DFDS Seaways Princess Seaways Review
Princess Seaways was built by Schichau Unterweser in Germany in 1986 for the TT-Line of the same country. She was purchased by DFDS Seaways in November 2006 where she was renovated. She was named M.S. Princess of Norway and in May 2007 she was moved to the Newcastle to Ijmuiden route where she has sailed a timetable in tandem with M.S King Seaways, each serving the opposite country each day offering a daily ferry service between the United Kingdom and Holland.
In 2011 M.S. Princess of Norway was renamed M.S Princess Seaways and was repainted in the new corporate livery.
Princess Seaways offers just two types of cabin to choose from.
Available as a budget inside option or as a sea view option, the Seaways Class of cabin offers the most economical choice when sailing. Bunk beds mean the cabin can hold up to four passengers.
The cabins come with all the necessary bedding and towels. There's a small table and a wardrobe which is handy for stowing your luggage away, which is handy given the limited floor space. The cabins are also en-suite featuring a compact shower room. In this you'll find a toilet, a small sink and a shower area.
It's basic but that is reflected in the price. These cabins are popular with those looking for a budget sailing from all walks of life. They are particularly popular with students, families with young children, pensioners and regular travellers.
The Commodore Class grade of cabin offers a bit more space than the Seaways grade, together with a few more amenities. This is the grade of cabin we stayed in during our sailing.
So you still get a small table and a wardrobe which is handy for stowing your luggage away. You get all the necessary bedding and towels and an en-suite shower room with a toilet, a small sink and a shower area. The differences between Seaways and Commodore classes are that you also get a range of amenities such as soap, shampoo, body lotion and a vanity kit. You also have a hairdryer as well as a flat screen television which features a range of TV channels including a camera at the front of the vessel - this offers an alternative view on top of your sea view.
Another perk is that a buffet breakfast is also included in the package worth £9.50pp at the time of writing. You also have a complimentary mini bar inside your cabin featuring a selection of bottle waters, cans of soft drink, cans of beer and bottles of wine.
This type of cabin is popular amongst those that are travelling as a couple or as a party of three and with those looking for a few more amenities. These cabins do generally cost more as they offer more space, more luxury and an inclusive breakfast and mini-bar.
On-board Princess Seaways there are two choices of Commodore cabin but all of them are sold with a double bed that cannot be split. Thus there's a choice of cabin to sleep two (as above) or a choice to sleep up to three which offers a double bed and a pull-out sofa bed.
Unfortunately, Princess Seaways does not have a Commodore De Luxe grade of cabin nor does it have a Commodore De Luxe Lounge unlike sister ship King Seaways.
Food and Drink On-board
For main meals there are three choices - the Blue Riband restaurant , the 7 Seas buffet restaurant and the Explorers Steakhouse . We dined in the Blue Riband Restaurant and the 7 Seas buffet restaurant (one on the outbound sailing and the other on the inbound sailing, just in case you thought we were greedy!).
Blue Riband Restaurant
This a la carte restaurant offers a decent sized menu with around four or five choices for starter, main course and dessert. There's a choice between having a two course meal and a three course meal and you can either pay on-board for that or save a bit of cash and pre-order it (there's a discounted price if you pre-book meals online when you make your booking).
Due to the rough seas we opted for a two course meal (main and desert) to be safer! We had taken travel sickness tablets so didn't want to jeopardise our good efforts by eating too much! We sat down in an empty dining room and were first to enjoy a meal that night.
After the waiter had taken our order, we had time to gaze out the window and watch Newcastle sail on by as we headed up the Tyne River to the North Sea.
For the main course we chose a lamb shank (in a rich sauce which was served with seasonal vegetables) and a medium cooked steak (with seasonal vegetables). There was a fancy name for the steak but we can't remember what it was. Regardless, the presentation was superb and the dishes were succulent and full of flavour.
Dessert consisted of a sumptuous Panna Cotta and a fragrant compote topped with spun sugar. The Panna Cotta was very creamy and had a strong vanilla flavour which complemented the crust of caramelised sugar on the top. The fragrant compote certainly looked the part with a disk of spun sugar forming an intricate pattern acting as a lid to the pot.
in line with what you would expect at a top hotel restaurant
Together, the food, the presentation and the service were really good and in line with what you would expect at a top hotel restaurant. As a rough guide a three course meal was priced on-board at €39 per person at the time of the sailing which feels like good value for what we experienced. Personally we felt like this is somewhere you would dine either alone, as a couple or with children aged around 15+.
At the time of writing a 5% saving could be achieved by pre-booking the meals at the time of your online booking .
7 Seas Buffet Restaurant
We arrived at our booked time to find a busy restaurant so it's well worth making reservations as quickly as possible just-in-case. We were shown to our seats by our waiter who took care of the drinks.
