Prinsendam Cruise Review by cruise**77: Prinsendam doesn't measure up
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Prinsendam doesn't measure up
We sailed this August on the 14 day "Gaelic Legends" cruise on the HAL Prinsendam. This was far and away the worst cruise we have ever taken on HAL (3 previous cruises) or the three other cruise lines we have cruised on -- by a very wide margin. Right from the start, there were problems. It did not sail from Greenwich as advertised, supposedly because they could not get a water barge. This seriously inconvenienced many arriving passengers. Instead they sailed from tilbury and sat there for a day with nothing for people to do (could go ashore, but very little to see there). After finally sailing, we then had 4 (of the 10)more ports cancelled, supposedly all due to weather. However, we have been on previous cruises in worse weather with no problems. One factor appears to be that they scheduled 5 tender ports, and the crew did not seem adequately trained in operating the tenders (driving them parallel to waves, causing the tender to rock violently back and forth, and several times More
slamming into the ship on return). The most disturbing incident here was on return from East Dunmore to the ship, where the tender slammed into the gangway opening, narrowly avoiding crushing a crew member, who jumped back just in time. At the port for Londonderry Ireland, we anchored and then the captain decide not to operate the tenders. So, we sat anchored about 200 yards off shore. A report from the BBC quoted the harbor master as saying that the captain had not correctly sailed in on the tides, and quoted the captain as saying that he did not let the passengers off "due to the age profile of the passengers".
Several tours were cancelled during the days we actually did get off the ship, many of the rest were overpriced for what we did get, and some didn't do several stops on the itinerary.
On the ship, service in the main dining room was very slow, and the quality of food in the Lido was well below previous HAL cruises. Given the small size of the ship, there was very little to do on the unplanned days at sea. We didn't spend money on a cruise to play an extra game of bingo or team trivia!
In the end, HAL initially offered a 15% discount on a future cruise, and then upped it to 25% after the final port (Edinburgh) was cancelled. some people did seem to feel this was adequate (those who sail only on HAL and had already booked another trip, so they could apply the discount), but for the rest of us, given all the issues, this seems totally inadequate. I would point out that you have to spend more money on a future HAL cruise to use the credit (i.e., no refund offered).
On the positive side, the Pinnacle restaurant was very good -- both food and service, the wine list was impressive, and the library, although small, was quite nice (with all the extra days at sea we spent plenty of time there).
So, our experience was very negative and seemed to be a combination of worse than normal weather, an over cautious captain, and what appeared to be an inexperienced crew.
We will never sail on the Prinsendam again, and our next couple cruises will not be on HAL. Maybe a river cruise next, then back to Princess. Less
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