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Mattsudds

Majestic Princess: Harmony and La Mer restaurants

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http://www.princess.com/news/news_releases/2016/11/Princess-Cruises-Announces-Partnership-with-Three-Michelin-Star-French-Chef-Emmanuel-Renaut.html

 

Back in November last year, Princess announced the above innovations in the restaurant range aboard Majestic Princess. I'm just back from the preview of Majestic Princess and thought I would post a couple of observations. Please note that this was a preview cruise and as a result it was not possible to reserve these restaurants until onboard (at least not online or via Princess) and they did not all have the full range of items available yet.

 

Harmony - This is in the restaurant space opposite reception. For a Chinese restaurant the decor is relatively muted. The service is very friendly and attentive. When operating fully there is a wide ranging menu, and everything my party of 3 tried was delicious. We actually went for a sea day lunch which was complimentary. Because the full menu wasn't loaded, the menu was reduced but oddly the lunch menu was better, in my view, that the dinner one. Perhaps the only thing that let this restaurant down was the menu of fruit drinks and smoothies. They sounded so great that we ordered 3 but they took 45 minutes to come and were served in plastic, take-away containers. A bit out of keeping with the surroundings. In my party we had the Peking Duck salad - absolutely delightful. Beef in Black Bean sauce and the cripsy chicken - again excellent. Desert at lunch is a fruit plate - very tasty and delicately arranged. Great service, would have been happy to pay for this if there had been a cover charge.

 

La Mer - What a disappointment. This restaurant has so many things wrong with it for dinner. The cover charge of $35 was simply not worth it on this occasion. So what didn't we like?

 

Well first things first. The setting is all wrong for this kind of restaurant. The supposed highest class dining experience on the ship is basically a through route at the top of the atrium. Other ships in this class have a bar or a tapas type place here which works much better. There is no Maitre D' point where you enter the restaurant so all arriving customers wander around aimlessly getting mixed up with people using the place as a corridor. The staff don't seem to pay attention to people obviously waiting to be served either. First impressions matter and this isn't great.

 

Second problem. The layout puts some tables actually right in the corridor and others in a windowless dead end of the space. If you get one of the tables by the glass window port side, it is great. Otherwise not so much. We were initially offered a table way out by the door to the outside deck, clearly there as an after thoughts.

 

The menu - decent french bistro food served with a modern style. But there was the 3rd problem. Any dishes which were cold dishes were pre-plated. And then refrigerated. I had the Pate en croute which was served straight from fridge on a cold plate. I don't expect pre plated food in a 'Michelin starred' restaurant. The same thing happened with any of the cold deserts.

 

Next issue - the amuse bouches. These were shown on the menu but surprisingly there is no room for variation - its take it or leave it. If you have a vegetarian in your party they just miss out. I have dined in similar restaurants on many ships and take it or leave it has never been the policy.

 

We ordered from a pleasant enough waiter but the overall staff training needs some work here. The waiter described the cooking of the dish - duck in the case of one of my party - as being partly raw. I'm sure it was a language issue but when the diner said they would prefer it medium, initially the waiter was going to refuse and say chef wouldn't allow it. I appreciate that in fine dining restaurants the chef has recommended ways of cooking things for optimum enjoyment, but they are rarely compulsory and never compulsorily 'raw'.

 

The wine menu has wine by the Carafe but they didn't want to serve carafe's. They had both the wine we wanted and carafe jugs so we couldn't work out why.

 

When the main courses came, one of our party had orzo as the side dish but it was almost cold. It took alot of effort to send it back and at first the waiter seemed surprised that we would want to. All we wanted was a hot side dish but the waiter seemed reluctant to get it done, and instead offered to bring something else. That was itself pretty good service in offering the replacement but it is worrying that he thought cold food was normal and seemed afraid to tell the kitchen. The Maitre D' also came over to see how the meal was going and when we mentioned the cold item, he also promised to investigate and come back and check the new one was ok. He never came until desert.

 

The food came with a bowl of french style bread. I say style because it wasn't crispy like an actual french bread, and it was overall a very uninventive selection for a premium restaurant.

 

Desserts were very good, although the cold ones on cold plate things did reduce the impact. The waiter brought the bill immediately after this course without asking if we wanted coffee or a digestif. On the bill we also had bottled water because, and I quote 'we do not have tap water in here' - I thought that was a policy only MSC had.

