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RevNeal

RevNeal LIVE! From the ms Prinsendam

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Is Buddy playing in the Crow's Nest? Who is the Cpt? Thanks in advance for the information.......Carol

 

OOPS....Just realized Cpt. Albert is still on the Prinsendam!

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Just one thing. If you are going from London to Edinburgh you must be sailing north up the east coast not the west coast :)

Have a wonderful cruise.

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Lovely writing style, I am really enjoying reading about your trip :) Just one question really, why do you prefer the Prisendam over other styles of vessels?

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I would love to take this itinerary and hope to enjoy it through your postings. Thanks!

 

B

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Greetings from the Gracious and Elegant Explorer, HAL’s ms Prinsendam! Today we docked at the Rosyth ship terminal just outside Edinburgh, where it was a beautiful day! Yes, indeed, the sun was shining, the beach was packed with crowds of people building sand castles, sun bathing, windsurfing, and guzzling enormous amounts of booze at the “I Could Stay Here Forever” Bar … no … wait … that’s Half Moon Cay. As I said, we docked today in Scotland, where it was a rainy and chilly day with a high of around 60 degrees, a cold north-west wind, and a thickly overcast sky from which rain showered upon us, off-and-on. In other words, it was pretty much a normal day here in Scotland! And, yes, in its own way it was very beautiful! The British Isles are called the Emerald Islands because they are so green … and in order to be so green they’ve got to have a lot of rain; they have it … in buckets.

 

This morning we cruised up the Firth of Forth (try saying that 3 times fast without spraying your computer screen!) at about 5:30 am, just a few minutes after sun-up, under the “Forth Bridge” – the famous Railway bridge – the more modern suspension bridge over which passes automobile traffic and tour busses. The last time I was here I was aboard the ms Eurodam on her maiden voyage, and that ship was so large she couldn’t pass under the bridges but had to drop anchor and tender in to South Queensferry (not to be confused with the “Queen’s fairy,” who is a sister to the “Upgrade Fairy” and second cousin twice removed of the “Tooth Fairy.”) The amazing Prinsendam, however, is not so bloated as to be incapable of powering under the bridges and actually pulling into a dock, which we finally did at 7 am.

 

From here we took an 8:30 am shore excursion bus out, across the Firth of Forth (Sylvester, of Loony-Toons fame, would be very challenged living here), and up to the charming little town of Falkirk where we had a wonderful tour of the conveniently-named Falkirk Wheel. This is, truly, an impressive bit of modern technology on the very large scale: it’s an advanced and efficient way of getting canal boats from lower running canal systems onto much higher ones (or visa versa) without the use of 20-something step-locks and amazing amounts of water. The wheel sits on its end, standing an amazing 35 meters tall, and has two water-chambers … one on each end. The canal boat floats into one of the water-chambers, the gate closes behind the boat, and the water in the chamber is equalized with the level of the water in the chamber on the other side of the wheel. Archimedes (not a Scotsman, but beloved by the Scots nevertheless for his brilliance at consuming enormous quantities of Scotch Whisky while deriving the cube-root of 1437823 in his head) long ago figured out that a boat weighs as much as the amount of water it displaces, so if the water level in both chambers on either side of the wheel are equal than both bays are holding the same weight. Once the water levels are equalized, the wheel is balanced and can be rotated with only a tiny amount of electricity (or two hamsters, whichever is available at the time); thus, the huge chamber of water and its canal boat can be rotated 38 meters up into the air to attach to the end of an aqueduct which then allows the boat to float into the higher-altitude canal system. No, I’ve not been drinking Scotch (not yet). It works. We did it. I’ll have photos to upload on our next sea day. It was a really fun shore excursion.

 

As I write this we have just departed Rosyth, sailed out of the Firth of Forth (pardon the pause while I wipe my screen), and are now making our way further north along toward the north coast of Scotland and our next port of call, Scrabster. Meanwhile, we’re getting ready for dinner tonight in the Pinnacle Grill … yum yum! Which brings to mind last night’s Formal Night!

