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kazu

Live from the Prinsendam - 28 day Azores and Celtic Explorer - May 5th, 2018

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Our Cuise... The Excellent, the good, the bad & the ugly:

 

Some of this was noted live so if I forgot to amend the tense, forgive me.

 

 

the Excellent:

the Prinsendam is still my favourite ship in the fleet.

The crew are phenomenal, the itinerary great, the captain wonderful and inventive, officers out and about, food is tasty and service in the Lido is very good. You can barely sit down before they are there to offer coffee, juice, etc. There is no other service like this I have seen on any other HAL ship I have been on. The crew to passenger ratio is nearly 2:1 and it shows,

The Pinnacle Grill is still the best in the fleet IMO. Maud, the PG Manager takes great pride in that and it shows. The food is wonderful, the staff are fabulous (and entertaining if they sense you are one to enjoy it).

 

Bar staff are fabulous. The know you in an instant and offer you drink of choice first. You are greeted by name everywhere.

 

I can't find the words for the staff. I used up my survey space writing down names to recognize.

 

The itinerary was excellent. We lost a port and Captain Dag substitued but he was right there to talk about it. He did the same when we had a tender we couldn't use.

 

His Block Party was a first and a blast.

 

Captain Dag got cheers at every "ask the captain", Mariners medallion ceremony, etc. He's got a great sense of humour, has great thoughts at the noon update and is always out and about. He genuinely appreciates his passengers and there were several officers dinners for those on board. He knows how to do it right.

Cabin stewards were fabulous.

Heck, everyone was fabulous.

The Good:

 

MDR food goes from good to excellent. Mainly I didn't like a few menu choices, but food is subjective as are choices. The food was above what other HAL ships offer IMO and I think I've been on enough to judge.

 

The Bad

 

I do see some wear and tear on our balcony which I am sure a drydock will take care of. (Our Signature Suite)

 

I didn't see anyting in our Neptune Suite on the first segment until the last day when I realized there was a piece of ripped curtain way at the back.

 

4 & 5*’s had some issues. The ship is adamant that Sel de Mer is a “special” dinner and not eligible for the 50% discount. Tried to tell me that even the Koningsdam charges full fare which I know not to be true. Vict0riann even showed them her billing and 50% discount on her cruise on the King to no avail.

I have no problem with paying full fare for Cellar Master but Sel de Mer replaces Le Cirque and I have read enough reports on the boards and,, on the old HAL website it said clearly Sel de Mer is included. So, Kazu cancelled her 3rd Sel de Mer dinner this cruise. It’s nice but not worth full price IMO. I’d rather put the $ in another Cellar Master.

 

Now to the bee in our bonnets. Tenders. There are too many 4 and 5* mariners to let us just do the usual thing so we have to pick up a “priority” tender ticket and we join the first available tender. (But that only applied on the 1st segment - word was there were only 45 5*'s on the 2nd segment). That worked well the first day. But not afterwards. Their definition of first available became the first “independent” tender not available tender. (Contrary to what both Rene & Linda had told us on the 1st segment when we asked).

 

We had to be in port at 9 am on a morning for our tour and after one of our friends was told that we would be the first independents (ie - even if the shore excursion tenders are empty we wait) I “timed” it to when our HD was in to check and went to ask how waiting until after the shore excursions went was priority. Renee said that we didn’t have to wait and I quickly told him that was not what the ladies here had said. Since there were only a couple of shore excursions that day, it was not an issue.

 

Talking to others that day and others and they say that they feel like they are second class citizens. Not a great way to reward loyalty. (Their words not mine).

 

the biggest issues with the tenders was the lack of consistency and what we felt like was a lack of caring. The shore excursions were all loaded on another port day with only 41 on each (we counted). But no one was up with tender tickets. So, samsonmo went down to the front desk and after a couple of calls, she came up and cleared us And we got off.

 

Now, I know, you are going to say a lot of 4 and 5* Mariners. Guess what? There werent' many in the show room ready to get off when we were there. Aside from our roll call, there were very few.

 

We all fit on that tender easily.

 

But the experience made me rethink tenders.

The Ugly:

Fighting for what is owed to me. Fighting for not just my 5* benefits but even the 50% discount benefits on the 2nd leg. and the internet promo we were supposed to get. And the cancelled Sel de Mer refund.

 

Lesson learned - do the feedback form and a knowledgeable person calls out to you as soon as you even get to the front desk. problem was finally solved 2 days before we were getting off the ship.

 

and then, on disembarkation, I had the black ticket while my other 5* friends had the pink and could get off anytime. Huh??

Conclusion :

so, you see? No sailing is perfect, but the Prinsendam's pluses were much bigger than the minuses.

 

Her crew are the best. The ratio is much better than any other ship on HAL. The logs are there if you want to check me out. ;)

 

Will I sail her again? In a heart beat and if Captain Dag is on board even better.

 

Was the service, experience a bit better than the other HAL ships? Yes, IMO, it was and several of my friends agreed too. But it's all subjective.

