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8 Holland America Lisbon Cruise Reviews

Pelican 17 We love Holland America! We love to cruise on the smaller ships. We are 3 star members. We regularly recommend Holland America to friends. We booked this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately we had a horrible cabin ... Read More
Pelican 17 We love Holland America! We love to cruise on the smaller ships. We are 3 star members. We regularly recommend Holland America to friends. We booked this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately we had a horrible cabin (739) for 5 days/nights out of our 12 night transatlantic cruise. It was dirty, had torn furniture, extreme noise all day and night, and only lukewarm water in the sink and shower. After my husband complained for 5 days, guest services offered us stateroom 782 which was 99% better. The new cabin was very quiet, clean, and had plenty of hot water for the remainder of our cruise. The only complaint with this cabin is that we were woken up each morning by the pilot. The entrance door creaked open, then closed in the early morning, which was right below our cabin. I will take that noise anytime over what we experienced in cabin 739. The food was served lukewarm not hot in the main dinning room which we tried 3 times for dinner. The food in the lido was excellent! Entertainment was average. The presentations by the chef on sea days was excellent! Movies were lacking. You need to replace the stateroom televisions! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it ... Read More
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it was wonderful. It looked as though all the carpet and furniture in all the public areas had been replaced. The furniture was comfortable and inviting. And, like all Holland America ships, they absorb people well - I never felt like I was in the middle of a huge crowd. It's a relaxing and very pleasant environment. The food, as with our every other HAL cruise, was really excellent. We had two occasions that were a disappointment, though. One evening in the Main Dining Room, I ordered lamb kabobs. They were terrible - cold, hard, dry. I immediately told our server that I wasn't happy with the dish and he very rapidly brought me something else I chose. So, it really was no problem at all. The replacement was paella, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The other less-than-lovely experience was in the Pinnacle Grill, which is HAL's premium added-cost dining venue. We usually go twice during a cruise because we really enjoy it. This time, however, we cancelled our second reservation. We waited 20 minutes for our appetizer, and about two-thirds of the way through my appetizer I found a 10" hair. The manager was mortified. Then we waited over and hour for our main dish. I was ready to walk out, but it was too late to go to the Main Dining Room. The manager was extremely apologetic, and confessed that they had been having difficulties in the kitchen. Needless to say, despite the excellent food, it was an unpleasant experience. The manager called our room a couple days later to apologize again and to say that he hoped we would come back so he could show us a better time. We didn't return. None of this should be taken as a review of all the Pinnacle Grills fleet-wide. Each restaurant is it's own, sort of like a franchise. Every other experience we've had in the Pinnacle Grill on other ships was top-notch. The embarkation in Lisbon wasn't what we expected. We stay in a Neptune Suite, and on every other cruise, as soon as we check in we're told "feel free to board any time". This didn't happen this time. It was a decent length wait. I don't mean this as a complaint, but as an observation that if they say priority boarding is one of the benefits of having a suite, then they should make sure that happens. One notable enrichment activity: on the sea days, they have America's Test Kitchen, which is a cooking instruction - just like there might be on t.v. Each of them were excellent. As a side note: we are a same-sex couple. We have never had one second of a negative encounter/service because of it. (In fact, for the cruise we took for our 25th anniversary, they decorated our door with balloons and streamer and a huge sign. They also brought a decorated cake to our table.) Our 12 days on Veendam were simply great. I would readily choose this ship to sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We wanted to cruise on prinsendam one last time before she was sold. We flew to lisbon and was very surprised on what a nice city it is. Saw jeronimos monastery which is over 1000 years old. alfama area tiles, narrow streets and churches. ... Read More
We wanted to cruise on prinsendam one last time before she was sold. We flew to lisbon and was very surprised on what a nice city it is. Saw jeronimos monastery which is over 1000 years old. alfama area tiles, narrow streets and churches. bought a cork purse as cork is a big product over there. good food, tried green wine and inexpensive city. ponta delgada is a nice city to walk around plus it was a nice day. Praia di victoria azores we took a cruise tour was a nice full day. A good way to see the island. Biscoitos black lava rocks, mt brazil, churches,nice island tour. nice transatlantic cruise. captain dag is a very hospitable and friendly person. he did extra nice socials. He will be retiring with the ship. We enjoyed the size and cabins on the ship. This was a last minute cruise but everything went smooth. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Just got back from a 12-night Mediterranean cruise with Holland America Line (HAL) onboard the MS Rotterdam, with another couple. We had a phenomenal time, and much of the credit goes to reviews that we had read on Cruise Critic - the tips ... Read More
