The 424-seat Queen's Lounge, Prinsendam's main theater, features the latest in high-tech lighting and acoustics. Performances include song and dance shows and classical concerts. During the day, the theater serves as a venue for dance lessons and lectures.
Other Holland America stalwarts are represented on Prinsendam, too. We always love the Ocean Bar; on Prinsendam, it's situated in the center of the ship's main public deck and so offers fabulous people-watching at just about any time. The Bar's blue leather banquettes are tucked under windows facing the Promenade, and its brushed chrome banisters are curved like waves upon the sea. The Ocean Bar is also a cozy location for taking in a shipboard seminar or meeting friends for drinks. There's a bandstand and dance floor as well.
The Explorers Lounge, another Holland America tradition, is another impressive space, featuring mahogany-stained wooden walls, old fashioned (the thick kind) Venetian blinds covering the windows, and leather armchairs with seats just long -- and wide -- enough to encourage passengers to tuck in and get lost in a great book or stimulating conversation.
By far, Explorations Cafe is one of the best innovations at sea today. The sprawling room has a lot of comfy chairs in which to read or watch the sea, an extensive library, puzzles, music listening stations and a very sleek and well-equipped Internet cafe, offering laptop computer rentals and access to wireless Internet connections. Explorations Cafe is busiest on sea days, but a hardcore popular spot on all Holland America ships -- and though new to Prinsendam, it didn't take passengers long to discover it on my voyage!
Though on the small side, the casino is laid out well and features table games as well as slots (we were amused to find some 10 cent machines).
The Java Cafe is set right next to the casino. Note: This is not part of Explorations Cafe where coffee bars are located on Holland America ships. Though small and dark, the Java Cafe is pretty and offers not only coffee and tea, but also espresso and cappuccino -- at no extra charge. A tray of sweet delicacies is always at the ready and the coffee always tastes fresh. A big screen television set parlays the room into a kind of sports bar.
The Oak Room's dark wood walls, leather furnishings and (fake) fireplace are reminiscent of the stodgy gentlemen's clubs of yesteryear. Women are cheerfully admitted in this smoker's lounge, however. Other public room highlights include the Erasmus Library and the Half Moon (card and game) area. Holland America's signature Crow's Nest observation lounge is featured topside. A grand piano sets the tone for the evening entertainment here, which is usually low-key and traditional but at times raucous, depending upon the crowd.
The Wajang Theater and Culinary Arts Center does double duty showing recently released films -- with complimentary popcorn -- and offering one of the best cooking programs at sea. You can participate in intimate cooking classes (extra charge) and tasting events (usually involving a surcharge), and attend larger scale presentations by onboard and guest chefs.
Auction art collections are showcased in a lovely, wood-paneled boutique with windows fronting the promenade deck.