Ditch your ordinary life! Cruise from Australia to New Zealand with Princess Cruises for a dreamy first-time adventure! It’s the perfect ocean odyssey. The deepwater ports in New Zealand are ideal for large cruise ships and give guests the best chance to enjoy a relaxing holiday in comfort. 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! The food on this cruise was excellent too, and I don’t say that about all my cruise experiences!

Cruising Australia to New Zealand with Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises invited me as a guest on this cruise from Australia to New Zealand. I joined the cruise in Auckland and cruised along the coastline through the Bay of Islands to the ports of Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch and Dunedin. I travelled while the seas were still affected by a massive flood event that closed Auckland’s airport for a day, but apart from some gentle rocking, it was smooth sailing for me. The passengers onboard were a real mix, but at the top were almost equal numbers of Americans, Canadians and Australians.

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 is full of touches that make you feel like a princess, gold brocade and dark wood finishes that remind me of the gentle elegance of cruising. There are curtains, designed to divide the room, that almost turn the bed into a sequestered canopy with a recessed round light overhead. There’s the strip lighting bedside the bed and before the bathroom that pops on when your feet hit the ground after lights out. Very useful for a midnight bathroom run.

It’s geared up for modern life with two large-screen televisions on the wall and a USB charging slot on one side of the bed only (so you can fight about that). There is another USB charging slot on the desk. The television is a convenient way to order room service and that very welcome morning cup of tea.

Then there’s that morning cup of tea delivered to my door. Granted, it took me as much time to work out how to order it on my in-room television screen as it would to make it at home, but the smile that comes with it is priceless. Well, with the extra $3 on my bill and no other way to get a morning cuppa, as there is no jug in the room.

There’s a very spacious wardrobe that creates a dressing room like a walk-in wardrobe just outside the bathroom. It simplifies the process of getting ready for the day.

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

There are a lot of expectations when it comes to dining on cruise ships.  As a food writer, I have high hopes, and I’ve often been disappointed. However, not on Majestic Princess.  Here the food tasted as good as it looked, and I can’t say that about other cruise ships I have travelled on.  It’s always a compromise when a kitchen must cater for a wide range of tastes in a short time, but they do it very well on Majestic Princess with authentic flavours and excellent presentations.

Dining options are plentiful, including top dining at Harmony Chinese Restaurant and my favourite on the trip, Bistro Sur La Mer. The International Café has a range of light options and good barista coffee that will keep you going throughout the day. If the view from your balcony is too good to leave, a distinct possibility on this New Zealand cruise, you can order 24-hour room service.

The biggest surprise on the cruise was pizza from Alfredo’s.  It was excellent, and even better when delivered to my room to enjoy with a balcony sunset view. The only disappointment was the bug roll, but as a fan of Rick Shores at Burleigh on Queensland’s Gold Coast, I have very high standards when it comes to bug rolls.

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

My cruise was a shortened version of the standard Princess Cruises and included the ports of Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch and Dunedin.  Normally this 13-day cruise would linger in the Bay of Islands. However, there had been a weather event, and rough seas meant it was better to head south.  We had two days in the port of Tauranga instead.

There was one day at sea on the itinerary, which was an opportunity to explore the ship and relax in the spa and enclave. You can have everything from a manicure or facial to a full body massage at the spa. I love a hot stone massage, and it was so relaxing I almost fell asleep. Later in the day, I tried The Enclave with a spa and sauna.

I highly recommend the tours I experienced, which are all bookable on the ship.  Savvy cruisers know that the best time to book excursions is when you book your cruise, so you don’t miss out.

Book your New Zealand with Princess Cruises excursions early!

Cruise New Zealand with Majestic Princess Excursions


Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty

Tauranga is located in the Bay of Plenty region on the North Island of New Zealand. It is New Zealand’s fifth-largest city and the largest port in the Bay of Plenty. It is known for its mild climate and beautiful beaches and is a popular destination for tourists. Tauranga is also a major centre for agriculture, horticulture, and forestry.

Majestic Princess pulls right into the wharf at Tauranga within sight of Mount Maunganui, and you can walk off into the streets to enjoy boutique shopping and explore the many cafes.

At Mount Maunganui Beach, you’ll see people swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. Mount Maunganui is a volcanic cone, and if you walk to the top, it offers a great view of the city and the ocean. If you are visiting on a Saturday, the Tauranga Farmers Market offers fresh produce, baked goods, and other locally made food items.

Tauranga is a major kiwifruit-growing area, and visitors can take a tour of the orchards and learn about the history and cultivation of the fruit.

Te Puke shore excursion in New Zealand with Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Te Puke Truffle Farm Tour

The Bay of Plenty climate produces not only the world’s highest quality kiwifruit but also, in one small spot, sought-after black Perigord truffles. Maureen and Colin are living their retirement lifestyle dream at Te Puke Truffles.  Colin tends the orchard, and Maureen makes all the truffle products.