It was then up to the buffet for a "help yourself" style meal. You can eat as much as you like and go up as many times as you like.
Working from left to right we found a bay of seafood dishes, then a selection of meal items (things like chilli, rice salads, etc.), a selection of carved meats, a selection of starchy items (potatoes, chips,etc), a selection of salads and cold meats, and a bay of dessert items. There was also a children's menu bay (though this was equally popular with adults!) which was a bit lower than the other ways presumably so children could help themselves and feel a bit more grown-up. The selection here was of items more suited to a child's holiday so there were items like fish fingers, onion rings and chips.
There was definitely plenty of food and it was replenished constantly
There was definitely plenty of food and it was replenished constantly. Waiters darted about collecting empty plates ensuring you had a clean empty plate to begin the next cycle with!
The range of foods available was good, and the buffet concept is probably best suited if you have children.
At the time of writing the price for an adult was €34.50 which felt a little expensive when compared to the Blue Riband. However, if you have children then there was an offer for them to eat at half price (€17.25) so a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) could dine in the 7 Seas restaurant for €103.50 compared to €156 for 4 people in the Blue Riband.
At the time of writing a massive 29% saving could be achieved by pre-booking the meals at the time of your online booking .
If you are after a steak cooked to your own perfection then head over to the Explorers Steakhouse. Here they have a wide variety of cuts of steak and each one can be cooked to exactly the way you like it.
Whilst we didn't try a steak from this restaurant we still enjoyed hearing the sizzle as the dishes are bought to the table. The presentation is very memorable and the steaks did look delicious.
A two course meal package can be reserved online at the time of booking and at the time of writing saved 3% compared to the on-board price of €34.50. Unlike the other restaurants on-board though, each steak cut is priced differently so there may be a supplement to pay if you choose a more exclusive cut.
For confectionery head on over to the Sea Shops where you'll find a large range of branded chocolates from Toblerone, M&M's, etc.
For a coffee and a snack then Bake 'N Coffee is right up your street, serving a range of hot beverages and a selection of light snacks.
On-board Princess Seaways there is just one shop (the Sea Shop ) but it offers everything from designer clothes and toys to souvenirs, perfumes, alcohol and cigarettes.
There's plenty of choice and you will find a classic selection of familiar products is sold on-board, featuring well-known brands such as M&M's, Toblerone, Diam, and more.
During the sailing there's an opportunity to join in the game of bingo where you can win a jackpot based on the number of people playing. "The more that play the better they pay" was one saying we remember the cruise entertainment manager saying at one point.
We turned up a bit too early for Curls and Pearls on the return crossing and caught the end of the bingo game. We were surprised to see how popular it really was amongst all age groups.
Princess Seaways offers two cinema screens (known as informal film lounges) showing very recent films. The rooms are relatively small and ticket prices are reasonable so if this is something you would be interested in, you are advised to book early when on-board.
the headline act on both crossings was Curls and Pearls
There are a couple of bars on-board offering a huge array of drinks. Each has its own unique ambience.
Live entertainment acts cruise with the sailings and for our cruise there was a guitarist (we cannot remember his name) who sang country and western tunes in the Navigators Bar and in the Columbus Lounge the headline act on both crossings was Curls and Pearls, who sang cover versions of retro classics and modern hits.
The entertainment on-board is free of charge and there are plenty of comfortable seats surrounding the entertainers so you can sit and relax, listening to them with a drink. In the Columbus Club there was a dance floor where a few people got up to have a dance. Again, the age group were mixed from teenager's right through to grandparents.
A Quiet Drink
If live entertainment is not your thing then head to the Compass Bar which was nested in between the Explorers Steakhouse. This dimly lit bar looked perfect for a quiet family drink or somewhere you could have a chat with fellow passengers.
Have a Coffee
If you crave a hot drink and a light snack then head on over to the Bake 'n Coffee. With plenty of seating and a relaxed and informal ambience it's a great place to have a coffee and chat with friends and family.
Kids Pirates Club
On sailings during the school holidays a free Pirates Club operates run by a children's entertainer offering treasure hunts, magic shows and competitions. There's a ball pool and a play area to keep the little ones quiet.
For teenagers there's an arcade room with a selection of coin operated classic games.
Princess Seaways Vital Statistics
If you're a ferry buff or mechanically minded then check out these vital statistics for Princess Seaways:
Facts and figures care of DFDS Seaways: The m.s. PRINCESS SEAWAYS
Princess Seaways Deck Plan
This deck plan image for Princess Seaways shows the vessel layout in a profile view:
Sailings On-Board Princess Seaways
Princess Seaways sails in tandem with King Seaways on the Newcastle to Amsterdam route, connecting the North East of England to Holland. A range of mini cruises and ferry options are available to book online.