Just got back from a 12-night Mediterranean cruise with Holland America Line (HAL) onboard the MS Rotterdam, with another couple. We had a phenomenal time, and much of the credit goes to reviews that we had read on Cruise Critic - the tips and warnings we had read proved invaluable in making the most of this fabulous opportunity! A couple of general comments when coming from the US to Europe for our cruise. First, do not underestimate the challenge of getting your body clock adjusted to and 8+ hour time change. It makes arriving a day early, or better two, valuable. I would also recommend having some sleeping pills available until you adjust. Secondly, based on a previous post, we brought euros with us, exchanging with our banks at home. We never had to do anything more than change denominations with HAL. Most of the places we went, the entrance fees, our guide services, and shopping were paid with euros - they even worked in Turkey. The bigger shops and some attractions take credit cards but not many of them. This was our first cruise with HAL, having previously been on Royal Caribbean and Princess. As expected the other guests on the Rotterdam were far senior to our previous cruises. We are in our mid-40's and the average age had to be mid-60's. However, that never posed a problem as the focus of the tour was the sights on shore, far more than the activities of the ship. Rotterdam was the smallest and oldest ship we have cruised, but we were very pleased with her. She was very well maintained and equipped for this itinerary - the cover over the pool was excellent for this time of year! The entertainment, while not the best we have seen, was still quite good, and targeted to their normal demographic. My only frustration was in the workout facilities - very limited and sadly not well maintained. I realized that the senior circuit may not exercise as robustly as a younger crowd, but they should provide well maintained equipment. The crew did a very good job, in a slightly understated way. Not nearly the number of "characters" on the crew as in other cruises we have taken. During the flight over, we took advantage of a long layover at Heathrow to take a private car tour on London. We had never been to London before and the private car tour enabled us to maximize our time on the ground. We used Peter Jamieson (guide@peterjamieson.com). and he was excellent. We got a great feel for London and the UK. His vehicle was first rate, and he was both knowledgeable and personable. He could seamlessly go from medieval history to modern social issues at the whim of the client. Of the five private car tours we took advantage of on this trip, Peter was my favorite guide - the right balance of everything we were looking for and a quintessential Englishman. This was also our most expensive tour of the trip and considering the exchange rate (he took VISA so I did not needs pounds) and that it was only two of us for this tour - the cost per person was steep, but worth it. We arrived the night before in Lisbon and stayed at the Mundial Hotel, because of it's proximity to old city center. We planned to self - tour Lisbon on foot and we were not disappointed. There are some things that you can only get by walking the streets. Even an afternoon thunderstorm dampened our coats but not our spirits! Our sea day after leaving Lisbon was well appreciated to help acclimate to our new time zone and rest up from the trip. The challenge of this itinerary was that our next seven days would be back-to-back ports calls with incredible sights. The pace became exhausting, especially if you have late dinner seating and like to take in the shipboard shows. Such troubles! It would have been nice to have another sea day in the middle. Our first port was Valencia and on a Sunday to boot. We had few expectations of this port and it turned out to be a real bonus. There were very few tourists. Walking the narrow streets of old town and watching the locals returning from church was timeless. Sunday afternoon watching one of many "football" matches and strolling their outstanding city park was wonderful. The biggest surprise was that the 32nd America's Cup was underway and we could see it well from the afterdeck of the Rotterdam. This was a great port… Barcelona was our next stop and it was our least favorite. It was a holiday (we had three holidays during our cruise - one of the drawbacks of a spring itinerary) and very crowded on La Ramblas. We tried to replicate our experience in Valencia - unsuccessfully. Barcelona is too big to see many of the major sights on foot - even with the Picasso Museum closed. We began what we affectionately referred to as the "Barcelona Death March". There are some spectacular sights, including their Cathedral and Gaudi's Holy Family Cathedral, but don't try to do it all walking! By way of warning, this was the only city where we witnessed a pick pocket. The team of