I was so unbelievably excited. This was my first cruise in over two years! I was so happy and grateful that Princess Cruises invited me to sail with them on the Majestic Princess on October 6th to 9th, 2021 round trip out of Los Angeles (The World Cruise Terminal).
Leading Up To The Cruise
Things have changed with Princess Cruises. All their ships are now equipped with the “Medallion Class”. This Medallion is your cruise card and is touted to be the game changer for cruising in the future. Once I was confirmed onto the sailing, I downloaded the Medallion Class App off the Apple App Store and logged in with my booking reference number. I’m not going to lie, the app was (and is) glitchy. Princess Cruises also acknowledges that clients who don’t have a smart phone, cannot do their “online check in” right now without having to call for a Princess agent to do it for them. I was having issues with being able to accept the cruise contract, so finally uninstalling the app and re-installing seemed to help and work for me. Also for this cruise, I did need to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the cruise (which I was fully vaccinated back in July), and provide a negative antigen or PCR test taken within the two days prior to departure. Within 24 hours of sailing I had to go back into the Medallion Class app to complete my “Health Declaration”.
The app was useful for selecting an arrival time, scheduling dining times in the main dining rooms and the specialty dining options. There was also an area where you could select some of your preferences (bedding requests in your room, dining speed preference, ADA requirements, etc) and dietary requirements. However when it came to listing allergies, the list you could select from was very limited and there was no “other” option to list other allergies you might have had. This was also the same for dietary restrictions, there was not “other” selection available with a place for notes. Most of my allergies and sensitivities I couldn’t actually list and had to make sure at the restaurants onboard.
Day 1 – Travel and Embarkation Day
I woke up at 3:30am, I’m not going to lie, I was both anxious and super excited. I finished packing my carry on with my camera gear and was picked up by my aunt, who took me to the Vancouver International Airport. I arrived at the airport at 5:00am, in time for my 5:15am Covid-19 Antigen Test. The check in process for my test was a bit chaotic. Because the line was so long, I was finally checked in at 5:25am and my test took another twenty five minutes to be administered. I then had to wait another thirty minutes for my results. After I had my negative result, I went through TSA (TSA Pre-Check wasn’t open as it was still early), so that took another twenty minutes. Once through US Customs (I used my Nexus), I grabbed a Starbucks and sat down after two hours. If I can give any advice, when travelling internationally or cross-border, give yourself as much time as you can right now. Especially as things start to get busier. Shortly after, I boarded my flight to Los Angeles and I was off! A quick two hours and fifty minutes later, we had touched down and it was time to figure out how to use Lyft from LAX.
LAX’s new ride share and taxi “terminal” is called LAX-it (pronounced LA Exit). I took a free shuttle from just outside arrivals to the LAX-it terminal (look for the Green Pillars outside). It was a very easy process and there was a shuttle in less than five minutes from when I arrived to the pick up area. Once there you go to the respective ride share or taxi lane and order your Lyft, Uber or Taxi. My Lyft costed $32.99 plus tip from LAX to the World Cruise Centre (the Majestic Princess was docked at Berth 92).
Arrival at the Cruise Terminal
Because I am Canadian, Princess Cruises is currently not shipping the Medallions outside of the United States, therefore I picked up my Medallion at the port. When I arrived, there were lots of porters ready to help with baggage, however I was doing carry on only, so I carried on my own baggage onto the ship. Once through the security checkpoint, you were then divided by the lanes you were assigned on your app (Green Lane, Blue Lane, Yellow Lane) and your status level if you have “Priority Boarding”. I was “Green Lane with Priority Boarding” and the check in process was extremely easy (they double checked my Covid test results and my proof of vaccination) and I was given my medallion. I didn’t see an area where you needed to declare wine, if you were bringing wine onboard (on Princess Cruises you are allowed to bring up to two bottles of wine (750ml size) without paying a corkage fee, to be enjoyed in your stateroom). I didn’t bring any wine with me on this trip as I was carry on only and I had the “Princess Plus” promotion which included a drinks package. Then I headed upstairs, walked the gangway and boarded the Majestic Princess!
Boarding the Ship
Boarding the ship was so easy, you tapped your Medallion, removed your face mask briefly and walked onboard (this was typical of all the other ports of call as well). When I entered the ship, they had staff clapping and saying “Welcome Aboard”! I literally started to tear up. It was so wonderful to board a ship again after over two years. Travel is coming back and it’s just one more step closer!
