Holland America Line - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line

by Jim Thornton
Baltic Sea
June 3, 2008

The MS Prinsendam is one of Holland America's smaller ships that carries 793 passengers and a crew of 443. It was built in 1988 as the Royal Viking Sun for the Royal Viking Line and in less than two years later it was sold to the Seabourn Cruise Line and renamed as the Seabourn Sun. Another two years later, it was sold again to the Holland America Line.

CABIN -- Balcony
Our daughter's and our cabins were side-by-side. We had the cabin with a shower (no bath) and only one bedside nightstand, while our daughter had a bath and two bedside nightstands. Both cabins were the same size and had queen size beds, etc.

The cabin's bathrooms were nice and new while the non-bathroom areas showed signs of wear. Cabin attendant was also good.

Poor cabin TV service -- 19 channels but three out of the seven English language channels were out-of-service due to a "satellite problem" that never got fixed.

The on-shore HAL personnel placed my wife's photo both on her and my shipboard ID cards which also serves as the cabin key. The ship's personnel always scan the card to verify that the photo on the card matches the returning passenger from a tour. I was able to get a new ID with the proper photo from the ship's front desk.

Food was fair and service was slow. This was the poorest of all the eight HAL ships that we've been on.

The evening entertainment was poor -- it appeared to be at a high school level of experience. Always had wonderful evening entertainment on HAL ships before.

There were no daytime movies in the ship theater on the three Day-At-Sea days.

The Crow's Nest always smelled heavily of cigarette smoke. The same in the other shipboard bars. Never had this problem on any other HAL ship.

The ship cancelled one of the Ystad tours that we previously paid for due to too many requests for the tour. Actually, they moved the afternoon tours to the morning to add more tours in the afternoon. We had to manually swap our morning and afternoon tours ourselves. And later, we had to identify to the HAL tour management that they doubled-charged us.

Some of the sites to be seen on the land tours were skipped due to HAL tour management permitting handicapped passengers (in wheelchairs, walkers, etc.) on these HAL rated "Strenuous Activity" tours.

The overall quality of the tours were not as good as on the same cruise that we took on the Norwegian Dream eight years earlier.

The onboard tour personnel always place a small tour sticker on your clothing for identification on the tour. One sticker left its glue-like material on my jacket and both the ship's personnel and we were unable to remove it.

Most of the passengers caught a cough and cold on the cruise and we never saw the HAL personnel ever sanitize the numerous stairway hand rails on the ship as we have seen on all other HAL ships we have been on.

As a longtime Holland America passenger, I could not recommend this ship. This was our ninth Holland America Cruise and our 18th cruise in Asia, Europe, and North, Central, and South America.