Prinsendam Cruise Review by Vacay Lover: Young Couple sees the Baltics on MS Prinsendam
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Young Couple sees the Baltics on MS Prinsendam
Initial impression of Holland America was made at the Cruise Terminal in Amsterdam. Our bags were handled well, but the line to check-in was very long. It moved fairly well, but I definitely think HAL should have managed this "first impression" better.
General Information: We were the youngest people on the cruise, 32 and 38 respectively, and we did not feel out of place though we should clearly state that we do not participate in group activities, we stay away from the main dining room and never take the elevators.
Closet space was excellent. Verandah was a little small compared to the same class of room on the Rotterdam. Bed was two doubles pushed together, and while comfortable, one queen would have been better.
Ship: Classy but older and small.
Main Dining Room (As you wish seating): We only ate here twice as we prefer to do the Pinnacle or Room Service. MDR was Ok. We found the food to be much better (temperature, More appearance, quality of preparation) in room service.
Room Service: Food was outstanding. Presentation beautiful. Always on time. They always called afterward to see that it was "to our liking". We had breakfast service everyday and it was superb.
Pinnacle Grill (Dinner 3 times, Lunch 1 time): The Pinnacle, in our opinion, is well worth the $20 pp charge. Service was impeccable and the food was always delicious.
We found drinks to be a little pricey, as we expected. We purchased $400 worth of drink cards before we boarded the ship, at a 10% discount. We were glad we did this as we do enjoy cocktails quite a bit on vacation. It is best to learn to navigate the happy hours on your first day on the boat. Using your drink cards in combination with happy hour deals gives you the best bang for your buck on alcoholic drink purchases.
Room Steward: Excellent. Very attentive. We seldom saw him but he always seemed to know when we were out and slipped in and out quickly and efficiently.
Laundry Service (unlimited package - laundry and dry cleaning): We are firm believers that this is the best deal on the boat. For $98. we had all of our clothes laundered and dry cleaned to perfection everyday!
Front Desk: Very good. (Via telephone and in-person we found them to be pleasant and thorough).
Spa: Disappointing. Service was poor. Appointments were incorrectly taken, never kept on time and we definitely felt the Greenhouse Spa was the area that most needed improvement on this ship.
Favorite Hangouts: Sea View Pool. Very quiet adequate drink service though this was not a main area of focus for waitstaff.
Overall, we found the Prinsendam to be lovely, though, for us, just a tad too small. We definitely preferred the Rotterdam to this ship. The Prinsendam has also seen quite a few years at sea and her age shows. Staterooms are smaller all around as are balconies and it is harder to find those special areas you feel are almost all your own. The Library also lacked adequate gaming space and the coffee bar was the other area that left you wanting, though service was great.
The boat's shop was very small and the selection of HAL merchandise was scant. Less
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Cabin review: Prinsendam
Abundant closet space. Small veranda. Two single beds pushed together less than ideal. Bathroom was clean and nice. Shower only; no tub in this room. For HAL cruisers used to newer and larger ships, this one definitely is smaller and shows here age a bit.
Port and Shore Excursions
People were friendly and mellow. Stay at Hotel Estherea and feel pampered.
Eat at Brasserie Luden right nearby. This Brasserie has outstanding inspired food with a great atmosphere. Just down the street it Broodje Bert and inexpensive sandwich shop with the most amazing canal views.
My husband (age 38) found the only down-side of the city to be the larger than expected amount of trash about, which does say a lot since we are from New York City, which seemed infinitely more clean.
I (aged 32) found I could overlook that, as Amsterdam was a feast for the senses. We were never bored and walked miles and miles. We were only there for a handful of days before the cruise and cannot wait to go back. Definitely try to stay for at least three days if this is the location your cruise embarks from.
The 26 bus definitely gave us a great look at the city.
We ate at a restaurant called Teplo for dinner (Teplo means warmth in Russian). Teplo had fantastic food and service and catered to a younger, late 20's early 30's crowd. The food was not classic Russian, but rather modern Russian. Very palatable and approachable. The ambiance was great!
After dinner, Mikhail, our evening guide, took us out for drinks and a chat. Again, Ilya from DenRus did some kind of magic here. It turns out Mikhail is a modern history professor. Our goal was to learn all we could about modern Russian history. Over copious wine and mojitos, Mikhail told us the story of modern Russia. He knew about politics and so much more. We asked tons of questions and learned so much. His perspective, and Alya's (our day guide), were definitely so different from one another. We really felt that we experienced something truly unique and special.
Please use DenRus if you plan to tour Petersburg. You will be happy you did.