar by the pool – was top notch the entire trip.

Yet to come

Passengers wait for a show in the Vista Lounge aboard the Majestic Princess (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

As the Majestic Princess wraps up her final Alaska cruise this year, the ship will return in 2022 for a season of north and south cruises that operate May through September between Vancouver and Whittier. Until then, he sailed the Mexican Riviera and the California coast.

Those looking for something a little different should keep an eye out for the ship’s journey on September 10, 2022: a 10-day round-trip Inside Passage cruise from Vancouver, with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait. Point and a scenic cruise to Glacier Bay National Park and Hubbard Glacier.


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