Prinsendam Cruise Review by DCParky
- Sail Date: November 2015
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Signature Suite with Verandah
Embarkation: We flew into Rome the day before the cruise set sail. Since we have been to Rome a couple of times, we decided to just spend the night in Civitavecchia to recover from the jet lag and to have an easy transfer to the ship the next morning. We stayed at the Hotel San Giorgio which was right on the sea. It was a very nice hotel and perfect for the overnight stay. It included a complementary breakfast which was the perfect way to start the day.
We took the hotel shuttle to the Prinsendam and arrived at the port at approximately 11:30. We were checked in and onboard the ship within 20 minutes. It helped to have priority boarding as a suite guest. We were able to access our stateroom immediately. We were in SS 028 which is in the forward part of Deck 10. This proved to be an ideal location because we were one or two floors away from most everything on the ship and could therefore avoid the small elevators. The stateroom was lovely and had an extra wide balcony.
The Ship: I had read numerous reviews on Cruise Critic which commented on the condition of the Prinsendam. I knew that I would be sailing on a 27 year old ship and braced myself for it being a bit rusted and run down. What a complete surprise I had when I boarded the ship! The public rooms were very clean, and showed no visible signs of wear. Throughout the cruise, you could always find crewmembers polishing and cleaning. The library, the Explorers Lounge, and the Explorations Café were great spaces (although smoke from the Casino sometimes was too much to handle). We really enjoyed spending time during sea days at the Lido and Sea View Pools. Although they weren't used very much on this cruise, it was nice to stake out a table and enjoy the sun.
Dining: We had the late seating (8:00) in the La Fontaine Dining Room. We were travelling with two friends, and were paired with two other couples at an 8 seat table. We were really lucky as the 8 of us got along well, and enjoyed our evenings together. The food was consistently very good. There was always a nice selection of entrees, and you could always rely on the standards if none of the selections tempted you. Our Dining Room Steward and assistant Abdul and De De were outstanding. You could tell they were very busy, but managed to give us personalized attention.
We also dined in the Pinnacle Restaurant and Canaletto. Both were excellent and well worth the upcharge. Additionally, we did the Le Cirque dinner in the Pinnacle, and the Chateaubriand was over the top!
The Lido buffet was consistently very good, with interesting selections and a very fresh salad bar. It was a little difficult getting through the space as it is quite small and there were several places that were just log jams.
Entertainment: The entertainment on this cruise was good, not great. Since this is a small ship, I wasn't expecting elaborate stage shows. The ship's singers and dancers did a good job, and Holland America lined up some other good entertainment for the long crossing. Notable were the singing magician, the juggler, and the runner up from The Voice UK. The best entertainment came from the Ravons, a Buddy Holly type group that performed two excellent shows!
Ports of Call: This cruise stopped at Cartagena, Malaga, and Cadiz in Spain, and Funchal and Porto Santo in the Portuguese Madeiras. All were very interesting ports. We didn't do any ship shore excursions, preferring to explore each of these ports on our own. Most notable were Malaga and Funchal. Both ports we want to return to explore further. Porto Santo rarely has cruise ship visits, and it was to explore this small island that was an early home to Christopher Columbus.
Disembarkation: Disembarkation was a breeze in Ft. Lauderdale, most probably due to the ship size, and the fact that we arrived on Tuesday and there was only one other small ship in port. We disembarked the ship at 9:15, and were through customs and at the airport by 10:00. Not bad...
Overall Impressions: The Prinsendam is a lovely ship. The Captain told us she will be undergoing a multi-million drydock in May, so she should be in even better shape afterwards.... My hope is that they keep her in the fleet, because she is a gem. I would definitely cruise on her again!
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