Because the ship arrived empty from Seattle, my stateroom was ready for me when I boarded the ship just after 1:00pm. I was hosted by Princess Cruises in a Balcony Stateroom, R302 on the Rivera Deck 14. It was very well laid out and the Medallion unlocked your door hands free as you walked up to your door (no more fumbling for a cruise card). As you entered the room, they did have a key card for the lights and electrics in the stateroom, that you could insert. There was then the “walk in closet”, with a cabinet and a safe (the safe was very small, I couldn’t fit my 13″ MacBook Air into it, I had to lock it into my luggage) and the bathroom. The bathroom was snug with a good amount of storage space and a shower (with a shower curtain, which I didn’t love). My bed was made into a queen bed as requested through the Medallion app in my room preferences and I had a mini-bar setup included (assorted liquors, beer, water and soft drinks) as I am Elite status when I sail with Princess. I also had the Princess Patter (the daily newsletter that lets you know when and where things are happening on the ship) along with some other information of the cruise. I then completed my “Muster Drill” on my TV in my room. It’s so great that you don’t have a typical muster drill anymore. You can complete the drill on your phone in the app or on your TV in your stateroom. Another great thing about sailing with Princess Cruises is that most in-cabin/room service dining is free of charge, there are a few items that have a “delivery fee” such as pizza. Then I quickly unpacked and checked in at my muster station (which was the Princess Grand Casino), then headed for Lunch. Be sure to check out my YouTube video down below for a full cabin tour!
I had the “Princess Plus” Promotion which includes a Premium Drinks Package (with gratuities, for any drink up to $12 USD and a maximum of 15 drinks per day), MedallionNet Unlimited Wifi for one device and the “Crew Incentive” (the pre-paid gratuities/service charges). It’s well worth the Princess Plus as it works out to being around $40 USD extra onto your cruise fare when you initially book your cruise and they say it’s a value of at least $90 USD per day.
Lunch at Alfredo’s
I heard amazing things about Alfredo’s on the Royal Class Ships and was extremely excited to give it a try. I had a Prosecco to kick things off along with the Pizza Capricciosa (which was with tomato sauce, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, ham, black olives and basil). It was so delicious. If you’re ever on the Majestic Princess, I highly suggest eating at Alfredo’s. It’s included in your cruise fare, even though it feels like a “specialty dining” option.
Exploring the Ship and Sail Away
I spent the next couple hours getting acquainted with the Majestic Princess’ layout and attended a spa tour of the Lotus Spa and filmed it for my vlog. I will say that while I love “The Enclave” at the Lotus Spa, I’m also disappointed that they don’t have sea views like some thermal suites do on other ships. The spa area has also taken over the Karaoke rooms (yes, this ship had karaoke rooms!), which I feel could have been more fun if they kept those, but I also understand they probably can’t be used quite yet with the pandemic. I then enjoyed a margarita at the “Wake View Bar” at the aft (back) of the ship. As there were other travel advisors invited on this inaugural cruise for the “west coast season”, there was a private “sail away party” held at the Wake View Bar. If I’m going to be honest, once we sailed away, I didn’t want to miss the “Love Boat” themed horn that this ship has, so I did leave the party early. It was also very busy and a larger group in a smallish space and I just personally didn’t feel that comfortable in that setting. The sail away party in the main pool area was much more my style, more space between guests and great entertainment. It was here that I learned we were sailing at just under half capacity, just over 1400 guests onboard our cruise and 1200 crew! That’s almost a 1 to 1 crew to guest ratio.
Dinner at Allegro
I had dinner at Allegro dining room at the aft of the ship on Deck 6. I had a lovely view of the wake as we sailed away from Los Angeles. For a starter I had the “Seared Garlic Prawns”, followed by a small portion of the fettuccini alfredo. For my main course I had the “Cocoa-Spiced Rubbed Pork Tenderloin” with green chili sweet potato mash, summer squash, peppers and a bourbon sauce. It was delicious! One of my cruise tips is to ask for smaller portions and they can accommodate that. I find that some cruise lines serve very large portions, which are too big for my liking. By ordering a “small portion”, I feel that I waste less food, especially as I also sometimes like to sample a couple different starter options. Dessert was the Princess Love Boat Dream, which was chocolate mousse on a brownie and a I had a coffee with a shot of Bailey’s.
Here’s the menu for the first night dinner on the Majestic Princess (all main dining rooms serve the same menu):
After dinner I checked out the tail end of the show in the Princess Theatre, it was a Broadway style show called Sweet Soul Music. I did have an earlier night as I had such an early morning and it was a long day!
Here’s the Princess Patter on the Majestic Princess for our first day (embarkation day):
I’ve created a YouTube video series on my experience sailing on the Majestic Princess on this West Coast Inaugural. You can watch “Part 1” here:
Day 2 – San Diego, California
I woke up early as I had a somewhat of an early night, I woke up at 4:30am to the sound of Sea Lions growling and flighting over spots on a buoy as we entered the San Diego harbour. One of the reasons I love sailing in a balcony stateroom is that I can sleep with the door slightly opened, falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean at night and apparently being woken up by the local wildlife in the early hours of the morning.
