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197 Mediterranean Senior Cruise Reviews

As this is a brand new ship i wanted to try this ship out and see if msc is for me? I booked it through an american agent so got free bottled water in dining room. Tap water is free on every other ships except costa and msc. Pre ... Read More
As this is a brand new ship i wanted to try this ship out and see if msc is for me? I booked it through an american agent so got free bottled water in dining room. Tap water is free on every other ships except costa and msc. Pre cruise. As i was just off another cruise i only had a short time to get home and leave to catch flight from stansted airport. There was a suicide at liverpool street and was lucky the trains were running. Security at the airport was the worse have ever seen! Rushed through to just make the flight as they were closing the doors. Not impressed with ryanair saying no luggage with wheels! This is incorrect i ended up paying £12 for nothing! Got to hamburg and train to city and found the hotel or hostel. Very impressed with a room to my self with heating and a tv. Next day i got breakfast and went to the maritime museum shop where i bought a lovely big 2020 calendar picked up mycase and got bus to the ship. Embarkation. Very quick check in almost left the calendar at the check in. Then had a picture taken and boarded the ship. I found my upgraded balcony cabin. Lifeboat drill. In the casino not the best place to have it no lifejacket needed and with many languages it took a while. Departure. It took a while to leave so decided to watch us leave from myn balcony then go to dinner. Restaurant. Lovely restaurant despite not even having a restaurant to dine in. Had lunch alone and service was so qwuick. Dinner with 2 people at my table but i guess they were not happy with seas and had to sit on my own which i am not happy with. Entertainment. No show on the 1st night apart from lights in the promenade. The 2nd was so good. Photography. Too confusing as pics were up plus digital on the panels this was not explained to me properly. Paying the bill. I like the idea of putting your debit card in machine but not if you have ant=y money left getting the money in euros.plus i was charged for mini bar which i never used and took ages to sort out! Disembarkation. No announcements for leaving the ship did not see my cabin steward much either i had some fruit ;left but took the knife away. When i got off the ship no sign to say the main entrance was closed i had to come all the way back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Let's start with the great.... the entertainment was off the charts, much superior to any other cruise we have taken, all STELLAR! Embarkation and debarkation were organized and a breeze. The food and service was best in the ... Read More
Let's start with the great.... the entertainment was off the charts, much superior to any other cruise we have taken, all STELLAR! Embarkation and debarkation were organized and a breeze. The food and service was best in the specialty restaurant Sabatinnis. If you love Italian food, don't miss it. There were plenty of choices in the Speciality restaurants and although we did not try them all, we heard from other guests that they were all excellent. Elevators did not accommodate the massive numbers of guest and wait time was long. Be careful with shore excursions which are not created equal. Also, when you pick an excursion that includes your meal, you give up your ability to pick a great restaurant and are forced to a prix fix that was menza mens. That should not happen when you have one day in Italy.... a slice of chicken breast would not have been my pick. All in all, it was probably the best week of my life, perfect weather and magnificent Ports helped.The most difficult part was leaving. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship was beautiful, very sturdy and we'll maintained. The staff in general were excellent, the service good, but the food was a real let down. It was either bland or too salty and overcooked. The Britannia restaurant was poor so ... Read More
The ship was beautiful, very sturdy and we'll maintained. The staff in general were excellent, the service good, but the food was a real let down. It was either bland or too salty and overcooked. The Britannia restaurant was poor so was the buffet on the Lido deck. So disappointing. Of the three cruise lines I have travelled on this was the poorest. My accessible cabin was wonderful, everything I asked for was there. The three companions I was with were happy with the service and the cruise generally. I I did not book any excursions as I travelled with a mobility scooter. The first shuttle bus was acceptable and helpful but at Lanzarote my companions and I boarded the bus and were dumped at the end of the new port. (Why go to a place closed on Sunday?) There were no shops or cafes available, and we were told we had to walk 20 minutes into town to see if anything was open. Alternatively we could risk taking a 20 minute taxi to the other side of the island to a possibly open market. As we did not know if we could get back we just got back on the bus and stayed on the ship. Overall very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We just completed a 43 day (34 day on board) 20 Mediterranean Port , Trans-Atlantic Cruise On board the Nieuw Statendam IMO: 9767106, MMSI : 244140508, Call Sign: PBCO, Flag : (NL) Neatherlands ... Read More
We just completed a 43 day (34 day on board) 20 Mediterranean Port , Trans-Atlantic Cruise On board the Nieuw Statendam IMO: 9767106, MMSI : 244140508, Call Sign: PBCO, Flag : (NL) Neatherlands First The Complaints (1)Every one is fully aware that medical, trip cancellation (ETC) can be very expensive. When you have thousands of dollars invested in your trip, this may be a wise investment. (2)IF YOU HAVE A COLD OR YOU HAVE TO SNEEZE, PLEASE COVER YOUR MOUTH (3)If you are sick before your cruise. consider staying home. The ship can become a gigantic petri dish. (4)Men, You are on vacation, (maybe in a foreign country) mowing your lawn attire is fine at home, but not on a cruise ship. (5)Not all stores, hotels, bars , restaurants except credit cards, foreign paper money ie (American/Canadian Dollars) Besides, the best rate will be at home, before you go. (6)The staff on board are not your personal servants, they work very hard, they do a wonderful job, and will fall over backwards to make sure you are happy (7) They charge for a lot of stuff on board, so PLEASE ask if there is a charge and how much....Note... every night before going to sleep we would look our account on room tv. (8)Drink packages are fine, but sometimes the electronic information does not follow you from dining room to dining room. (9) On board excursions can be very expensive,,, how ever if you are late getting back the ship will wait, NOT SO for an excursion booked on shore. Now For The Good Stuff We had a truly wonderful 43 day (34 days on board) 20 Mediterranean Ports, Trans-Atlantic Cruise Vacation. We hit a home run with the weather, it was wonderful except for a few windy spots. Our inside stateroom 8182 was just off the center line at the stern. The room was Very Clean, and Very Comfortable, lots of storage space for two people, hangers, bathrobes. shampoos, soaps etc. Lots of lights, wall safe. Our room stewards HERI and KETUT were wonderful, very easy to talk to. The pools and the hot tubes were always clean and filled with the usual assortment of walruses and seals that claim their territory long before the crack of dawn. Their is enough food to feed an army, you can always find something. Just understand that they make the food so 2-3-4-5 thousand can eat it. The specialty restaurants , and main dining room can cater to the individual palette. We enjoyed all the shows and presentations while on board, the comedians were very funny. Please do not expect a Vegas or Broadway show . We could always find a quiet place to read, play a game or just relax even with 4000 thousands roaming around. EMBARKATION in Civitaveechia (Rome) was a breeze. DISEMBARKATION in Fort Lauderdale was delayed mostly due to people who needed assistance, A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to the CREW and STAFF of The NIEW STATENDAM for such a wonderful trip. Thank you to Heri and Ketut our room stewards and to Ane and to Brilliant on the LIDO deck Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have cruised many times with Holland America and have had no complaints.This cruise left us disappointed. The cabin and dining room staff, namely Dudi, Eka, Allen, Hanif and Mohamad were excellent, along with Leslie and Ryan in the ... Read More
We have cruised many times with Holland America and have had no complaints.This cruise left us disappointed. The cabin and dining room staff, namely Dudi, Eka, Allen, Hanif and Mohamad were excellent, along with Leslie and Ryan in the Crows' Nest. Sam and Damian, pianists in Billboard, super. What was below our usual expectations; No Hand Gel, apart from Boarding and Casino. First time we have both been ill, bed bound for 2 days. No choice on tips and not mentioned in brochure with prices, Phone info only for Restaurants, Crows' Nest no atmosphere, very few people in, Ports of call booklet faded at bottom and told all similar, TV info on ports pathetic, not as informative as previous cruises, no repeat of talks, Show times inconvenient if on second dinner sitting, Theatre only has seats for a quarter of the guests. Having stated the above, we still like cruising with HM. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Itinerary went to several ports we had visited before and would enjoy again and three that we had never visited and wished to. Everything about the ship is "first class." Clean everywhere; good food in all public restaurants; ... Read More
