Maureen Spencer boards the Majestic Princess on a 13-day cruise of 5581km,
sailing from Sydney to Auckland.

Operated by:

Princess Cruises. You'll see the Majestic Princess in New Zealand ports often this summer, as she is spending the season cruising New Zealand and Australia.

How big? Very big — 330m long and 38.4m across.

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How new? Very new. It took two years to build in Italy at a cost of $760 million and was delivered to Princess Cruises in March, 2017.

How many passengers? Lots. The Majestic Princess can accommodate 3560 passengers. On this cruise there were 3481 of 35 nationalities.

How many crew? 1346 crew of 47 nationalities.

Food consumption figures for 11 days:
250,000 eggs
7349kg of chicken
2049kg of bacon
12,007 litres of milk.

203 people were involved in preparing meals and another 323 involved in serving the food every day.

Unique Feature: The ship's horn actually plays The Love Boat theme. Totally bizarre.

Check-in Experience: Sydney. The fastest embarkation process we'd ever experienced with our Princess Platinum Loyalty cards. We were on board within 15 minutes of arriving at the port.

Surroundings and decor: The ship was designed with the upcoming large Chinese market in mind.

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Everything was new, glitzy and opulent looking, but following the classic design of most cruise ships with the big open central atrium and an impressive winding marble staircase.

One of the unique features of the Majestic Princess is the SeaWalk on Deck 16 with its glass floor path that extends out over the ocean. There's an outside gym area and you can practise your golf driving in a couple of golf cages. There is also a practise putting green on top of the ship. On the pool deck there is a fountain pool with a colour show playing most nights.

The area that fascinated us the most, because it was something so different from any area we'd ever seen on a cruise ship, was the Hollywood Conservatory area. It was at the bow of the ship with great views of the ocean, out the front through the floor to ceiling windows.

Large topiary sculptures of peacocks and life-size family groups decorated the room. Dotted around were several large xylophones for guests to play. A life-size chess set took up quite a bit of space. Recorded, but very life-like, bird song played. All in all, it was quite bizarre.

Very popular individual canvas cabanas designed for couples, complete with sun beds, were situated around the perimeter of the room. Sets of table and chairs with access to many board and card games were well used.

Food. Food. And even more Food: I am just so relieved that I didn't discover the delicious, fresh, Nutella-oozing doughnuts until the very last day or I would have returned much heavier than when I left. We were spoilt for choice for places to eat from popcorn, hot dogs, hamburgers, and help yourself buffet, through to lobster and specialty restaurants La Mer (serving French) and Harmony (serving Cantonese).

Entertainment: The live music, movie selection and entertainment was really good. The best we had experienced aboard a cruise ship, but one needed to be at the theatre at least half an hour before the show started to ensure getting a seat and there was no chance of ever getting one in the piazza area unless you sat there all day.

Recreation & Exercise: Plenty on offer from swimming, the gym, golf, basketball, table tennis, to walking on the decks. The ship is so big that getting from point A to point B involved quite a lot of walking. There were usually daily line-dancing and tai chi sessions.

Our cabin: We were surprised to find that the decor and furnishings were identical to the other Princess ships we had been on, because we had assumed that a modernised or new version of decor would be on this new one. The cabin and en suite were comfortable and practical.

The itinerary: Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Fiordland, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier and Tauranga.

Would we return? The Majestic Princess is certainly an impressive ship and the service was excellent throughout. The itinerary was also great. If the itinerary and price was right for another cruise we would return. However, our preference would definitely be for a mid-sized ship (1500-2000 passengers).