It’s been billed as the battle of the big ships. In 2018, Australia will have two newly built mega liners – and Cruise Passenger has road-tested both.

Next September, Sydney’s newest and biggest premium ship will sail triumphantly into the harbour.

Majestic Princess will be just 17 months old, and her arrival will rejuvenate the Premium class with fantastic Michelin-starred dining and the biggest fashion mall at sea.

Eight weeks later, the ship some say will be her biggest competitor, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class Ovation of the Seas – choc full of the latest technological gadgets like robot barmen, iFly simulators and luxurious sky loft suites – will tie up at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

So which one will win Sydney’s heart?

Majestic Princess is causing a stir because she has many of the attributes of a luxury ships – without the steep price tag.

She is proudly premium – but with great food, big musical shows for entertainment, a huge spa called The Enclave and specially designed luxury beds.

Her 1,000 square metres of shopping mall is home to Prada, Couch, Cartier, Gucci,  Bulgari…the list goes on.

She takes 3,600 passengers on 19 decks. For the premium Class, she is a game changer.

But Ovation of the Seas is a game changer, too. She is supposed to be in the “contemporary” class of ships, but in reality she is pushing into Premium.

She carries 4,905 passengers, has 18 dining options including a Jamie Oliver and a gastronomic restaurant called Wonderland.

But the biggest ticks for the Ovation – especially among those with kids –  is ripcord by iFly, a sky dive simulator, a circus school and dodgem cars.

Our verdict

Both these ships represent the best in new-style cruising – great food, terrific places to see and entertainment and activities you won’t find anywhere else. You can’t beat the value.

If you’re a couple and love to relax on a sophisticated and luxurious vessel, go for the Majestic Princess.  No-one does New Zealand like Princess, for instance, and they’ve just started immersive food and cultural cruises across the ditch that sound fabulous.

But if you have kids, the Ovation of the Seas is hard to beat for fun and value.

Who has what

Majestic Princess

Launched 4 April 2017

Total passengers – 3560

Crew – 1346

No of cabins – 1780 including 36 suites with private balconies.

Number of decks – 19


Five specialty restaurants – Harmony (Classic Cantonese restaurant with Michelin chef Richard Chen) La Mer (also a Michelin chef), Crown Grill (traditional but brilliant), Chef’s Table and Ultimate balcony dining.

In addition, there’s Alfredo’s Pizzeria, Chopsticks Noodle Bar, Lobster & Dim Sum Bar, an international café, World Fresh Marketplace including the Bakery – Five bars from Wake View Bar to SeaView Bar.


A covered pool club, karaoke, the SeaWalk, Vista Gaming lounge with 16 mahjong tables,  casino, private gaming room, sports centre for basketball, tennis, volleyball, a miniature putting green, driving  cage, football, ping pong tables, internet café and library


Movies under the stars, musical productions at Princess Theatre, Princess Live with featured guest entertainers and BIG musical shows.

Additional amenities

Princess luxury bed

Onboard activities for kids from 3 – 17 years of age – three youth and teen centres.

Lotus Spa

 Ovation of the Seas

 Launched 17 April 2016

Total passengers  – 4905

Crew – 1500

Number of cabins – 2091 including 1572 with balconies.

Number of decks – 18


Number of restaurants – 18 with 6 main dining rooms and 6 signature restaurants. Including Jamie’s Italian (family favourite!), Wonderland (amazing food and service with a surprise!) and Izumi Japanese cuisine (brilliant and fresh). There are also 8 casual cafes including the Kung Fu panda noodle shop.


There are some great and technologically advanced activities like the sky diving simulator, iFly, the North Star, a viewing platform, the SeaPlex which has a roller rink and dodgem cars as well as the FlowRider, a surf simulator.


Kids can entertain themselves with stars from Dreamworks films. There is also an Adventure Ocean youth centre for children of all ages. Two70 is a multi-level room which fuses entertainment with technology. You’ll see dancers perform while there are moving robotic LED screens displaying beautiful imagery as well as floor to ceiling windows which transform into projectors. There is also Spectra’s Cabaret which blends lives performances with experiential cinema with music from contemporary pop culture.

Additional amenities

The Vitality Spa and Fitness Centre offers a range of activities and treatments to soothe the body and soul. The Fitness Centre has state-of-the-art facilities like TRX machines. Guests can take Beach Bootcamp classes or calmer workouts like Pure-Form Pilates. At the Vitality Spa, passengers will be able to indulge in massages, wraps, facials or acupuncture.

So which one would you pick? Tell us below to WIN a Cruise Passenger apron!