Ditch ordinary life and experience the beauty of New Zealand on a Princess Cruise adventure on Majestic Princess. The deepwater ports are ideal for large cruise ships and give guests the best chance to enjoy a relaxing holiday in comfort.  It’s the perfect ocean odyssey. You’ll sit on your balcony and watch the most amazing landscapes float past.  It was so captivating; I was even waking up in the middle of the night to take moon rise photos! 

Cruising Australia to New Zealand with Princess Cruises

Embarking on this Princess Cruises escapade from Australia to New Zealand felt like joining an A-list party on the high seas – and lucky me, I got the golden ticket! Setting sail from Auckland, we rode the waves with all the finesse of a penguin in a tuxedo, hitting up delightful spots like Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch, and Dunedin. Now, here’s the kicker: I happened to time my sea voyage during Auckland’s little waterworks extravaganza, where the airport decided to take a day off due to a massive flood. But fear not, my friends – aside from some gentle rocking, it was smooth sailing for yours truly.

Now, let’s talk about my shipmates. Picture this: a melting pot of characters bringing the party to the poop deck. Among the crowd, there were Americans, Canadians, and Aussies, all vying for the title of “Master of the Cruise Ship Universe.” It was like a mini-Olympics, but with more sunscreen and fewer hurdles. So, there I was, cruising the seas, cracking jokes with newfound friends, and wondering if the penguins back home were as jealous of my nautical adventures as they should be

About Majestic Princess

Built in 2017, Majestic Princess accommodates up to 3,560 guests in 1,830 guest rooms. It’s a luxurious ship with plenty of marble which gives more than a touch of glamour. There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself on board, starting with the two swimming pools with eight jacuzzis.

Medallion Net WiFi is available for free or with an extra package.  I put the package WiFi to the test, and it was reasonable, depending on the ship’s location.  I was able to use make and upload short videos during the cruise and live stream.

Majestic Princess cruising New Zealand with Princess Cruises

Majestic Princess New Zealand
Top deck Majestic Princess

Walking the Sky Walk – Australia to New Zealand with Princess Cruises

Australia to New Zealand with Princess Cruises – The stateroom 

For this seven-night experience, Princess Cruises put me in a mini-suite. These are the only rooms with a bath, so you won’t find that in a balcony or deluxe balcony stateroom. This mid-forward stateroom is 329 square feet and comes with a complimentary glass of bubbly on departure and 24-hour room service.

I didn’t choose room M233 on Level 15m, but it’s a great location. Why?

  • It’s portside (left-hand side), so I get the views of New Zealand’s fabulous coastline.
  • Level 15 is just one below the World Fresh Marketplace. I can pop up for a meal or snack anytime via the stairs or lift.
  • The access points are close, but not close enough, so I am disturbed by lifts or foot traffic.

The room envelops you in a princess-like ambiance, adorned with touches of gold brocade and dark wood finishes that evoke the gentle elegance of cruising. Luxurious curtains, strategically placed, create an intimate canopy around the bed, complemented by a recessed round light overhead. The bedside strip lighting, coupled with a motion-sensitive feature leading to the bathroom, proves invaluable for those midnight trips.

Designed for contemporary living, the room boasts two large-screen televisions mounted on the wall. A USB charging slot strategically positioned on one side of the bed (perfect for potential disputes) and another on the desk cater to our modern tech needs. The television not only serves as entertainment but also facilitates the effortless ordering of room service, including that much-anticipated morning cup of tea.

Speaking of which, the morning cup of tea arrives at my door, a delightful touch accompanied by a priceless smile, albeit with an additional $3 on the bill. Despite the challenge of navigating the in-room television screen to order it, the warmth of the gesture compensates for the effort—especially since there’s no alternative means to brew a morning cuppa, given the absence of a kettle in the room.

Further enhancing the stay, a generously-sized wardrobe functions as a quasi-dressing room, conveniently located just outside the bathroom. This arrangement streamlines the morning routine, making preparations for the day a seamless experience.

