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RevNeal

RevNeal LIVE! From the ms Prinsendam

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Greetings from the Holland America Line’s Gracious and Elegant Explorer, the ms Prinsendam! As we cruise north-west along the coast of Great Britain toward Edinburgh I wanted to take a few minutes to get online and say “howdy” to everybody on Cruse Critic! I cannot begin to describe what a wonderful time we’re all having aboard this incredible ship! How could I have cruised Holland America for all this time – almost 300 days, all told – and not sailed aboard the Prinsendam! I’ve only been board her for about 48 hours and yet can now unequivocally state that she is my very favorite HAL vessel.

 

I will always love the S/R ships, but this Prinsendam … ah, the Prinsendam … she is, truly, a work of nautical art. Elegant and gracious don’t go far enough to describe this ocean liner - cruise ship, or her officers and crew. The crew is warm and quick to serve, the officers inviting and willing to take time from their busy schedules to chat, and all are genuinely interested in making this cruise a pleasant and enjoyable voyage for us all. Within just a few minutes of boarding I was greeted by several Indonesian and Pilipino staff members who knew and remembered me from prior cruises aboard the Rotterdam, the Noordam, the Zaandam, and the Amsterdam. Each and every one of these crewmembers stood out in my memory as being superb, so it would appear that HAL has placed their very best crew on this ship.

 

It’s taking me a little time to get used to the deck lay-out; in particular, how this ship differs from the other vessels of the HAL fleet, but thus far I’ve not been lost … nor could I be lost for long on this ship, given how small and compact everything is. Everywhere I turn I find myself in the midst of luxury and comfort; I walk a very short distance and I’m suddenly someplace else, yet again surrounded by “all the comforts of my HAL-home-at-sea.” From the aft pool to the gym to the Lido Restaurant to the Explorer’s Lounge and Exploration’s Café, the Ocean Bar and the Crows Nest … I find names that are familiar but room-shapes and locations that are very different from my past experience. Nevertheless, I am enjoying this new discovery and looking forward to learning more about this little ship as the days fly by. One question for RuthC – what was your favorite sitting place in the Ocean Lounge?

 

Allow me to back up and bring you up to date on our trip thus far:

 

Getting to London was fairly painless – if being cramped in an airplane for 9 and a half hours can be called painless. After landing and walking about a thousand miles from the gate to the passport control station, we collected our bags, passed quickly through customs (non-stop … no questions asked) and out into the public area of the terminal where we were greeted by HAL shore representatives, who directed us to a waiting area where was did what one does in a waiting area … we waited. Our flight touched down at 7:50 am. It took less than half-an-hour to negotiate our way from the plane through passport control and baggage claim, for I have a time-stamp on my ATM transaction at Heathrow which reads 08:25. At 11 am they finally came to escort us – and a growing group of about 40 more – to a cramped bus for an hour-and-half ride to the other side of London and the Tilbury Terminal, where the Prinsendam was docked. Checking-in was painless and quick, for I was already aboard and enjoying a plate of excellent Lasagna in the Lido when my watch read 1:00 pm. A couple of glitches: our confirmed Early dining had been changed to confirmed Main dining (8pm). While this was okay with me, Mary Ellen and Karl would have preferred late dining … and I was looking forward to trying it. Nevertheless, at least we’re at fixed dining in the smaller starboard-side section of the Main Dining Room, at an excellent table for 4. I’m very pleased, indeed.

 

I’m in cabin 450, amidships on the Dolphin Deck. These outside cabins are very nice, with walk-in closets and large bathrooms. No space is wasted on hallways and such, and while they are slightly narrower than the HAL norm, their being smaller it isn’t especially noticeable. The useable space is, if anything, more useable for how is it distributed in the cabin.

 

Our first day of the cruise was, as I said earlier, a port day in London. I enjoyed a tour of the Tower of London … no, I didn’t see anybody lose their head, though we did get to see a lot of London traffic on a beautiful Saturday. We sailed away from Tilbury at 5 pm, following a fast and efficient Lifeboat drill (cabin numbers were, indeed, called out as roll was taken). Our cruise out the Thames was smooth and beautiful, with interesting commentary from the bridge as we sailed along. This morning of our first sea day, as we have made our way north-westward toward Edinburgh, we had a large Cruise Critic Meet & Greet in the Crows Nest at 10 am. About 60 of us gathered there to meet each other and the Captain, Hotel Manager, Cruise Director, Beverage Manager, and Future Cruise Consultant. It was a pleasant meeting; the captain explained, at some length, why we dock and embarked at Tilbury and not at Greenwich, as had been the original plan when most of us had booked this cruise; after the explanation, I think even the most negative in the group both understood and appreciated why this change was made. The Hotel manager and the Captain took several more questions and stayed to chat with us for a while longer before departing. All-in-all, it was a very successful Meet & Greet.

 

Tonight will be our first of 6 formal nights on this 22-day cruise, and I must get off now to get ready for cocktail hour (if it’s going to be a whole “hour” I’m going to have to rush!) I’ll try to report back tomorrow after touring in the Edinburgh area. I don’t know how often I’m going to be able to report, but I’ll do my best – conditions permitting – to give a short report every few days.

