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Found 35 results

  1. I do not know if this will interest anyone. Nine episodes of Verrückt nach Meer are available so far that were shot onboard the former Prinsendam. The program, in German with German subtitles, follows a few of the crew, a couple of interns, and some of the passengers. The first episode, number 391, shows the renovation, christening, and beginning of the first cruise with passengers. Not much of the Prinsendam/Amera is shown, the renovation was messy and not completed. https://www.daserste.de/information/reportage-dokumentation/verrueckt-nach-meer/videos/verrueckt-nach-meer-folge-391-video-100.html The episode list is here: https://www.daserste.de/information/reportage-dokumentation/verrueckt-nach-meer/videos/index.html I do not know how many episodes will be shown in the coming days. The episodes should be available online for one year.
  2. That was the question I asked myself as we boarded in Seattle - the flagship of the fleet, the World Cruise ship, the newly-refurbished almost 20-year old... And I was even more confused at muster drill when I saw a familiar tall figure on the deck with us. I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but later on our CD, Bruce, mentioned the opportunity to book a cruise with our Future Cruise Consultant, Sheryll, and I knew I had seen our (multiple) Prinsendam master, Captain Jeroen Schuchmann. (He was on board as a passenger, prior to going for training for the Amsterdam captaincy.) However, I have to say, I don't think Amsterdam will be the new Prinsendam, which was confirmed by Sheryll, who announced that Veendam will be taking over all of the late, lamented Prinsendam's cruises, except for the Kiel Canal, which will no longer be on any HAL itinerary. Amsterdam will be doing a Grand Africa, and the World Cruise, but others will be done by Veendam. Our last cruise - on Prinsendam - was part of a Grand Voyage, so it is difficult to make comparisons. The Amsterdam is beautiful, I think she most reminds me of Zaandam, with a few differences, most of which are probably across the fleet. No orchids in the Lido Market, new bags, no amuse bouche at dinner in the Pinnacle, Club Orange as part of the dining room.....
  3. That was the question I asked myself as we boarded in Seattle - the flagship of the fleet, the World Cruise ship, the newly-refurbished almost 20-year old... And I was even more confused at muster drill when I saw a familiar tall figure on the deck with us. I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but later on our CD, Bruce, mentioned the opportunity to book a cruise with our Future Cruise Consultant, Sheryll, and I knew I had seen our (multiple) Prinsendam master, Captain Jeroen Schuchmann. (He was on board as a passenger, prior to going for training for the Amsterdam captaincy.) However, I have to say, I don't think Amsterdam will be the new Prinsendam, which was confirmed by Sheryll, who announced that Veendam will be taking over all of the late, lamented Prinsendam's cruises, except for the Kiel Canal, which will no longer be on any HAL itinerary. Amsterdam will be doing a Grand Africa, and the World Cruise, but others will be done by Veendam. Our last cruise - on Prinsendam - was part of a Grand Voyage, so it is difficult to make comparisons. The Amsterdam is beautiful, I think she most reminds me of Zaandam, with a few differences, most of which are probably across the fleet. No orchids in the Lido Market, new bags, no amuse bouche at dinner in the Pinnacle, Club Orange as part of the dining room.....