Mini suite on Princess Cruises Majestic Princess

Mini suite bed Majestic Princess
Mini suite sitting room Majestic Princess
Mini suite bathroom Majestic Princess

 A Majestic Princess Mini Suite comes with a bath.

Dining on Majestic Princess

Dining aboard cruise ships often brings with it a set of lofty expectations, and as a discerning food writer, I’ve encountered my fair share of letdowns. However, Majestic Princess shattered those preconceptions. The culinary experience here not only met but exceeded my expectations – a rarity in my cruise experiences. The delectable dishes not only looked appealing but also tantalized the taste buds, a feat not easily accomplished on other cruise liners.

Navigating the delicate balance of catering to a diverse range of tastes in a limited timeframe, Majestic Princess excels. The kitchen manages to deliver authentic flavors with impeccable presentations, a testament to their culinary prowess.

Dining options abound, ranging from the upscale Harmony Chinese Restaurant to my personal favorite, Bistro Sur La Mer. The International Café offers a variety of lighter fare and boasts a barista who crafts stellar coffee to keep you fueled throughout the day. And for those moments when the balcony view is too captivating to abandon, especially during a New Zealand cruise, the convenience of 24-hour room service is at your fingertips.

A surprising culinary gem emerged in the form of pizza from Alfredo’s. Its excellence reached new heights when enjoyed on my balcony, accompanied by the mesmerizing backdrop of a sunset. The only culinary letdown was the bug roll, but I must confess, as a fervent admirer of Rick Shores at Burleigh on Queensland’s Gold Coast, my standards for such delicacies are exceptionally high.

A love heart chocolate mousse desert on the Love Boat

Majestic Princess the love boat
Dining at Bistro La Sur on Majestic Princess
Seafood at Bistro La Sur on Majestic Princess

Seafood dining at Bistro La Sur  on Majestic Princess

Majestic Princess New Zealand Ports

So, my cruise with Princess Cruises was like the “Express Edition” – a snappy version hitting up Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch, and Dunedin. Usually, we’d be chilling in the Bay of Islands for 13 days, but Mother Nature threw a curveball, so we took the southern route and got an extra day in Tauranga. Bonus!

We had this one day at sea on the plan, the perfect excuse to check out the ship’s nooks and crannies and kick back in the spa. They’ve got it all there – mani-pedis, facials, and full-on body massages. I went for the hot stone massage, and it was so chill that I was dangerously close to nap-land. After that, I hit up The Enclave, which is basically a spa-sauna combo. Total bliss.

If you’re into adventures on land, the ship’s tours are a must-try, and you can book them right there on the ship. Pro tip: snag those tour spots when you book your cruise so you’re not stuck missing out on the good stuff!

Book your New Zealand with Princess Cruises excursions early!

Cruise New Zealand with Majestic Princess Excursions

Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty

Tauranga, nestled in the Bay of Plenty on New Zealand’s North Island, isn’t just any old city – it’s the country’s fifth-largest and boasts the title of the biggest port in the Bay of Plenty. With its mild climate, dreamy beaches, and a vibe that’s catnip for tourists, it’s basically the cool kid on the Kiwi block. But wait, there’s more! Tauranga also flexes its muscles in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry – a real powerhouse.

Now, when the Majestic Princess rolls into Tauranga, it doesn’t just make a cameo. Nope, it pulls right up to the wharf with a prime view of Mount Maunganui. And guess what? You can stroll off the ship straight into the streets for some boutique shopping and cafe-hopping action.

Hit up Mount Maunganui Beach, and you’ll catch folks doing their best beach life – swimming, surfing, and soaking up those rays. That giant hill, Mount Maunganui itself, is a volcanic cone. Take a hike to the top, and you’re treated to a killer view of the city and the endless ocean. Oh, and if it happens to be a Saturday, make a beeline for the Tauranga Farmers Market. Fresh produce, scrumptious baked goods, and all sorts of locally-made goodies await.

