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10 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale

10 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

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Koningsdam
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
  • Day 2
    Half Moon Cay
  • Day 3
    Grand Turk
  • Day 4
    Amber Cove
  • Day 5
    Cruising
  • Day 6
    Bonaire
  • Day 7
    Curacao
  • Day 8
    Aruba
  • Day 9
    Cruising
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Koningsdam

Koningsdam - Holland America Line

Pros

Outstanding service, exceptional cuisine, great entertainment options

Cons

Music Walk does not have a clear identity and needs individual rooms

Bottom Line

Most luxurious HAL ship will appeal to many types of cruisers


Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 13th cruise and the 2nd on HAL. We sailed the Baltic on the Zuiderdam last year and it was so wonderful that we tried to re-create it with a different itinerary. The Baltic definitely wins the weather contest, as this time we ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise and the 2nd on HAL. We sailed the Baltic on the Zuiderdam last year and it was so wonderful that we tried to re-create it with a different itinerary. The Baltic definitely wins the weather contest, as this time we were in the Mediterranean during a heat wave, but we still had a very good cruise. The Koningsdam is beautiful and service on HAL continues to be a high point. Most of the staff seemed to go out of their way to demonstrate genuine warmth. Our cabin stewards, Edi and Rangga, and our dining staff, Sang and Eka, were top notch. We loved that this ship has a full promenade deck for us to stroll every evening, although the view is somewhat blocked by life boats. The activities on HAL suit us; we don’t need a rock climbing wall! We especially enjoyed the America’s Test Kitchen demonstrations, since we are fans of the show at home. I have seen reviews in which people were disappointed in the entertainment, but we were not. We did not go to everything, but some highlights were the fabulous pianist Tian Jiang, the local Croatian singers and dancers, and the BBC Earth movie set to live music. The Lincoln Center performers were stellar, and the “music walk” bars are a fun and creative feature. Food in the main dining room ranged from good to great, and our meal in the Pinnacle Grill was excellent. We found some good things in the Lido buffet, but it seemed that there were less choices than on the Zuiderdam and one side was often closed even at busy times. I notice that some reviewers did not like that the Lido staff serves the items rather than self-service, but I appreciate the attempt to control the spread of germs. In fact there were a few side dishes that were self-serve this time and I didn’t like it. I don’t remember that from the Zuiderdam. A few complaints: Smoking is allowed in the casino. I think it’s only supposed to be in a certain part but the smoke doesn’t know that. I respect people’s right to smoke, but in a closed area it affects non-smokers too. The casino usually was not crowded so it wasn’t too bad, but one night I had to leave my favorite slot machine when someone beside me lit up. I like the way HAL does happy hour. You buy a drink and the second one is only $2, plus they have some pretty good snacks. However, our dinner time was at 5:30 and happy hour was from 5:00 to 6:00! No fair! There was another one at 10:00 but we enjoy drinks before dinner. This was the first time I have ever used the ship salon but the humidity in the Mediterranean was not my friend. I was impressed both visits, first with Jalena and then with the young man from Bosnia. Disembarkation was the best we’ve ever experienced. Embarkation could have been better. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. and were met by lovely staff who showed us where to sit and wait. It was a rather long wait, because they had to get the ship ready after the previous cruise. When the buses finally arrived, however, a lady with a HAL sign led a group of new arrivals to the bus first, while motioning impatiently for our group, who had been waiting the longest, to sit back down and wait some more. It was another half hour before the next bus came. Once we were at the cruise terminal, we waited another hour or so but it was a pleasant place to wait. My suggestion would be for the airport welcome staff to keep a list of arrivals and call them in that order when the buses come. We enjoyed all of our ports, although there were a few mishaps. DUBROVNIK - We need a do-over here. We walked the city walls but unfortunately it was 91 degrees with extreme humidity, and I felt ill after climbing the many steps. I exercise and believe myself to be in good shape, but this was hard for me. My husband did not have difficulty, however, so maybe it was just me. Anyway, it affected the rest of our time there. I would love to try again at a cooler time. Dubrovnik is beautiful. HAL charges about 16 euro per person for their shuttle to town. KOTOR - One of the most beautiful places we have ever seen! We strolled the old city and had lunch. There is a wall to climb but we didn’t because of my previous experience. When we arrived in the tender, lots of young men tried to sell us boat tours. They offered a 1.5 hour tour at a reasonable price to Perast and Lady of the Rock that I might try next time. SPLIT - We visited Diocletian’s Palace and Saint Domnius