On June 12, 2017, Holland America Line’s Prinsendam made its maiden call to Bantry Bay Harbour, making it the first cruise ship to call at Bantry in almost 30 years. The Town Pier is currently undergoing development, due for completion in August 2017, and will soon be available for Holland America Line guests to enjoy. On this visit the guests were tendered into port.
Bantry is a town nestled on the coast of West County Cork, Ireland, and lies at the head of Bantry Bay — known as one of the most breathtaking bays along the Irish Coast. A major highlight to this port of call is a visit to the famous Bantry House & Gardens, the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry, whose descendants still manage and reside in the home. Overlooking beautiful Bantry Bay, the house features stunning, formal gardens and an impressive collection of period furniture, tapestries and other wonderful works of art that were gathered by the Second Earl of Bantry during his travels throughout Europe. If Bantry is on your radar, May 27, 2018, marks Prinsendam’s return to this charming town on your choice of three different itineraries, each featuring multiple ports in enchanting England and Ireland.
If you’ve dreamed of a transatlantic voyage, make plans to depart May 5, 2018, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Prinsendam as it sets sail across the Atlantic Ocean on a 28-day cruise ending at Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 2. This itinerary is the best of both worlds, as it offers plenty of relaxing sea days that allow you to enjoy the ship’s amenities and actives, and indulge in Holland America Line style pampering as you prepare to explore 17 ports in eight countries.
With a few sea days in between, your first stop is the pastel-colored seafront of Hamilton, Bermuda. Continue on your transatlantic journey and head for a call at Horta in the Azores Archipelago where you can spot whales and dolphins year-round and marvel at the spectacular natural landscapes of these volcanic islands.
After a few more days at sea, Prinsendam arrives in France with a call at Brest, followed by a stop at Cherbourg in Normandy. Enjoy the local cuisine, explore the pedestrian-oriented, historic city center and visit the Basilica of the Holy Trinity. Originally built in 435 A.D., the basilica was partially destroyed and rebuilt numerous times throughout the centuries. After being largely destroyed in WWII it was rebuilt again after the war maintaining the Gothic style.
After departing Cherbourg, your voyage will cross the English Channel and arrive at Dover (London), England, May 19. Those preferring a shorter itinerary can choose to begin their cruise here for a 14-day voyage that ends at Amsterdam June 2.
From London, Prinsendam calls at Guernsey, the second largest of the English Channel Islands, known for its scenic coastal cliffs, farms and market gardens. While in port you can visit some of the beautiful beaches, Castle Cornet — a 13th century fortification, or visit Hauteville House. This lavish house is where Victor Hugo lived in exile from 1856 to 1870 and is where he finished writing the famed Les Miserables. After Guernsey, your ship calls at St. Mary’s in the unspoiled and uncrowded Isles of Scilly, before stopping at Bristol (Bath), England, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was founded by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. and lures travelers with its natural hot springs and ancient Roman baths.
After enjoying this enchanting city, spend a day at sea before arriving at Killybegs, Donegal, for the Irish leg of you cruise. Enjoy your day by touring the stunning coastline and then pop into a local pub before returning to the ship. Sail on to visit bohemian Galway, followed by Prinsendam’s visit to charming Bantry where you can tour Bantry House and Gardens and take in the beautiful views of Bantry Bay. Say goodbye to Ireland at Waterford. Founded by Vikings in 914 A.D. and steeped in history and culture, it is the country’s oldest city and home to world-famous Waterford Crystal.
Sail back across the channel for stops at the bustling ports of Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium, and Vlissingen (Flushing) Netherlands, located between the North Sea and the Scheldt River. Depart Vlissingen for scenic cruising along the Scheldt River, including an overnight stay at Antwerp (Brussels), Belgium. While in Brussels, don’t miss the 17th-century Grand Place. Take in the fine architecture, enjoy some people-watching from a café, and visit the flower market in this wide-open and beautiful plaza. Continue on the Scheldt and end your 28-day voyage in lovely Amsterdam June 2. While in Amsterdam, walk along this picturesque city’s streets or hop on a bicycle like the locals, but be sure to visit the flower market, Anne Frank’s secret annex, and enjoy the works of Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Alternately, passengers who prefer to trade the transatlantic crossing for a more port intensive schedule may begin their 28-day cruise in London May 19. The first half of this itinerary visits all the aforementioned ports from London to Amsterdam, and then sails on to visit six additional countries in Northern Europe. The itinerary includes a two-night stay at Hamburg, Germany; a call at Tallinn, Estonia, with its medieval, walled Old Town; an overnight at magnificent and historic St. Petersburg, Russia; stops at vibrant Helsinki and fascinating Turku, Finland, via the beautiful Turku Archipelago; visits to Stockholm and Visby, Sweden, followed by a call at Copenhagen, Denmark. After a final day at sea, Prinsendam returns to Amsterdam June 16 to conclude the voyage.
Welcome Bantry, Ireland, back to cruise itineraries with one of these three incredible voyages. Choose the 14-day if your focus is England and Ireland, or opt for one of the 28-day schedules for additional ports and cruising experiences. Whether it be a 14- or 28-day cruise, lazy sea days or additional ports of call to explore, Prinsendam will take you there with the pampering service and amenities that can only found on a Holland America Line ship.