two, waited until the shuttle bus heading back to the ship was over full and then tried to push their way on. Their ploy was to use it as an opportunity to lift a wallet, then not get on the bus. My friend figured it out, but too late for us to do anything about it. Be wary. Monaco was our next port-of-call. The couple that we were with beat us off the ship and took the trolley ride around Monte Carlo. They found it to be a great was to see the sites and especially enjoyed seeing the Cathedral, Grand Prix track, and the mega-yachts in the harbor. During the afternoon, we took a HAL bus excursion to Nice and Eze. It was fun to see the French Riviera, even if only for a short time, and we dined on crepes next to the flower market. The history and architecture of Eze made it a fascinating stop. The view from the top was well worth it, even on a hazy day. Our next stop was in Livorno (Florence and Pisa). We booked a private car tour with Paolo Migliorni (info@florencetour.com) to make the most of the day - thanks to a referral from Cruise Critic. The change in experience from Barcelona could not be more dramatic. Paola was waiting when we stepped off the ship and took great care until we returned to the ship at the end of the day. Paola was incredible. As a professional guide,, she could talk about the region, synthesize the art of the Renaissance, and navigate both traffic and the narrow streets. Her ability to get us places before the crowds, head off lines, and maximize everything we could see was amazing. I highly recommend her - you can not go wrong. One word of caution with this tour (and every tour on this trip), the area is so rich with priceless sights, that even with a private car tour and all their tricks of the trade, which are extensive, you can not see every major sight in one day - can't happen. However, this dilemma also illustrates the multiplicative power of a private car tour - you can tailor the day specifically to you needs and desires. One additional bonus of the private guide is they can help you from a shopping perspective, by steering you to authentic items at a good value. Paola helped my wife find some great necklaces. Fresh off Michelangelo's "David" in Florence, our next day was Rome - out of one spectacular site fireplace and into the fire! Before we knew of Cruise Critic, we booked the excursion through the Rotterdam. After reading about Stefano Costantini's private car tour ( allagrande@hotmail.it ) on Cruise Critic, we booked with him for four people, getting a far superior and personalized tour while saving nearly $200.00. Again, Stefano met us at the pier and whisked us away for a fabulous day. Our morning was spent touring ancient (and modern) Rome with Stefano. His expertise in the history and politics and his special parking were invaluable. He had arranged a great lunch at very nice local restaurant with tables outside. Finally, he set a special tour of the Vatican with a very knowledgeable guide named Rafaela. Stefano was fantastic, but I am compelled to say again the number of sights is so expansive in Rome, that we were only able to hit the highlights. What a great day! Working our way back from a historical perspective, our next day was Naples (Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast). Our guide for this day was Marcello Maresca (marcellomaresca@hotmail.com), also referred from Cruise Critic. Southern Italy is a very different from Northern Italy, in terms of art, history, and socially. Paola told us Northern Italy was “conservative” and Southern Italy was “crazy”. Marcella took it one-step further saying his part of the country lived in “anarchy” – with a smile on his face. Of all of our guides, Marcello was the most verbal, especially about his part of the country. At the same time, he excelled at avoiding crowds in an area with hundreds of tour buses! The Amalfi Coast was even more picturesque than advertised – and the drive every bit as hair-raising. Marcello had strong opinions about some of the souvenirs for sale, helping find authentic Olive Oil at a great deal. The absolute highlight of the day was a incredible lunch in a remote family run restaurant high above the Coast. The food and the view were “magnifico” – the best meal of our trip, and we had some outstanding local meals! The afternoon was in Pompeii, where Marcello had arranged a special tour for us with Salvatore. Each of our Italian guides were excellent – passionate in their area of expertise – and Salvatore was no different. Our only regret was that we only had 1-1/2 hours to spend in Pompeii – the ship had moved up our sailing time. While Pompeii is spectacular, especially under Salvatore’s tutelage, we needed more time. Our next port was Messina, Sicily. After three intense and exhausting days of touring incredible sites, we slept in at Messina. Even when we did venture in to town, it was not much compared to what we had seen. An afternoon nap of the promenade with a cool beverage was the order of our day. Possibly the biggest disappointment in nearly all our cities and ports, was the amount of graffiti –with Messina being as bad as any. After our second and final sea day, we arrived well rested for a day on Santorini, Greece (yes, the same port where another cruise ship (not HAL) had sunk a couple of weeks earlier). Here, we went for a total change of pace, renting scooters to see this