Itinerary went to several ports we had visited before and would enjoy again and three that we had never visited and wished to. Everything about the ship is "first class." Clean everywhere; good food in all public restaurants; good entertainment; very friendly and helpful personnel. I got it in my mind that NCL does a superb job of hiring the perfect personality types to be constantly engaged with the public and trains them well. Our second trip on the Pearl and same experience both times. What I did not like and found to be negative was ten dollars (with mandatory 20% gratuity) for a glass of good but ordinary wine and eight bucks for a bottle of BUD or similar. They've got you captive and use the advantage. Prices in shops not so hot. My wife bought a bottle of Dolce &Gabana cologne for 85 euros. Found the same in Rome Airport "duty free" (notorious for hyping "duty free" and "tax free" in order to imply low prices, for 77 euros. Again, when one is captive, the benefits of competition go out the window (or porthole, if you will). This is our second cruise on the Pearl and both times we selected a "window stateroom" and would up with a fifteen inch diameter porthole. The room was roomy enough with the beds separated and each against opposing walls. Ship renovated since our first cruise in 2015. TV had been upgraded to a 32 inch Samsung and we had several watchable channels including Fox News US version. Big improvement from our SF-Miami cruise in fall of 2015. Excursions were problematic. We purchased five through NCL. In general the destinations were heavily overcrowded and the various tours did not allow for enough time at destinations to really shop and sightsee. Overcrowding was a surprise because this was an end of season Med cruise for the Pearl which went on to the Caribbean after we got off in Rome. Choice of slot machines in casino was unimaginative and we found very few that we found familiar based on our experiences in several California "Indian casinos." Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This cruise had all the sites we wanted to visit However, some ship personnel don't know were the rest is and ask Bar Tenders where it is. When I ask the stateroom attendant to please change the towels, he foes into this big ... Read More
This cruise had all the sites we wanted to visit However, some ship personnel don't know were the rest is and ask Bar Tenders where it is. When I ask the stateroom attendant to please change the towels, he foes into this big lecture about leaving towels on floor to change, I don't need this idiot. I purchase the drink package and was being charged for water, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee. I don't like being penny pinched by Norwegian, other cruise lines don't do this. The food in the main dinning room and indigo could be a lot better. When making my reservations , I spoke to two Norwegian agents about the Bogo Gratuity offer and I agreed to take it. When I got on board, I found it wasn't done and was forced to pay the higher 15 dollar a day amount. Outrageous. Unless Norwegian sizable compensation, I will be looking else ware for my cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Norwegian Star Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Sept 27 – Oct 6 This was our fourth NCL cruise and we found the clean and comfortable accommodations, friendly staff, good food and great entertainment to be consistent with our other ... Read More
Norwegian Star Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Sept 27 – Oct 6 This was our fourth NCL cruise and we found the clean and comfortable accommodations, friendly staff, good food and great entertainment to be consistent with our other cruises. We stayed in an inside cabin and I will say I did miss the balcony. Embarkation and debarkation went very smoothly for us. We dined in 3 specialty restaurants, Cagney’s, The Bistro and La Cucina and found the food in these restaurants was definitely a cut above the inclusive selections. However, we did find the size quite small and the ambiance a little lacking on this ship. We enjoyed most of the entertainment in the Stardust theatre and thought the variety and quality was very good. However, there is definitely more to do on the larger ships. Unfortunately, our sailing was scheduled for later departure from Venice and, therefore, Kotor was cancelled on our sailing. On top of that, the weather in Argostoli was dreadful, so for safety reasons, that port was cancelled as well. The Captain did sail out of the bad weather and we had a sunny and pleasant day at sea instead. Still it was a little disappointing to lose 2 or the 6 ports, but what can you do. We had booked a 4 port excursion package with NCL. The Kotor portion was refunded. Corfu (Timeless Villages & Scenic Drive) We had a lovely excursion which took us to a few different areas of the island, including a nice lunch by the water. We did spend quite a lot of the day on the bus, but we enjoyed this tour overall on this very pretty island. Santorini (Greek Style Celebration – Opa!) The tender took us to a bus which travelled up to Oia where we had some free time to explore. We then stopped at Pyros where you could climb up the 128 steps to a church and observation area. We chose to stay back and enjoy and adult beverage. Next was the dinner buffet with Greek Dancing and plate breaking celebration. This was enjoyable, but the food was just ok and it felt rushed. We then took the bus back to Fira where we were given a ticket to the cable car which we were told was a 5 min walk. The sun was just setting, but we just took a quick couple of pics and decided to head out. The walk was at least 20 mins and before we got there, we realized the line was outrageously long. It was quite chaotic, people pushing in, fighting, etc. You had no idea where the entrance actually was. After 1-1/2 we finally made it down to the tender. This tour was rated a 2 on the activity scale and I think that is misleading. There is a lot of walking, steep hills & steps, and we as seniors found it very tiring. We book with NCL so we have no tender issues and no problem returning to the ship so we found this tour to be lacking in this department. We may have just done Santorini on our own had we known. Mykonos We had to tender at this port as well, but we had no problem coming or going to the ship. We did this port on our own and took a cab up to the windmills. We explored the town and had and lovely coffee and cheese pie and a café right by the water. What a beautiful port. It was relaxing and enjoyable. Dubrovnik (Croatian Riviera & Dubrovnik) Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We picked this Oceania cruise because of its itinerary, in particular Al Hambra, Canary Islands and Tangiers (among others). We were lucky to score stateroom 6004 (port side very near the sharp end), which whilst having no balcony, had ... Read More
We picked this Oceania cruise because of its itinerary, in particular Al Hambra, Canary Islands and Tangiers (among others). We were lucky to score stateroom 6004 (port side very near the sharp end), which whilst having no balcony, had instead added interior space, making for a larger cabin. We appreciated the extra space as we were travelling for 2 months and had lots of luggage. Sirena has recently been totally refurbished and while the walls of cabins and bathrooms are not easily moved, the somewhat tiny bathroom had been fitted with glass doors (previously curtains we are told) and swung both out and inwards into the shower to give that extra room for towelling down. Clever! The ship's layout is remarkably like the much bigger Marina, but has about half the guest capacity at 680; despite the smaller ship, public areas and dining were remarkably roomy. Specialty dining is well catered for by Tuscan Grill and Red Ginger and we feel the Grand dining room is equally up to the gastronomic task. Service everywhere was excellent and friendly. We were allocated two specialty restaurants in our fare, but we found it was easy to ask to be waitlisted and did score at least four specialty dinners (we always ask to share, which is a great way to meet people). A big plus is the access to self-service laundry facilities (remember, 2 months holiday requires regular access!) and even better, there is now no charge! Great! Great entertainment on the trip; Flamenco dancing, Chris Ritchie impersonating various "Crooners" and a cabaret evening by the ship's crew with our cruise director in the front row doing the Village People routine. Very enjoyable! The itinerary of ports and excursions was a great choice -we picked the Cathedrals and Canaries" cruise just for the destinations we would be visiting-. We did not use any ship shore excursions as we had prior bookings with friends in three destinations and did our own thing in the remainder. All in all a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The cruise hit several locations we wanted to visit. We were glad we started in Greece then Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and went to Italy. We did extend our trip 2 days in Venice which was a must. The locations seemed to improve as we ... Read More
The cruise hit several locations we wanted to visit. We were glad we started in Greece then Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and went to Italy. We did extend our trip 2 days in Venice which was a must. The locations seemed to improve as we headed north. The food was outstanding and the daily wine choices were great. We should have taken more advantage of the onboard entertainment. The crew were outstanding. They were very attentive and funny. We appreciate their efforts and service. The excursions were great we did upgrade a few. The history and culture were amazing. Great cultural enrichment and wine! We overpacked. Having the onboard washers and dryers were great to recycle and bring less. We recommend being self aware as a traveler. We were disappointed by the rudeness of some of the other travelers. When something did not go perfect the ship crew always worked hard and quickly to correct it. Be patient. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had an aft balcony cabin 8134 It was a typical cabin at the VERY back of the ship. Shower was a nice size - balcony was not as big as I would like but it fit 2 chairs/table and a lounge. Enough storage space for us suit ... Read More
We had an aft balcony cabin 8134 It was a typical cabin at the VERY back of the ship. Shower was a nice size - balcony was not as big as I would like but it fit 2 chairs/table and a lounge. Enough storage space for us suit cases under the bed our cabin stuart - not the best .. but .. after tipping .. he got better !!!! HAHA always wanted ice in the bucket for evenings and he did provide that after a few days The restaurants were lovely We did 5 spec. dinners - loved all .....but La Cucinna - (not worth it) IMO Teppanayi - great night ! The main restaurants had great service and selections Try the Baiamondi fish dish !!! The staff was AMAZING no matter where you were --- bar/cabin/breakfast/lunch dinners/hallways/pools /customer service area -- ALL friendly and informative. We had a liquor pkg .. but we always tip great service !!! The O'Sheerhan bar and the Martini Bar were a lot of fun for us -- GREAT staff ADIE was so friendly, and yet professional. There was a young lady from the Phillippines ( wish I could remember her name) that had been working for 17 years -- 4 years for NCL Jade that was so sociable and interesting and helpful. We did our shore excursions personnally Did Santorini "Impressions" 4 hours and it was lovely- ask for Sabina - tell her the Colautti's referred you (Sept 12 cruise) Malta -- Touring Geeks -- 2.5 hours- reserve ahead Italy - we have been and knew what to do --Had spent a week in Florence last trip Did a 4 hour wine tour on our last day - met some very nice people - laughed a lot -- done thru the ship All in all - a great fun time !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Just returned from a week on the Celestyal Line’s Crystal “Idyllic Aegean” cruise to the Greek Isles out of Athens. Here’s the bottom line on the entire cruise experience - with apologies to those negative reviewers from another ... Read More
