This was our third cruise on The Prinsendam in the last five years. We fell in love with the ship on our first cruise. Two years later we were disappointed in that while everything was just about perfect, the ship had aged. We booked this cruise hoping that the recent renovation had restored the glory of the past. While the ship was updated and looked great it was three years older.
My wife and I boarded the ship in Civitavecchia on April 29, 2013. We arrived in Civitavecchia that morning on the Celebrity Silhouette from Fort Lauderdale. Getting off shuttle and boarding the Prinsendam was like coming home. We recognized a number of couples that we had sailed with before on the Prinsendam. Some of the couples had more than 100 days on the Prinsendam alone.
Check-in was fast and we were settled in in record time. We quickly checked out the new Prinsendam. It looked great although I liked the open deck aft of the Lido before it was glassed in. However it was warmer and we did like the alternate dining there.
We opted for late seating with some new friends we had met on the Silhouette. The food in the dining room was very good and the temperature of the food was higher than I had remembered. One complaint I have about most cruise ships is that the food is not served hot enough for me. It seems that Holland America has found the secret of hot food. On our last three cruises (Rotterdam, Eurodam and Prinsendam) the food has been served hot.
We enjoyed breakfast on the Lido deck as well as lunch on the Lido deck and in the dining room. Just about every evening we ate in the dining room except when it interfered with a special event. Overall I thought that the food was better on the Prinsendam than the Silhouette even though we were in Aqua Class and ate in the special Blu dining room on the Celebrity Silhouette.
Since we had been to many of the ports several times, we did not take any shore tours. We would get off our own, find an internet cafe to keep in touch with friends and family and then get back on. We were disappointed that we had to pass up two ports of call because of weather.
There was plenty to do on board. My wife liked the lectures and computer classes while I tried my hand at trivia. I also liked to watch the computer bowling. We loved the Ocean Bar for drinks and dancing before dinner. The band was great and played our kind of music. Good dancing music was impossible to find on the Silhouette.
The entertainment on the Prinsendam was a mixed bag. I understand the problem of getting outstanding entertainment on small ships. Gene Young was a great cruise director. However, some of the shows were not that great. The Prinsendam Entertainers were good but the group was small as was the Prinsendam band. I really liked the Unexpected Boys, Juan Pablo Subirana, Passionatta, and Chris Riggins. They were all outstanding. The rest were good and the price was right.
The service in every area of the ship was outstanding. The crew and staff were really made you feel at home and provided for your every need.
There were some problems, however, that need to be addressed. One elevator was out for several days creating a problem for some of the older people. Then there was problem of the engine and the fire. It is disconcerting when the engines are out of synch and the air conditioning goes out. It created a lot of concern when we had to have the engine repaired in the Azores
I would like to see Holland America build a couple of new small high tech ships like the Silhouette but 1/3 of the size for their longer cruises.