 

Yes, we’ve had our first Formal Night aboard the Prinsendam and, thus far at least, this jewel of a ship lives up to her reputation as being, on average, among the dressiest ships in the fleet. There were occasional people wandering around, apparently gawking at those of us who were dressed up, but one could count them on the fingers of one hand. Most – 95%+ -- our fellow passengers visible on the public decks (Lower Promenade and Promenade decks) were dressed as HAL requests and suggests. Gentlemen in Tuxedos and/or white formal Dinner Jackets were in the majority on this first Formal Night, with a huge percentage of the rest being in dark suits and ties; even those in jacket and tie, for the most part, looked sharp. There were a few who were without ties, or who looked grumpy and uncomfortable in a jacket that (usually) appeared to be too small for them. But, they were few and far between and I certainly appreciate them making an attempt to play along. There were a few who refused, of course, and I don’t know how many ate in the Lido that evening … the Main Dining Room appeared to be full (at least, the port-side-forward section (fixed seating) had people at everytable. Many ladies were dressed in formal dresses and gowns, with others in skirt or pant and sparkly-top separates. All that I noticed looked fabulous.

 

The dancing in the Ocean bar was a joy to watch, and the band there cranked out music from the big-band era to the 70s. The floor was literally filled with people, many of who could dance and some who just moved to the music and enjoyed themselves. It was great. Before dinner I noticed nobody dressed-down in the lounges. After dinner, at the captain’s toast and the evening show, everybody I saw appeared to be dressed as HAL requests and suggests. Later that evening, in the Explorer’s Lounge for after dinner brandy and classical music, I saw nobody dressed down … and in the Ocean bar on toward midnight everybody appeared to remain “dressed up.” I didn’t look in the Casino, I was busy doing other things, but it didn’t appear that, at least on this sailing of the Prinsendam, my fellow passengers were going to be prone to dressing down after dinner. Oh, yes, I saw an occasional tie come off or become loosened, and in the Ocean bar some of the gentlemen who had been dancing appeared to be a little hot and so they had taken off their jackets, but that’s not “running back to their cabin and dressing down.”

 

*** (Later)

 

Tonight was a Smart Casual Night. As was true with our second Smart Casual Night, so also on this one the jackets were out in force among the gentlemen; plenty of men were in kakis and polos or sport shirts or even Hawaiian shirts, but there were a great many who appeared in the lounges before dinner attired in jackets and some, even, with ties. We ate in the Pinnacle Grill tonight; it was a fabulous meal, one of the best I’ve ever had in a Pinnacle Grill on HAL. Each course was superb, the service impeccable, the atmosphere sublime. Afterwards I made my way back up and aft to the Explorer’s Lounge for after-dinner brandy and some wonderful classical music as well as in-between-set conversation with fellow passengers on a whole host of subjects. It was an enjoyable evening, and one that I was sad to see come to a close for need to finish up this report.

 

I wanted to write a few more words about the Prinsendam. She truly is a yar vessel, beautifully appointed on the inside with rich wood paneling and dark earth tones as well as soothing blues and greens; the public rooms are either wide and open (as in the Ocean Lounge) or intimate and cozy (as in the Explorer’s Lounge); the over-all effect is to make the ship feel roomy, even though she is the smallest in the fleet. Her artwork, furniture, and other furnishings are either classic HAL or extremely luxurious, and all understated in their elegance. This is not a garish, glitzy, loud, flamboyant, or party-hearty cruise ship of modern construction and expectation, it is much more reflective of the Cruise Liners of yesteryear. Yes, she’s an older ship. Yes, there are places where work needs to be done. Some things that have been reported as being broken are, apparently, fixed: for example, both of the aft sliding doors of the Lido Restaurant are functional (I’ve been through both on several occasions). All of the ship’s four elevators are working. AC seems to be good in all public spaces, as well as in cabins (I’m getting too cold as I type this), and the ship’s propulsion seems to be going strong. Yes, I’ve noticed – and photographed – some rust on the outside of my cabin’s window sill; this is a ship AT SEA for week after week – of course there are going to be bits of rust here and there that need to be chipped off and painted over. Yes, the cabin is a bit small, but it’s not uncomfortable and there is no wasted space. The bathroom in my cabin has some awkward characteristics about it: there is NO electrical plug to be found therein, the shower curtain doesn’t go the full length of the tub (just 4/5 of the distance from one end to the other), and if one is more than 6’3” they won’t be able stand up in the shower/tub. Over all, however, the ship is in amazing good shape, be-speaking the continual maintenance work done by her marvelous crew. Over all, I believe that the Prinsendam is in incredibly good shape. I will, however, keep my eyes open for other signs of wear and tear and need for refurbishment or other work.