Their highly trained truffle dogs, Jed and gorgeous young Sam are responsible for finding the truffles underground.

Maureen treated us to an amazing array of truffle treats, including cheeses, butter, salt, honey, butter, omelette, shortbread and ice cream. Truffle ice cream Recipe is coming soon. It’s delicious!  Colin told the group all about truffle farming.

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

High seas meant that Majestic Princess spent an unscheduled extra day at Tauranga, which meant we could include a trip to nearby Rotorua for a dip at the Polynesian Spa.  These geothermal pools are just magic for aches and pains but also give me a wonderful sense of general well-being.  An hour in these pools, and I’m skipping like a teenager.  The Deluxe Lake Spa was a special treat.

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


Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand and is located at the southwestern tip of the North Island. It is known for its beautiful natural setting, with a harbour surrounded by hills and a rugged coastline. Known as the cultural capital of New Zealand, the city is home to many museums and galleries, including Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand.  Here you’ll discover much about New Zealand’s history, art, and culture.

One of the top tourist attractions is the cable car which takes visitors to the top of the hill for a panoramic view of the city and the harbour.

Walking through Wellington.

Princess Cruises Fresh Taste Walking Tour

I joined a Princess Cruises Fresh Taste Walking Tour, which took me through the heart of the city, visiting some of the best hospitality outlets in Wellington with tastings along the way.

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 excursion, it’s nice to order room service and just relax over dinner on your own balcony. As the ship cruised out of Wellington along the coastline, the captain played the first few notes of The Love Boat theme as a farewell. It’s a Princess Cruises tradition.

After that, I had to watch an episode of The Love Boat on tv and remember Julie, Captain Stubbing, Doc and Gopher. Julie was my favourite, of course.  And just like that, the ship crossed the strait between the north and south islands. I wake up to see a mountain outside my balcony as we cruise into Queen Charlotte Sound for a day in Picton.

 Tasting paddle at Whistling Sisters in Wellington.

Picton and Queen Charlotte Sound

Majestic Princess arrives in Picton to a port full of logs. Every log is barcoded, so they know exactly what they have here, so they only pick the ones they want. It was amazing to watch this big ship turning in the narrow sound and then reversing into the dock. Full marks to the captain!  It’s very misty, and the mountains are high around the sound, which makes it all seem a little mysterious.

The welcome at the end of the gangplank is quite special. The ladies prepared lovely little individual corsages for everybody, and they presented them to travellers as you they came down the gangplank.

A transfer bus took us to Picton. It passes where the ferry leaves for the Cook Islands three and a half hours journey, where the seas can get quite rough and go right over the bow of the very large ferry. When you get into Picton, all you have to do is follow the blue line painted on the footpath to get into the main street of the town where there is lots of shopping.  You have to use the public toilets in Picton. They are Japanese style. When you get inside, the door locks automatically, and they give you 10 minutes to do whatever you need to do while they play The Girl from Impiana. Hillarious!

Glorious floral corsages were given to welcome passengers in Picton.

 Marlborough Flyer Historic Steam Train

Just opposite the bus station is the railway station, where you’ll see black smoke followed by steam bursting into the air from the Marlborough Flyer Historic Steam Train as it builds up its head. I snuck on board for a quick walk through the carriages before it left for a 50-minute journey to Seddon.  You can book a ride from the cruise ship. It takes about five hours return.

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

It’s a very pleasant 50-minute fast cruise to Arapawa Blue Pearls through the beautiful Queens Charlotte Sound to a homestead set amongst an amazing garden filled with the most stunning hydrangeas I have seen.

It started in the homestead, where we enjoyed morning tea and heard how the deep blue pearls are created by farming paua. It’s a system developed over 20 years by the Radon family who lives and work here.  A tour of the growing shed demonstrated the intricate nature of this process.  Then it was onto the fun part of seeing the pearls made into stunning jewellery, which is available for purchase. Nothing is wasted here, and I was also able to try freshly harvested and lightly fried abalone, which was totally delicious!

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

The port for Christchurch is Lyttleton which has a magnificent harbour.  I enjoyed sitting on my balcony and watching the many watercraft dart over the water.

The double-decker bus tour starts by going through a tunnel built in the 1960s from Littleton to Christchurch. It’s a chance to see this city which survived a 6.3 earthquake right under the city on 22 Feb 2011, from a local’s eyes. The earthquake threw everything in the air four times and 70 per cent of the city was damaged.

This central city tour takes you past many central city landmarks, including the Earthquake Memorial Wall, Cathedral Square, Margaret Mahy playground, Avon River and the Transitional Cardboard Cathedral. There’s a chance to get out and stretch your legs at the stunning gardens at Mona Vale and see the heritage-listed buildings with the homestead, gatehouse, and the Sign of the Takahe.

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.