We embarked the Prinsendam at Amsterdam 0n July 12th 2012 for the fourteen day Norwegian cruise and then continued for a further fourteen days Amsterdam to Amsterdam visiting La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Hendaye,Bilbao, Dublin, Cornwall and Guernsey (St Peter Port). I have read some very good and very bad reviews of the Prinsendam but can only speak from our experience. I have categorized my comments:
Embarkation Amsterdam: Excellent procedures to board passengers from Terminal to Ship; no fuss, top marks. We had flown from Australia to Amsterdam to take this cruise and on arriving on board a welcome drink was not offered, identical treatment to our Eurodam cruise the previous year. As I said then; on cruises costing thousands of dollars per person surely a glass of house wine would not be too much to ask. It makes a poor first impression; many other cruise lines provide this courtesy and this was not a cheap cruise. Disembarkation was also excellent at the end of the cruise.
Stateroom: Unlike our previous Eurodam cruise (VC Category Balcony Cabin 5180) we chose to take an inside cabin (I187) on Upper Promenade Deck) and were happy with our choice, except for the fact that the cabin was directly above the Wanjang Theatre which unknown to us screened loud action movies till midnight in some cases (usually to an audience of three to five passengers). Our complaints resulted in some lowering of the volume but the noise in the cabin was still obtrusive. I would advise cruisers to avoid cabins in this area.
Stateroom Amenities: The cabin was small but adequate with a walk in robe, bath, shower and the usual amenities and whilst a little more space would have been nice, we really had no complaint other than those stated above.
Stateroom Staff: Our stateroom steward and his assistant were excellent; friendly, unobtrusive, helpful and efficient.
Dining - Main Dining Room 2nd Sitting: Food was of a high standard and menu choices were in the main excellent, though pasta dishes were mediocre. Seafood was very good, though mussels and clams were a waste of time (small and unappetizing). Soups were excellent. A high point of our dining experience was our wine stewards. Excellent, friendly, and considerate service. I thought the wine packages were disappointing and poor value for money. Some wines on the wine list should not be there at all as they are of doubtful quality but better choices are available. All wines were expensive ($10-00 retail Australian wines were priced at nearly $40-00). Higher quality French and Italian wines were also overpriced (e.g. Brunello de Montalcino, Chateauneuf de Pape etc.) Both ourselves and our dinner companions purchased wine almost every night, but at the current rates HAL is charging I can see the day coming when people (myself included) will not pay the prices asked; in my experience, prices for wine on HAL ships now exceeds prices in top class restaurants ashore.
Dining - Lido Restaurant: Very good food with plenty of choices. Staff were friendly and efficient.
Dining - In Stateroom: This was excellent; orders were correct, the food was hot and the service prompt, efficient and courteous.
Entertainment: A good standard with a good variety of artists. Daryl, the pianist in the Crows Nest each night was excellent, he made our nightly pre dinner drinks with friends even more enjoyable than usual - top marks Daryl we loved your playing and your presentation.
Pool Areas: Excellent; clean and well maintained. This was not really a cruise on which there was any heavy pool usage, but my wife and I did go for a swim on many occasions and we both enjoyed the facilities.
Games Deck Areas: Rather shabby, rust showing, and in need of renovation - nobody seemed to use them very much - no wonder. If you judged the ship by this area you would not cruise on it.
Bars: Great drinks service throughout the ship. Bar snacks were excellent and were well received and enjoyed. My wife and I like to drink single malts whiskies but the prices asked were exorbitant (Glenfiddich nearly $10-00 plus 15% per drink for example seems ridiculously overpriced). No wonder fewer people seem to be drinking.
Ships Tours and Tenders: We took two ships tours, one from Hendaye to San Sebastian (excellent) and another from Bordeaux to St Emillion (also excellent) Tenders were used in some ports; in all cases staff were professional and efficient; well done, top marks.
Port Itinerary: Great itinerary; weather was good and Norway was beautiful (some of the best scenery we have ever seen in some 30 or so cruises). La Rochelle and Bordeaux were great, as was Dublin, Fowey and St Peter Port in the Channel Islands.
Overall: An excellent cruise with lovely fellow passengers, and most enjoyable. Once again, it was the footsoldiers (the stateroom attendants, the wait and dining room staff, the wine waiters and the entertainers) who helped make the cruise the success it was - thanks to you all- well done.