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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!

 

Yes, I met him briefly at the M&G, and I look forward to chatting with him at length at some point on the cruise. Thus far, things have been busy with shore excursions, settling in, and such! :D

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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.

 

We did! It was excellent! I got lots and lots of photos!

Thanks!

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Thanks so much for your glowing review, and in-depth description of the beautiful Prinsendam. Even though we have not been fortunate enough (yet) to cruise on her, you make us feel as if we are on board with you.

 

We read with great interest your description of the Falkirk Wheel, as it is on our list of shore excursions on our Westerdam "Scottich Serenade" cruise in just 18 days. It is wonderful to know we will not be disappointed in booking it.

 

We look forward to your next installment. :)

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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.

 

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.

 

Dear Ruth! It is so SAD being "Ruthless!" We miss you greatly, wish you were here, and are often asking "what would Ruth say about THAT?" We toasted you at dinner on our first Formal Night. :D You ARE missed.

 

Jerry is at the Piano in the Crows Nest, but I've only been up there once in the evening as I've been spending more time listening to the Rosario Strings in the Explorer's Lounge. They're VERY good.

 

Ah, we figured you would perch yourself either at the entrance to the Main Dining Room OR on the other end, either place providing commanding views of the Lounge. :D

 

We were never given a reason for the change in time. I gather more Suite passengers wanted the earlier fixed time so, if we wanted fixed seating we would have to go with 8pm. Personally, I'm ok with it, but Mary Ellen and Karl would have preferred earlier.

 

The Writing room is gone ... the Explorations Cafe takes up the area on the Promenade Deck abaft the shops, and forward of the Casino. Well ... to say it's "gone" is not entirely true. It and the fireplace remain, but incorporated into the Explorations Cafe. It is a nice space, as it is on the S and R ships, and is a bit of continuity that helps one get one's bearings (i.e., it's across the ship from the Explorer's Lounge). What I'm having trouble getting used to is having the Explorer's Lounge on a different deck from the Ocean Lounge and DIRECTLY above my dining room table. But, hey, it makes for a short climb up the circular staircase to reach after dinner brandy or port and something lovely composed by Bach! :D

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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:)

 

Lisa, you will like this ship a lot. Indeed, one of the reasons why you'll love her is her amazing crew. They already know our names. They know who we are, what we like, and what we want ... and they learn it FAST! I'm very impressed by these wonderful people. Those whom I've met on previous cruises not only remember me, but remember things like what I prefer to drink! Those whom I have met for the first time quickly learn what I like and want! They're incredible.

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Bon Voyage!!! Looking forward to you reports. I am also subscribe to Captain Albert's weblog. It is fun to hear two different perspectives. Is this is a working or relaxing trip?

 

LOL ... you're not the only person to ask that question! It's a relaxing trip. I've had Filipino Protestants who know me from prior cruises come running up to me to ask if I would be conducting a late night communion service for them, etc. For them I am truly sorry because I'm not serving as Protestant Guest Minister this cruise ... I'm entirely on vacation. :) For myself, I'm very VERY happy.

 

Indeed, I've had passengers, crew, and officer all ask me the same question "are you working this time?" One passenger, who is also clergy, introduced himself to me and told me he had been wanting to meet me for a long time and that he was happy to finally get his chance. We chatted for a while about chaplain service, it's positives and negatives, etc. For some reason the agency that HAL uses to contract clergy and guest speakers on these cruises told him that I would be aboard this cruise. How they knew this, I don't know ... there is a Protestant Guest Minister aboard, and he's not me.

