This was my 8th. cruise on a HAL ship. My favourite has always been the Maasdam -- nice size, easy to get round. In August 2012, I took the Baltic/Northern Europe cruise on the Eurodam -- lovely ship, but for me, it is too large. Clearly I refer small to medium-sized ships.
I had always wanted to sail on the Prinsendam and as I wanted to return to St. Petersburg and see things I missed on the August 2012 visit, the July 1 Prinsendam sailing was ideal.
While the Prinsendam is somewhat tired in terms of interior decor, my cabin was very comfortable -- first walk-in closet I've had at sea. The Explorer Library was well-fitted out, lots of books, games, videos etc. and I used the computers to check my e-mails and stay in contact with my home in Canada.
I fit into the single and solo traveller category and I thought the single/solo traveller lunches on sea days was a wonderful idea. I met other singles and solos, all interesting and well-gtravelled people. HAL should implement single/solo lunches on its other ships as us singles/solos are increasing in numbers and the cruise line which sees us as a specific market will succeed well on into the future.
I found the meals on the Prinsendam very good -- as someone who raised 5 kids and cooked meals for 7 people on a daily basis, I am always grateful when I sit down at a table and enjoy it when a meal someone else has cooked is set down before me. I found the menus to be varied and I never lacked for anything I wanted.
When I travel in North America, I like to stay in old hotels -- the Gideon Putnam in Saratoga, the Omni in Bretton Woods, the railway hotels in Canada's national parks and the parks in the western U-S. I put the Prinsendam in the same category -- a dowager who needs a bit of TLC to restore former glory. I enjoyed my Prinsendam experience so much that I have booked a cruise on this ship which will take me from Amsterdam to Barcelona with numerous port calls in between in September 2014.
This ship is not for everyone. If you want glamor and glitz, big showrooms, large casinos and unlimited shopping, it's not for you. But if you want ease of getting around, comfortable cabins, and a wonderful crew who go the extra mile to meet your needs, it's the one to choose.