Written by Heather
My husband and I were lucky enough to go on the Majestic Princess for a short cruise from Xiamen, China to Keelung, Taiwan with a two day stop in Hong Kong. The newest ship in the Princess fleet lives up to everything you would expect from Princess Cruises, from its luxury appointments in the public areas, to the many choices of food and dining, and of course, staff that make you feel welcome.
Overall it was a beautiful ship and as experienced cruisers we go purely to relax and chill out. There were plenty of spaces around the ship to sit quietly or mingle with new friends, and quite a lot of bars to choose from to get a drink. The crew were always there to assist and were extremely helpful, and the juice bar was a welcome addition that we had not experienced on other cruises - the juice mixes were really delicious.
A bit about the places we visited…
Getting around Xiamen was reasonably easy by taxi, and the city had a good rail system – crowded but good. The harbour area was really interesting, and as tourism is not a high priority for this city, it is really interesting to wander around the shopping precinct and not be harassed by the marketeers. It was amazingly clean and the people were only too willing to help, despite the language barrier, which always ended in laughter at the end of an arduous translation.
What a great place Hong Kong is to visit. There is so much shopping I could barely contain myself! We managed to go to several markets and in particular the Stanley Markets were good quality and sold a different assortment of things (not just the standard tourist t-shirts and baseball caps).
It was quite hot and steamy while we were there, so my camera didn’t particularly like the humidity and I found it difficult to take many clear photos, but the scenery from The Peak was amazing! To look over the harbour and the city from such a height gave you some perspective of how big Hong Kong really is.
The Sampan Tour around the harbour was a highlight for me. We saw The Jumbo Floating Restaurant (which seats 5000 customers) and the floating fisherman village (unfortunately I could not capture a clear photo of this), and it was great to see the older style of living on the water as it will not be around or available to the fisherman for much longer in the future. In the evening Hong Kong lights up, with a laser light show across the harbour from the tops of some of the city buildings.
Keelung is a very busy and old city, and after we disembarked here we only drove through the city, which was quite hectic, to get to Taipei. Taipei is a business city with a large banking and investment sector, but it was an interesting destination to end our trip.
It was easy to get around the city, and wandering up and down the old streets was great. It was also easy to lose yourself in the markets selling all kinds of goods, wares and food. We found that when you wandered into a market, it led into other markets along different streets.
The food in all these places was fantastic, particularly in Taipei where there were street vendors at the front of all the market streets. There were far too many choices, but it all smelled amazing!