 

We changed rooms after the first segment from a Neptune Suite to a Signature Suite. I saw no iota of difference in service wherever we went due to that (just in case anyone is wondering.

 

A great cruise, great ports, great ship and great crew. What more can anyone ask for? Kazu is grateful to have had the experience and looking forward to the next one (yn)

 

thanks for following along with us. We've enjoyed the journey immeasurably

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The Prinsendam looks to be a lovely ship.

Have enjoyed following along on your cruise. Great photos and information.

Thank you.

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Hi Kazu,

What a great review, couldn't wait to read it every night!

We will be on Prinsendam in Oct.for the TransAtlantic leaving from Rome to Ft Lauderdale. This is our second cruise with HAL, first being on Massdam last year for 28 days, thoroughly enjoyed it :D

Just a couple of questions if you please, how is the library? Maasdam was wonderful I thought. We always eat at the Lido, I know some people don't understand, we have our reasons like eating when we like and not having such long dinners for a couple. Hoping the food is as good as on Maasdam and crew just as friendly. Oh, and does she have an enclosed space on the upper deck?

Thanks so much for the review and all your info, I was really surprised how much we enjoyed last years cruise:)

Debbie

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I agree with kazu regarding the staff, crew and Captain. Absolutely the best, most attentive service I’ve ever experienced.

 

We would sail on the Prinsendam again as long as the itineraries are as amazing as this cruise.

 

Big bonus for us was the wonderful people we met from our CC Roll Call.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Hi Kazu,

What a great review, couldn't wait to read it every night!

We will be on Prinsendam in Oct.for the TransAtlantic leaving from Rome to Ft Lauderdale. This is our second cruise with HAL, first being on Massdam last year for 28 days, thoroughly enjoyed it :D

Just a couple of questions if you please, how is the library? Maasdam was wonderful I thought. We always eat at the Lido, I know some people don't understand, we have our reasons like eating when we like and not having such long dinners for a couple. Hoping the food is as good as on Maasdam and crew just as friendly. Oh, and does she have an enclosed space on the upper deck?

Thanks so much for the review and all your info, I was really surprised how much we enjoyed last years cruise:)

Debbie

 

Debbie, I have been on the Maasdam several times and while I like the ship, the food on the P'dam is better IMO. (Ie., our filet at one Gala night was so tender you could have cut it with a fork. Unbelievably good. Everyone I talked to said the same. Mind you, that was in the MDR but it was offered in the Lido).

 

I think you will be very happy with the Lido, good choices, not rushed and I've never had a problem finding a seat that I like. Do check out the Wintergarten room when you are on. It's part of the Lido. And do check out both sides of the Lido. They are not totally the same ;)

 

The Prinsendam's library is lovely - more extensive than the Maasdam's. It is actually two rooms. The main library and the Oak Room.

 

By an enclosed space on the upper deck, do you mean the Observation Deck? There are protected corners up there but they are not enclosed.

 

The Crow's Nest on the Sports Deck is all enclosed of course - beautiful, one of the nicest IMO with great views and very comfortable chairs. It is a true Crow's Nest and has not been tampered with.

Edited by kazu

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I agree with kazu regarding the staff, crew and Captain. Absolutely the best, most attentive service I’ve ever experienced.

 

We would sail on the Prinsendam again as long as the itineraries are as amazing as this cruise.

 

Big bonus for us was the wonderful people we met from our CC Roll Call.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

You might want to take a look at her itineraries on April 12 and April 24th next year ;). Some very different ports and intriguing itineraries.

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AWESOME live-from., as always! You rock!

 

Thanks :D. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for following along :)

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Oops, a couple of things that I forgot to mention is the the Canaletto offered lobster on Gala nights. I hadn't seen that before.

Price was the same as regular Canaletto nights.

 

The Pinnacle Grill was totally sold out by the 2nd night of our cruise on the first segment. Not the first time I have seen this on the P'dam, so, if you are planning on some PG dinners, it may be wise to book them in advance. If there's openings you can always switch the reservation around and/or cancel if need be. But, people who waited until they were on board to book and left it to the 2nd night were disappointed as there was no availability.

Edited by kazu

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Great review, thanks for taking us along. Now it's back to reality.

Allan

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Jacqui, after reading about your issues with Sel de Mer and getting your 5 star discount , I decided to be proactive about it.

I emailed the Mariner society and have it in writing that yes it does apply.

I’ll take it with me when I board Noordam 2 weeks from today.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Thank you for the various reports.

All too often we have had to fight for loyalty refunds as well. HAL needs to give us those perks when we pre book the specialty restaurants instead of waiting until we are on the ship.

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Thank you for the various reports.

All too often we have had to fight for loyalty refunds as well. HAL needs to give us those perks when we pre book the specialty restaurants instead of waiting until we are on the ship.

Absolutely. It is ridiculous for any of us to have to stand at Guest Services to beg for something that is rightfully ours and should be recognized at booking time.

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Jacqui, after reading about your issues with Sel de Mer and getting your 5 star discount , I decided to be proactive about it.