 

Overall the design of this restaurant, the service, the temperature issues and the general lack of ambience made this an experience I would not recommend. On future cruises diners may well have a better experience as the waiters are better trained but there is not much can be done to fix this location which just feels very wrong for a premium dining experience. I recognise that everyone's experience will be different and this is how I felt about mine.

 

By way of background, I am a frequent cruise traveller, and have spent alot of time in France, living there. I say this only so that other readers know what may have coloured my expectations. If you do go on Majestic Princess and want to try this restaurant, I would recommend considering lunch instead. Although the menu is simpler, it is also complimentary and would enable you to judge whether you want to spend the extra for the dinner experience first.

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Thanks so much for your review. I will be boarding her Sunday. I definately want to try Harmony but La Mer not so much. Especially after this review. What was your overall impression of the cruise. Did everything else seem to be in working order.

This is my 1st "new" ship sail and a 1st Princess for me.

Thanks

Kerri

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Hello,

Thank you for your post, we are due on the Majestic on 5 June, I will take on board all your comments and your review will probably save me $70 for a disappointing meal. We will however try the lunch menu.

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I enjoyed the ship overall alot. By way of conparison, I also sailed on Royal's inaugural voyage. Overall most things were working well, it was only very minor matters of finish that i saw being done. This was quite a contrast to when Harmony of the Seas was introduced and she was a building site in places.

 

Princess provide an impressive cruise product that just works. They have some superb live music around the ship, they do movies under the stars like no one else and in general their staff service is good. We were on anytime dining and the waiters on recognised us when we sat in the same section for a second time - pretty inpressive given how many people they must see.

 

The ship is different to Royal and Regal and some things are actually better. The Hollywood Conservstory is quite a nice space, and unlike the sanctuary it is not extra charge. Of course i would actually rather the P&O version with a proper crow's next bar but you cant have everything. The aft lounge will seemingly become more gambling space in china but right now its just a secondary show lounge like the other ships.

 

Perhaps the only other issue, was again food related but this time in the buffet. Even at the start of service with newly put out dishes, the food temperature wasnt really hot enough, and nothing seemed to be labelled. There probably was a logic to the layout but I couldnt work it out if there was. So it was a bit of a trek to examine all counters before choosing. But if that is the biggest worry, things are pretty good really.

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I enjoyed the ship overall alot. By way of conparison, I also sailed on Royal's inaugural voyage. Overall most things were working well, it was only very minor matters of finish that i saw being done. This was quite a contrast to when Harmony of the Seas was introduced and she was a building site in places.

 

Princess provide an impressive cruise product that just works. They have some superb live music around the ship, they do movies under the stars like no one else and in general their staff service is good. We were on anytime dining and the waiters on recognised us when we sat in the same section for a second time - pretty inpressive given how many people they must see.

 

The ship is different to Royal and Regal and some things are actually better. The Hollywood Conservstory is quite a nice space, and unlike the sanctuary it is not extra charge. Of course i would actually rather the P&O version with a proper crow's next bar but you cant have everything. The aft lounge will seemingly become more gambling space in china but right now its just a secondary show lounge like the other ships.

 

Perhaps the only other issue, was again food related but this time in the buffet. Even at the start of service with newly put out dishes, the food temperature wasnt really hot enough, and nothing seemed to be labelled. There probably was a logic to the layout but I couldnt work it out if there was. So it was a bit of a trek to examine all counters before choosing. But if that is the biggest worry, things are pretty good really.

 

Thanks so much for comparison. I am so excited and happy to hear ship is in great shape. Hopefully they will label the food and get the temperature right....but hey if that's the worst it will be amazing!

Kerri

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Very excellent report. Thank you.

 

I do have a comment/question on your criticism of the amuse-bouche in the La Mer restaurant.

 

Next issue - the amuse bouches. These were shown on the menu but surprisingly there is no room for variation - its take it or leave it. If you have a vegetarian in your party they just miss out. I have dined in similar restaurants on many ships and take it or leave it has never been the policy.

My experience is more with land-based restaurants rather than on ships, but that experience is that an amuse-bouche is rarely a menu item, and there is only one offering to all diners. If an amuse-bouche is offered, it is usually presented shortly after being seated and, often, before the waiter takes our meal order. I have never been offered a choice. So, yes, it is take it or leave it.