Now, brace yourself for a fruity adventure. Tauranga is a kiwifruit-growing big shot, and lucky visitors can score a tour of the orchards. It’s not just about munching on kiwis; you’ll also get the lowdown on the fruit’s history and how it goes from the orchard to your breakfast table.

Te Puke shore excursion in New Zealand with Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Te Puke Truffle Farm Tour

Let me spill the truffle tea – down in the Bay of Plenty, where the vibes are as good as the climate, you’re not just getting primo kiwifruit. Nope, there’s a tiny spot where the real truffle magic happens, and Maureen and Colin are the power couple living their best retirement life at Te Puke Truffles.

Picture this: Colin’s the orchard maestro, and Maureen’s the brains behind all the trufflelicious products. They’ve got these two furball wizards, Jed and the adorable Sam, trained to sniff out those underground treasures – aka, truffles.

So, we roll up to Te Puke Truffles, and Maureen busts out this truffle spread that’s basically a party for your taste buds. Cheeses, butter, salt, honey, butter (yes, double butter because why not), omelette, shortbread, and hold your cones, truffle ice cream! I swear, that recipe is like the next blockbuster – stay tuned. Colin, on the other hand, becomes our truffle professor, giving us the lowdown on all things truffle farming. It’s like a tasty classroom session, and I’m here for it!

Truffle feast at Te Puke while on a New Zealand  with Princess Cruises tour

Te Puke truffle foods New Zealand Princess Cruises excursion

Maureen, Colin, Jed and Sam in the Te Puke truffle orchard on a New Zealand with Princess Cruises tour

Rotorua Polynesian Spa

Due to rough seas, Majestic Princess had to spend an additional day at Tauranga unexpectedly. This change in plans allowed us to take a trip to Rotorua for a visit to the Polynesian Spa.  The geothermal pools there are known for their therapeutic effects on aches and pains, providing a general sense of well-being. The Deluxe Lake Spa, in particular, was a special indulgence during our extended stay.

A private pool at Polynesian Spa on a New Zealand with Princess Cruises tour

Exploring Wellington

In Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, situated at the southwestern tip of the North Island, a day ashore provides an opportunity to explore its natural beauty. The harbor, surrounded by hills and a rugged coastline, offers a picturesque setting. Known as the cultural capital of New Zealand, Wellington houses numerous museums and galleries, notably Te Papa, the national museum, where visitors can delve into the country’s history, art, and culture.

A popular tourist attraction in the city is the cable car, offering a scenic journey to the top of a hill for a panoramic view of the city and the harbor. It provides a calm and elevated perspective of Wellington’s landscape.

Walking through Wellington.

Princess Cruises Fresh Taste Walking Tour in wellington

On my shore day in Wellington, I hopped on the Princess Cruises Fresh Taste Walking Tour – the ultimate foodie adventure! This tour wasn’t just a stroll; it was a journey through the heart of the city, hitting up Wellington’s finest hospitality spots with tasty pit stops along the way. It was like a flavour-packed marathon, and I was there for every delicious step!

Wellington is also known for its coffee culture, and it has many cafes, roasters, and bars where visitors can sample the local coffee and craft beers.  Our stops included tasting chocolate at Wellington Chocolate Factory, a beer-tasting paddle at Whistling Sisters Beer Co, Wellington Fresh Market where they have a serve-yourself mussel tank, Wellington Seamarket to taste local delicacies such as paua fritter (abalone fritters) and Duck Island Ice Cream where I couldn’t resist Ambrosia ice cream!

After a day of exploring, there’s something serene about opting for room service and unwinding with dinner on your private balcony. As the ship gracefully sailed out of Wellington, tracing the coastline, the captain’s farewell took a nostalgic turn with the opening notes of The Love Boat theme – a charming Princess Cruises tradition.

