Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 388 out of 500
Accommodation: 160 out of 200
Food: 271 out of 400
Service: 291 out of 400
Entertainment: 73 out of 100
Cruise: 294 out of 400
Overall Score: 1477 out of 2000
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Holland America Line
Former Names: Seabourn Sun, Royal Viking Sun
IMO Number: 8700280
Builder: Wartsila (Finland)
Original Cost: $125 million
Entered Service: Dec 1988/May 2002
Registry: The Netherlands
Length (ft/m): 674.2/205.5
Beam (ft/m): 91.8/28.0
Draft (ft/m): 23.6/7.2
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (21,120kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 9
Total Crew: 443
Passengers (lower beds): 835
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 45.6
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.8
Cabins (total): 419
Size Range (sq ft/m): 137.7-723.3/12.8-67.2
Cabins (for one person): 3
Cabins (with private balcony): 166
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 10
Wheelchair accessibility: Best
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 4
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/101
Onboard currency: US$
This very comfortable ship has a premium ambience
Overview. This ship is best suited to older adult couples and singles who like to mingle in a mid-size ship operating longer cruises, in an unhurried setting with some eclectic, antique artwork, good food, and service from a smiling crew. It is a very comfortable vessel - smaller than other Holland America Line (HAL) ships, but more refined.
The Ship. Prinsendam is a well-designed ship with sleek lines, a sharply raked bow, and a well-rounded profile, with lots of floor-to-ceiling glass. Having started life as Royal Viking Sun, it was bought by Seabourn Cruise Line in 1998 and refitted as Seabourn Sun. In 2002, it was transferred to HAL as Prinsendam, and the hull color was changed from all-white to a dark blue hull with white superstructure. A 2007 refit added an Explorations Café and expanded the shopping arcade. In 2009 an aft deck, including 21 new cabins, was added.
Wide teakwood decks provide excellent walking areas including a decent walk-around promenade deck outdoors, but there’s no jogging track. The swimming pool, outdoors on Lido Deck, is not large, but it is quite adequate, while the deck above has a croquet court and golf driving range. The interior layout is very spacious - it is even more ideal when no more than 600 passengers are aboard. Impressive public rooms and tasteful decor now reign. Two handrails - one of wood, one of chrome - are provided on all stairways, a thoughtful touch.
The Crow’s Nest, the forward observation lounge, is an elegant, contemporary (at least in decor) space. Pebble Beach is the name of the electronic golf simulator room, complete with wet bar, with play possible on 11 virtual courses.
The Erasmus Library is well organized, although it’s simply not large enough for long-distance cruising.
The Oak Room is the ship’s cigar/pipe smoker’s lounge; it has a marble fireplace, which sadly cannot be used due to United States Coast Guard regulations.
Whether by intention or not, the ship has a two-class feeling, with passengers in ‘upstairs’ Penthouse Suites and ‘A’ grade staterooms gravitating to the quieter Crow’s Nest lounge, particularly at night, while other passengers go to the main entertainment deck.
The wide range of facilities includes a concierge, self-service launderettes (useful on long voyages), a varied guest lecture program, 24-hour information office, and true 24-hour cabin service for the discriminating passenger who demands spacious personal surroundings and good food and service, regardless of price. This ship operates mainly long-distance cruises in great comfort, and free shuttle buses are provided in almost all ports of call.
While Prinsendam isn’t perfect, the few design flaws (for example: poorly designed bar service counters) are minor points. The elegant decorative features include Dutch artwork and memorabilia. Added benefits include a fine health spa facility, spacious, wide teakwood decks and many teak sunloungers.
There are only four elevators, so anyone with walking disabilities may have to wait for some time during periods of peak usage, such as before meals. This spacious ship shows signs of wear and tear in some areas, particularly in the accommodation passageways, despite recent refurbishments. The library is difficult for anyone in a wheelchair to enter. The shore tenders are thoughtfully air conditioned.
Accommodation. There are several accommodation grades, ranging from Penthouse Verandah Suites to standard interior cabins. All suites and cabins have undergone some degree of refurbishment since the ship was taken over by HAL in 2002.