Once we docked at San Diego at around 5:15am I headed out for some coffee at the International Cafe (a 24 hour, cafe that makes a very tasty Salted Caramel Latte and has snacks) and a walk around the ship to film a ship tour. I do love exploring the ship at this time as there is typically hardly anyone around as most people are still sleeping. After walking around most of the ship, it was time for breakfast in the Concerto Dining Room
Breakfast in Concerto
I typically enjoy having a sit down breakfast as it isn’t typically rushed and I enjoy the service. I also find that the dining room for breakfast on cruise ships aren’t busy like the buffet areas typically are, especially as I went at 7:00am. The servers were lovely, however the food was very lack lustre. I also have a nut allergy and specifically asked if the cinnamon roll had nuts and the server said no. It had nuts (it was a nut roll of some sort not a cinnamon roll) and experienced a bit of an allergic reaction which was frustrating which did cut my breakfast short as I had to go back to my cabin to take an antihistamine. I also found the seated breakfast menu to be a bit limited (I love having eggs benny on a cruise in the morning and it was MIA from the menu) and wasn’t sure if that was because this was a shorter cruise. I had “The Lumberjack” which was fried eggs, sautéed mushrooms a grilled “minute steak” and crispy hash brown potatoes.
Leaving the Ship
I did leave the ship to get some photos of the Majestic Princess in the Port of San Diego as we docked where I could get some good photos and videos of the ship. Leaving the ship was very easy, just had to tap my Medallion and away I went. I did take my passport with me just in case, however I wasn’t even asked for that to re-enter the port. Once I took a few photos and videos of the ship I boarded the ship again as the weather wasn’t the best really, it did start to rain. I did also google how close the nearest Trader Joe’s was, and it was about a twenty minute drive. I did have to do back through the terminal, and I don’t think they were 100% setup for people to get back on the ship so early. It was a bit of a maze trying to get out of the terminal building. Once back on board, I simply tapped my Medallion again and was back on board.
Once back on board the Majestic Princess, I headed back to my room and changed into my swim suit and went up the the Hollywood Pool Club and Conservatory. With the weather being a bit iffy, it was so nice to have this glass enclosed area. I was able to get myself one of the cabanas inside this adults only pool area and enjoyed one of the whirlpools all to myself for a while. There is an area on other Princess ships called “The Sanctuary” which has an extra charge, you rent beds or cabanas by half day or the full day, however at the time of my sailing, the Hollywood Conservatory is no extra charge and is first come, first serve for beds and cabanas! Some bloggers and vloggers have said that the roof retracts, however the glass roof is stationary and is built not to open. That being said, I can totally see why this ship is great for Alaska and cooler destinations, this area reminds me a bit of the Observation Lounge on the Norwegian Bliss, Joy or Encore (those Observation Lounges are so stunning and comfy) but this one has the added benefit of a pool and hot tubs! I did have a pina colada once the bar opened at 10:00am and relaxed until around 10:30am when I decided it was time to go back to the room to shower and get ready for an early lunch.
Lunch at Alfredo’s
So after a very disappointing breakfast that I didn’t finish, I had an early lunch at Alfredo’s. I ordered the “Antipasto Assortito di Magro” (which was mozzarella caprese, grilled zucchini, sun-blushed tomatoes, roasted red and yellow peppers) to start and it was amazing. I had it with a lovely glass of rose wine. I then had a pizza that was half “Hawaiiana” and half “Majestic Princess” which was Parma Ham, Parmesan cheese and fresh tomatoes. It was delicious. Yes, some people don’t like pineapple on pizza, but I do haha. I finished it off with the amazing tiramisu.