scenic island. Their busy tourist season did not kick-off for a couple of weeks so our ship had the island virtually to ourselves. The scooter rental was very inexpensive (€15.00/day) and very fun. The roads were not too crowded and locals accommodating to tourists like us. We visited beaches and view points and had a picnic lunch of local food. The locals were by far the friendliest that we had experienced all trip. We finished up the afternoon having some Greek coffee and a local dessert local café, chatting with the owner. My only regret on Santorini was that we had to set sail before sunset. Their sunsets are legendary and we have no doubt it is true. Our final port call was Kusadasi (Ephesus) in Turkey. Yet again, we were faced with one of the world’s greatest archeological sites. The degree of preservation and scale of Ephesus was staggering. Considering that Pompeii had a population under 20,000, Ephesus’s 250,000 was incredible (Rome at this time had about 1.5 million, but the vast majority of the city was redeveloped several times, destroying most of the ancient city). Here again, we leveraged our time, by hiring a private car tour. We hired Sezgin Demirci (info@ephesustours.com), on a referral from Cruise Critic. This was the first time we had a driver in addition to Sezgin acting as our guide. There were four other smaller cruise ships in port with us, so guide services were at a premium and their value magnified. Sezgin took us on a different route than all the tour buses which both enabled us to visit St, John’s Basilica in virtual isolation for 45 minutes – we were exiting as the first tour busses were rolling in – but also gave us an excellent geographic perspective to help understand the historical development and demise of Ephesus’s five different renditions. We spent a long morning touring, had yet another great local lunch, and were back to the ship by mid-afternoon, allowing some shopping. As opposed to other cities I have mentioned, one day is enough to tour Ephesus, and the tour is 1/3 of the cost of the Italian heavy hitters! We disembarked in Athens, very smooth process (thanks HAL) and spent the night at the Herodion Hotel. Great location for walking to the Acropolis and eating and shopping in the Plaka. This cruise exceeded nearly every expectation that we had – and we had high expectations going in! Truly a cruise of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
This was my first time with Holland America, having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean and the now extinct Royal Olympic Cruises. Having experienced a Balcony cabin on RCL I decided to book the same on the Rotterdam. Embarkation in ... Read More
This was my first time with Holland America, having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean and the now extinct Royal Olympic Cruises. Having experienced a Balcony cabin on RCL I decided to book the same on the Rotterdam. Embarkation in Lisbon was a bit of a mess, all passengers were given numbers and told to await their turn to check-in, the only exception being those who had booked a suite, they had a dedicate check-in facility. However saying that the process took no more than an hour and one on board we were able to go direct to our cabin. The balcony cabins on Rotterdam appear to be larger than RCL and certainly have more storage space, plus a jacuzzi bath/shower. The cabin was well appointed with comfortable leather sofa, flat screen tv and on the balcony sun lungers with padded covers. The dining room is very impressive being on 2 levels, we had booked late dining option and sat at a table for 8, our fellow table guests were from all parts of the world and we all got to know each other very quickly. The on board entertainment was the run of the mill stuff, nothing exceptional and nothing really bad. The alternative dining at the Pinnacle grill has overpriced with a $30.00 cover charge, for virtually the same food as the main dining room. Wine appears to be overpriced on this line. Shore excursions, were not very imaginative or value for money. Our fist stop at Casablanca had a variety of excursion ranging from 4 hour city tour to a 12 hour day to Marrakech and back. This involved a 4 hour bus journey, which could have been completed in 3 hours if the company had chartered a coach on the regular train service between these cities, at least then you would have had the option to visit the buffet or restroom. Cape Verde islands had no excursions, which was just as well as there was nothing to see there except brown mountains with no greenery and the two towns we stopped at seemed to be stuck in a time warp back in the 1800s Days at sea -there were 4 after leaving Cape Verde before we arrived at Recied- were relaxing and the weather very hot so days spent on deck in the sun. There is a pool on deck 7 which is a perfect sun trap and has the benefit of a bar close to hand. On the whole I was impressed by the standard of food,and the general cleanliness of the ship, what has let it down wa the attitude of some of the staff who were indifferent to your needs and very rarely smiled. On 2 occasion I had cause to complain to the front desk about flickering lights in the cabin and an error thy had made by sending wine to our room that was not for us, they did not apologize and took ages to fix the lights. Also on some of the decks the ceiling tiles had been removed for maintenance, there was no work done on them for 10 days and when we disembarked they were still stacked against the corridor walls. I have send HAL my observations from this cruise and my 2 complaints, lets see what they have to say. Would I book Rotterdam again, I would say yes as the mix of passengers on this cruise was varied with all ages and nationalities and everyone mixed together. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