Penthouse Verandah Suite. The Penthouse Verandah Suite (723 sq ft/67 sq m) is a most desirable living space, although not as large as Penthouse Suites aboard some other ships. It is light and airy, with two bathrooms, one of which has a large whirlpool tub with ocean views, and anodized gold bathroom fittings. The living room contains a large dining table and chairs, and large sofas. There is also a substantial private balcony, and butler service.
Deluxe Verandah Suites. There are 18 of these (eight on Sports Deck, 10 on Lido Deck). Located in the forward section, they have large balconies, two sofas, and large bar/entertainment center (minibar/refrigerator, color television, video and CD players). Bathrooms have separate toilet, sink and toiletries cabinets, connecting sliding door into the bedroom, large mirror, two toiletries cabinets, plenty of storage space, full bathtub, and anodized gold fittings. Each evening the butler brings different goodies - hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and other niceties. If you do choose one of these suites, it might be best on the starboard side where they are located in a private hallway, while those on the port side (including the Penthouse Verandah Suite) are positioned along a public hallway. The 10 suites on Lido Deck are positioned along private port and starboard side hallways.
Passengers in Penthouse and Deluxe Verandah Suites have a private concierge lounge, high tea served in the suite each afternoon, hors d’oeuvres before dinner (on request), complimentary laundry pressing and dry cleaning, private cocktail parties with captain, priority disembarkation, and more.
Other cabin grades. Most of the remaining cabins, spread over six other decks, are of generous proportions and have just about everything you would need, including a video player. About 38 percent have a small, private balcony. All cabins have walk-in closets, lockable drawers, full-length mirrors, hairdryers, and ample cotton towels. A few cabins have third berths, while some have interconnecting doors - good for couples who want two bathrooms and more space or for families with children.
In all grades of accommodation, passengers receive a basket of fresh fruit, fluffy cotton bathrobes, evening turndown service, and an HAL signature tote bag. Filipino and Indonesian cabin stewards and stewardesses provide unobtrusive personal service.
Four well-equipped, L-shaped cabins for the disabled are quite well designed, fairly large, and equipped with special wheel-in bathrooms with shower facilities and closets.
Dining. La Fontaine Dining Room wraps around the aft end of Lower Promenade Deck and has extensive ocean-view windows; along the starboard side is a second, smaller and quieter section. There is plenty of space around tables. A good number of window-side tables are for two persons, although there are also tables for four, six, or eight. Crystal glasses, Rosenthal china, and fine cutlery are provided.
There are two seatings for dinner, at assigned tables, and an open-seating arrangement for breakfast and lunch - you’ll be seated by restaurant staff when you enter. On most port days the restaurant is closed at lunchtime, which means using the self-serve buffet or ordering room service.
Other dining options. A small, quiet dining spot on the port side is the Pinnacle Dining Room, with 48 seats, wood-paneled decor that increases the feeling of intimacy and privacy, and fine ocean views. Table settings include Bulgari china, Riedel glassware, and Frette table linens. The venue specializes in fine steaks and seafood. Seating preference is given to suite occupants. Reservations are required, and there is a cover charge. There is a well-chosen wine list, although there’s a great deal of emphasis on California wines, with prices that are quite high.
There is also a Lido Restaurant, for decent casual dining and self-serve buffet-style meals. At night, this eatery becomes La Canaletto (named after the famous Venetian artist).
Also, a Lido Deck poolside ‘Dive-In at the Terrace Grill’ features signature burgers, hot dogs and fries, and, on certain days, barbecues and other culinary treats may be featured.
Entertainment. The Queen’s Showlounge is an amphitheater-style layout, with a well-tiered floor, and both banquette and individual seating. While HAL isn’t known for fine entertainment, what it does offer is a consistently good, tried and tested array of cabaret acts. There are male ‘dance hosts’ who act as partners for women traveling alone.
Spa/Fitness. The extensive Greenhouse Health Spa includes six treatment rooms with integral showers, a Rasul chamber (for mud and gentle steam heat treatments), a gymnasium with views over the stern, and separate sauna, steam room, and changing rooms for men and women. The spa is operated by specialist concession Steiner.