Exploring More of the Majestic Princess
After lunch I walked around the ship a bit more and explored Deck 18 which is a “Mural Walk”. If you’ve ever been to Penang, Malaysia (which is on my list to visit in 2022), you know can really have fun with some of these “interactive” murals. After a quick nap back in my stateroom, it was then time for an afternoon cocktail “pick me up” in the “Bar Piazza” on Deck 5. To be honest by this point, my Medallion Class app had been extremely glitchy and was not working properly. I hadn’t been able to order drinks or food from the app, it would just say “loading”. To make things a bit more frustrating, I noticed that some of the QR codes to access menus around the ship also were not working. I asked the waiter for a paper bar menu and was told they didn’t have one. To be honest this confused me as Princess Cruises caters to an older clientele which some of those people don’t have smartphones. Keep in mind that with the Princess Plus promotion you have a Premium Drinks Package included, however it has a limit of $12 per drink. I ordered what I was craving, an Espresso Martini and asked if the beverage package covered that and the waiter said “yes”. I did relax for a little while at Bar Piazza near a window seat and responded to a few DM’s on Instagram. After I finished my drink, I headed up to the World Fresh Marketplace, as I had a few DM’s about the “buffet” and what it looked like. I posted a few videos on Instagram and filmed some footage for the vlog. I went back downstairs and changed back into my swimsuit and went back into the Hollywood conservatory (the main pool deck was a bit busy by this point with most people back onboard from exploring San Diego). I noticed that I was still having challenges with the Ocean Medallion app, so I decided to try to uninstall it and reinstall it before heading down to the Ocean Medallion Desk for help. After I did that, it did work a lot better. So if you notice that pages once you get onboard just keep saying “loading”, delete the app and reinstall and that should work for you as well. If not, there is an “Ocean Medallion Help Desk” near the Princess Live Theatre. I then put the app to a few tests. I ordered a drink through it and some food (chips and guacamole) for the first time. The drink came very quick, within five minutes. I was seated in one of the cabanas in the Hollywood Pool Club and Conservatory in the pool area, because of the sensors in the ceiling, my drink was brought to me without needing to flag him down. I do have to say that the app and Medallion is great for the “personal” aspect. The staff can see your photo and your name so they can address you, they also know your last drink orders and preferences to make the interactions with you more personalized. On to the chips and guac… Well that took over 40 minutes to arrive to me which was disappointing, considering that there was less than half guest capacity on the ship and almost 1 to 1 guest to crew ratio. At the 20 minute mark I was ready to start moving on, back to my stateroom as I had finished swimming at that point. When the chips and guacamole (with the addition of salsa) did finally arrive, it was very good.
The Travel Advisors onboard had the opportunity to view some of the other staterooms onboard the ship. I didn’t take any photos, however I did take some video and you will see them in my YouTube vlog episode for Day 2 (coming soon). As they were only open for a brief period of time, it was quite crowded at times and I had to wait as there was no one directing people or capacity to view the cabins. It was one of the times where I didn’t feel 100% comfortable as there were a lot of people in a small area. I was able to view a Suite (R604) and a Mini Suite (R416). Easy to remember numbers for me as it was a nod to Vancouver and Toronto area codes (was not intentional haha).
Sail Away from San Diego
I headed back down to my stateroom and got ready for dinner. As there was no Platinum/Elite lounge on this sailing (which I thought was a bit strange), I did move my dining time to an earlier time on the app. I will say that changing dining times on the app is very quick and easy. I know this was probably even easier on our sailing as there were not many onboard. The Symphony Dining Room (MDR) was closed this sailing, but still had no problems with the Allegro or Concerto Main Dining Room reservations in the Ocean Medallion app. Once ready for dinner, I went upstairs and watched as we sailed away from San Diego. It’s a great city to visit, I’ve been here a few times before, however I wanted to spend as much time on the ship as possible as it was such a short cruise (I really only had two full days on the ship). They were pretty quick to put on an American football game the moment we pushed off from the pier, so I walked a bit further back on the ship to film the sail away.
Dinner in Concerto
Wow it was COLD. I stayed outside as long as I could, but even as a Canadian, I didn’t pack for Vancouver weather, I thought it would have been much warmer (yes I checked the weather when I was packing). Because I had changed my reservation, I didn’t have to wait for long (thankfully) as my dining time quickly approached, so I went inside, out of the cold and down to the Concerto Dining Room. I like to try the different main dining rooms, even though they all serve the same menus for dinner. Concerto is located more mid-ship so the views out the windows are to the sides of the ship, whereas Allergo has a “wake view” at the back of the ship. I was seated at a window with views of San Diego as we sailed away. I started off with the “Sesame Chicken Bites”, which I found to be on the slight dry side. Followed by my main course of the “Slow-Roasted Prime Rib” served with rosemary jus and horseradish cream, and a Yorkshire pudding. My main was good, however the piece of beef I was served had quite a bit of fat on it (which I didn’t eat). I then thoroughly enjoyed my dessert, which was a “Lemon Meringue Cheesecake”. After dinner, it was time to walk around a bit. I headed upstairs to Deck 16 as the “Watercolour Fountain Fantasy” show was scheduled to start soon. Unfortunately the football game was still on so the fountain show didn’t take place.