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Cheers and look forward to your postings. We too have been concerned about some recent postings and some of our problems on our last cruise (minor, but annoying if you want to sleep under the broken Lido door in high seas.) So, I guess we're just curious if both of the doors to the deck outside on the Lido are now working. :confused:

 

And RevNeal, I don't know that you'll have time to go to all of your fan's replies, but just in case, just curious if Thom, Tina and Frank are on board as CD, future cruise consultant, and port lecturer???? What a bunch of crazies if they are...............

 

ENJOY!!!!

 

As I reported above, the Lido doors are all working! I know because I've been through them all ... the open ahead of me, and close behind me ... no problems!!!!!

 

Yes, yes, and yes!!!!!!! I've met Thom ... he's a delight ... and I look forward to booking at least one future cruise with Tina.

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Greg: Two Questions

1. Who is the Master of the Vessel on your voyage?

2. Who is the CD on your cruise?

 

1. Captain Albert Schoonderbeek

2. Thom Faulkner

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Greg-I was happy to learn that you are enjoying the Prinsendam and like her as much or more than we do! I wish that we were onboard with you, Mary Ellen & Karl and arzz and her DH. It sounds like you will have a fantastic cruise. Please continue to keep us posted on the events and adventures!

 

Thank you, Bill! Give Virginia my best! Your ears must have been burning today ... your name came up several times at lunch. :D

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Is Buddy playing in the Crow's Nest? Who is the Cpt? Thanks in advance for the information.......Carol

 

The Captain is Albert Schoonderbeek ... utterly delightful (he is definitely NOT Captain Jack!)

 

I was mistaken in what I posted to Ruth earlier. While a fellow by the name of Jerry does play the Piano in the Crows nest from 5 - 6 pm, the person playing in the Crows nest from 7-8 and from 9-close is Debby Bacon. I've not heard her, yet, but I look forward to doing so some night soon.

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Oh ... and a FINAL remark before I turn in ...

 

There are CHILDREN aboard this vessel.

They had to open a Club HAL ... and NOT for 30-something year old passengers! We're talking youth. We're talking teens. We're talking pre-teens. Yes ... CHILDREN are aboard the Prinsendam!

 

AAAAAAHHHHHHH! ;)

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AC seems to be good in all public spaces, as well as in cabins (I’m getting too cold as I type this),

Oh-oh. If you're getting cold, then my sympathies to Christopher. He must be suffering---and you haven't even spotted ice yet!

Dear Ruth! It is so SAD being "Ruthless!" We miss you greatly, wish you were here, and are often asking "what would Ruth say about THAT?" We toasted you at dinner on our first Formal Night. :D You ARE missed.

Thank you! And thank you.

However, your delightful recount makes me feel, at least a little bit, as if I were with you all.

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Hi Rev, Say hi to the gang for me. Too bad I cancelled this time around but that's how it goes sometimes. I have been busy with Panama and Alaska cruises so far this year and this one got the squeeze. Looking forward to reading your reports of shore excursions and life on board. Loretta

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RevNeal, If you have time please say Hi to Gil the bartender in the Crows Nest from Joe and Mary Jo. Thanks

P.S. Have Gil show you the trick with the straws

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I am so excited reading about your times on this ship. I will be in one of the VERY small inside bottom rooms for 66 days in January....tell me please.....will I be claustrophobic?? Is it THAT small???

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I am so excited reading about your times on this ship. I will be in one of the VERY small inside bottom rooms for 66 days in January....tell me please.....will I be claustrophobic?? Is it THAT small???

Karen, will you be in the single inside on Dolphin Deck? Or one of the cabins along the same stretch? If so, I can give you some information about them.

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No not the single. I booked a category M, inside guaranty. I am told they are VERY small......but I am only one person.

Please do tell me.....

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Almost made it to thr 3rd time Firth of Forth.... Oh well, screen needed cleaning anyway:D

 

Were you able to see the Oil Rigs that Captain Albert mentions in his blog??

 

Hopefully, one day we will be able to enjoy the Grand Prinsendam....

 

Thank you Greg for this daily review. I can dream...:)

 

Joanie

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I'm enjoying your report, Greg. I'm really glad to hear that you're enjoying the Slinkiedam aka Prinsendam. We will be boarding in just over a month for a short (for us) 43 day sojourn, starting out by circling the British Isles. Keep those kids corraled and make sure everything is in good shape when you leave.:D

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