Ship: Prinsendam | Sail Date: Nov 26, 2013
We have cruised with HAL before and were really appreciating this company. We were told the Prinsendam is the top of the bill, by far the most beautiful ship with the finest destinations, although you pay the highest rates compared to the other HAL ships, so we had high expectations. Unfortuately these were not met. The ship is pretty old and not meeting todays requirements. For example the airco didn't work properly during the whole cruise in quite a number of cabins and repair seemed impossible. Some nights were so hot, we couldn't sleep at all. The bathroom door made so much noise that we had to place towels in the entrance, which had a bad effect on our already malfunctioning airco and made it even hotter. The ship needs some repair and paint and also the furniture on the decks should be replaced. It is all a little outdated and not well maintained and even sometimes dirty (cockroaches on the Canelito restaurant floor, not during Amazon trip but sailing to Curacao!). The use of the public rooms was very inefficient. The Ocean bar, which is a really small bar, has a dancefloor which is far too small for a proper dance. Events planned over there were overcrowded and many people had to stand during f.i. a raffle. The pool on deck 9 is hardly used. The deck is far too hot without any proper shade. The route to this deck is not logic, since you have to walk through the gym. We really found the entertainment boring. The artists were pretty outdated and did not meet the state of the art enterainment you see on other ships. We were especially disappointed that no local artists were invited to give shows during our passage through the Amazon, as we experienced during our trips on the Pacific and Far East. The entertainment staff did hardly make an effort to make the sea days more funny. For example the actual passing of the equator (at 8.40am, so at a decent time), was not announced at all and there was no fun program about that event. I personally do not like the jumping in the spaghetti pool, but on another ship we met a 'real' Neptunus, which was really nice and easy to realize. We had an amazing cruise, sailing the Amazon but felt pretty disappointed that during the cruising no mention was made of special views or remarkable events, like a really dedicated captain would do. The daily talk was hardly understandable and far from interesting. Oke, we had an interim captain who was actually already retired, but from such an experienced man you may expect more enthusiasm. Since we sailed in really tropic temperatures the evenings were lovely sitting outside. However, there is no sitting outside as the Lido deck, the only place where you can decently sit and may expect some drinks, is closed already at 9 o'clock. Between end of dinner and closing time the ship's staff was using the hot tubs and having fun. That's oke with me, but such a valuable spot as the Lido deck can be used more properly. We think that is a missing chance.
We had the early seating and after finish of our meal there was actually nothing to do. No music, cold, empty bars. If you did not want to visit the show, there was nothing more to do. There is a cinema, however it was never intended to be one, so sitting and watching a movie is only possible on the very first rows, otherwise you will get back ache or a stiff neck and your view will be blocked by the people in front of you.
The good news: the serving staff is excellent, nice and very service minded. Especially a thumbs up for the pastry chef who made excellent dishes. We were not so enthusiastic about the main dishes, but that may be personal. We prefer small, delicte portions above big parts of meat without any vegetables.
Most destinations were interesting, unfortunately the ship gave only little information. Especially the first few harbours were not described and only information was given about the jewelry shops and nothing about its history or points of interests. Later on the information improved. Moreover the excursions were very expensive, compared to the rates you pay when you hire a personal taxi driver on the spot. Organizing it yourself may save you at least 50%.
And a final point of disappointment. We are 3-star mariners but the benefits are lousy. If we compare that to our status with Cunard, where we have real discounts (like a huge discount on internet!) we feel HAL does not really appreciate its repeating guests. Because we had some work to do, we have our own company, we bought an internet plan, which we renewed some time later. The day after our renewal it appeared you could get a special discount on renewal in the shape of free minutes. I was just too early and missed these costly minutes. Some issue another cruise company will nicely settle afterwards (as we experienced before)
Sorry about this not so favorabe review. We may continue sailing with HAL if the trip is interesting, but since this voyage we will definitely reconsider other companies.