  4. After completing her last voyage for HAL on July 1st in Amsterdam, Prinsendam sailed to the Blohm + Voss yard in Hamburg, Germany where she will undergo her conversion to Phoenix Reisen's Amera. Some pics:
  5. In the following video you can see a walkthrough of the new Amera, the former Prinsendam. It is in German but I thought that maybe the tour itself could be interesting. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r3pd6eG1SqI
  6. 2019 Travel Notes, 28 Day Prinsendam Cruise: Norway, Scotland & Ireland (sorry for any typos, got tired of typing, maybe not such a condensed review as planned!) Originally I had not planned to review these two cruises as the Prinsendam is no longer a HAL option. However I realized that many of the ports of call are still visited by other HAL ships so will post the following for those still considering a cruise to these splendid friendly English speaking countries. This was welcomed after so many visits to countries where English is a second language. You might initially argue that Norway is one of those. Later you will see why our experience there says, not so. Four of us, a mini family reunion of sorts, booked this adventure 16 months out which was just before the announcement of the Prinsendam leaving the fleet. Are we ever happy as both two week, back to back cruises, sold out months before embarkation. Fortunately we had direct flights from Orlando-Amsterdam and return. This was the first time we’ve booked tickets with HAL and we were satisfied with the air fare and transfers airport to ship. Before returning to Florida we decided to upgrade to more comfortable seating, which Delta botched for two of us in their computer system. All was forgiven when a short delay checking in at the terminal resolved everything. I could go on for several paragraphs heaping praise on the merits of the much smaller Prinsendam, our first cruise on her, but knowing that many/most of you long time HAL cruisers already sing her praises I’ll just give you my Readers Digest version. Loved the shorter commute distances; noticeably superior service in the Lido; the panoramic views from the Canaletto (thanks KAZU for the tip reserving there on fjord sailing days); proportionally larger library; the separated ½ bath in the Signature Suite and the Front Desk attendants with a ‘we can solve anything’ mind set. Oh my gosh, how could I forget: this ship had TWO yum yum men. Isn’t that unusual, or have I just had my head in the sand before? One was posted, as usual outside the main dining room but there was a second in the back entrance/exit of the Dining Room Annex which we had requested, enjoying quieter dining and improved scenery closer to the windows. Our only glitch was a stateroom noise issue which was solved promptly by switching us to accommodations in a higher category which had not been available when we originally booked. What prompted the change was a simple request for ear plugs. Not only did we get to enjoy the suite life as usual on our Vista Class ships, but without lightening our pockets. Sometimes you just get lucky! And now for the ports of call, once again a condensed version: NORWAY, May 20 - June 2 What wonderful friendly people they are, so pleasant with calm dispositions. We read in a guide book that they are among the happiest people of all countries. Amazingly they almost all spoke perfect English! I asked a coffee shop barista why it seemed like his lack of an accent made me think he was American? His answer was: "Every year of our schooling we are taught English along with our native language." Still it was freaking weird hearing him enouncing every syllable precisely like our English teachers back in the day I when I was enduring read'n, right'n 'n' rithmetic. Actually many Norwegians spoke better English than myself! Something else noticeable from day one: the public spaces, coffee shops, parks, stores, etc. are all populated with an equal number of men as women pushing baby strollers. Actually they are buggy’s, likely because the high sides keep the frigid winds off the infants. When we finally asked why so many men were caring for infants our answer was: In Norway it is mandatory for men as well as women to take time off from work to care for newborns and it is a paid leave. Mothers have 1st cycle home & then fathers care for the baby when the mothers return to work. Their economy, extreme socialism, is very successful; complete opposite as to what FOX news says re the evils ofsocialism. The Norwegian economy, oil based and nationally owned, is so successful that the national wealth fund, not national debt, if divided up between every citizen, would aprx.$1,000,000 each; impressed me! (according to our tour guide, not fact checked by me) Obviously socialism works for them. Also immediately evident: no litter on streets, alleys, anywhere; even in the large cities. To put it in perspective: at our second port of call I saw my sister staring at a spot in front of her on the sidewalk saying, “Look, a cigarette butt.” Immediately the other 3 of us circled around. Finally I said, “Do you realize what we are doing, looking at a butt on the sidewalk as if it is a meteorite from Mars?” That gives you an idea of how much Norwegians respect others space. One of our tour guides told us that nature is revered so much that all land, even privately owned, is considered public domain. Anyone hiking, and that is a big pastime in Norway, is allowed to cross any private property and freely partake of any natural food, fruits, berries, etc., along the walk. Also they are allowed to camp on your land, no questions asked, as long as they stay a respectful ‘x’ number of feet from the dwellings. Bottom line: Norwegians restored my faith in humanity! Wow! those fjords, such magnificent unspoiled beauty. We had been tipped off to dine in the Canaletto Restaurant with it’s 180 degree