Just returned from a week on the Celestyal Line’s Crystal “Idyllic Aegean” cruise to the Greek Isles out of Athens. Here’s the bottom line on the entire cruise experience - with apologies to those negative reviewers from another orbit who’ve expressed reservations. Firstly, the really spectacular: - The multilingual cruise director, Danny, an energetic John Oliver clone, was an absolute delight and livened up the entire week; - Formal dinners are served and presented with gastronomic flourish, and most offer a truly memorable food experience - with a distinct European flair and great service. If your vision of good cuisine is everyday American comfort food, then maybe consider a different vacation option. The executive sous chef also offers a poolside specialty breakfast (omelet station) and lunch each day (pasta; gyros; fajitas; BBQ); - The nightly shows in the main theatre, performed by a resident troupe, were simply amazing with fabulous choreography, music, stage production, sound/lighting, and at times audience participation; we didn’t miss a single night; - It’s a visit to another world: the 910 passengers onboard represented 34 countries, the 403 crew members 31 countries, all of which provided a chance each day to talk to someone from a different culture (all announcements were in five languages) - an invaluable life event; - Generally, each interaction with a staff person was courteous and efficient. The mundane: - Yes, it’s an older ship that has been tenderly maintained. While it’s not the Ritz Carlton, accommodations are comfortable, clean, and well-serviced (thank you Jose and Ramesh). Does it look a little tired in spots? Sure, it’s a Euro-centric vacation vehicle and, thankfully, not a Disney wannabe. Consider what you really want when cruising the Greek Isles; - Rooms are clean and fresh, with comfortable bedding. We splurged on a balcony junior suite (only about 10% of all cabins have balconies) and it was well worth the extra cost; - Despite other comments here, the check-in, boarding, and disembarkation process was well-managed and flawless; ignore those comments from behind the curtain: - Crews are constantly sprucing up the ship to a sparkling white outside, and the interior reminds one of a favorite living room chair: comfortable and familiar, but not flashy or exotic; - Unlike American cruises, there is no automatic add-on gratuity cost for the week (which the crew probably never receives). We handed out cash directly to an appreciative staff. The negatives: - no assigned seating at dinner, but there are three available restaurants plus two buffets; (we covertly tipped one maitre’d the first night and were treated exceptionally the other six); - the gym and casino are tiny by today’s standards, but we didn’t care in the least (we took a week off exercise); - bottled water was not part of the beverage package; - no free Wi-Fi. but we were able to use cellular at each destination from the ship; - some of the free shore excursions were just mediocre and overcrowded. Consider upgrading to the other paid options at each port. Overall, a wonderful, adult experience. For couples or groups, not kids or teens, and a chance to interact with people from around the world. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Bucket list cruise for both me and my spouse and wanted to see if we would like to go back to the Greek islands for a further visit. And we will. Very surprised on how it was easy to embark in Civitavecchia and loved our stay for 2 days ... Read More
Bucket list cruise for both me and my spouse and wanted to see if we would like to go back to the Greek islands for a further visit. And we will. Very surprised on how it was easy to embark in Civitavecchia and loved our stay for 2 days before. Highly recommend it! First time booking a back to back cruise and i would not mind doing that again. I found the food was a little repetitive for my personal preference and not hot enough either in the dining room (anytime dining) and the buffet (world market). Breakfast was a little repetitive and Princess no longer offers toaster/grill to make your own toast, bagels so your toast, bagels, english are cold. Same for their eggs sunny side but under a heat lamps, so stiff and not good. They did offer build your own omelettes which was very good. We went to Kotor Montenegro twice and would do that again. We missed Mykonos because of high winds but that could not be helped. The staff were nice and mostly very helpful. I will cruise again with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because of itinerary and the flight included package. Loved the stops. The ship was great except for food. I am not a fish or seafood eater so I found limited choices for me in the dining room. I am a fussy eater so I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of itinerary and the flight included package. Loved the stops. The ship was great except for food. I am not a fish or seafood eater so I found limited choices for me in the dining room. I am a fussy eater so I thought just me but after sitting with others in dining room, they too, were disappointed. There were very few kids on this cruise so pools were good but I would guess they could get crowded with little ones at other times. I didn’t see a kids pool. The shows were nothing to crow about. The casino was dead, no competitions etc. I did enjoy the entertainment team. They were great. The game shows were also good. I also find the buffet to be small and again heavy on fish.our room was quiet and clean so no complaints there.enbarksion and disembark both great. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The 24 day Mediterranean cruise to the Adriatic, Malta, Sicily, Italian and then Greek locations in September. This was our 3rd HAL trip and ship. Weather was generally hot. The ship is only 3 years old and shows that they have taken into ... Read More
The 24 day Mediterranean cruise to the Adriatic, Malta, Sicily, Italian and then Greek locations in September. This was our 3rd HAL trip and ship. Weather was generally hot. The ship is only 3 years old and shows that they have taken into consideration factors from other older ships in the fleet. Firstly it is very quiet and manoeuvrable meaning it can and does go where some others do not (eg Santorini). The captain is calming and likes being early at just about ever port (and leaves when he can). The Cruise Director is cheery and direct with no long winded speeches. We liked the cabin - details below. Dining is good - MDR (we had anytime dining) offers varied selections but like all lines when doing back to back cruises the menu is repeated; food quality was good, service very good; the venue (level 2) can get noisy when busy and when certain guests always talk loudly, special dietary service was excellent. Lido has good variation with the policy of 90% being served by staff adds to health safety; the special diet section was appreciated and popular with the only negative comment being the shortage of staff; breakfast was generally pretty quick service. Canaletto has a new menu that was disappointing but service was good. Tamarind has excellent Asian food variations and high quality, quiet atmosphere, excellent service with special mention for the Indonesian theme night, 3 visits in total. Pinnacle Grill was mid range for the 3 special restaurants we attended. Burgers by the pool are OK although the fries are just yuk. Wine selection is reasonable with good geographic coverage but as always prices can be steep. Gala nights are becoming more casual with very limited numbers wearing formal gear. Pool size is a bit small but the level above with lounges overlooking offer a luxurious feel. Massage was good even if a touch expensive and there some some after sell of products but not too bad. Entertainment is geared towards seniors who prefer the occasional activity/performance. This is not a ship for those wanting broadway shows every night! It just does not happen. Instead a few musicians, magicians and cultural shows (entertainers from local areas were the best). Embarkation and disembarkation were the quickest yet on any ship we have sailed! Congrats to the crew who organised entertainment and activities on the day when a port could not be moored because of wharf issues and the change so that an early arrival at the next port allowed an overnight stay. Sum - a large ship with 2600 which has been modernised with many popular features. It is not a 5 star ship eg Silversea but offers excellent value at HAL prices. A ship we would definitely sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
12 ports of call, a lot to see and do ashore.Shore excursions are expensive. Staff are very helpful and courteous. D J played latin music in Spanish or Italian all day, most annoying as most of the guests are from Western countries. Rock ... Read More
12 ports of call, a lot to see and do ashore.Shore excursions are expensive. Staff are very helpful and courteous. D J played latin music in Spanish or Italian all day, most annoying as most of the guests are from Western countries. Rock and Roll, country,ballads. more appropiate to the guests. Food was good. entertainment was largely good. Show dancers excellent. Large ship but easy to move around. Cost was reasonable for that cruise.Security staff are a bit over the top, I was sick of being physically searched every time I came back on the boat, felt like a criminal in the Watchhouse. Was disembarked at 7.15am even though our pick up was not till 9.30am.had to wait on the footpath for over 2 hours. I told them what our pick up time was, they only wanted us off the ship.Overall a good company to cruise with, I will travel with them again in spite of some issues. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
As we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it had all the places we wanted to visit. Very disappointed with the entertainment in the World Stage theatre nightly. We expected live cabaret/Broadway type shows. It was a 23 ... Read More
As we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it had all the places we wanted to visit. Very disappointed with the entertainment in the World Stage theatre nightly. We expected live cabaret/Broadway type shows. It was a 23 night cruise and we had to endure some of the pitiful acts/artists i.e. juggler, magician, comedian. People left the theatre every night after a couple of minutes as it was so boring and headed to other entertainment lounges which were very good. A noticeable lack of activities during the day for the older age group apart from computer courses.. We thought there would have been more outside activities such as deck quoits, mini golf or carpet bowls. The Cruise director was incompetent and lacked initiative. When approached about anything he always had an excuse and said would get back to you but never did, NOT good enough. For these concerns we would not recommend Koningsdam and would not book with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose a 12 day cruise with P & O on their Aurora ship this year as everyone we knew, who had cruised, said that they had always had a great time. This ship is now Adult only. We had a smooth and speedy embarkation at Southampton ... Read More