Here’s the menu for our second night dinner on the Majestic Princess (all main dining rooms serve the same menu):
Good Spirits at Sea
I headed back downstairs to check out the live mixology show called “Good Spirits at Sea”. The servers and bar staff here were my favourite. They were so friendly, making conversation and suggesting cocktails that I might like to try. This is honestly my favourite bar on the Majestic Princess. The specialty cocktails are also covered under the Premium Beverage Package with the Princess Plus, which is amazing! I tried the “Grappa Peach” inspired in Montevideo and the “Gin and Tonic Ultima” inspired in Barcelona. It’s a fun evening learning about cocktails and the inspiration that goes behind creating them. They show a bit of a travel series on each drink and the location that they were inspired, then the bartender makes the drink live on screen. Be sure to check out my YouTube video below on my experience here! They serve the drink to you on a laminated recipe card that you get to keep and take home with you.
Shopping in the Shops
I had some onboard credits that I needed to use, so it was time to check out the “Shops of Princess”. Unfortunately the Princess merchandise shop on Deck 5 had sold out of ship magnets on the previous cruise (I collect magnets from every ship I’ve sailed on). So up to the duty free shops on Deck 6 I went. I have been eying a few of the perfumes for a little while now, so I tried the two I really was interested in, one on each arm. Unfortunately I have some sensitivities to some perfumes (especially if they are made to a lesser quality), so I do this to make sure the scent works with my body, but to also insure I don’t have an allergic reaction. I perused some of the other shops, including the Coach and Bulgari shops onboard. This ship does have more luxury shopping options onboard than other typical Princess Ships, as it was built for the Asian market. There was a phase that contemporary cruise lines built ships especially for the Asian cruise market, however they realized that it wasn’t a good move financially in the end, so Norwegian Cruise Line totally renovated the Norwegian Joy and brought it to the North American market for Alaska (in 2019) and Princess Cruises has done the same with the Majestic Princess (in 2021). They are making changes to the Majestic Princess slowly, however you do still see the Asian characters throughout the ship. After shopping, I peeked into the Princess Theatre and caught a small bit of the “impressionist” act. He wasn’t very good unfortunately. So I called it a night and headed back to my stateroom.
Here’s the Majestic Princess Princess Patter for our second day in San Diego:
I’ve created a YouTube video series on my experience sailing on the Majestic Princess on this West Coast Inaugural out of Los Angeles. You can watch “Part 2” here:
Day 3 – Ensenada, Mexico
I always wake up early on a cruise and I love it. I find it makes the most of my day. I headed downstairs for some coffee at the International Cafe. I grabbed a latte and relaxed in the Piazza. Afterwards I went up to Deck 16 to film some footage on the SeaWalk which is a glass walkway suspended over 130ft above the water, off either side of the ship. I was able to also catch the Pilot boat approaching our ship to drop off the Harbour Pilot. I didn’t get off the ship here as I only had two full days really onboard to experience the ship and I was being very cautious because of the current “world situation”.
Breakfast at the World Fresh Marketplace
I then wanted to try out the buffet breakfast at World Fresh Marketplace for something different, and to be sure to report on all the different food offerings. When you enter the space there is a crew member asking you to sanitize and wash your hands, they do have sink stations right at the entry. The buffet is not self serve right now for obvious reasons, but you point to what you would like, tell them how much you would like on your plate and they serve it up for you. There was an omelette station, which they take your omelette order, then you take a copy of your order back to your seat to give to a server, who will then go and pick it up for you when it’s ready. I really enjoyed my omelette, it was delicious and just the right size. They didn’t have any eggs benedict on the menu here for breakfast either which I was a bit sad about as I love eggs benny in the morning on a cruise. I also had a small portion of waffles with strawberries and whipping cream, an apricot danish, a strawberry croissant, a side of crispy hash browns and corned beef hash with chorizo. All tasted very fresh and was good (much better than the main dining room yesterday for breakfast). There are some small plates of certain items that you can “grab and go”. They will bring you coffee and juice to where you are seated, however I will say that the coffee in the World Fresh Marketplace is not good, I couldn’t drink it. The main dining room’s coffee is much better, or grab yourself a coffee at the International Cafe and bring it upstairs. None of the servers offered me a latte or cappuccino option, so I am unsure if they have a machine upstairs. You could also order a specialty coffee through the Medallion app to be delivered to you in the Buffet area (extra charge if you didn’t have a drinks package).
Ensenada Welcoming Committee aka The Sea Lions and Harbour Seals
After breakfast I headed back to my stateroom to watch us finish docking at Ensenada, Mexico whilst the displaced seals caused a ruckus down below in the water. I will say that the wi-fi included in the Princess Plus (only for one device per person at one time) was pretty quick. I was able to FaceTime my Grandmother with no interruptions or lagging issues. Uploading video stories to Facebook and Instagram was also very quick. The seals were definitely the added entertainment throughout the day.