Inspired by the tune, I couldn’t resist indulging in an episode of The Love Boat on TV, reminiscing about Julie, Captain Stubbing, Doc, and Gopher. Julie, naturally, held the title of my favourite character. Just like that, the ship smoothly crossed the strait between the North and South Islands. As I woke up the next morning, a majestic mountain greeted me from outside my balcony, signalling our entrance into Queen Charlotte Sound for a day in Picton.

 Tasting paddle at Whistling Sisters in Wellington.

Picton and Queen Charlotte Sound

So, the Majestic Princess rolls into Picton, and the first thing you see is a sea of logs, all decked out with barcodes. It’s like a log party, and they’re being super picky about which logs they want. I mean, who knew logging could be so high-tech?

Now, watching this giant ship do a dance in the narrow sound, reversing into the dock like a boss – major kudos to the captain! The mist hanging around, and those towering mountains, add a touch of mystery to the whole scene. It’s like we’ve stumbled into a misty mountain magic show.

But wait, the gangplank surprise is next level. These awesome ladies at the end of it hand out cute little corsages to everyone. It’s like a floral welcome committee, and you can’t help but feel special strolling off the ship with a flower on your lapel.

Now, onto the transfer bus adventure to Picton. Passing by where the Cook Islands ferry takes off – imagine a three-and-a-half-hour journey with seas going wild enough to splash right over the massive ferry’s bow. Insane!

Finally, Picton’s main street is calling, and they’ve got this genius blue line on the footpath to guide you through some serious shopping. And oh, the public toilets – they’re like a Japanese comedy routine. Door locks, automatic tunes (cue The Girl from Ipanema), and a strict 10-minute timer. Hilarious bathroom breaks, anyone? 

Glorious floral corsages were given to welcome passengers in Picton.

 Marlborough Flyer Historic Steam Train

So, right across from the bus station, there’s this whole spectacle at the railway station. Picture this: black smoke billowing, steam shooting into the air – it’s the Marlborough Flyer Historic Steam Train Marlborough Flyer Historic Steam Train gearing up for action. And guess what? I did some top-secret sneaking and hopped on board for a sneaky stroll through the carriages before it chugged off on its 50-minute adventure to Seddon.

And here’s the best part – you can snag a ride straight from the cruise ship. It’s like a five-hour round trip of pure locomotive joy. All aboard for a choo-choo escapade! 

Hop aboard this New Zealand with Princess Cruises tour!

Blue pearl necklace at Arapawa Blue Pearls

 Beautiful blue pearl jewellery at Arapawa Blue Pearls

Cruise the Queen Charlotte Sounds and Arapawa Blue Pearls

Embarking on a 50-minute cruise to Arapawa Blue Pearls in the Queens Charlotte Sound offered a serene experience. The homestead, surrounded by a garden showcasing beautiful hydrangeas, served as the backdrop for our visit.

Our exploration commenced at the homestead, where morning tea was enjoyed, accompanied by insights into the 20-year process developed by the Radon family for cultivating deep blue pearls through paua farming. A tour of the growing shed provided a detailed understanding of the intricate procedures involved. The subsequent segment included observing the pearls being transformed into jewelry, available for purchase. Additionally, we had the opportunity to sample freshly harvested and lightly fried abalone, a pleasant culinary experience.

So much to see on this New Zealand with Princess Cruises tour.

Blue pearl rings at Arawapa Blue Pearls
Paua shells at Arawapa Blue Pearls
Abalone at Arawapa Blue Pearls
gardens at Arapawa Blue Pearls
Arawapa Blue Pearls

 Christchurch and a Double Decker Bus Tour

So, we docked at Lyttleton, the port for Christchurch, and let me tell you, the harbour view from my balcony was next-level stunning. It was like a parade of watercraft doing a little dance on the waves – balcony chill level 1000.