We chose a 12 day cruise with P & O on their Aurora ship this year as everyone we knew, who had cruised, said that they had always had a great time. This ship is now Adult only. We had a smooth and speedy embarkation at Southampton and having travelled from the North-east of England this was a very welcome start to our holidays. Our inside cabin was a moderate size but well furnished with a decent size bathroom (shower). Our cabin was immaculate with tea and coffee making facilities (replenished daily) and Sandesh, who looked after our cabin ensured that clean towels (and pool towels) were changed daily and bedding changed regularly. His attention to detail was very impressive. We were also impressed with the wide selection of food available. Food was available through the day as were refreshments. Food was hot and well presented. We dined in different restaurants as well as the self-serve areas (the Horizon) and one of our favourite places was the Medina Restaurant where we got exceptional service from Melwyn and Joel who really looked after us well each time we visited. When we did dine in the Horizon we were often looked after by Frauline who was a very friendly and funny guy and ensured that we had everything we needed to enjoy our meals. The entertainment was, in our opinion, 1st class considering the entertainment team have so many different shows and routines to perform so often. We were never short of things to do, the cinema showed relatively new films, the gym had modern equipment, there were activities to join in all day long and lots of different entertainment in lots of different bars onboard the ship. One of our favourite places to chill was The Crow's Nest. A definate plus was being able to visit a designated are for Costa Coffee on board. All the staff were very friendly and helpful throughout our holiday. We didn't go on any organised trips as we wanted to explore the ports ourselves and most were within walking distance although there were taxis available. One negative comment would be our visit to Lanzarote. We wondered why so many of the people we spoke to were not getting of the ship that day. Those of us who did were back on the ship within a very short time as there was little to do in the tiny resort we visited (most of which was closed). We now have the 'cruising' bug and are looking for our next adventure. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise simply because of the Itinary. Been on many cruises with rcl and po.(why do people insist of asking how many cruises you’ve been on as soon as you start a conversation only to take over the conversation telling you ... Read More
We chose this cruise simply because of the Itinary. Been on many cruises with rcl and po.(why do people insist of asking how many cruises you’ve been on as soon as you start a conversation only to take over the conversation telling you all about THEIR cruises )..... Only room we could get was inside so decided we would try and upgrade on board, so straight to guest services as soon as onboard to be met with signs “cruise fully booked “ Went to room as we left Venice to be met with a thunderous sound in cabin. Phoned guest services they said we will send a supervisor , as I put phone down cabin boy knocked and during our chat said the noise will leave now as we enter open water. As we spoke it stopped ...I phone guest services and cancelled complaint (that was a mistake). All good for a few days then three day in at 6am we were awoken with a crashing and banging noise from next door (store room) phoned gs and ll went quiet after 10 mins.no reply to complaint was sent by phone message or letter to room.. The following morning at 6.15 the thunderous noise started again !! I put bow cam on and noticed that we were going into terminal and that side thrusters were working , phoned gs and complained and they sent a supervisor. He came and said nothing to do with him as he was housekeeping !, what a waste of time !, back to gs and lodged a complaint they said they will look into it and get back to me. Later that day we returned spoke to another person who said well we left you a message yesterday and you never came back to us ??? At this point I asked for the gs supervisor who came and listened as I told her there had been no communication either by phone or letter and that if there had we would not be wasting our holiday time. At this point without explanation as to what happened she offered us a change of room (as there was a medical emergency) $100 added to our account and Chocs and wine in room. We took that and on return to our room to pack there were 2 phone messages asking us to contact gs plus two letters doing the same (covering their backsides I think). Apparently they are were still investigating where the noise comes from !!!! With dozens of highly trained engineers on that ship a two minute phone call would give them the answer they need (side thrusters ) but something tells me they already know what the issue is and realise they should not be letting that room out EVER !!! The rest of cruise was great apart from entertainment which in comparison to other cruises was poor. Oh and if you go to Santorini do not walk up or down to the town from cruise terminal as you’ll experience poor donkeys climbing and descending that steep incline in terrible conditions you’ll also have to avoid them if you walk as they push you up against the wall !!! And ladies don’t wear open toe shoes if you choose to walk, it’s not nice between your toes if you know what I mean........... Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are 4-star Mariners on HAL, but we are also frequent users of other cruise lines, so it had been two years since we sailed on HAL. The Koningsdam was our first time on one of the line's newer, larger ships. We like smaller ships, ... Read More
We are 4-star Mariners on HAL, but we are also frequent users of other cruise lines, so it had been two years since we sailed on HAL. The Koningsdam was our first time on one of the line's newer, larger ships. We like smaller ships, but we were looking for an Adriatic cruise, and we liked the ports of call on this cruise. In the end, we did not find the Koningsdam too big for our taste, but we did have a mixed reaction to what seems to be Holland America's new direction, though we found the crew among the friendliest we have have experienced in many years of cruising. Getting There: We took advantage of Holland America's great prices on business class air and of their rather pricey hotel package and flew in the day before. I like the idea of having the airport to hotel to ship transfers taken care of for me--it reduces the stress of travel. Our hotel was the Savoy. The room was large and well-furnished, the staff was friendly, and the location was within walking distance of some sights--though we were too tired to take full advantage of that. Embarkation was smooth and fast. Dining: For dinner, we prefer a table for two, though we enjoy sharing a table at other meals. We had a window table (169) for the early seating. We had wonderful service from Kelana and Arisman--when my wife developed a cough, Kelana insisted on bringing her hot tea with honey and lemon and generally fussed over her. The wine steward, Olga, was far more part of the team than usual, though our only order was Diet Coke for me. All three of them recognized and greeted us when we saw them elsewhere around the ship. They really enhanced our dining experience. We liked both the main dining room food and the Lido breakfast and lunch buffets. I would not rate it among the best food we have experienced, but they we certainly a step up from the food on the Princess ship we took earlier this year. The specialty restaurants seemed a bit over-priced based on our previous experience of them, so we did not use them at all this cruise. Drink: I drink only soft drinks, since all of my pills seem to come with warnings not to take with alcohol, and my wife drinks mainly cappuccino and lattes, so I can't speak to the quality of the alcoholic drinks. As with dining, I was particularly impresse with how friendly and accomodating the staff were. Frits at the Grand Dutch Cafe particularly stood out. On the other hand, I never did figure out the arcane coverage of the various beverage packages--cans vs. draft sodas, which specialty drinks were covered, and especially how the package including the new multi-drink soda machine (Lido Bar only) works. The information on the web site is too vague; guest services seemed unclear about things; and different bars seemed to give different incomplete answers, though doing their best to be helpful. I found this very annoying. Shore Excursions: At 80 years old, we try to avoid strenuous excursions, and that was a particular concern on this trip because I managed to develop tendonitis in my right foot just the week before we left. It was particularly irritating to find that the web site information we had used in pre-booking did not match the notes on the tickets we got when we boarded. The latter evidently reflect the experience of the ship's own shore excursion staff, and they did seem more reliable. The staff at the desk was very accomodating when we had to exchange tickets and did their best to recommend excursions we could handle. They probably over-estimated our ability to do walking tours during a historic heat wave, but I don't blame them for that. Other Services: We paid for unlimited surfiing (without streaming) and were generally satisfied with internet reception--partly because our expectations for ship internet are pretty low. The Internet Manager, Danilo, solved a couple of IPhone problems for us, neither of which had much to do with the internet, so we were particularly impressed by him. We checked our my wife's cough with the Medical Center, and again we thought well of the nurses and doctor there. On the other hand, we really deplored the lack of a library. Having sailed just last year on Cunard's QM2 made for a painful contrast. I can understand that e-books have reduced the need for ship libraries, and I came myself with a bunch of e-books stored on my tablet, but my wife is among the many who still prefer real books. Even I miss the serendipity of finding something new while browsing a library--I've first met a couple of my favorite authors that way. Entertainment: They seem to have really cut back on main stage entertainment. It's not just the loss of onboard singers and dancers. The ship's band seemed a bit smaller. And having variety entertainers perform two full shows on a 12-night cruise seemed a bit much. On the other hand, we liked Vox Fortuna very much, and the local kappa group they brought aboard at Dubrovnik was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I always choose because of the Ports of Call. If I like where the ship is going, then I sign on and this cruise was great. Been to most places but not Malta, Sicily and Crete and they were 100% especially Malta. I had a great cabin and ... Read More