We found the Prinsendam to be a wonderful ship. While we have sailed on several more modern or recently commissioned ships, the Prinsendam didn't lack for any of the expected amenities. Our cabin, although slightly smaller than the ... Read More
We found the Prinsendam to be a wonderful ship. While we have sailed on several more modern or recently commissioned ships, the Prinsendam didn't lack for any of the expected amenities. Our cabin, although slightly smaller than the newer S class suites was arranged such that we felt we had 2 rooms (450 sq. ft.). The balcony was spacious and of course the convenience of the Neptune Room is always great. While we found the food portions smaller, the quality was consistent. And the smaller portions probably make sense particularly since you can always request ends. The ship was clean, the crew polite and friendly (which always seems to be the case on Holland America) and the transitions on and off the ship at each of the ports is flawless. We can't say enough about how well HAL handles the administrative aspects of cruising. This particular cruise which departed Lisbon and ended in Athens was perhaps the best itinerary we have experienced. The weather in Sept in the Mediterranean is perfect! And the islands visited each had interesting historical aspects let alone the absolute beauty. While it is hard to pick the best -- I'd have to say Santorini. And 2 days in Rome was perfect. All in all, we felt that this was one of our better cruise experiences from all aspects. Do not be reluctant to enjoy a cruise on the Prinsendam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
As I stood on a forward ship deck with a warm fresh breeze in my face, I was again facing new discoveries to lands I had never before visited ... how wonderful! Holland America's ms Prinsendam glided under the Ponte 25 de Abril ... Read More
As I stood on a forward ship deck with a warm fresh breeze in my face, I was again facing new discoveries to lands I had never before visited ... how wonderful! Holland America's ms Prinsendam glided under the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge, one of the longest on earth, and to our port side was Holland America's sister-company ship, Cunard's QE 2 also departing Lisbon — this was a spell-binding moment in life's adventures. My emotions raced, and I imagined what thoughts may have gone through the minds of early Portuguese explorers, like João Fernandes, as they plied waters to unknown worlds for the first time ... I too felt that mysterious sense of impending exploits ... this would simply be the wonder of a lifetime! Our Itinerary: Focusing just on the itinerary would not be completely reader appropriate in telling you about this classic ship, ms Prinsendam, for as an elegant explorer she does just that ... she moves onward exploring. In fact on January 13th she will begin her 113 day around-the-world adventure from Ft. Lauderdale. But don't be completely bewildered by this concept, as you may be able to book merely segments of this grand exploration. Our elegant explorer itinerary sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, continuing 3,000 miles for 13 nights to Athens, Greece. We arrived a day early to Lisbon, which is imperative in today's changed air markets, and we used this time to re-coop from jet lag and explore this enchanting city. From Lisbon we went to the U.K. member Gibraltar which is quite close to Africa. We took in Gibraltar's heights, and those feisty Barbary apes. Mahon of the Spanish Minorca islands came next, then Italy's Sardinia, followed by Civitavecchia the port in Italy used for access to romantic Rome, and the Vatican State. We docked two days and explored Rome and the Vatican extensively. The next day we ventured on our own via train to Tarquinia, Italy, to see the ancient Etruscan burial ruins that pre-date Rome by hundreds of years ... they were quite exquisite and well preserved — a grand adventure was unfolding! From Civitavecchia we had a day at sea to photo the Stromboli volcano spewing steam and debris down along its populated coastal areas, and then on through the Straights of Messina, that narrow gap between Italy's mainland and Sicily ... remember Homer's Odyssey where perhaps the sirens enticed passing sailors? Next the lovely Greek islands like Santorini and Kefalonia plus stops for the original Olympia where the games began in 776 B.C., and even for the 2004 games the flame was still lit here for its journey round the world to light the current modern games where ever the location. This year as you know the flame returned to Athens, Greece. A highlight of this ancient wondrous voyage was our day in Turkey. We made port at the city of Kusadasi. This city is your gateway to the ruins of Ephesus, even more amazing than the Rome's ancient Forum. Here you will walk the marble streets of Alexander, Caesar, Cleopatra, the Apostle Paul and