New York to Amsterdam


This cruise is the second segment of our No-fly Vacation in Paris. The first segment was to drive from our home in California to New York. We left our car with my brother in New Jersey, and boarded the Holland-American Line's Prinsendam at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. We were looking forward to spending the next twenty days crossing the Atlantic in luxury.

The Cruise

We sailed out of New York Harbor along Long Island to Edgartown on the Island of Martha's Vineyard. Rough seas here convinced us to stay on board. This decision was vindicated when a wave smashed the windshield of a tender. Some passengers on another tender sustained minor injuries transferring from tender to ship. Fortunately the rest of the cruise was smooth sailing

Next we had a succession of Portuguese ports: The Azores, Lisbon, and Porto. Then a stop in north western corner of Spain, A Coruña in Galicia. Crossing the By of Biscay, we stopped overnight in Bordeaux, France. That gave us a chance to revisit St-Émilion, one of our favorites.

Brittany and Normandy were next, with calls in Brest, St-Malo and Cherbourg. We had a day in Bruges, Belgium reached from its port of ZeeBrugge. Early on the morning of June 6th, we entered the locks at IJmuiden to traverse the North Sea Canal, inland to Amsterdam.

Once tied up at the Amsterdam Cruise Port, we gathered up our belongings, bid good-bye to our floating hotel, and rolled our suitcases about 1,000 yards to the train station. We waited for a little while, then boarded the Thalys high-speed train for our two hour trip to Paris.

Amsterdam Cruise Port

The road to the station

Amsterdam Central Station

Thalys train

First class car

Paris, Gare du Nord

The Prinsendam

This was our second cruise on M/S Prinsendam. In 2008 she had taken us to Norway, Iceland and Greenland. At less than 38,000 tons, she is the smallest ship in the Holland-America fleet, and specializes in unusual itineraries. She has a devoted following of passengers who keep coming back cruise after cruise. Her nickname is "The Elegant Explorer." We had timed our trip so that we could sail on our favorite ship once more. Marie especially likes the library on the Prinsendam.

Captain Halle Thon GundersonBuilt in1988, she is also the oldest member of the HAL fleet. She was originally the Royal Viking Sun, then the Seabourne Sun before being acquired by HAL in 2002. Remarkably, her master, Captain Halle Thon Gunderson, replaced Captain Ole Harsheim (her first master and head of her design team) in 1996, and, except for vacations to his home in Bergen, Norway, has been with her through name and ownership changes ever since. We enjoyed his morning status report which starts out "Vell, it's me again!"

The ports of call for our cruise are shown on the map above. Each country is described on a separate page which can be visited by clicking on the map or by using the linkage buttons at the top of the page, When you are done, you can return to the No-Fly home page for a link to our time in Paris.
M/S Prinsendam
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: 793 passengers
Crew: 443 crew
Prinsendam Outside Cabin We booked an outside ("Oceanview") cabin. It was quite roomy and had a large walk-in closet. We unpacked, and stowed the suitcases under the bed. The room was cleaned while we were at breakfast and the bed was turned down while we were at dinner.
Lido deck dining Dessert Buffet One of the primary activities on a cruise is eating. We were often able to have lunch out on deck. Towards the end of the cruise, the kitchen had a late night dessert buffet.
Prunsendam aft pool The Prinsendam has two small swimming pools as well as numerous lounges, two theaters, a spa and an exercise room..
Calm seas Peaceful voyage Cruise ships commonly spend a day in each port and move to the next port during the night. Because of the distance involved in a transatlantic cruise, we had a number of days at sea. The north Atlantic was surprisingly calm for us, and we had time to relax, read, or partake of the ship's activities and facilities.
Tendering In most ports, the ship simply ties up to the dock, and you go ashore via a gangway. Some ports, however cannot accommodate a cruise ship at a dock; in those, we drop anchor in the harbor and go ashore in shuttle boats called "tenders". On this cruise, we tendered at Martha's Vineyard and Saint Malo.