I always choose because of the Ports of Call. If I like where the ship is going, then I sign on and this cruise was great. Been to most places but not Malta, Sicily and Crete and they were 100% especially Malta. I had a great cabin and great neighbours who were considerate and quiet. My cabin was located in a nice area of the ship. I was travelling on my own not for any particular reason but just to travel and to see places I have not visited before. I am 75 and I guess I would have to check off the fact that I was on a senior cruise which is not true. I had lots of fun with young people on the cruise and enjoyed their conversations and I shared with them lots of tips about places I had been several times before. I also enjoyed the young crew and their zest for life. Cruising for me is going places and seeing places and meeting people from the countries I visit. I am not interested in gaining points or reaching a certain status....I just want to learn more about the world. The cruise was perfect - no complaints. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Embarkation the quickest ever after a smooth coach journey down from Woolley Edge in Yorkshire. Great to have luggage dealt with efficiently - you do not have any contact with it from handing it over to coach driver, until delivery to ... Read More
Embarkation the quickest ever after a smooth coach journey down from Woolley Edge in Yorkshire. Great to have luggage dealt with efficiently - you do not have any contact with it from handing it over to coach driver, until delivery to cabin. !6 night cruise and weather bad from start to finish, but that cannot be blamed on P&O. All seasoned cruisers said they had never been on a cruise with so much wind, rain, mist and cloud. We went on this cruise because we love Oriana and we wanted one last trip before she is sold to China. So were not too bothered that we had visited most stops previously. One place we hadn't been to before was Terceira in the Azores. This was really the only decent weather we had on the whole trip and it was a lovely island. We had booked a 4 x 4 tour (8 hours) through Viator with ProIsland Tours. I cannot recommend them enough. We covered the whole island and were taken to many places the ship's own tours couldn't access. We had also taken a half day 4 x 4 tour the previous day on Sao Miguel. Again it had been booked through Viator with BioBird tours. Many of those on cruises are very wary of booking trips through anyone other than P&O. We have done it many times and have never been worried about a missed sail-away. The tours' content is usually much more comprehensive and they are usually at least a third cheaper than ships' tours. Give them a go if you've not tried them. After the Azores we visited Madeira, where we used the local bus to visit Santa Cruz. Next was La Palma where we took a P&O tour to a silk farm. OK, but tended to be herded about a bit and were unable to stop to photograph nice views where we were not scheduled to stop. Then came Gran Canaria. Again we took a P&O tour which gave a leisurely overview and took us to some places we had not visited before. We were particularly impressed with our stop in Port Mogan. Fuertaventura was not worth the visit really, unless you wanted to go to a beach. Again we took a local bus and travelled up to a town on the north coast. Last stop was Lisbon where the weather was so bad that it didn't warrant getting of the ship. However, we had to get gifts and so had to go shopping. Got soaked to the skin. The two sea days on the return were once more dull, misty and rainy. We disembarked (very efficiently) in Southampton to a lovely sunny day. Now Thursday and weather still great. Perhaps UK is worth considering. Overall impression of cruise was good because we like the ship so much - no children, good food, good entertainment, nice bars to sit in etc. Would just like to give a tip to anyone who may be considering buying a wine package on board. Don't bother. There is little, if anything, to be saved. In fact, unless you choose the most expensive wines on the lists available (only about 4 of them), you could find that you had paid more than if you had bought them individually from the full wine list. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Prinsendam European River Explorer 4-24-19 Note this is a long; log-style review. For just the summary scroll on down to the end. We left Pennsylvania on Monday evening April 22 on American non-stop to Rome. The flight was on time ... Read More
Prinsendam European River Explorer 4-24-19 Note this is a long; log-style review. For just the summary scroll on down to the end. We left Pennsylvania on Monday evening April 22 on American non-stop to Rome. The flight was on time and arrived 35 minutes early into Rome. We met one of our fellow cruisers at the airport and had arranged a shared transfer to Civitavecchia. Despite some airport confusion, it all worked out. Note that after leaving through customs I did not find an ATM at the airport. They must be there, but not in the places they used to be! Our driver with Civitavecchia Shuttle Express was kind and professional. He did not talk very much. We were dropped off at our guest house, “MyHomeBLU” at about 10:40. MyHomeBLUE is an interesting guest house on the top floor of a condo building. It has some great views of the city as well as the Mediterranean. We went back to visit our new friend at her hotel and found an ATM. We attempted a walking tour I had downloaded from the port website. Streets are poorly marked, and while we found the two churches they were both locked and we could not enter inside. We were too late for the market. We stopped at a supermarket for two bottles of wine to bring on board and a small gelato container. The gelato became lunch. At 4:00 we met our new friend and went for dinner. Many restaurants are closed from 3 – 7 PM but along the seaside promenade several were open. The “New Gran Caffe” has a very nice upstairs dining room with views of the sea. My dinner was good although not what I expected. We walked along the sea for a while afterwards taking photos. Walking back to our temporary home DW said she was still hungry. There is a supermarket on the first floor of our building so we visited there and she bought some cheese and olives. This was very satisfying as it was enjoyed in the “Living room” overlooking the coast. At about 8:30 we called it a day! Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – embarkation We slept very well. We woke to my phone alarm to get ready for the day. We had a light breakfast in the MyHomeBLUE living room. There is cheese and olives left from last evening and that was helpful as little that was available met DW’s dietary needs. We took a nice walk to the town market. About half the market was fruits, veggies, seafood, & meats. The other half was an assortment of goods including clothing and electronics. We walked back and enjoyed a few minutes rest chatting with the proprietor until heading down for our prearranged 10:30 taxi. He was waiting for us at 10:25 and off we went to the port. We were in the terminal before 11:00. They told us boarding would begin at 11:30 and handed us boarding card #1. At 11:10 they called for #1. We had our photo taken for our last embarkation on Prinsendam, and headed to our cabin. It seemed a few things were not as cleaned as DW prefers but our room steward took care of everything. We sent away the soiled laundry from our travels and headed to the Ocean Bar. Here we found the maître’ de and discussed dinner plans. We handed him our prepared list of DW’s dietary restrictions and he kindly assigned us to table 143, a four top all the way aft. He also took a preorder for dinner. We also stopped at the Pinnacle Grille to preorder tomorrow’s lunch which we are having with several roll call members. Lunch was enjoyed in the dining room and all our special orders were very nicely taken care of. We headed to the cabin and our luggage was just being delivered. We unpacked and had everything stowed away prior to the 2:30 Mariner’s welcome aboard gathering. We attended the welcome aboard party and it was the best one we’ve ever enjoyed. The wait staff kept the beverages flowing freely and we had a great conversation with a couple we met in the elevator. After the party there was just enough time to shower and put on evening clothes before the 4:30 muster drill. The muster drill was pleasant enough with only about ½ the normal crowd as so many have stayed on from the prior cruise segment and they were excused. We were finished by 4:44. We headed straight to the Ocean Bar. At the Ocean Bar we renewed acquaintances with roll call members who we had shared tours with last year on the Iceland cruise. Other roll call members also joined us; it was a lot of fun. We went to dinner at 5:30 and had two sisters join our table. Conversation was very enjoyable and while I thought the menu tonight a little sparse my chicken was better than expected and the sisters both ordered the “Flank steak” but it looked more like a nice London broil. We left dinner with just enough time to stop in our cabin before the 7:30 welcome aboard show. Linda the cruise director was also CD on last year’s Iceland cruise. The Ocean Bar quartet is good with a strong vocalist. After the short show we visited the Ocean Bar to listen to the quartet but by 8:30 called it a night. Tomorrow is a busy day at sea and we are looking forward to it! Thursday, April 25 – at Sea After all our travels this was a morning to sleep in. We were up by about 7:45 but by the time we were ready to leave the room it was getting close to 9:30. With a 10:10 appointment with the future cruise consultant, we decided to head to the lido. To our delight the special of the day was Gingerbread Waffles with Orange Butter. I had asked for these on the Rotterdam recently and they did not know what I was talking about. DW ordered an omelet to her specific desire. To our further delight, Rosiato was serving in the lido. We got to know Rosiato last year on the Iceland cruise and she remembered us right away. We enjoyed breakfast with a couple from Australia and it was very nice. We were five minutes early for our appointment and she was ready for us. Knowing what we were looking for the booking was expeditious and quickly handled. We were also able to book a cabin for our friends who had asked to go with us. We finished just in time to head to the crow’s nest for