I emailed the Mariner society and have it in writing that yes it does apply.

I’ll take it with me when I board Noordam 2 weeks from today.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Good idea. I've never had a problem getting my 50% off so I never thought to do that. I do plan on emailing on the issue as it's the principle of the thing for me.

 

I'll certainly do it next time I cruise.

 

Jacqui, have you sailed with Captain Jerome?

 

 

Roy

 

No, I haven't Roy.

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Great review, thanks for taking us along. Now it's back to reality.

Allan

 

Sad but true, Allan. My biggest reality is my very messy garden and that needs one pile of work :(

 

Absolutely. It is ridiculous for any of us to have to stand at Guest Services to beg for something that is rightfully ours and should be recognized at booking time.

 

Totally agree. I don't mind getting the 50% back on board and the subsequent on board credit but not if it is going to be difficult.

 

In my case they alleged that I had been charged again and refunded and that somehow the prebooking had been missed. Didn't make a lot of sense to me, but it was all fixed except for Sel De Mer.

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Thanks Jacqui for your thread. The photos of the Prinsendam and your discussion about the ship, staff and facilities helps us for our Oct. 14, 2018 cruise from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale. This will be our first cruise on her. Glad you and Jose had a great cruise and enjoyed Amsterdam after the cruise. After we left the Rotterdam last year, with you, we did Amsterdam for 4 days. Joyce got to do the Anne Frank house in 1972 and was allowed to take pictures back then.

 

Based on your recommendation and this thread we are looking forward to our cruise on the Prinsendam, thanks.

Rick & Joyce

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Thanks Jacqui for your thread. The photos of the Prinsendam and your discussion about the ship, staff and facilities helps us for our Oct. 14, 2018 cruise from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale. This will be our first cruise on her. Glad you and Jose had a great cruise and enjoyed Amsterdam after the cruise. After we left the Rotterdam last year, with you, we did Amsterdam for 4 days. Joyce got to do the Anne Frank house in 1972 and was allowed to take pictures back then.

 

Based on your recommendation and this thread we are looking forward to our cruise on the Prinsendam, thanks.

Rick & Joyce

 

I have done your itinerary on the P'dam Rick and it is an enjoyable one.

 

I hope you have a great time on her. We certainly did. The crew are truly fantastic and don't like you to be kept waiting ;)

 

don't miss happy hour in the Crow's Nest. there are appetizers served (of course ;) ).

 

All the best to both of you.

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You might want to take a look at her itineraries on April 12 and April 24th next year ;). Some very different ports and intriguing itineraries.

 

Wow! What an interesting itinerary. We would love to do that one. We have visited some of Portugal and Spain when we did the Douro River cruise. It would be great to see more of Portugal and Spain, and especially those unique ports in Italy and France.

 

The HAL website is wonky! OMG, it is so frustrating and not user friendly. It's painful to try and get all the details for a cruise.

 

I've been looking at the 22-day S. America & Antartica on the Zaandam for 2020. I'm also looking at Tauck for that itinerary. Lots to consider.

 

Keep us posted on your next adventure! :cool:

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Wow! What an interesting itinerary. We would love to do that one. We have visited some of Portugal and Spain when we did the Douro River cruise. It would be great to see more of Portugal and Spain, and especially those unique ports in Italy and France.

 

The HAL website is wonky! OMG, it is so frustrating and not user friendly. It's painful to try and get all the details for a cruise.

 

I've been looking at the 22-day S. America & Antartica on the Zaandam for 2020. I'm also looking at Tauck for that itinerary. Lots to consider.

 

Keep us posted on your next adventure! :cool:

 

The new website is a real PITA.

 

Right now I am still using the old website to plan a cruise thanks to CJCruser and this thread https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2623899

 

The link works most of the time.

 

The next adventure is all set :). April 12 - May 6th (2 segments April 12- 24 and April 24 - May 6th).

 

South America is fabulous - we loved it. I am sure you will enjoy that itinerary in 2020 no matter what ship you are on, Bobbie :)

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The new website is a real PITA.

 

Right now I am still using the old website to plan a cruise thanks to CJCruser and this thread https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2623899

 

The link works most of the time.

 

The next adventure is all set :). April 12 - May 6th (2 segments April 12- 24 and April 24 - May 6th).

 

South America is fabulous - we loved it. I am sure you will enjoy that itinerary in 2020 no matter what ship you are on, Bobbie :)

 

Lucky you! How exciting for you and Jose for your next adventure!

 

I showed the itinerary to Jimmy and he said, "do you want to do that one or South America?" My response... Why must I choose only one? LOL ;p

 

Thanks for the link to the old website - what a difference, so much easier.

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What a delight this thread has been!

 

I read the first few pages before my recent trip and finally had time to get caught up on the rest now that I'm home as well. A treasure trove of good info on the Prinsendam -- well done!

 

Recent reports regarding the uncertainty of P'dam's continued future with HAL have made me happy that I've got the April 12th trip booked -- and now I'm wondering if I should try to do another itinerary in the fall that I have my eyes on....:confused:

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