Cathedral, where we climbed the bell tower for beautiful views. Then we strolled the waterfront. This is an easy port to do on your own. RIJEKA - We were originally scheduled to visit Ravenna, Italy but our itinerary was changed. We had rather low expectations for this port but ended up enjoying it. Go to the friendly tourist office at Korso 14 and they will tell you everything you need to know. We bought city bus tickets across the street from their office and visited Trsat Castle, a lovely place to walk and take in the views. Rijeka does not seem as touristy as some ports and the people there were especially nice. TRIESTE - In retrospect, we should have done an excursion here. We went to see the Roman ruins and San Giusto castle and they were fine but nothing spectacular. HAL offered excursions to Slovenia and to Venice that were tempting but expensive, as well as some shorter tours. But they sold out fast! CORFU - Lovely, fun, friendly town to stroll and have lunch. There were 5 ships in town, however, and the crowd for security at the cruise terminal was a disorganized madhouse. There has got to be a better way. CATANIA - The HAL excursion to beautiful Taormina was great. It would have been easy to walk back into town from the ship afterwards but our tour guide took us through on our way back and we felt like we had seen it. VALLETTA - We could easily have spent two days here. If you like military history, you will love it. We visited the Malta at War Museum and Fort St. Elmo, but there’s lots more to see and it’s easy to do on your own. NAPLES - We went with HAL to Pompeii. Great tour. Overall, we loved our cruise and we look forward to sailing with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first cruise on Holland America, and most certainly the last. Actually, our cruise on Koningsdam was the first one we wished to end. We were prepared that the passenger would be a bit older but still it managed to surprise us. ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holland America, and most certainly the last. Actually, our cruise on Koningsdam was the first one we wished to end. We were prepared that the passenger would be a bit older but still it managed to surprise us. Occasionally we felt that we were lost in a retirement home´s summer trip. In a way it was nice to feel yourself too young even in the age of 50+ but it is not what we are looking for. By the way, we have never got so much paper in the stateroom. There was a continuous stream of advertisement and announcement in the cabin. Good that they had a double bin with a locker saying “paper. I hope they really do recycle it because we threw mostly away straight away. We were most disappointed with the entertainment. Were just were nothing for us. The main stage had no production shows, or even just a bigger show. There was a pianist, a mediocre magician, a boring male singer, another singer that sang a strange mix of songs from Julie Andrews ending with Europe´s the Final Countdown. The BBC earth was just some nice videos with classical music concert. The music walk had either classical music (with big signs SILENCE) or very loud rock. Only a bit enjoyable was the two pianists but their selection and speaks were very American so even they stayed a bit distant to us. The main dining was a beeber (pager) show. Actually, we have never seen on any cruise so much beebers than in HAL. In any time dining (or whatever they call it) was a chaos every day. We managed to get a table once in 13 days cruise without waiting 15 to 20 minutes. The man on the door was totally nonchalant and unfriendly to the passengers and the crew. The waiter taking you to your table could not mostly find it although walking with the map in hand. It was like sitting in a railway station. We had once a bit quieter table by the rear windows but otherwise it was very restless. You could feel the floor tumble when the army of waiters run to the kitchen and back. The poor waiters were like machines even when talking to you because they were so stressed. The quality of the food was better than on most of the cruise lines, but the atmosphere made it impossible to enjoy it. The Dutch coffee was a peculiar invention. They served coffee, apple cake and pea soup. The special coffees were very milky and it felt that nobody else have never ever before ordered a coffee latte with double shot expresso. It was also strange that they had no table service, while otherwise it felt that HAL had more crew than many other major cruise line. The Dutch Cafe made us miss so much the Celebritys Cafe Al Baccio. Speciality restaurant Pinnacle Grill was good and as always on the cruises, had quieter atmosphere than the main restaurant. FIrst time tea waiter was really good, but second time rather poor (De Librije 3 Michelin star dinner was held only once and was a bit too much for the poor waiter). In the Tamarin the service was good, but the food did not quite convince us. The Italian Canaletto is actually a part of the buffet and it felt like it. Practical for the breakfast and lunch but in the evening it felt cheap. The buffet was almost always full in the breakfast and in the lunch time. It was not easy to find a table. All the food was served in the station and you could not take it yourself. This of course cause some queues, which was a problem while there was no clearly marked place for a queue. The service went still quite good. Mostly they gave you too much food and a lot of food was thrown away which we did not like. As we