2011 – ms Prinsendam – Ship Visit 21 July

We have just made an application for a ship visit on Holland America ship ms Prinsendam while at Bristol on 21 July 2011.


ms Princendam by Philip Oyarzo
ms Prinsendam

We are pleased to invite you for lunch onboard Holland America Line’s 835-guest “Elegant Explorer” ms Prinsendam during her first call into Bristol.

We will meet all guests at the pier 10am (exact location to be advised). The visit will then consist of an escorted tour of the ms Prinsendam, and early lunch (set 3-course meal with wine) in the main restaurant courtesy of Holland America Line, followed by a presentation. Disembarkation will be at around 2pm. We are hoping that some show cabins will be open, however this will depend on availability of unoccupied staterooms.

Places are limited therefore we advise you to register now to avoid disappointment. We will require full names (as per passport), dates of birth and nationality at least two weeks before your event. We regret that due to enhanced security, no name changes may be made after this date. All visitors must bring a passport or a secondary form of photo identification. Dress code is elegantly casual (no t-shirts, jeans or shorts).

We look forward to welcoming you onboard the ms Prinsendam.

Fingers crossed we are lucky….

Good news, I have this morning received our confirmation e-mail so looks like its a goer…It will be interesting to see where they will actually moor the Prinsendam. My immediate thought was the Royal Portbury Dock as it has the largest entrance lock into any UK port, accommodating vessels up to 41 m (135 ft) beam, 290 m (951 ft) length and 14.5 m (48 ft) draft so it looks as if it will easily accommodate the Prinsendam.

Here is a map which contains all berths in both docks. Should we play pin the tail on the donkey?

Here are a few details about the ship.

Tonnage: 37,848 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 674.2 ft (205.5 m)
Beam: 91.8 ft (28.0 m)
Draught: 23.6 ft (7.2 m)
Decks: 9 passenger decks
Speed: 22 knots maximum,
(service at 18.5 knots)
Capacity: 740 passengers
Crew: 460 crew

Across the other side of the river Avon, the Avonmouth Docks are one of the UK’s major ports for chilled foods, especially fruit and vegetables.

Both ports experience the second largest tidal range in the world. The Portbury Dock and Avonmouth Dock across the river, are impounded and the water level within each dock is maintained by lock gates and impounding pumps. The pumps maintain a minimum water level in the dock when water is lost to the sea through ships entering/exiting the dock.

The Tour

We arrived at Royal Portbury docks on schedule which was just before the allotted time of 10.00am, I had assumed by the correspondence from HAL that security was an issue but we were let into the docks without having to show any documents. We were directed to area C which was designated for visitor parking. A queue had already formed at the gate and I immediately picked out Cruising Mates’s very own Skier Pete and walked over to introduce myself. I am not sure why but we were delayed getting on by some 30 minutes. Not a problem for me but I did feel sorry for the actual passengers who stood waiting for the coach excursions to Bath & the Cotswolds who stood next to us the whole time. While waiting we were given health Public Health Questionnaires to fill in and also handed a HAL goodie bag containing bits and pieces including their new brochures for 2012.

Eventually, we were ushered into a tent and identities were established and confirmed with the visitor lists. It was then off to board the ship for our tour and lunch.

Once on board, we were ushered into a lift and taken up to deck 12 to await the rest of the party to join us. Stepping outside we found ourselves immediately overlooking the pool area which compared to recent ships that we have been on seemed very intimate. Our tour commenced and we were shown through most of the public areas. The Prinsendam is not a large ship and is nicknamed the “elegant explorer” which I think describes her perfectly. She has the feel of a yacht but still manages to feel very spacious.

The lido has a very intimate feel and I could imagine myself sitting there enjoying many a tasty morsel or two

After lunch, we were given a talk and slide show on the Holland America Cruise line by our guide for the day Darren, who gave us a good insight into what they provide as a cruise line with a brief introduction to some of the itineraries they provide.
I very much enjoyed my brief tour of the Prinsendam but would conclude by saying HAL would probably suit the more senior cruisers amongst us, providing a very traditional product which is not all glitzy as most of the newer ships tend to have these days. From what I experienced today, I got the impression that they give excellent service and coupled with varying itineraries are a class act and will hopefully one day we will get the opportunity to give them a go.

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