In June, we sailed on Holland America Line’s 14-day Celtic Explorer cruise on the ms Prinsendam. Due to high winds and heavy rains, Captain Ane Jan Smit had to alter the planned itinerary several times. After the second or third of these “we have to change the itinerary messages,” Captain Smit jokingly called our sailing “The Magical, Mystery Cruise.”
Despite the fact that cruise on the Prinsendam missed three planned ports — St Peter Port, Guernsey; Milford Haven, Wales and Galway, Ireland — we visited two unplanned replacement ports, and we had a terrific cruise experience.
This much change can make a cruise difficult. Reflecting back, we realized that we had such a great cruise was because of some hospitality superstars among the Prinsendam staff and crew.
Our dining room waiters, Dheny and Arya, are some of the best we’ve had at sea. In addition to providing timely, gracious service, waiter Dheny was very familiar with the menu each evening, and would make excellent recommendations.
Even more impressive — in comparison to other cruise ships — was the way the entire wait staff team handled breakfast in the dining room. They worked together well to ensure coffee was filled, orders were taken, and food was delivered hot and in a timely manner. This level of quality service, and teamwork was surely enhanced by the hospitality talents and leadership skills of Pulung Baskoro, the Dining Room Manager on the Prinsendam. Pulung was headed home for vacation when we left the ship.
We had the opportunity to dine one evening with Beverage Manager Mario Jelic, who is a personable dinner guest. He led an excellent staff of bartenders, wine stewards and bar servers throughout the ship.
The Crow’s Nest is also the Piano Bar on the Prinsendam. It was our favorite place to hang out after dinner, listening to music and meeting new friends. Gilbert was the Crow’s Nest bartender, and he made the venue welcoming and friendly.
Whether meeting with friends, enjoying a cocktail, or just taking in the ocean view, the Crow’s Nest on the Prinsendam is a special place, enhanced by the excellent staff.
Location Guide Dorine — aka Dora the Explorer — put on terrific, detailed programs on the highlights of each port, even when the port was newly announced as a replacement for some of the canceled port. We ran into Dorine during her free time in port, because she’s always exploring new things (such as how to ride the public bus between Killybegs and Donegal, Ireland) so that she can share first-hand insights with cruise guests.
Future Cruise Consultant Chantal Hettich is articulate, knowledgeable and patient in helping cruise guests determine their next cruise. Chantal is also a consummate dinner host if you are lucky to have her at your dining table during a formal dinner.
We only have a picture of our Cabin Stewards Ecco and Niken’s card (as we rarely saw them.) We knew they were cleaning our cabin and many others with extraordinary care. Our laundry was always returned promptly and hung in the closet. The ice bucket was always filled. Best of all, whenever we were out of the room, it was cleaned and made up, like magic.
We are certain there are more hospitality superstars throughout the Prinsendam, as the ship’s hotel operations appeared well run. These eleven people are the ones that we remember as helping make our “Magical, Mystery Cruise” something truly special.
Have you sailed on Holland America’s Prinsendam? Who provided superior service for your cruise?