This was a very port-intensive cruise, with only 2 sea days in 14. It was like a bus tour, only you unpack once!
This was our first time on the Prinsendam and we loved the fact that it is small enough to get into some interesting ports, yet has all the amenities of larger ships. Small, but perfectly formed. Our cabin (outside) was a really good size with walk-in closet, lots of storage and a bathtub. The only problem with the tub is the side is very high and would be a problem for anyone with mobility issues.The ship itself is really in need of a major overhaul. It is really clean, but showing her age - rust, tired tenders. Having said that, we would travel on the Prinsendam again, in a minute.
The food on the ship was excellent, service excellent, personnel wonderful and the shows very good.
One thing we especially liked were the touches specific to this cruise: pipers greeting the ship on arrival in most Scottish ports, pipe bands, on-board local entertainment.
We started and ended in Tilbury, down the Thames from London. It is easily accessible from the Fenchurch Street train station (near Tower Hill Tube station). HAL provided a free shuttle to the port, but you need to lug your bags up the stairs and over the tracks. We took a cab for 5 pounds.
In many of the ports, free shuttles were provided to either the closest town/city or a train station. The Travel Guide, Daniel gave excellent advice and talks on the ports.
This ship and her itineraries are for "Port Collectors", a term we learned on this cruise. The ports are varied and interesting. Many are not on the usual cruise ship circuit. We stopped in Ilfracombe, England and they had not had a cruise ship in for 8 years. We were given an extremely warm welcome, including the Mayor and a band.
We took far too many clothes for this cruise. We were told there would be 4 formal nights (2 a week) - there were 3. As this is such a port-intensive cruise and most passengers we more interested in the touring aspect, the attire was definitely smart-casual most nights, and the majority of passengers were in suits for the men and nice evening wear for the women on the formal nights. There were some tuxes and glitz, but not as much as we usually see on HAL. Depending on your itinerary, mix and match and layering works.
A hidden gem is the pool at the stern of the ship, just behind the Spa.