Elemis at the Lotus Spa
I’ve tried and used various beauty products on my face, (this is not sponsored, this is my actual opinion), I love some of the Elemis facial and body products. I don’t really get spa treatments on cruises, I have in the past, on occasion (especially when I win a treatment at the Spa Raffle on the first day). I was introduced to some of the Elemis products actually off the ships when I was receiving beauty and lifestyle subscription boxes. I received a few of the products in a shipment and was hooked. I totally fell in love with the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel and was finally running low (I stocked up on my last cruise in 2019, thank goodness I did). They had it in stock here at the Lotus Spa on the Majestic Princess, so I used some of my onboard credit to purchase one tube. I love it as you can actually use it as a night cream (it’s safe to use on your skin for a long period of time, however do a patch test to make sure it works for you), when I wake up in the morning, my skin is so soft and vibrant. On my next cruise in December on the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady, I might have to restock my Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm.
Travel Advisors Meeting with John Chernesky
Right before our event, I met with one of my colleagues along with her husband and chatted about each of our cruise experiences onboard thus far. At 10:00am, for all of us Travel Advisors who were invited onboard this cruise, we attended a live “webinar” broadcast called “Connect with Princess” presented by Princess Cruises Senior Vice President, North America Sales and Trade Marketing, John Chernesky. It was a great show with some great updates for us Travel Advisors regarding Princess Cruises. Afterwards, the ship did some maintenance on the electricals of the ship which meant that the elevators and the wi-fi was down for about an hour, so instead of walking all the way up to my room, I had an early-ish lunch at Alfredo’s again.
Lunch at Alfredo’s
It was back to Alfredo’s for my last lunch onboard (sad to think that this was already my last full day onboard). I ordered the starter of the “Antipasto Assortito di Magro” (which was mozzarella caprese, grilled zucchini, sun-blushed tomatoes, roasted red and yellow peppers) again and had a half Hawaiiana and half Capricciosa pizza for my main course. Of course I also enjoyed my dessert… tiramisu. It was then time to walk around the ship a bit more, get some more video footage.
After a bit of a walk, I went back to my stateroom, changed into my swim suite and went up to the Hollywood Conservatory as it was a bit cool and windy on the open pool deck. They also play Movies Under the Stars (during the day as well) on the main pool deck which is quite fun (they do provide blankets in the evening), however this cruise had been quite cool weather wise so I opted for the warmth and quiet area of the Conservatory. As I mentioned earlier in this blog, on other Princess Ships, this adults only area is typically called “The Sanctuary” and comes at an additional charge to enjoy, currently at the time of posting this blog, this area is complementary to use. I did order myself a Pina Colada in the whirlpool, and I have to mention that the paper straws they gave me for my frozen drinks actually held up and didn’t go mushy. After a couple hours of swimming in the pool, enjoying the hot hubs and relaxing on the loungers it was time to get changed and get moving again.
Walk Around the Ship
I will say that I found the activities to be a bit lacking this cruise (you can check out the activities on the Princess Patters I’ve posted). I’m not really sure why. I was hoping they would have had a “Grapevines Wine Tasting” like they do on other sailings, however they didn’t offer one on this cruise. I understand that on port days, it’s really meant to be a day where you go and visit the ports, however on such a short cruise I guess I was hoping for a bit more to “truly experience everything the ship had to offer” so to speak. I did go up to Deck 18 and putted around a few golf balls.
Wake View Bar
After some putting on the greens, I headed down to the Wake View Bar for a drink. While in Mexico we drink Margaritas! A 24 Karat Margarita on the rocks made with Patron to be exact. I also went inside to the World Fresh Marketplace and grabbed a fresh chicken fajita with onions, peppers and guacamole from the buffet for a snack. The wind really picked up and started to get quite cool, so I headed back inside and over to the Hollywood Conservatory where I found a forward facing cabana available, so settled in there to create some content. I ordered a glass of Prosecco and relaxed for the last hour before we sailed away from Ensenada, Mexico.
My New Favourite Carry-All Bag
I was graciously gifted a beautiful beach bag from Wanderlust Stuff, a woman owned online travel products and accessory business in Canada. I have to say I love this bag and it’s my new favourite carry-all bag. It fits my vlogging camera with the attached microphone really easily, so I can vlog on the go much easier. I used this bag for my trip to the ILTM conference at the Fairmont Mayakoba in Mexico as well! It’s sustainably hand made in India and comes in a few different patterns and colours, mine is the “Rose Gold” option. She also sent me a “Scentered” scent balm kit which I used on the plane and some “Flightfud” (which I tried for the first time on my flight down the LAX and LOVED it!). Click here to shop these beautiful bags or for other essential travel products you might need for your next adventure!