view back end of the ship on the 4 fjord cruising days. Several months in advance we had reserved the best table there on those evenings ensuring us really spectacular viewing. SCOTLAND, June 3 - 9 The National Botanical Garden in Edinburgh (a 25 minute train ride from the port, Rosyth) was the highlight for me, 60 acres of unparalleled flora and fauna, manicured, but not at all sterile looking. Walking the heavenly woodland area was better than the marijuana highs of my youth. I can only imagine how much it is enjoyed by the elemental kingdom; wee folk, fairies and such. My sister rented a car in three different ports so we could ‘get out of dodge’ into rural areas. I found that refreshing after so much time spent in port cities of the Mediterranean. Did I say refreshing? Driving on the wrong side of road; scary! Traffic Circles are abundant in the British Isles, some delineated only by a solidly painted disk on the road surface. If not astutely observant one would be upon/in it not prepared. A wonder we did not have an accident. Yes, we-got-honked-at! Once when trying to return our rental car to the agency at the port in Stornway we could not figure out how to weave through the confusing opposite traffic flow, so my sister asked me to query a driver leaving his parked bus. He started giving directions but then said, “ I will just get in your car and direct you until you get there.” I said, but how will you get back to your post?” He said, “Oh it’s not far, I’ll walk” Absolutely mind blowing how considerate the people in all the British Isles were toward us. I was blown away. IRELAND, June 10 - 17 We were expecting temperatures noticeably warmer than Norway but temperatures were much cooler than normal this spring. We even had snow one day on the ship approaching an Irish port. Global warming seems to have done a flip flop this year, at least spring wise, in northern Europe. We left the ship in Foynes, rented a car in Limerick, had an overnight stay in Kenmare (charming little town) and caught up with the ship the next day in Cork. Rural Ireland is rustic, serene, simply beautiful, and still unspoiled. Try and venture inland; we loved every minute of it. The highlights were a breathtaking mini van drive up, and a challenging walk the last few hundred feet, to the top of the majestic Sleive Cliffs (tour booked in advanced out of Kellybegs). These cliffs are on the Atlantic Ocean and recede inland meeting at the point of a ‘V”. This narrowing, with the ocean wind, becomes intensified exponentially as the ‘V’ closes. At this juncture a magnificent freak of nature allows folks to climb the last 100 feet or so to the top, but the wind now funneled, is almost hurricane strength. But the view! out of this world! looking down hundreds of feet and across to the cliffs on the other side of the ‘V’. Anyhow we are climbing the last 100 feet up and I’m occasionally blow over! Carolyn and I made it to a huge rock to sit on and looking back down we observed our cousin Judy, 90 pounds if soaking wet, being blown around like a ‘wind sock’ at an airport in a tropical storm. It was crazy funny. Yes she was safe, having left the stone steps, careening up the luxuriant grass hillside, flung hither and yawn, falling, laughing, clawing her way up. Priceless! One of those times in life better than any drugs! Was she ever in any danger? Not a bit. Born and raised on a Kansas farm Judy is as plucky as Dorothy in Oz and has an abundance of True Grit that John Wayne could have only dreamt of. Not a single bruise dared to show up on her limber body. In fact she said, “If we go back I’ll climb even farther including the crest Dead Man’s Path our guide warned us of.” As for myself, twice I had lost my dignity falling flat on my face. I asked my sister, "why the wind did not send you flying?” She replied, “Every time I started to fall I just squatted.’ And then I got it: My Virgo sister, once she squatted on her bodacious booty, mother nature had no choice but to flow around her as if she were a light house firmly anchored, challenging, “Bring it on.” A day later, we tentatively approached Healy Pass, a gut-tightening-precarious drive above an incredibly beautiful valley. I shall never forget it--still trembling, never to forget the many seemingly near mishaps plunging head first across the non existent guard rails into a beautiful long fall but nevertheless certain death. One noteworthy take away of Ireland was some regions of the populace resolutely holding onto the past Protestant Catholic War (‘The Troubles’ is their moniker) which lasted thirty plus years. Even though peace was made about 20 years ago they still have huge walls, reminiscent of the Berlin Wall, dividing neighborhoods. Gigantic political murals are prominent in a great deal of the most severely conflicted areas of Belfast. It’s almost as if they let it all go they fear loosing something of their heritage. My niece has a Disney movie wherein the lead character repeatedly sings, ‘Let it go.’ Guess the Irish did not see it. Don't miss the Titanic Museum close to the dock in Belfast. We misjudged the extent of it's fabulous displays and had to cut short our fascinating well spent time there. Although the museum was almost within spitting distance from our ship it was not walkable due to the dock configuration. A much better value than booking the HAL excursion was to take the shuttle into town and get on a city bus for the short 10 minute ride back to the museum. Easy peasy. GUERNSEY A British Commonwealth island, was an unexpectedly pleasant stop before ending our cruise in Amsterdam. After tendering ashore we got on a city sponsored tour bus at the end of the dock and enjoyed a 90 minute tour with commentary of the island for only 10 pounds; great value. In all of my European travels this trip stood out, as far as the welcoming from the populace. Possibly it was because we are all more so kindred spirits (English ancestry) but Norway refuted that. Perhaps their comradery results from living more rural in the north, isolated from the tribal elbow rubbing of the close quarters in mainland Europe. There are still lots of open spaces in the Green Isles; harder to come by in the intensely populated cities of mainland Europe. Would I like to go back? Yes, but right now we are catering to ‘our Italian Joe,’ fast approaching 80, so the four of us are looking at Northern Italy early October 2020. There we plan to spend 10 days in an iconic villa, returning to Florida on a 27 day cruise originating in Barcelona, shamelessly pacifying my cruise fix! c'est la vie, Chuck & Joe