 

Now, my experience may be somewhat parochial. So, let me gather wisdom from the Cruise Critic crowd. When offered an amuse-bouche is it the experience of other readers to be able to choose from a selection?

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You're absolutely right that the amuse Bouche is not normally a menu item and I wouldn't expect to choose them. It is however shown in the menu for La Mer.

 

However when I have dined in such places before, if there was any dietary requirement, the chef usually has an alternative up their sleeve. This was certainly always the case on cruise ship restaurants, especially when they ask about allergies or dietary needs at the time of reservation several days in advance. In La Mer it as just a symptom of the attitude towards customers which is quite different than the rest of the ship. Ultimately the amuse bouche isn't going to make the difference between going to this place or staying away, I only mention it because it was below expectations - rather than exceeding expectations which cruise lines always want on the comment form.

Edited by Mattsudds
forgot a sentence

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http://www.princess.com/news/news_releases/2016/11/Princess-Cruises-Announces-Partnership-with-Three-Michelin-Star-French-Chef-Emmanuel-Renaut.html

 

 

 

La Mer - What a disappointment. This restaurant has so many things wrong with it for dinner. The cover charge of $35 was simply not worth it on this occasion. So what didn't we like?

 

 

Thank you for taking time to write a review. This is rather sad. One pays $35 for a meal and everything is pre-plated or cold? Hope this was a fluke and not the norm.

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You're absolutely right that the amuse Bouche is not normally a menu item and I wouldn't expect to choose them. It is however shown in the menu for La Mer.

 

However when I have dined in such places before, if there was any dietary requirement, the chef usually has an alternative up their sleeve. This was certainly always the case on cruise ship restaurants, especially when they ask about allergies or dietary needs at the time of reservation several days in advance. In La Mer it as just a symptom of the attitude towards customers which is quite different than the rest of the ship. Ultimately the amuse bouche isn't going to make the difference between going to this place or staying away, I only mention it because it was below expectations - rather than exceeding expectations which cruise lines always want on the comment form.

 

I agree with you completely in the case of cruise lines. They do, generally, seem to try very hard to accommodate passengers with food allergies.

 

In all honesty, I cannot recall ever being offered an amuse-bouche in a ship's restaurant, but I suspect that I do not cruise as much as you.

 

It may be that some kinks have yet to be worked on on the Majestic.

 

Again, you provided an excellent report on your experience. Good job and thanks.

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Thanks for your review.

As a stockholder, I hope all these new dining venues work out for Princess. However, neither one of these sound like something I would try even if I didn't have to pay extra.. :confused:

 

On the Coral in February, every time we walked by the specialty restaurants they were empty...not sure if it's the food or people just aren't willing to pay for them.

 

....but I guess they need to keep trying different things...and since this ship is scheduled for China, maybe it will work well for them.

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We board the Majestic in Singapore for the inaugural Far Eastern voyage. 21 days should be long enough to try these two new restaurants at lunch a couple of times to get a feel for their dinner value. Looking forward to the noodles and the lobster rolls!

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and this small town Central Illinois gal had to google "amuse bouches" to see what it was!

I am not ashamed to admit I too had to Google. :)

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We board the Majestic in Singapore for the inaugural Far Eastern voyage. 21 days should be long enough to try these two new restaurants at lunch a couple of times to get a feel for their dinner value. Looking forward to the noodles and the lobster rolls!

Joining in SINGAPORE too!! Will not be long now woopeeeeeeee!!! :cool:

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Does anyone have a digital copy of the menu for La Mer and Harmony? It's not on the Princess website.

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Posted (edited)
Does anyone have a digital copy of the menu for La Mer and Harmony? It's not on the Princess website.

 

Below is the La Mer menu from our preview cruise review.

We went to Harmony but it was a temporary menu as they hadn't got all the ingredients on board at that stage.

 

IMG_0089_zpsqao98oiz.jpg

Edited by dides

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Thanks for uploading this. The Princess website is now working so the menus are up as they should be:-)

 

 

Below is the La Mer menu from our preview cruise review.

We went to Harmony but it was a temporary menu as they hadn't got all the ingredients on board at that stage.

 

IMG_0089_zpsqao98oiz.jpg

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