Sail Away from Ensenada, Mexico
“All aboard” soon took place and the workers slowly herded the seals away from the anchor points so they could release the ship’s lines. These seals were entertainment for the entire day, it was so funny to watch them interact with each other. There was a live DJ playing tunes out on deck as we sailed away from Mexico, as we pushed off from the pier, the Captain sounded the “Love Boat” themed horn for the last time on this sailing.
Shopping in the Shops
Once we had sailed away, the shops re-opened for the last time. I used the last of my onboard credit and picked up the Gucci Flora gardenia fragrance. I then got a print out of my account to make sure that everything was in order. My big cruise tip is to always look at your onboard account the night before departure. I’ve found mistakes before and have been able to fix them with ease because the shops, spa, casino, etc were still open. It’s more difficult to deal with certain things the morning you have to leave the ship because nothing is open except for “Guest Services”, not to mention the typical long lines. You can also now typically see your onboard account on your TV in your room and on your cruise app. However sometimes purchases are posted overnight, so the most accurate way to get last minute purchases on your account is through Guest Services.
Spending Time in My Stateroom
The sunset leaving Mexico tonight was so beautiful! I decided to change my dining reservation through the Medallion Class app and opted for a later dining time to sit and enjoy the sunset from my balcony. I poured myself a gin and tonic from my mini bar set up and relaxed. This is what I love and missed so much about cruising, sailing and enjoying the sea. As the sun was setting, dolphins appeared and were swimming along side of us! It was such a magical and spectacular moment, the sun setting in the background and the dolphins jumping out of the water beside us. I did catch it on video as well, so be sure to check out my YouTube video below!
Dinner at Allegro
After the gorgeous sunset, I headed downstairs to the Allegro Dining Room. I was just in time for the “Parade of the Baked Alaska”. One of the Princess Cruise Hosts did a lovely speech, introduced the Executive Chef, Food and Beverage Director and the Head Maître D’. I started off this evening with the “Shrimp Cocktail”, followed by the “Surf and Turf” which was served with jumbo shrimp, petite filet mignon, tarragon béarnaise, sautéed vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. I was surprised when the beef course came as it was a “slab” of already cut steak, I guess I thought in my head it was going to be a small medallion of steak. Because they served it this way, I found the steak to be a bit on the dry side as the juices had ran out from it. I finished off my meal with the Ice Cream Bombe Diplomate (Baked Alaska) as a colleague and her husband joined me for dessert. Dinner was a bit better than the previous night.
Here’s the menu for our last night dinner on the Majestic Princess (all main dining rooms serve the same menu):
Watercolour Fountain Fantasy Show
I finally got to take in the “Watercolour Fountain Fantasy Show” up on Deck 16. The water fountain was set to some popular songs and lit up with LED coloured lights. It was a great little show, however I can see why the new Princess Ships such as the Sky and Enchanted Princess removed this feature and added sunken seating here instead.
Good Spirits at Sea
For our final drinks onboard my friends and I went to Good Spirits at Sea for a final mixology show and some of the best cocktails on the ship in my opinion. I tried the “Tahiti” Vanilla Sky which was also delicious. It was then time to call it a night and head back to my stateroom to start packing. Most cruises do require that if you want them to take your luggage off the ship, your luggage needs to be outside your cabin door by 10:00pm. I did just carry on for this cruise, so I didn’t need to put my luggage outside as I was comfortable taking my own luggage off the ship. But I was so sad, the cruise had come to an end.
Here’s the Princess Patter on the Majestic Princess for our third day in Ensenada, Mexico and the Disembarkation Information:
I’ve created a YouTube video series on my experience sailing on the Majestic Princess on this West Coast Inaugural. You can watch “Part 3” here:
Day 4 – Los Angeles, Disembarkation Day
It’s a sad, sad day. I was woken up again quite early in the morning as we sailed into the Port of Los Angeles by the fog alarm on the lighthouse at the entry to the port. So I got dressed and headed down to the International Cafe where I grabbed a latte, then headed back up to my room. I had to go downstairs to inquire about the Covid testing process for us Canadians to get home, as I didn’t have any information on that in our stateroom, other than at the time of my sailing, Princess Cruises was covering departure Covid tests (antigen and PCR) for anyone that needed them to get back into their home country/state. After I chatted with Guest Services and got the info, I grabbed another salted caramel latte with and extra shot of espresso at the International Cafe and headed up to the World Fresh Marketplace for a light breakfast. After breakfast, I decided to leave the ship, to get tested and see if I could get to the airport earlier to catch an earlier flight from LAX back home to Vancouver as there were still a couple seats left on that flight (I was booked on a later flight as I didn’t know what the process was going to be like). So I finished packing and sadly left the ship.