  7. In a little more than a week we will be boarding Prinsendam for her Farewell Voyage as a member of the HAL fleet. Her Farewell Tour includes 10 Norwegian ports in 14 days, round trip from Amsterdam. We have a roll call of over 70 people, many of whom have sailed Prinsendam many times. For DH and me, this will be our first time on her, and we are looking forward to it. We know Prinsendam is well loved by many in the HAL Forum family, and there are many who are not able to do this final sailing.Am planning on periodically checking in here and posting reports as we sail along, and I will be posting this on our Roll Call to invite others who want to join in, to please do so.😁 We leave later this week and it may be until next weekend before I start trip reports. Still have some packing and final planning to complete. This is the first time for us in Europe, and Norway is a place we have dreamed of visiting with HAL. (So far i have never done a live-from thread, but have enjoyed the efforts of many others. So will give it a try. Please bear with me as I work through the "training wheel" stage with the CC forum, spell correct, 😫 and my iPad.) (Now to bookmark the link so I can use it later.) ~TC
  8. Never got to sail on her, but I heard she served the fleet really well. https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/21174-prinsendam-wraps-up-holland-america-line-career.html
  9. This itinerary is a lovely one as many of the Elegant Explorer’s are. But this cruise is even more special (and sad) as it is the FINAL cruise for the Prinsendam under the HAL banner. We hope samsonmo and everyone on board this farewell cruise enjoy every moment they have remaining on this lovely ship and itinerary and, of course, we wish them safe travels, fair winds and smooth seas. Bon Voyage to Prinsendam - 14 day North Cape & Pearls of Norway: samsonmo Bon Voyage samsonmo!!!!!! Have a great farewell cruise and a WONDERFUL time!!!!!! 
  10. If you go to the Flam webcam now , you get a great shot of the Prinsendam, one of the last ones...
  11. Hello HAL friends. I know many have been following Kazu's thread on the 24 nights they did on Prinsendam, We joined for just 12 nights. My log/review of this has been published if anyone is interested. We are certainly going to miss Prinsendam. Prinsendam Review by StartrainDD I will check back to answer any questions. All the best!
  12. Since the last cruise of the Elegant Explorer ends today, I thought it would be nice to make a tribute to her. Please share your best memories and photo's of her here. I loved the P'Dam...she was of a size that we perfect for getting into places most other ships couldn't. I'm just starting this thread and will come back and add stuff to it once I dig through my pictures. I'll start with a couple pictures I took of her up on the hillside above Kotor, Montenegro. Linda R.
  13. Capt. Albert joined the elegant explorer in Amsterdam today and will be aboard for her final HAL voyage, a two-week cruise to the North Cape and back https://www.captainalbert.com/17-june-2019-amsterdam-the-netherlands/
  14. It’s time to get out the suitcases and start filling them up. I know I am posting the thread early, but I wanted to be able to give the link to my roll call members before we leave in the hopes that some of them may join in. LIVE threads are always more fun when you get more than one person’s view point 😉 and experiences 😄 We are sailing into the sunset on the Prinsendam. It will be our last cruise on her - our swan song on the Elegant Explorer: While the cruise doesn’t start until the 12th, DH & I are flying out on Sunday to head to Lisbon. We have been to Lisbon before and seen a lot of the key sights so this time we are going to do some in depth looking and take some time to savour the flavour. If no one minds me sharing some of our time in LIsbon on the thread, I am happy to do so. We have several great roll call members staying at our boutique hotel as well as a couple of our walking tours with historians so it should be fun! Hope you come along with us as we sail the Elegant Explorer one last time. You’ll probably see the banner a few times here and there. My thanks goes to POA1 for making it for me. He knew it was a special cruise for us and I really appreciated his kindness.
  15. Could someone tell me how many outlets (US and Euro) we can anticipate in an OV cabin? We are on Main deck, now section with port holes. (Similar to what Roy had on the Grand SA). Also, are cables accessible on the TV, and if so, what might they be? We’re planning our electronics. My last several cruises have been solo, but now DH has vacation time and I get to share.😁
  16. We are on the Prinsendam TA and during a beautiful sunny seaday and hoping for more of those to come we saw a man in casual clothes and shoes lying at the gym in front of a treadmill this afternoon surrounded by medical staff. When we went to the aft pool 20 minutes later he was still in the same spot. The captain gave an announcement at 7pm that we we will head north to Bermuda as a passenger is not feeling well and needs medical treatment. Stop at Funchal should not be effected. All the best for him!