 

Blessings to all of you on Cruise Critic from the lovely and gracious ms Prinsendam!

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I am so excited to follow this adventure and hear more about your journey and the Prinsendam. I will be boarding her for the first time in January and it is always fun to hear about a ship in advance.

Thanks for taking the time to take us along with you........and I know you always have pictures!

karen

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So glad you are enjoying the ms Prinsendam.

I am looking forward to experiencing your vacation through your LIVE report.

Blessings to you!

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I will be following along from dry land. Your 2 1/2 hour Heathrow wait is a good warning of the risks of cruise air and transfers. You will have a great time, with I were with you.

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Thank you for the "live from". I appreciate hearing about your cruise and you taking the time and money to do it.

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Ah...I've been waiting for you to check in since we're booked on the P'dam next May for a 45-day cruise (Main deck 375). I've been also watching the Captain's blog which has been excellent! Having read a number of negatives, I was concerned, also...as you were...but now, having your input, I'm resting comfortably, since much of what you seem to enjoy, we find we do also. Have a great trip...we'll be reading now and looking for photos later...

Off in 3 weeks on the Eurodam from A'dam! Can't wait...

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We have a CC friend on board the Prinsendam right now as well. We will be interested in reading your reports and the ones he is sending along to his "blogger list" of correspondants. He will be joining us as we board the Westerdam in the Netherlands on the 14th. He should have been at your M & G.

 

His flight was delayed 6 hours in getting out of JFK but he made it on board, thankfully, with time to spare. Not an auspicious beginning, but he did say he was loving the Prinsendam, and as you are, having a great time exploring the beautiful ship.

 

Perhaps you will get a chance to meet on board, if you did not do so at the M & G. He is a single gentleman (widower) by the name of Norm, and loves to be out on the fantail with his morning coffee!

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Greg, it is so good to hear from you. I hope that you continue to enjoy the gorgeous ship, and I look forward to more your wonderful commentary, as you take us along.

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Thanks Greg for taking us along on your cruise. Will definitely be looking forward to your future post.

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Have fun, Greg and thanks for posting!

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Will enjoy cruising along with you. Make sure you visit the Falkirk Wheel when you are in Edinburgh. It is one of the engineering wonders of the world and fun to experience.

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Am I the only other person that gets amazed when I realize that we can be "online" even when on a cruise ship? Technology always astounds me, even though I'm a software tester by trade. It's just amazing.

 

Can't wait to read your "live from" thread, RevNeal. Thanks for taking us all along with you. We promise to not run up your cabin bill too much, but it might be hard to hide us all from the crew :-)

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OH WOW! Greg you and aarzz are definitely going to be bringing us left at home a lot of joy!!

 

Both of you doing a live from the Prinsendam at the same time is going to be a great experience!

 

Have a wonderful journey to the Arctic!

 

Joanie

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It's so good to hear from you, Greg. Hugs to you, Christopher, Mary Ellen, and Karl. I'm thrilled to read that you love the Prinsendam, as I know you did have some concerns after reading some of the reports. And I never did figure out the deck plan. I never got lost, and always knew how to get where I wanted to go, but to this day I do not have the full picture in my head.

One question for RuthC – what was your favorite sitting place in the Ocean Lounge?

I can't say that I had a favorite place in the Ocean Bar; I spent a lot of time in the Crow's Nest (aka "The Library" due to all the readers there, even late at night). btw---Who's playing up there? Is it Buddy, by any chance?

 

In the Ocean Bar I did like the seat right near the exit to the dining room. Speaking of---so much for "As You Wish Dining" :rolleyes:. Why were you changed from your confirmed seating? Did they give you a reason? Glad you were at least given fixed.

 

With all the renovations, tell me, is the writing room still there? It was a charming throw-back to the older style ships.

 

Have a good time. Wish I was there.

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Am I the only other person that gets amazed when I realize that we can be "online" even when on a cruise ship?

The Prinsendam should lose Internet contact for about 5 days when they get further north.

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I am really excited to read along with your review of the Prinsendam.

 

We have not been on her yet but hope to in the future as we have decided this is the perfect size ship for us.

 

Have a great cruise!

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RevNeal,

 

Wishing you a great cruise and all good wishes. I knew that you would love the "little ship". I have never been on Prinsendam but have been on others like her (Tahitian Princess & Azamara). I just loved having no lines for anything.

 

Maria

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Thanks for posting, and have a great trip.

 

I'm a lover of smaller ships in the size range of Prinsendam, much prefering them to their larger sisters.

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Greg, thanks for taking us along. I am definitely looking forward to what you have to say and some day Tom and I hope to sail on the Prinsendam:)

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I know you will all have a great time. We enjoyed the Prinsendam greatly, both times we've been aboard her. Hope to do it again some day.

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Looking forward to hearing from your and will keep up with Captain Alberts Blog also. Smooth sailing.:)

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