Leaving the Ship and Covid Testing
So this is where my cruise experience took a really bad turn unfortunately. I left the ship at 7:20am as I was told that the testing was open and ready to go by the staff at Guest Services. I needed to leave the ship, pick up my bags (I did carry off so this didn’t apply to me), go through US Customs and there would be signage to where I needed to get my test done. Leaving the ship was very easy, I tapped my Medallion at the exit of the ship and left the Majestic Princess. After walking through the terminal and passing through US Customs, there was no signage for where the testing was taking place. I had to ask several people, before someone said it was in the terminal building where we initially checked in for the cruise and I had to go down there. So I walked down that way to the security area, where I found out that the security team didn’t start work until 9:00am and the testing company hadn’t even arrived yet onsite. It was 7:35am at this point, I wouldn’t have left the ship had I known this information! I was so frustrated. I didn’t take it out on anyone there, it wasn’t their fault, but I was angry I was given the wrong information by Guest Services onboard. Then things changed again, the company arrived onsite around 8:20am and was going to setup in the makeshift tent a few of us were waiting in outside. They setup as quickly as they could and was able to start taking registrations for tests at 9:00am, however this was the first time this specific company was doing testing here at the port, and didn’t anticipate the number of Canadians needing PCR tests (they initially only had 10 PCR testing machines, which took 30 minutes for each test). Finally someone arrived with more PCR testing units and I finally got my negative results back at 10:45am! By this time I needed to use a washroom, BAD. I was told that unfortunately there were no washrooms I could access as they were past security and to go through security I needed to be sailing on an outbound ship (insert face palm here). The whole time I was thinking about these poor older people and my older clients, like that wasn’t okay and I chatted to a few people that they need to have something setup in the future (I wasn’t the only one who complained). I saw a Princess transfer coach and asked the woman if I could please use the buses washroom onboard (I didn’t have a Princess transfer, I was going to use Lyft to get me back to the airport). She saw that I had an Air Canada tag on my luggage and asked if I was flying with Air Canada, I said yes and she said to just get on, use the washroom and go to the airport with everyone as they were all travelling with Air Canada as well. I was so grateful for her kindness after this horrendous experience. I did write Princess Cruises right away with my feedback, so I’m hoping that all other Mexican Riviera cruises went smoothly after this one.
Once at LAX, I tried to change my flight to the 1:55pm flight, but by that time it was sold out. So I did have to wait for my 5:45pm flight. I went to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge and they were at capacity, but the attendant walked me over to the Alaska Lounge next door and I was able to get into the Alaska Lounge for the afternoon. It was a great lounge, with various seating options including tables, booths and comfy chairs with side tables. I was able to catch up on work including some emails and even some work on this blog. I was just in time for lunch. It was a buffet style, that you did serve yourself (signage was there to sanitize before using utensils, etc), I sanitized before and after using the buffet area. There was some healthy options, I made myself a “southwest” grilled chicken salad with fresh greens, corn, peppers, tomatoes, black beans, guacamole and pico de gallo. It was so tasty. I had it with a couple glasses of sparkling rose wine. They also had other snacks and treats, including a Starbucks espresso machine, which I enjoyed for the rest of the afternoon until my flight home. I also appreciate lounges for better/cleaner washrooms and bathroom amenities.
I am so grateful that Princess Cruises invited me onboard to experience the Majestic Princess.
That being said, I wanted to be honest in my review of my experience onboard the ship during this sailing. There were some definite highs and lows. I was so excited that this was my first cruise back in over two years and did overall enjoy the experience. I felt very safe that passengers were all fully vaccinated (there were no children on our sailing) and we had to provide a negative test, tested within in the last two days prior to boarding the ship. Most people did wear masks indoors and there were signs where wearing masks were required (elevators, the shops, theatre, restaurants until you were seated, the casino, spa, etc). Most of the staff were amazing and so happy to have us back onboard. There needs some more work in regards to the Medallion Class app (which I was advised they are trying to improve all the time right now) and the food in the main dining room. If you were to splurge on “specialty dining” options on Princess, I can see how people would not be disappointed food wise. However, there are other cruise lines that I’ve had better quality food in the main dining room at a comparable, if not lesser price than Princess. Also, my testing experience should have never happened. There needed to be better communication between Princess Cruises, the testing company and us as passengers.
Again, overall I did have an amazing first cruise back and I feel like the Medallion in a way was a commemorative token of my first sailing back after the pandemic, which I will truly treasure.
As a Virtuoso Travel Advisor my clients typically receive added benefits when booking vacations such as cruises with Princess Cruises through me. I’d love to work with you as your travel advisor, to contact me for more information click here.
I’ve created a YouTube video series on my experience sailing on the Majestic Princess on this West Coast Inaugural. You can watch “Part 4” here:
(Coming soon on Sunday, November 14th)