St. John. Nearby you will visit the last known home of Mary, mother of Jesus, and the burial spot of St. John who was beckoned by Jesus to care for Mary — an inspiring day was in store for visitors. The port of Kusadasi is home to several ancient boulevards hosting Turkish-style bazaars where everything can be bought; from hand-woven rugs, to fine jewelry to knock-off purses and watches. Bring your cash, your haggling nerves of steel, and just relax and have fun — nothing in your life will have prepared you for a Turkish market — we loved it! No matter how much you bargain ... you won't win. The Turks pride themselves on being masters of the "deal" and it is just part of the culture. To not bargain is almost no fun at all for them and an insult to the game that is afoot and less fun for you. But, they will win ... it is only a matter of degrees for you! It is no matter though, the deal-making is recreational and prices are very low. Until the government revalues the Turkish dollar every shopper can be a millionaire. For about $6.00 you can be worth 10 Million Turkish Liras. Imagine how many currency notes it would take to buy a home or a car! Though we had cruised in the Mediterranean twice before, this itinerary was quite new for us, and it was one of our most memorable life experiences. The ports and shore trips were well orchestrated by Holland America to near perfection, safety, and organization. I always recommend using a ship's shore excursions in short-stay situations, and where efficiency is paramount — like our first ever trip to Rome. For seasoned travelers exploring on one's own is the true vacation delight — just don't miss your ship! Our final stop would be Athens ... one of the hand full a large cities I would readily revisit. Athens offers culture, history, the magnificent Acropolis and a sense of welcome. ms Prinsendam: The elegant explorer ms Prinsendam is 38,000 tons and carries a comfortable and intimate number — 793 passengers. She is 673 feet long and has a complete promenade deck around the ship for romantic moonlit strolls, or exercise walks. She was actually built in 1988 for the former Royal Viking Line as the Royal Viking Sun. In 1999 the luxury line Seabourn bought her, and she became the Seabourn Sun, serving with Seabourn until 2002, when sister company Holland America acquired the vessel and re-fitted her as the ms Prinsendam. Many of the elegant qualities known for Seabourn excellence remain and embellish the ship, such as fine woodwork, marble flooring, and a world class spa. The Queen's room provides a main gathering place and entertainment forum for the specialized entertainers such as singers, pianists, magicians and comedians and the faithful cast/crew of the Prinsendam for Broadway-style performances. The cruise industry is so varied in today's market that I want to be exact and confident that readers understand this wonderful class of ship, and especially the Prinsendam herself. She is a vintage ship with classic style and lines that is fully worthy of her full and upcoming world exploration. Her deep stable draft-to-size-ratio gives her qualities of sea-worthiness that is not always found in all modern designed ships. We had one day that faced a stunning gale-force nine wind storm (55 to 72 mph), but the ship braced admirably and even inexperienced passengers fared pretty well. Such conditions were unexpected, and it was comforting to be aboard ms Prinsendam in such adverse conditions. Prinsendam is different from the mega-ships prowling the seas of today's market. She has no spiral pool slides or dancing costumed bears for kids, and she sports no rock-wall or ice rink. She does show her style and offers all the amenities of classic cruising — shows, fine meals, a movie theater, two pools of modest size, whirlpool, spa, well-equipped work-out area, and a staff that caters to its clientele. I attribute this graciousness and dedication to service to Holland America's cruising standards, and personally to the ship's hotel manager — Mr. Jan Kuipers. Our 13-night cruise verified this striving for excellence. In fact, when issues arose on the vintage elegant explorer with our cabin, we were met by letters of apology and a promise for quick and required services. Moving and vastly complex wonders like the ships of today will have random issues arise, and it is reflective of a company's standards when those issues are met with a commitment to quality control plus solutions. The Prinsendam is now finishing a long awaited project to replace and update the water lines throughout the ship, and once completed will give the elegant ship greater client comfort and a more issue-free service. This project is likely finished as of this writing and was completed as a moving work-in-progress. Ship Summary: The Prinsendam has all the traditional regulars of the HAL fleet — Crow's Nest, Explorer's Lounge, Java Cafe, Ocean Bar, Wajang Theater, Half Moon Room, the Queen's Lounge showroom, La Fontaine Dining Room and a wrap-round promenade deck as mentioned — as well as The Pinnacle Grill (the specialty restaurant), a newer well equipped Internet Center, an Art Gallery, Roman style spa, fitness center and a popular Golf Club and Pro Shop complete with golf practice simulator, and yes ... shops! Quite impressive to noise control is a feature of the vintage ship I immediately fell in love with: Every two