Prinsendam Cruise Review by Hunt1530
- Sail Date: October 2017
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Signature Suite with Verandah
I am happy to say therefore that both the cruise company and the ship met our expectations, even though there were considerable deviations on this voyage from the original itinerary.
The Prinsendam is the smallest ship in the HAL fleet, and probably the oldest, too. Not a ship to use if you like a lot of shipboard activities, but great for getting to those hard to reach ports, and meeting other travellers. Also not a ship for families or children, nearly everyone was over 60.
At some point since our last cruise on her, there were extensive renovations to cabins and common facilities, so the ship looks good despite her age. Likewise, the cabins were great. We were located on deck 10, cabin 057, a larger “signature” suite, with plenty of room including a walk in closet and a larger balcony. It had lots of storage space and we had no issue with anything in our cabin.
People cruise on HAL for the service and the food, and both met already high expectations. The Lido in particular was improved from the heat lamp festival I remember, though choice is a little less than other ships. Pinnacle was up to its usual high standard, but alas, Canaletto continues to struggle despite improved décor. Dining room food was good. I was touched that HAL remembered that Oct 11 was Canadian Thanksgiving and served a Thanksgiving dinner.
The weak spot on the Prinsendam continues to be its entertainment. It was uninspiring. Most nights we didn’t go. Again, the price you pay for a smaller vessel. I don’t really cruise for the shows so it doesn’t bother me. I will say we enjoyed the test kitchen, which had classes while we were at sea. There was also an HAL person who would give port talks, which were neither pushing excursions, nor promoting businesses in those ports, but rather legitimate discussions of what you could see and do while ashore.
We always appreciate the large shipboard library on HAL ships, along with the explorations café and the crows nest bar. All are cozy places to sit back with a coffee or a cold drink and watch the cruise go by, along with some of the more colourful cruisers. We appreciated the classical duo Adagio, who performed several times a day.
The organization of the shore excursion team was outstanding. Even with several last minute port changes, they were able to refund all tours for cancelled ports, and come up with excursions at the alternate destinations without any apparent disruption in service. They were also very organized when it came to getting people off the ship to their tours.
I must also comment on HAL’s online Navigator service, which organizes a number of functions on a free internet application available on the guest’s IPAD or laptop. Included were the ability to book excursions, spa treatments and premium dinner reservations, as well as the ability to look at your account and the daily itinerary. Also on the technology front, HAL has introduced key cards that can be scanned by a hand reader, reducing the amount of time at the life boat drill and getting on and off the ship. Both are examples of leveraging technologies to make the cruise experience a more positive one.
Embarkation and disembarkation were outstanding, and both were accomplished in a very short time frame. We elected transfers from and to the airports in the cities where we embarked and disembarked and both were done as effectively as possible.
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Some noise at night from lido deck above. Curved couch not as comfortable as straight one.
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