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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies nor any travel or cruise agencies, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share all my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful Ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful reader will make the best-informed choice possible!

The “Elegant Explorer”

ms Prinsendam

 The elegant ms Prinsendam is seen here whilst visiting Ireland

She was once the much loved Royal Viking Sun / Seabourn Sun, but Holland America Line transformed her very much into their style of cruise ship. Already she has become known as the “Elegant World Explorer.” When HAL took delivery of her he received a massive 35-day transformation, after which she has emerged with a fine new alternative Restaurant, the Odyssey as well as a new Lido Restaurant, Ocean Bar, Art Gallery, Internet Center and a fully revamped Showroom. Prinsendam also has a new range of “lanai” staterooms.

Many will remember the luxurious Royal Viking Sun

After Holland America took delivery of the 38,000-ton Seabourn Sun on April 23, 2002, when she underwent an extended dry-docking and refurbishment to become the Prinsendam. 14 additional staterooms were added giving hera  passenger capacity of 794. Like all HAL ships, she features that famous Holland America’s familiar blue and white livery, public room names, and masses of fine art.

“This ship has a very loyal following and a stellar reputation as a world cruiser. We’re sure that our guests will agree that the enhancements we’ve made have only increased its already high appeal,” said David A. Giersdorf, senior Vice President of marketing and sales. “We’re calling the Prinsendam our ‘Elegant Explorer’ to sum up its mid-range size, worldly destinations and elegant, sophisticated décor. The Prinsendam also offers an intimate, yet spacious, environment. With a 794-guest capacity, this ship has a space ratio of 47.86 - one of the highest in the industry.”

Decks have been renamed to correspond with the naming system on board the HAL fleet. Starting from the top deck, which on the Seabourn Sun was named the Observation Deck, the passenger decks will be renamed as follows: Sky (Deck 13), Sports (12), Lido (11), Verandah (10), Upper Promenade (9), Promenade (8), Lower Promenade (7), Main (6) and Dolphin (5).

Other enhancements include a reconfigured La Fontaine dining room, which has two dinner sittings. There is a new concierge lounge for the exclusive use of suite guests, a modified Shore Excursion Office, conversion of the present Compass Rose Room to an Explorer’s Lounge, upgraded furnishing in the Wajang Movie Theatre, a new wind screen at the bow, and a specially commissioned sculpture for the Central Atrium. Since then she has undergone further enhancements making this popular ship even more luxurious that she was before and her following is ever increasing as she is finding a new clientele from around the world!

Neptune Lounge

Features that received minimal changes are the Crow’s Nest lounge on Sports Deck forward; the Java Café and Bar, centrally located on Promenade Deck; and the Oak Room, a dedicated smoking room, also located on Promenade Deck. The Casino on Promenade Deck and the well-appointed Ocean Spa on Upper Promenade Deck aft, were both renovated in 1999 and only received few modifications by HAL.

Another view of the Neptune Lounge

Swedish architect Tomas Tillberg, who designed the ship’s original décor and led the 1999 update, oversaw the renovations. Tillberg, with the assistance of architect F.C.J. Dingemans of Utrecht, Netherlands, also was responsible for the art applications to complement the Prinsendam’s new interior designs, installing $350,000 worth of modern art and antiques to supplement existing artworks.

Following is an overview of various enhancements made


Crows Nest

The Sky Deck houses a Holland America trademark Crow’s Nest Lounge. The intimate lounge features floor-to-ceiling windows, a piano, and spectacular views from high atop the ship.

The ship’s present alternative restaurant on Deck 11 (to be renamed Lido Deck) has been transformed into a new, Holland America style Lido Restaurant with two serving lines.

Lido Terrace

Forward of the pool area on Lido Deck, the Prinsendam has a new concierge lounge to serve the suites on the Sports and Lido decks. The lounge, behind the port side navigation wing, features a private balcony offering spectacular views.

Lido Cafe

The Prinsendam features a new type of staterooms with the introduction of 10 “lanai” cabins. These staterooms, constructed in space formerly used as a lounge on Promenade Deck aft, have private lanais and share a private, covered deck and a hot tub.

Ocean Bar

The Queen’s Lounge (show room) on Promenade Deck forward has been redesigned. The room has a new stage and is equipped with the same state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment all of the company’s other ships use to produce their award-winning shows.

Java Café & Bar

The former Compass Rose Room on Promenade Deck has been converted to a Holland America style Explorer’s Lounge, with a large mural to provide the room with the elegant atmosphere customary on other Holland America ships.

The elegant Explorers Lounge

The La Fontaine Dining Room, in the aft section of Lower Promenade Deck, has been reconfigured to accommodate Holland America’s traditional two dinner sittings. Large windows afford spectacular views.

La Fontaine Restaurant

The port side of the forward portion of the former dining room has been converted into an alternative Odyssey Restaurant, featuring Italian cuisine and Mediterranean décor. Opposite the Odyssey is a traditional Ocean Bar, with bandstand and dance floor.

Odyssey Restaurant

Adjacent to either side of the Atrium on Lower Promenade Deck, a new Internet Center with 11 computer stations and a new, dedicated Art Gallery have been added.

