Experienced cruiser here, former Cruise Director and frequent HAL pax. I will be sailing on the Prinsendam 8/23 for 2 week Alaska voyage. Few reviews and the usual shakey start up reports, so I am curious for opinions on those who have recently sailed. Email me or post here for all to participate.
I would like to know if the Prinsendam bathroom tiles have been redone, or at least the grout work redone. I saw one picture of someone's expensive cabin and it was enough for me to cross the Prinsendam off my short list. We just got off the Veendam Sunday (glorious weather!) and while our verandah bathroom tiles were fine and appeared newish, the public restroom floor tiles need either to be retiled, regrouted or extensively cleaned. I am hopeful the Prinsendam is fully refurbished when you sail, since she sails from the port nearest to my home: San Francisco. However, I am not yet ready to sail 14-day itineraries, so would be happier with 8-9-10 day cruises.
For which cruise line were you a Cruise Director, Mike?
Ive worked for Radisson Seven Seas, Celebrity, Royal Cruise Line (former), Holland America, NCL, Premier (Official Line of Disney days), Royal Viking and Cunard.
I sailed Veendam this past March from Tampa and Amsterdam last September from Seattle. I thought the Veendam was a bit weathered, but perhaps it was in wet dock before your Alaska trip. My experience with HAL also, in my opinion, has shown the Nassau registered ships a notch below the Netherlands registered ships. The Amsterdam proved to be finer....and I am hoping the Prinsendam has been shaken down this past year. The Hotel Manager aboard, Fekko Ebbens is very detail orientated, and I expect he is or has address those details. I had worked with him one Alaska season on Rotterdam V, and he kept her in remarkable condition (Hotel wise) in her waning years.
Some reading I have done on Prinsendam reviews has indicated the cabin refurbishments have been on going. I hope to be witness to that.
Nonetheless, I still have many friends (more like family) in the industry and I sail several times a year. I sometimes cannot imagine being a CD on the megaships as I always strived to meet and greet with the pax. To me, there are no bad cruises, just some less idyllic. In all honestly, my most memorable voyages were often on the older, frumpy ships in the fleet. The ship alone does not make the cruise.
I've been reading the less than great reviews from 2002 and kept looking for a more up to date review. I've found one. It was posted on www.cruise-addicts.com on July 30. The reviewer gave it 5 stars.
I wasn't put off by the start up reviews. I sailed on NCL's Windward (before it was streached to become the Wind) for it's maiden voyage and that was quite an adventure. It was also NCL's first trip though the Panama Canal and there were problems in every port because the ship was bigger than the ports were use to so they had to make adjustment to the gangway before we could get off.
I've also been to San Francisco on the last 2 Saturdays that the Prinsendam was in port. It looks great from the out side and just the right size.
We chose this cruise because it sails out of San Francisco so we save the cost & hassle of flying. We also got a great deal and upgraded to a veranda. I also like the smaller size ships, haven't cruised to Alaska before, my parents sailed on this ship when it belonged to Royal Viking and 7 day crusis just aren't long enough for a vacation.