the 10:30 Cruise Critic meet and greet. This was a tremendous event! Special thanks to cruise critic member KAZU for all her efforts in organizing our roll call and the wonderful name tags that remain on display in our cabin. Only one couple she had name tags for did not attend. We met many folks we have scheduled tours with and it was a super meet and greet. At noon we had a reservation with cruise critic members at the Pinnacle Grille. Our “Captains table” was delightful. The food was good and the conversation terrific. This was a busy sea day as at 2:00 we had our complimentary wine tasting session. This was really not as nice as the tasting we had on Rotterdam’s Christmas cruise. It had become very windy out on deck putting a literal damper on our hopes for a few laps on the promenade deck. All too soon it was time to get ready for gala night. We enjoyed happy hour in the Ocean Bar while the Ocean quartet entertained. On the way to dinner we found another crew member who remembered us from last year. As they say, Prinsendam is like a large family. We will miss the chance to sail her in the future. Friends from the Iceland cruise joined us for dinner. We had a very nice time. After dinner was the captain’s welcome toast in the theater followed by “Atlantic Crossing” by the cast. We have seen this show before but it was worth seeing again. The four vocalists are very talented. I’ve always felt the cast on Prinsendam are a cut above those on the other ships. After the show we went to listen to Daniel in the Crow’s Nest. We had a nice time but it was getting late so by about 9:40 we called it a night. Tomorrow we are in Alicante, Spain and have a full day tour scheduled. Friday, April 26, 2019 – Alicante, Spain The alarm went off at 6:45 although DW was up before that. Our tea order arrived at 6:55. We enjoyed a cup of tea in the cabin while getting ready. It is very sunny today so sunscreen is a must. We went to the lido for breakfast where I enjoyed one of today’s specials, a meat-lovers omelet. We were talking with a couple from Calgary during breakfast. The meeting time for our tour is 8:45. We watched the docking process from our balcony and then went to meet our group. The ship was cleared and off we went. Our tour was with Spain day tours with our guide David and driver Juan Carlos. First we drove to the historic center of Alicante (not very far). We visited the cathedral and the town hall. David took us over to the seaside promenade and introduced us to the specialty Alicante ice cream flavor which is honey and almond. We had just enough free time to walk down the promenade to the first leather merchant where I was able to obtain a ratchet style belt for 12 euros. Back to the van we were off to Guadalest in the mountains. It is about a 1 hr. drive mostly along the coast before crossing a mountain range. Guadalest is very photogenic being set among the hills. Leather and chocolate is produced locally and could be purchased, although we did not find anything that could not be passed up. One of the shops had purses at very good prices (at least so we thought). We returned to the van and headed back to Alicante to visit the castle. We certainly got our exercise climbing from the mini-bus parking area up to the top of the castle. This was a crystal clear day and being able to see everything around for many miles was quite a treat. No one will believe the photos were not enhanced as the color of the sea is just stunning. Back at the van at 3:30 and David and Juan Carlos had us back at the ship before 4:00 for our 4:30 all-aboard. We quickly got ready for dinner although missed happy hour. Dinner tonight was just all right. I was excited to see prime rib on the menu and having skipped lunch was looking forward to it. It just wasn’t juicy as prime rib should be. DW’s fish entrée was also just okay. We listed to the Ocean Quartet until they finished their set and then enjoyed the show. Yaniv Zarif gave a tremendous show with his interpretation of several Broadway and west end hits, in multiple languages. He was excellent and this was one of the best shows seen on a HAL ship in a few cruises. After Yaniv’s performance we called it a night as we have a long tour tomorrow and also King’s Day festivities on board. Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Malaga, Spain Prinsendam docked on schedule this morning in Malaga Spain. We enjoyed a quick lido breakfast with today’s special of Cinnamon & Bacon Waffles and a small ham omelet. We met our cruise critic group for our tour with Spain Day Tours to Granada and the Alhambra. This was a really great tour. We had plenty of time for our guided tour of the Alhambra and the gardens. We really enjoyed hearing of the 800 year history of the palace and fortress. From the Alhambra we were taken into Granada and had 90 minutes of free time. Our guide showed us where the department store and supermarket was, along with a variety of tapa bars. DW wanted shoes as her dress shoes were not working. We were successful in finding shoes. We then picked up a few apples and some local chocolate at a supermarket. The apples were “Lunch.” All too soon our 90 minutes were over and everyone was back on the bus. We returned to the port just after 6:30. After a quick stop at our cabin we went to the lido for the special “King’s day” Dutch dinner. DW’s special order dinner was delivered from the dining room, along with our wine bottle. I enjoyed many of the dinner options served, including poffertjes. The desserts were extra special with almond cookies, Dutch Apple Pie, and Ollie Bolen available. After dinner we enjoyed a little balcony time until we went to the showroom for “Authentic flamenco.” I always enjoy it when the cruise line brings local talent on board; in this case I just wish the troupe had explained the dances a bit. All in all this was an exceptional day and at 10:30 it was past time to call it a night! Sunday, April 28, 2019 – Gibraltar, UK Territory We enjoyed watching the Prinsendam wind its way to the dock this morning. “The rock” of Gibraltar blocked the sunrise. We docked on time and after a nice lido breakfast of today’s special Buttermilk and Corn waffles we met our tour group in the Ocean Bar at 7:45. We all made our way down to deck 4 at 7:50 and were allowed ashore at 7:55. We were the first group ashore and the first van leaving the parking area. This proved to be important. Our guide Rachel took us first to the Pillars of Hercules to view the strait of Gibraltar and in the hazy distance we could see the coast of Africa. From there we visited St. Michael’s Cave. We spent quite a bit of time at the cave. We’ve been to many caves over the years and this was impressive as I don’t recall ever seeing a natural open cave environment so huge. The sheets of limestone formations are extremely impressive. Outside the cave we had our first encounter with a Barbary Macaque Ape. This one was posing for photos and we enjoyed the opportunity. We were the second van to leave the caves and we made our way up the hill to the “Top of the Rock” and the upper Apes den. We spent maybe 30 minutes here watching the apes, taking photos, and being well entertained by the apes. Next we visited the Great Siege Tunnels. In addition to the natural caves, there is over 50 miles of man-made tunnels carved into the rock. These were made to move cannons and soldiers in case of war and siege. After exploring some of the tunnels, we visited and climbed the steps of the Moorish Castle, originally from 1160 and enlarged in the 14th century. This structure has withstood many wars and sieges over the centuries. We drove to Europa Point, the southernmost point of mainland Europe. This means we have now visited the northernmost and southernmost point of Europe. We drove the east side of the rock and Catalan Bay, with colorful houses along the beach. We crossed the active airport runway as the main road does to reach the border with Spain. This was a terrific tour and highly recommended. Back on Prinsendam at 12:10 we enjoyed the British Fish & Chips lunch being served at the Dive Inn pool grille. It was a gorgeous day to enjoy outside dining. DW had some fare from the lido. We met friends who joined us for lunch and had a similar tour. During the sail away we enjoyed watching the African coastline slide by from our balcony. I used the pool and hot tub for a while before getting ready for dinner. Dinner was a nice time in the dining room with a cruise critic member joining us. The show was “Sessions” featuring the Prinsendam cast singers. This was a very nice show. After the show we enjoyed the Crow’s nest piano bar and happy hour, before calling it a night at 10:30. All in all, another super day on Prinsendam! Monday, April 29, 2019 – Lisbon, Portugal We woke at 6:00 (after gaining an extra hour due to a time change!) and found we were already close to shore as we sailed towards the Lisbon cruise dock. As the sun rose we passed the Moor tower along the river and sailed under the Lisbon “Golden Gate” bridge. We enjoyed a lido breakfast and met our tour group at 8:10 in the Ocean Bar. Everyone was early so we headed out to meet our guide. Our group of six had booked the “Setubal Wine Tasting tour” with Lisbon Riders. This was a superb tour. We were met outside the cruise terminal at about 8:20 and our guide gave us a quick drive by of Lisbon and we twisted and turned our way towards the highway over the Golden Gate Bridge. He gave us the recent (and not so recent) history of Portugal on the way. We headed south to the wine region of Azeitao. We visited the small local family owned cellar “Quinta de Alcube” in the middle of the peaceful Arrabida Mountain. We tasted four different wines and visited their very nice shop. Bottles ranged from two to seven Euros each. We ended up buying one of the seven Euro bottles of White “Reserve” to hopefully enjoy on the balcony. From there, we crossed Arrabida Mountain & Arrabida Natural Park. We were always close to the sea and passed a number of beaches with azure waters enjoying the incredible views. Our next stop was the fishing town of Sesimbra. We enjoyed the oldest fish restaurant, owned by generations of fishermen. This place, called, Isaias, was outstanding. We would never have gone there without our guide, as from the outside it is a “Little hole in the wall.” They cook fresh fish, just off the boat, on a charcoal grille built into the exterior wall of the building. We both ordered Swordfish and it was both incredible tasting and a large portion. All meals came with a simple family style served salad, warm rolls out of the oven, and boiled potatoes. I enjoyed a “Lemon beer” and a coke zero while DW had a glass of white wine and bottled water. We all agreed to cover our guide’s meal and the total bill was just under 15 Euros per person. After lunch we walked down to the beachfront and went into the restored beach front fortress. Our guide went to retrieve the van and he took us to an overlook of the town for photos. From there we traveled back towards Azeitao for our second winery visit. Next we visited the oldest cellar of the region, owned by the same family for more than 7 generations. The Jose Maria de Fonseca winery gave a very nice tour and the wine cellars were impressive. We really enjoyed the tour and the samples of two wines, including a 16 year aged Moscatel. From here we headed back to the ship. This trip took longer than expected due to unusual traffic according to our guide. We returned at 4:30 for a 5:30 all aboard. The Lisbon cruise terminal makes you walk through a maze to get past security and it was 4:50 by the time we returned to Prinsendam. That gave us just 40 minutes to prepare for dinner but we made it. We enjoyed dinner and left port on schedule by 6:00. Sailing down the river I took a break to get photos of the Christ the King statue on the hillside near the Golden Gate Bridge. Later that evening we enjoyed a comedian, Rikki Jay. His routine was entertaining. We are exhausted from the last few days and called it a night after the show. Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – Porto, Portugal Prinsendam was just a little late on arrival to Porto today. Our 8:00 arrival became more like 8:25 by the time guests were able to disembark. We enjoyed breakfast in the lido, nothing special today but still a good start to the day. We met the one other roll call member on our “Off the beaten track” photo discovery tour with Pictuary photo tours. Jose was great and met us as we left the cruise port. He drove the three of us in his car to the end of the tram line where two Tuk-tuks were waiting for us. The first 2+ hours of our tour were by tuk-tuk. This was literally a little “Cool” but it was fun, and it sure beats climbing the hills of Porto by foot! We saw so much it is too much to list, but certainly one highlight is the six bridges crossing the Duro River. After one incredible viewpoint to another we bade farewell to our tuk-tuks at the Bridge of Luis 1st. This dual layered bridge was a pleasure to walk over. The top level is for pedestrians and trains. Beware the trains!!! The bottom level (much lower) is for vehicles. After a light lunch, we then rode the Rodonorte Funicular down to the river level. We walked along the river enjoying the sights and incredible buildings of the historical Ribeira neighborhood and went shopping in a 100% made in Portugal shop where DW picked up a handbag made of cork (from cork trees). To end the tour, we rode the #1 “Electric” streetcar back to where the car was parked and returned to Prinsendam at 3:10 for a 3:30 all aboard. DW shot over 200 photos and I took about 300. What a day! Back on board we ran into friends enjoying the lido sunshine and stayed there for sail away. Tonight is “Rudi’s Sel de Mer” at the Pinnacle Grille that we are trying for the first time. We met friends at the Ocean Bar at 5:30 for pre-dinner conversation. At the last minute, they decided to join us and the Pinnacle was happy to oblige changing our reservation for two to four. Sel de Mer was enjoyable and we would do that again on a future cruise. Dinner went for 2 ½ hours but the conversation was most enjoyable. After dinner we visited Daniel at the Crow’s Nest Piano Bar for “Sing along night.” By 9:45 it was time to call it a night. Tonight we LOSE an hour as we are headed to France which is in the European time zone. Wednesday, May 01, 2019 – 2nd day at Sea After five port days in a row a day at sea was most welcome. No alarm, no room service, just sleep. Sleep until 8:30 or a bit after! We got the day rolling by heading to breakfast in the lido. Today’s special was listed as “Dutch pancakes” but other than being made on a Holland America ship I’m not sure what was “Dutch” about them. We were invited to the 10:30 Mariner’s reception which was a nice event. About 20+ copper medallions, five silver medallions, and one gold medallion were handed out. The nibbles were nice and drinks ample, but I did not see wine being offered as an option. The mariner’s lunch followed and we were able to sit with several friends and one couple we had not met earlier in the cruise. The Prinsendam tiles were most appreciated and will be added to our collection. After a cabin stop to store our tiles we visited the lido for ice cream. The ice cream man was funny as he was really ‘pushing’ the macadamia nut ice cream with caramel. It was pretty good but neither of us found any macadamia nuts in our serving! We chatted with friends and before you know it the clock was at 1:45. At 2:00 KAZU from cruise critic had invited the roll call to her Neptune Suite for a “Wine tasting.” At least two dozen (likely more) from the roll call visited and we had great conversation along with lots of wines to try as well as a bunch of nibbles provided by the ship. My favorite was the Tempura Shrimp. Most folks stayed until nearly 4:00 when several, including the host, had an appointment with the Bingo game. DW was the winner of one of two door prizes, a hand-made wine bottle stopper / corkscrew donated by one of the roll call members. We truly appreciate this and will both treasure it and use it regularly at home! A brief cat nap (after all that wine) in our cabin brought us to 5:15 when we headed down to deck 5 for passport collection. For some reason, Bordeaux customs wants to inspect non-EU passports. These will be returned on Saturday. Dinner (and more wine) was enjoyed in the dining room. Prime Rib was on the menu and now having learned the ‘secret’ to ask for a “King’s cut” it was superb and very much enjoyed. The show tonight is “Dance” by the dancers. We have seen this before and decided to pass, just enjoying being on the ship with nowhere specific we needed to be. We caught up with the travel expert’s Bordeaux talk on the TV and called it a night. Thursday, May 2, 2019 – Bordeaux, France We awoke to catch a slight glimpse of Prinsendam sailing under a bridge as we approached Bordeaux. We docked on schedule and the ship was cleared at 7:30. Our tour is not until 10:00 so we had time for a leisurely breakfast in the Lido with today’s special of Gingerbread waffles. We met our tour group at 9:50 in the Ocean Bar and departed the ship. We met our guide from Ophorus Wine Tours right outside and off we went to the town of St. Emilion. During the 45 minute drive our guide told us about the area we drove through as well as about the development of wine in the area. St. Emilion is an incredibly original / restored medieval town centered around a church that was begun by St. Emilion. We toured the underground church – a very impressive structure considering the work was done with medieval age tools. The stones were quarried out and used to make buildings, and the church and catacombs were built in the resulting cave. Regretfully no photos were allowed and after the tour we could not find any postcards to be purchased of the underground monuments. After touring the underground our guide showed us the highlights of town and we had two hours to explore further and have lunch. We ended up at a suggested place for lunch, chosen due to the outdoors patio. We also stopped at Moulierac bakery for almond macarons. These small almond cookies are the closest to what I enjoyed as Dutch almond cookies when I was young. They have just three ingredients; Almonds, Egg Whites, and sugar. Gluten free even DW could enjoy them. After the village we toured two St. Emilion chateau/wineries. To be honest, we didn’t care for the wines. All St. Emilion wines are reds with Merlot being the dominant grape in the region. We returned to Prinsendam about 5:45 and had dinner in the dining room. One note I haven’t mentioned yet is that the dining room menus have been somewhat disappointing this cruise. I’ve eaten three times off the everyday menu, something I have never done in the past. This evening the fish entrée was not very good to my taste, although DW enjoyed hers. I then had the Wiener schnitzel instead. After dinner we left the ship and walked. We passed by the reflecting pool and took photos. We went half way out on the nearby bridge and took photos. We wandered around part of the old town until back at the reflecting pool. The wind was picking up and we became cold and thus returned to the ship at about 8:50. We were bushed and called it a day after watching the sun set from the verandah. Friday, May 03, 2019 – Bordeaux, France day 2 This morning we woke without alarms and enjoyed breakfast in the lido. Today’s special of a meat lovers Omelet called my name and it was nice. We met one other roll call member at 9:15 to head out for our 10:30 “Free walking tour.” We managed to figure out the tram system tickets and rode the tram to the meeting spot. The tour was enjoyable and ended up not far from the ship. We did want to walk the “Longest pedestrian street” in Europe, Rue St. Catherine, at 1.2KM. So we did. We stopped to look in one shop along the way but nothing else. We took the tram back towards the ship and stopped at a Patisserie recommended by the guide from the prior day. They had a Meringue cookie that DW could enjoy while I had a raisin bun and chocolate croissant. From there we walked back to the ship and reached the lido just as they were cleaning up lunch. DW was able to get some chicken and salad, while I ordered a Dive-Inn burger. We returned to our cabin and were entertained by the dogs playing in the park next to the ship. The crew gave one of the dogs a cup of water and that was a happy dog! It soon became time to get ready for dinner and sail away. Dinner was again a bit of a letdown. The Arctic Char was pretty good but the short ribs were overcooked, dry, and inedible. I certainly didn’t go hungry but if you are going to spend 90+ minutes in the dining room the food should at least be good. We ran into friends before the show and they stayed outside for sail away and had dinner in the lido. They said the lido had whole turkeys and delicious fish & chips. I ended up going to the lido to have two slices of turkey with gravy before they shut down. The show was different. This was the “Pianist with the hair” aka as Julian G. Classical piano is not my cup of tea but Julian made it entertaining in various ways so I would give his show thumbs up. After the show we enjoyed Daniel in the piano bar and called it a night at about 10:15. The Indonesian crew show was at 11:00 but there was just no way to stay up for this. Saturday, May 04, 2019 – Sea day #3 Prinsendam spent the day sailing leisurely through the bay of Biscayne with a still head wind but rather calm seas. With the wind from the northwest it was much cooler than our two days in Bordeaux. A 9:00 deck sale of previous port gear had us buying ‘South America’ cruising sweatshirts at 75% off. We’ve been there and are going again so this was a good buy for us. We enjoyed breakfast in the lido and spent 90 minutes talking with another roll call couple before leaving for the 11:00 “Ask the captain” session. No