Now, buckle up for the double-decker bus adventure! We kicked off by cruising through a tunnel straight out of the swinging 60s, connecting Littleton to Christchurch. Get this – the city survived a wild 6.3 earthquake in 2011. The tour let us see the city from a local’s perspective..

As the bus rolled through, we checked out city landmarks, from the Earthquake Memorial Wall to Cathedral Square, the Margaret Mahy playground, the serene Avon River, and the out-of-this-world Transitional Cardboard Cathedral. Oh, and they even let us stretch our sea legs at the stunning Mona Vale gardens, soaking in heritage-listed goodness with the homestead, gatehouse, and the legendary Sign of the Takahe. Talk about a bus tour with all the city vibes!

Lyttleton Harbour, New Zealand

 Lyttleton Harbour.

The Good and the Bad

Things I like about Majestic Princess

Every cruise ship is different, and the things I like about Majestic Princess may or may not be important to you, but it’s good to have all the facts so you can pick the best cruise ship for your next holiday.

  • When homeporting in Australia, the ship runs on Aussie dollars This ship uses Australian dollars, not American dollars. It much easier to work out the cost of something when you buy in the gift shop and when you’re purchasing a coffee or a treat at one of the venues where there’s an extra cost.
  • Sit in the jacuzzi and watch a movie with an open sky  On the top deck, you can watch a movie while you’re sitting in the spa or swimming in the pool.
  • Order anything and it will be delivered wherever you are! I can sit on my cabin balcony and order from an extensive menu, which includes excellent pizzas, and it will all be delivered to my room.
  • The Piazza I can come down to the Piazza and order a lovely coffee and have a very light snack for breakfast if I want something for lunch or afternoon tea. It’s a lovely space, and there’s often beautiful music here. Even though there are 4000 people on this ship, it never feels crowded. There are so many spaces for people to congregate. It’s very well designed.
  • The spa treatments are gorgeous! There’s a spa where you can have fabulous treatments, and the therapist sorted out my skin issues which was wonderful. There’s also a place called The Enclave that’s a steam room and a huge spa with heated beds.
  • Night-friendly lighting I like that I can get up in the middle of the night, and underlighting comes on in my stateroom and guides me to the bathroom, and then it turns off automatically when I get back in bed.

Things I didn’t like about Majestic Princess

Only two things here, and they are not deal breakers.

  • Tea fail One thing that I particularly didn’t like about Majestic Princess, and that was the tea! I don’t like getting a cup of hot water and a teabag and having that as my only tea option, even in the coffee shop. Bring back the pot of tea, please.
  • No outside walking circuit There’s nothing better than getting up in the morning and filling your lungs with fresh air while you walk around the top deck of a cruise boat, but on Majestic Princess, you’ll have to go to the gym for a workout or be satisfied with the partial running/walking track on Deck 18. There are lots of walking machines with a great sea view, but it’s not outside. Another way to keep your steps up is to take the stairs. I found I was spending a lot of time on deck five, and with my stateroom on deck 15, that’s ten flights of stairs, actually, 20 flights, as there are two flights on each level, to keep your daily step count up.

Want to know more?

There is a wide selection of options when it comes to cruising Australia to New Zealand with Princess Cruises.  Find out more here.

Would I recommend this New Zealand with Majestic Princess cruise?

Would I recommend this Australia to New Zealand with Princess Cruises trip? Absolutely!  Majestic Princess introduced me to a new level of cruising that fits me like a glove.  It’s not the most expensive cruise, nor the cheapest, but it offers value for money and a good experience.  I’ve seen some great early bird and last-minute specials for this route and suggest that’s the best way to save money.  Use those extra dollars in your kitty to upgrade your cabin and book memorable shore excursions.

More things to do in New Zealand

Cruising from Brisbane?

Princess Cruises stops at Brisbane, so if you plan to join a cruise here, this is what you need to know about Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.

Disclaimer: Kerry Heaney travelled as a guest of Princess Cruises.