knew the idea, we were waiting at least some nice and beautiful portion in the lunch time, but it all ended in the plate the same smash as you get from the normal buffet taking it yourself. The Dive in with burgers and New York deli with pizza by the pool were nice because the portion were fresh made for you. You just needed to get them by yourself when the beeber went on. By the way, why the beebers needed to be so loud? Especially in the evenings it was almost humiliating walking to the restaurant while by the time the beeber got even louder and started to yell to you “return to the restaurant, your portion is ready”. The good thing with elderly passenger was that it was extremely easy to find a deck chair on any time. We have never seen so much vacant chairs. The ship was in good condition and the cabin was always perfectly cleaned. There is probably nothing really wrong in the Holland America. The concept just was not for us and we will not be back, at least before we are 80+. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Overall we had a great cruise in the Mediterranean on board the Koningsdam. It's a newer ship and very pretty inside and out. The public spaces, music walk bars, pool areas, lido deck buffets were are all well organized and staffed. ... Read More
Overall we had a great cruise in the Mediterranean on board the Koningsdam. It's a newer ship and very pretty inside and out. The public spaces, music walk bars, pool areas, lido deck buffets were are all well organized and staffed. The Crow's Nest lounge was one of our favorite places on the ship. The outdoor exercise track was the best place for taking pictures when coming into port or passing a really interesting geographic feature. Cabin - We had a nice aft facing vista suite. Nothing to complain about except the toilet is mounted at a 45 deg angle that really leave no leg room when seated, so if you happen to have legs you be forced to sit at a very awkward angle to use this appliance for its intended purpose. (I can only image the arguments that happened in the design phase of this ship over this "compromise" solution. I'm sure there were some great exchanges! Maybe an interview by Cruise Critic? Would certainly be entertaining.) Food - The food was simply fantastic. Most people said it was the best on any cruise they've had. Chocolate desserts were varied and outstanding. MDR was run efficiently and other than the sommeliers being stretched a bit too thin, things went fine there for us. Pinnacle grill was a very nice meal for us, too. If you like espresso drinks, the Dutch Cafe and Explorer's cafe in the crow's nest are great too. Entertainment - This was probably their weakest suit but this was really an excursion cruise so not a big deal to us. The BB King blues band was the best thing on the boat featuring a great group of musicians. The Billboard lounge dueling piano players were second rate and the rock band was okay at best. There were some shows on the world stage, I did not see much of that but one act I caught was a cheesy singer putting on a show for an unenthusiastic audience. Plenty of opportunities to socialize and make friends and we enjoyed that greatly. Try trivia or some of the other ship activities. Whiskey tasting at the Notes bar is a great idea but needs to move to a quieter location where you can have a conversation. The casino was lightly attended. Two pools on lido are available, mid ship and an adult only pool aft. Most of the smokers hang out by the aft pool but it wasn't overwhelming as the smokers congregated mainly in one covered section and it was easily avoided. I swam there every day so I did not find it to be an issue. Service - I really cannot say enough about how good the service staff is. From servers to housekeeping these folks hustle and work hard, are polite, remember names and drinks you've ordered. I was impressed. Ports - Everywhere we went was pretty interesting and fun. Due to it being high season, we encountered some crowds at main attractions like the old town of Dubrovnik (truly over run with tourists, tacky tourist trip shops, but some side street cafe's were still bright spots and I would still recommend walking the walls of this city for the history and views.) Among the highlights were Kotor, Sicily and Malta. I cannot say enough about sailing into the ancient seaport of Velletta, Malta. Don't sleep in! I got my camera and took some amazing photos in the early morning light. You won't see a port like this anywhere else in the world, it's a time capsule. The last sea day was a cruise past the active volcano, Stromboli. Since it had just erupted 2 days earlier there was a lot to witness. The Italian Navy was present to be ready for an evacuation of the island and there were 2 firefighting sea plane dowsing out lava spawned fires that threatened the town at the foot of the volcano. Everyone on board was treated to front row seat to a fascinating operation and a string of small eruptions of lava that were plainly visible. Excursions are not our thing so I will not comment other than to say these folks were highly organized and will get you a good guide and tightly run tour if that is your thing. Wifi services were pricey and not that great but if you need to be online, you can be. Pick-ups and transfers were handled extremely well. The hallmark of this ship was that a great deal of professionalism and organization allowed guests to relax and enjoy the trip. Read Less
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