Authored by Celia Lamberth
2017 was a year of travel highlights for us and one of our absolute favourites was a 5-week voyage aboard the Majestic Princess from Barcelona to Singapore.
Repositioning Cruises offer great value
We’d both wanted to do a long cruise for many years. We read an article about how the cruise market in China was growing quickly with the rise of the new middle class, and how Princess Cruises was one of the first cruise lines to custom-build a ship for the Chinese market.
The article mentioned that the ship would be repositioning from the Mediterranean to China (repositioning voyages often mean great deals!) so we looked online sure enough, we found one!
We considered cruising the entire way from Barcelona to Shanghai, a 58-night journey and decided instead to finish in Singapore, a still-considerable 35 nights. We’d have 5 weeks aboard a brand-new ship to explore more than a dozen ports!
We joined the Majestic Princess in Barcelona. Barcelona is a major international cruise port (there were 5 other ships docked there when we boarded), which might explain why it was pricey and getting financing for the accommodation was required. We managed to find a nice, small, affordable hotel, but average hotel rooms were more than 200 euros a night at most other hotels.
Taking in the sights of Barcelona
We used the hop-on / hop-off bus tour similar to what we did during our trip to Paris to acquaint ourselves with the city and see the major tourist landmarks like the Gaudi Cathedral. We gorged ourselves on wine and tapas, and occasionally finished with Spanish donuts in chocolate dipping sauce.
One of our favourite places was Bar El Velodromo, a beautifully renovated café/bar just off of Avinguda Diagonal in the Eixample region. We often started the day there, sipping fantastic coffee while combing over our city maps in search of the new destinations to explore.
On the morning of our departure, we took a taxi to the Muelle Adosado pier at the Puerto De Barcelona and were met by the stunning Majestic Princess. We checked our bags and joined the queue for pre-boarding.
Majestic Princess Amenities
Once aboard and settled into our luxurious mini-suite, we set out to explore the ship. The range of amenities was staggering, with everything from a bubble-tea bar, to a casino to an indoor shooting range and everything in between. In the middle of the ship was the world’s largest outdoor movie screen on a cruise ship, and we’d often lay on the sunbeds at night watching a movie while wrapped up in a blanket sipping cocktails.
The onboard dining was to die for! We opted for anytime dining, so we could call each morning and book a table for between 5:30 pm and 10:00 pm each night. This meant that if we were going on a shore excursion and knew we’d be hungry when we got back, we could dine early.
Otherwise, we’d generally book a late table because we were grazing at the 5 star buffet all day. The quality of the speciality restaurants was excellent as well.
Majestic Princess Cruise ports of call
Over the 5 weeks we visited Cartagena (Spain), Gibraltar (Great Britain), Toulon (France), Genoa, Florence, Rome and Naples (Italy), Athens and Santorini (Greece), 2 days scenic cruising in the Suez Canal, Aqaba (Jordan), Duabi and Abu Dhabi (UAE), Cochin (India), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (Malaysia).
Visiting the lost city of Petra, Jordan was an absolute highlight for me. Ever since seeing it in Indiana Jones I’ve dreamt of visiting there. We went on a tour organised by Princess because we were worried about getting back to the ship on time, and we were back on board by 6pm.
Later we heard that some other passengers who’d booked independent tours weren’t quite so lucky, and had to meet us at our next port.
We had up to 5 days at sea at any one time, which we enjoyed by the pool with a good book or with trips to the gym to burn off the buffet! We also had time to get to know other cruise passengers and hear their stories, which is one of the things we love about cruising.
Are you planning your next cruise? Be sure to see our guide on what to wear to make sure you make a statement.
Our trip on the Majestic Princess was a highlight of 2017, and we cannot wait to do it again.
Including our time in Barcelona we spent 7 weeks travelling, and although we were glad to get home we’re already browsing cruise websites in search of our next big adventure.
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