spacious well-appointed cabins have their own recessed hallway that kept cabins away from hall-chatter when people were out late forgetting that others sometimes sleep. This feature alone was a stellar feature for us. Dining: This is our fourth Holland America cruise — each one on a different ship. We are always pleased with dining, but this cruise seemed extraordinary. Whether it was the actual preparation, or the delight of our new friends and dining companions — or both, we enjoyed and looked forward to evening dining in the lavish La Fontaine main dining room. One evening we reserved a window table for two in The Pinnacle Grill. This is a worthwhile "extra-fee" experience. The elegance from fine Bvlgari china to impeccable and personable world-class service made this a memorable evening. The menu varies, but each delicacy we tasted seemed quite special, and the romantic setting was ideal. For lunch we opted to forgo the more formal La Fontaine and we really enjoyed the cafeteria-style Lido dining. If eye-appeal is buy-appeal we were completely satisfied with the Lido. In fact one evening we were late from a shore trip and just popped into the casual Lido for a nice evening meal. For breakfast we also preferred the casual easy-in-out Lido. Adjoining the Lido is a hot dog, burger pool-side grill, and pizza was available as was ice cream, wonderful favored and of course badly needed ice cream, glorious toppings, and homemade cookies calling to us "take me ... take me!" of course. Closing thoughts: As the extended cruise came to a close I found myself again standing forward on the elegant Prinsendam admiring her classic styling on the last breezy afternoon day. Sparkles of adventure and history were dancing in my head with thoughts of explorers, classical Greek statues and buildings, the Roman Colosseum, Vatican City, Homer's Odyssey, Socrates, the Greek Isles, the spirited Turkish Bazaars and so much more ... how wonderfully exciting this had been ... yet so graciously exquisite. The next cruise after ours, Prinsendam ventured into the Black Sea, and her journeys and explorations continue onward. And, whenever I again see the profile of a classic ship chasing new horizons on distant seas, I will fondly remember Holland America's Prinsendam and wish I were chasing new venues aboard this classic vessel. Some people vacation on the sea, some even love and admire the mystery and unknowns of the sea, but like the thousands before me the sea is a taunting and seductive mistress beckoning me to join her again in passionately intimate adventures yet to be discovered just one more horizon beyond — and beyond yet again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
The Westerdam is a new "big" ship. I'm only going to comment on the pros and cons. Pros: lovely service, great Indonesian staff in the dining room, excellent cuisine, very entertaining shows. Cons: If, like me, you love to ... Read More
The Westerdam is a new "big" ship. I'm only going to comment on the pros and cons. Pros: lovely service, great Indonesian staff in the dining room, excellent cuisine, very entertaining shows. Cons: If, like me, you love to sit on the Promenade deck or some other nook and cranny and enjoy the sea with a good book, you can forget that on this ship. Horribly noisy air vents are everywhere and quietest place on the ship is the inside Lido swimming pool with tons of people. Everyplace else is hopeless. For this reason alone I would not sail her again. Secondly, the design is frankly irritating. Instead of a soaring centrum, here is this tiny affair with a chandelier that is longing for more space to show itself off. Instead, now in the centrum we have the "separate, pay-for restaurant" taking up a lot of once beautiful public space. The show lounge is irritatingly heavy, and puts one in mind of an old Studebaker. The carpet throughout the ship is garish orange and dark blue, making some stairs difficult to maneuver at night. There are some gorgeous art and decor pieces to be sure, a couple of wonderful, inlaid marble floor medallions, and then you come to the aft Lido pool where what at first appears to be a blown-up kid's pool toy is perched on the pool. Folks, this is art. What were they thinking? As to cabin...we had an outside cabin on the main deck #1122. That cabin and I imagine at least eight others along there are subject to the clamorous noise from the kitchen galley above, together with the scraping and bundling around of the manifold deck below. Impossible! These cabins should only be sold as "noise obstructed". We had requested a table for 8, but learned that most of the tables are two's and four's and it appears that the larger tables are for large groups. The dining room is dark and intimate, but again heavy with a low ceiling which fails to show off the gorgeous glass flowered lighting. I longed for the soaring design seen on Celebrity's Century and although this dining room has two stories, you aren't really visually aware of that. The voyage ended in Rome, following a great itinerary. Ahead of time, we arranged a limo to our hotel for $31 euros each. The ship charges $75 to take you to the airport where you have to pay another 50 euros to get back to Rome. Email me if you are interested in any other tips. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
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