The Spa entrance


The Spa Foyer

The Lower Promenade Deck contains the ship’s traditional walking area. A windshield has been added to protect walkers from wind and weather as they round the bow.

A volley ball/basketball court has been added, consistent with the Holland America fleet. The ship also features a golf simulation center on Main Deck. This virtual-reality golf game allows golfers to “play” several famous courses around the world as well as practice their golf swing and putting stroke. It is identical to simulators to be installed on Holland America’s new Vista series ships.

Holland America’s “Elegant Explorer” Prinsendam departed from New York on June 3 for its 10-day maiden cruise across the Atlantic Southampton (London), with calls at Halifax, Nova Scotia; Cobh (Cork), Ireland; and Plymouth, England. The ship’s inaugural season features a full year of globe trotting from Northern Europe and the Mediterranean to Africa, Asia and the South Pacific, and back again.

ms Prinsendam is seen in Milford Sound New Zealand

Photo by Dave Edge

The Prinsendam offers nine passenger decks, plus 15 public rooms and boutiques. The staterooms include: one Penthouse Verandah Suite; 18 Deluxe Verandah Suites; 50 Superior Verandah Suites; 82 Deluxe Verandah Outside; 220 large double outside; 2 single outside; and 25 double inside. Of these, 151 (38 percent of the total staterooms) will have veranda’s.

The Casino

Aboard the ship, guests will feel at home in public rooms with familiar Holland America names and stateroom categories consistent with the company’s fleet wide system. Amid Holland America’s classic Dutch art and ambiance, guests will discover their favourites: an Explorers Lounge, Crow’s Nest, Java Café, La Fontaine Dining Room, and the alternative Odyssey Restaurant featuring fine Italian cuisine. Other favourite features include a full Ocean Spa and fitness center, Internet center, outside pools, wrap-around promenade deck, theatre, show lounge, library, Lido restaurant, and several lounges, including an Ocean Bar.

It is a well known fact that I consider Holland America Line (HAL) to be one of the finest cruise companies in the business! This company has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1872 and the company continually set’s the standards and has received numerous awards and accolades for being one of the highest rated Cruise Line many years in a row, something few other cruise lines can boast!

Below are just a few of the Awards and Accolades handed to Holland America Line – and they deserve it!:

“The Highest Rated Cruise Line” – Conde Nast Travellers Readers; Choice Travellers Awards; Travel & Leisure Word’s Best Awards.

“Best Overall Cruise Value” – 17 consecutive years – World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society.

“High Deluxe Five Star Rating” - World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society.

“International Five Star Diamond Award” – The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.

“Cruise Line with the Highest Client Satisfaction” TravelAge West.

In 2010 Holland America received the following awards - “Best Cruise Operator” and “World’s leading GREEN Cruise Line.

“Best Cruise Operator” (Internationally based) - AFTA award 2010 AFTA (Australian Federation of Travel Agents) National Travel Industry Awards.

“Gold 2010 Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Environmental Protection Award” - from the U.S. Coast Guard.

“World’s Leading Green Cruise Line Award” and the “Blue Circle Award” - from the Port of Vancouver.

In 1989, Holland America Line became a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnival Corp, however, HAL has thankfully 100% separate from Carnival as all their ships are registered in Rotterdam The Netherlands, whereas P&O UK and the Princess Cruises ships for example have been reregistered in Hamilton Bermuda. In addition Holland America is not sold or marketed by Carnival but Holland America has appointed an official General Sales Agent for Holland America Line in Australia. In addition, unlike P&O, Cunard & Princes Cruises, you will not the mention of Carnival on a HAL brochure, only Holland America Line Inc. Thus remember, this is a cruise company that stands miles apart from the rest, and all the awards HAL has received over the years attests to this!

The delightful ms Prinsendam



-Also visit my other Holland America Pages-

Page One The History of Holland America Line and Today’s Modern Fleet

1872 to 2000

Page TwoThe History of Holland America Line and Today’s Modern Fleet

1993 to 2015

-Holland America Line Ships featured on Cruise-Australia-

 ms Koningsdam - ms Noordam - ms Oosterdam - ms Rotterdam  

ms Volendam - ms Zaandam & ms Nieuw Amsterdam

ms Prinsendam & ms Statendam - (A 4-page ship review)

-Cruise and Ship Reviews by the Author-

NEW - ms Oosterdam 2013 New Zealand Cruise Review


The all NEW - ms Oosterdam 2014 Review


ms Volendam Cruise Review - ms Amsterdam Ship Review 


Also read the Holland America Line News Updates on Cruise-Australia


Please Note: Cruise-Australia and its associated pages are 100% non-commercial and privately owned cruise sites and are NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.

Bon Voyage!

Reuben Goossens.


My recommendation: I highly suggest that you visit a good and a long established Travel/Cruise Agency for information, bookings and obtain the best possible cruise fares. Personally I never book with any cruise company direct, for they do not offer any personal service or discounts! I know that they do not like me saying this, but I have to be honest and provide you my readers with the very best possible advice! Reuben Goossens.


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