  17. I've come across an old magazine xerox about the sinking of the original Prinsendam in the Gulf of Alaska. I also have blue prints. Are folks interested in me posting it? I only ask because it takes time to get all the images scanned. For those unfamiliar... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Prinsendam_(1973)
  18. We are looking forward to our TA on the Prinsendam next week. Does the Prinsendam still have the DVD library at guest relations or already the new on demand TVs in the Signature Suites? Thank you!
  19. Because of pressure from hundreds of loyal Hal passengers, Hal announced today that the Prinsendam will stay in the fleet. She will go into dry dock on July 1st for a 4 week major renovation..
  20. Just one blue hulled beauty in Port Everglades today and it is the smallest ship in the fleet - the lovely ms Prinsendam. This is a special sail a way & a sad day for fans of the Elegant Explorer as it is her last sailing out of Port Everglades as she leaves the HAL fleet on July 1st. And based on the potential itineraries when the new owners take over, it looks like this may well be her last time in Port Everglades. She will be at pier 26 and, of course, she is doing 2 very lovely itineraries. The first is the 18 night Casablanca & Canary Island Explorer: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (25 Mar d1700); Funchal, Madeira (03 Apr a0800); Tenerife, Canary Islands (05 Apr 1000-2300); St Cruz De La Palma, Canary Islands (06 Apr 0800-1700); Arrecife, Canary Islands (07 Apr 0800-1700); Agadir, Morocco (08 Apr 0700-1300); Casablanca, Morocco (09 Apr 0700-2100); Tangier, Morocco (10 Apr 0800-1700); Portimao, Portugal (11 Apr 0800-1700); Lisbon, Portugal (12 Apr a0700) And the 2nd is a 30 day that arrives in Civitavecchia. (Sorry the itinerary is not available as it this sailing has been sold out for some time.) Other ships in port with her are the Serenade Of The Seas (pier 19), Majesty Of The Seas (pier 18) & Celebrity Infinity (pier 25). The webcams are located at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com & https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com For the Addicts - the Rotterdam is scheduled to be in Key West. The webcam is located at https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com Next up is the Veendam on March 26th
  21. If you want to see a great view of the Prinsendam today while she is in Port Aruba click on the link below for the Aruba webcam. I regret never having the chance to sail her and never will with her leaving the HAL fleet this year. https://www.portarubawebcam.com/
  22. Does the Prinsendam have the heated ceramic thermal loungers in the spa area?
  23. DH says he will consider the 14 day North Cape and Gems of Norway cruise next year. Can anyone tell me if the cruise includes ports or cruising that would be specific to the Prinsendam (that other HAL ships don’t usually do, or can’t do)? If there’s nothing special about that itinerary (except getting to cruise Prinsendam), we might just wait until after retirement. Don’t get me wrong, I really want to try PDam.
  24. We think about a Neptune Suite for our TA from FLL to Lisbon but the only ones available to upgrade to with the veranda facing the south (which we prefer) are on the Sports Deck. Should I expect cleaning noise from above every morning? I was once on the Eurodam under the retreat and noise at 5am was an issue for us. But I suppose there are no sunbeds/chairs to move around on the sports deck, right? Did anyone experience noise from the Crows Nest in stateroom 001? It is right beside the crows nest and I am an early sleeper. Think Prinsendam still has the live bands there in the evening, right? Thx in advance, Timo
  25. As we have only sailed the Noordam and Koningsdam would like to hear from the experts on the differences between the Veendam and Prinsendam. We are looking at the itineraries from South America back to Florida through the Amazon. The Veendam leaves from Rio which is our preference and is a shorter cruise. Our understanding is the Prinsendam is a better ship and there is a very good rate on the inside cabins at the moment, also our friend will be working on the Prinsendam. The problem with the P is it leaves from BA and we would have to get there from Rio and it would mean less time on land in Brazil. We are in our early 40’s and like a few drinks and a fun time, what will the crowds be like on these longer ships? The prices are good and we could then take a TA to Europe afterwards, the alternative is to spend a bit more and try an Azamara cruise direct from Rio to Europe. Appreciate any thoughts as concerned by the recent reviews of the Veendam.
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