new information was shared during this 45 minute chat. We went with friends to lunch and even though not hungry after the late breakfast, they were serving Turkey again! Two slices with gravy made for a delicious light lunch. I had an appointment at 12:50 with the future cruise consultant to obtain future cruise deposits for a friend that texted me the prior day. We tried walking the promenade but the wind made it too cold, even with multiple layers. We also tried sitting on our verandah and in a sheltered area it was tolerable for a while. A friend made it to the final in the blackjack tournament so we went to support him. He was the third of five to be eliminated. It is a gala night so afterwards it was back to the cabin to get ready for dinner. We met friends before dinner in the Ocean Bar as the time passed quickly. They joined us for the gala dinner. I will say without question this was the best dining room dinner of the cruise. After dinner we exchanged the tulip vase I had purchased earlier in the cruise for one more to DW’s preference. We enjoyed the show with the singers and dancers, “Concerto.” The Crow’s nest Piano bar was hopping with Daniel doing a tribute to the Beatles. At 9:45 the “Chocolate Surprise” took place and everyone had a few specialty chocolates. By 10:15 it was time to call it a day and prepare for our last port. Sunday, May 05, 2019 – St. Peter Port, Guernsey, UK. Last evening we received notice of a mandatory immigration inspection prior to going ashore in St. Peter Port. Well, okay, but they could have notified us much sooner. This caused a lot of concern with the private walking tour that one of the roll call members set up. As immigration began their process early, it all worked out, but this was just poor planning on the part of Holland America. We arrived ashore at about 8:45 and shortly thereafter began our walking tour with Annette Henry. Annette was one of the most interesting walking tour guides we’ve ever experienced with her bag of props and she told very detailed stories of Guernsey’s history. This was a very worthwhile 2.5 hours and we left her at the tour’s conclusion at the sunken garden. Annette gave us directions to the local flower garden, just a few blocks away. This was very nice and a tea room was open. We enjoyed a pot of tea and hot chocolate. While a beautiful sunny day it is cool so the warm drinks were welcome. I took a bunch of photos of various plant arrangements and we headed down the hill towards the harbor. We stopped in a few shops along the way and ended up at the pharmacy as we had a few pounds of coins to spend before leaving. This was successful! Back to the tender and we returned to Prinsendam for the very last time  just after 1:00. We went straight to the lido and enjoyed some lunch. We lingered talking to some folks before returning to our cabin at 2:30 to begin packing. By 3:30 with the majority of the packing complete we began getting ready for dinner. It became pleasant on the verandah. We ran into one of our roll call friends who just returned from a fantastic day exploring all around Guernsey AND taking the ferry for 90 minutes on one of the out-islands. We got to talking so we ended up skipping the Ocean Bar and heading right to dinner. Tonight one of my favorites “Sweet & Sour Shrimp” was on the menu. Scallops were an appetizer. Sorry, HAL, and no disrespect to the chefs, but these had to be about the worst scallops ever. The muscle was not removed and they just looked ugly and did not taste much better. But the Shrimp dinner was good. After dinner we wondered the ship a little and listened to the quartet in the Ocean Bar. Roll call friends stopped by to chat and we wished each other safe travels home. There was a one-time variety show at 9:30 but we did not stay up for that. I wish we could have paid Daniel a farewell visit to the Crow’s nest but with the last minute packing and setting out the luggage that was not to be. At a little after 9:00 we called it a night. Monday, May 06, 2019 – Dover, UK (Disembarkation and travel home) At 6:00 we were entering the port. It took nearly 50 minutes, and the help of a tug before we were securely docked. We enjoyed one last breakfast in the lido. No “Specials” today. We ran into roll call friends to bid them farewell. I’m sorry we never ran into a few others. They began calling for disembarkation right on schedule at 7:15 and with our 8:05 “Purple 1” tags we left the stateroom at 8:00 to head to the elevator. We went up to go down and left the ship at virtually exactly 8:05. By the time we reached the luggage only a part of the Purple 1 had arrived. We waited a few minutes and the cage with purple 1 was unloaded. We retrieved our bags and headed out to the bus. We were the first on the bus and with the luggage stowed underneath it was a pleasant enough ride out to Heathrow. The driver told us to expect it to take 2.5 hours due to “Roadworks” but we actually made it in two hours. I was tracking along with my Waze phone AP. From drop off until check in at the A1 lounge it was less than 30 minutes. We had a few hours to kill so I finished up this log and enjoyed some lunch and beverages. The flight itself was quite pleasant as the plane was far from full. We even landed in Philadelphia 30 minutes early. Then we sat for another HOUR and ended up being 30 minutes “Late” as there was no gate for us (???) By the time we picked up our car it was 7:00 so we had no traffic for the drive home. Conclusion: Oh Prinsendam, Prinsendam, we will miss you Prinsendam. This cruise was a log of fun. With all the ports (except St. Peter Port) new or ‘essentially’ new to us, we had a blast and saw so many things. Prinsendam is the opposite of the flashy new 4,000 – 6,000 passenger ships. The ship is NOT the destination. The trip is for the ports. I doubt HAL has another ship that could go up the river to Bordeaux and fit under the bridge. Is there another that can go to Porto, maybe? Prinsendam is showing its age without question. The new owners will have a lot of work ahead of them. Yet the crew is simply the “Best in the fleet.” I really believe that. We didn’t eat breakfast in the dining room once the entire cruise. Why? I generally dislike the lido. On this cruise, we enjoyed the lido as unlike the other ships, there are always crewmembers to bring tea, coffee, water, etc. And refill them! They help carry items when you are juggling two plates, and the ice cream man is funny and obviously loves his job! On the other hand, it seems that since last year, the lido service times have been further curtailed. I believe HAL is going in the wrong direction here. There is no more “Late night snack” either. If someone takes advantage of a late night or an overnight in port, staying out past 8:00, there is no food available other than room service. Lunch is over at 2:00. We came back one afternoon at 2:10 and while DW was able to grab some left-over chicken, the pickings were slim. We had two mornings that the water in the cabin was yellowish. We used the bottled water from the mini bar to brush our teeth. The front desk couldn’t tell us much about what was going on, but the last afternoon of the cruise they called to apologize and offered a small token as an apology. Customer Service needs a refresher course at the upper levels (likely in Seattle). We had a roll call group tour planned in St. Peter Port. Then, the evening before, the ship springs on everyone that there is a mandatory immigration inspection. Why not notify the passengers at boarding, or even earlier (like, when they changed the port) so those of us making plans outside of ship tours can plan accurately? Our cabin team of Agus & Heri was super, going above and beyond when some sticky substance got all over our hard sided suitcase between embarkation check in and stateroom delivery. They scrubbed it down the best they could. The laundry service is terrific even if at times things may not be as perfect as we like them at home. But they sure do press things to make the clothes so neat! Our dining room team of Setaji & Andrian took very good care of DW’s special dietary needs. The Wine Steward Theresa was great and found nice alternatives that were to our liking and fit within our package. Amin was outstanding both in the morning in the lido and after dinner always greeting us with a smile and a taste of ginger. All in all, the good ship Prinsendam on her fifth to last HAL voyage gets 3 ½ out of 5 stars for the cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very ... Read More
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very smoothly, I had read previous reviews about the ship some good some bad , although some areas looked a bit tired overall the ship was fine, the cabin was no better than what we have had on Thomson ships. We found the afternoon tea was very limited (the same things on all the food areas ) Our breakfasts and evening meals were taken in the baytree restaurant and we found them excellent a good choice at every sitting, our waiters were very friendly and attentive (jam and dominic) table 109. Did not think the entertainment was that brilliant some acts were good (but not the shows like we have seen on Thomson) Our cabin steward was very good cabin always spotless. Went to Madiera for the first stop and on the cable car and toboggan ( this was a great experience , our last stop was in Lisbon and we went on the amphibious duck what a great laugh that was our guide Gonzales was brilliant. Would go again but did find drinks quite expensive you can get a drinks package but at £39.95 each a day and you must both have it think its a bit much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
On board crew exceeded ! We enjoyed them more than the passengers- professional, kind and attentive The local tour guides lacked sensitivity to older passengers especially in the Venice airport -speeding through and we stayed to help ... Read More
On board crew exceeded ! We enjoyed them more than the passengers- professional, kind and attentive The local tour guides lacked sensitivity to older passengers especially in the Venice airport -speeding through and we stayed to help guide the seniors through the chaotic airport After watching these elders become frustrated we had to step in and help Some guides cut tours short and or discussed their own business- disappointing - not 60 but 90 as promised would meet the stated tour time The three days of no pool, spa or gym due to a virus also disappointed tho we understood the situation The folks in the jewels shop used pressure tactics to sell, but we refrained The musicians, bartenders and restaurant staff made us feel at home and happy The quality of musicians impressed us each night- each fabulous Food and service and management scored high each day. Torshavn bar became our sanctuary- the guys there welcomed us each night with warmth and familiarity Read Less
Sail Date April 2019

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