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Prinsendam Cruise Review by Vacay Lover: Young Couple sees the Baltics on MS Prinsendam


Vacay Lover
1 Review
Member Since 2008
43 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 4.0
Dining 5.0
Embarkation 4.0
Enrichment Activities Not Rated
Entertainment Not Rated
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates 3.0
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Value for Money 3.0

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Young Couple sees the Baltics on MS Prinsendam

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Amsterdam

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.

Room:

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.

Food:

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.

Drinks:

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.

Service:

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).

Bartenders: Excellent

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 Deluxe Verandah Oceanview Upper Promenade 122

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


Very interesting city. Don't miss: The red light district, the public urinals in the old sections of town, walking along the canals, Ann Frank House.

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 port of Rostock (Warnemunde) is about 2.5 hours from Berlin by car via the autobahn. We chose to hire Original Berlin Walks as our driver and guide. Rolf, our charming driver, escorted us from Warnemunde to Berlin in his gorgeous Mercedes. He anticipated our needs and truly was a professional chauffeur. He peppered his driving with an amazing breadth of knowledge of Germany and wonderful stories. Once in Berlin we met up with our guide, David, a young graduate student, from the UK. David and Rolf worked together to make our one day in Berlin truly memorable. Original Berlin Walks listened to our requests, and mapped out a day that was tailored to the sites we wanted to see and the pace we wanted to see them at. We decided to focus our tour on the modern historical German period from the lead up to WWII to present day. Our guide was an expert on this period and was able to paint us a picture of Germany during the pre- and post-war periods while answering our numerous questions. We lunched at a restaurant a little ways from the Museum district called Deponie. It had great traditional German fare in a relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant appeared to be a hang out for students and locals and we seemed to be the only tourists there. This is always our goal when dining out and about. Don't miss the Topography of Terror Museum (you need at least a day here). Rolf, our charming driver, took us back to port with a brief drive through his new home town of Warnemunde, a former small fishing village in East Germany, now an up and coming trendy beach town. Warnemunde was beautiful and the people lovely. We cannot wait to return to the beach here. Sail away was amazing! Our Captain, Tim Robbins, said that in his thirty years he had never seen a sail away like the one we had that day. There was a port party, fireworks, dancing, singing, revelry, tons of boats, people waving. We felt like rock stars. This was a memorable night and the people of Warnemunde were truly amazing! Next we entered the Kiel Canal. The feeling of being a rock star continued as we made our 9.5 hour day time journey through the canal. The whole entire way, people waved from the shore (which was very close). Prinsendam is privileged to be one of the only "large" cruise ships to be small enough to traverse this canal. The German countryside was BREATHTAKING!!! Locals waved, called out to us and flew the American flag as we drifted leisurely down the canal. It was a fantastic day.
Read 50 Berlin Reviews

We took public transportation from the port, the 26 bus, into town. Once in town we met up with Mike, of Bike with Mike, for a truly excellent bike tour of Copenhagen. Mike was dynamic and knowledgeable and we really got a flavor for Copenhagen, it's people and history. Stop in at Amalie's Kaffebar near where you meet up with Mike. This is an inventive coffee shop run by eco-minded folks. The tea and coffee were outstanding.

The 26 bus definitely gave us a great look at the city.


We decided to rent bikes in Helsinki and tour around on our own. For 9.80 Euro each, Rent a bike Helsinki delivered our bikes, locked with combination, to a location just outside the port area. We easily found and retrieved the bikes and were off. We had planned out a bike route using a free bike map of Helsinki requested in advance of our trip by the Helsinki Bureau of tourism. We biked for about three hours early in the morning and were pleased with this gorgeous city. If you love small cities with beautiful parks and stunning vistas you will be charmed by Helsinki. Later we toured the market area on food and took the local trams to various neighborhoods. The people were nice and the city very beautiful.

Read 335 Helsinki Reviews

Our ship docked at the new cruise terminal in Petersburg. Our private custom two-day tour, booked through DenRus, was the highlight of our entire trip. Ilya at DenRus is a genius. He worked with us to totally tailor the tour to our needs and pace. We did so much in two days and were really able to understand what we were doing because of our incredibly knowledgeable tour guidess Alya. She was brilliant. There was never a dull moment as she wove history, culture, facts, anecdotes deftly together to share with us her beautiful Petersburg.

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.


We walked from the port in Studsgarden to town. It was a 35 minute walk to Gamlastan, the old town. We definitely recommend checking out the pedestrian areas just beyond Gamlastan for shopping. On Gamlastan, avoid the most heavily trafficked pedestrian street. If you go a street or two over, you will be able to enjoy the charming atmosphere with about 75% less of the crowd. Get lost on the windy streets and you will be rewarded with great little artists shops and cafes. Warning: There are so many tourist traps in Gamlastan that we recommend you scout out a place in advance to eat at so you don't get sucked into a bad, overpriced, crowded experience. Try their tasty ciders, the brand name is Birka, and they come in flavors like pear and fresh apple. Refreshing and tasty.

20 minute walk from the ship to old town Tallinn. We toured the old part of town on foot for about 45 minutes. There are many little shops and charming little cafes. We stopped at a little cafe right across from the Tourist Information Center. They freshly brewed the most amazing spearmint tea for me right at my table. We sipped coffee and tea for a long time enjoying the people watching and the great drinks. The town proper is a great mix of medieval ambiance with modern little shops. Truly a treasure. We then had a great lunch at a great German style Brew house called the Beerhouse. We sampled seven 20 ounce beers for 20 euro. The beers were hand brewed right there on site. Don't miss the self-service taps at some of the tables. This restaurant was whimsical and manly. If you love beer and sausage park yourself here. We had a ball.

Read 352 Tallinn Reviews

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