6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Transatlantic Bucket List with ongoing Adriatic ports. Our first cruise on HAL. The ship, staff food and amenities were on par with our other cruises but nothing exceptional. Entertainment on main stage was mediocre but HAL Lincoln Center ... Read More
Transatlantic Bucket List with ongoing Adriatic ports. Our first cruise on HAL. The ship, staff food and amenities were on par with our other cruises but nothing exceptional. Entertainment on main stage was mediocre but HAL Lincoln Center Venue was exceptional. HAL's other on-board activities were targeted toward keeping the physically inactive mentally alert. Port excursions were both over-priced and crowded. Reminded us of 6th grade school field trips. The most rigorous activity required you climb on and off the big buses. We booked all of our excursions either through ToursbyLocal or directly with the operators. For example, a sailing charter, 40 mile bike trek, another 20 mile bike trek and 6 private tours with private guide and transport at 1/4th cost of what was being offered by HAL. Overall, HAL offers a distinct product to their target market of geriatric passive travelers who value being coddled. We enjoyed our trip and met some more adventurous souls like us but overall impression was we were traveling in a floating assisted living facility Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise included the very high quality of onboard services and food quality. While not seeing the rationale of Holland America reworking some areas to provide private space for Club Orange, we did like other changes made during the late 2018 dry dock, including addition of the Rolling Stone Rock Room (good quality rock music performed several times most nights by an onboard cover band) and conversion of the space outside of the former Culinary Arts Center to nice tables for couples with great ocean views. We missed the early evening a-la-carte menu formerly offered in the Culinary Arts Center but tried and were impressed by the Nami Sushi area added to the Tamarind restaurant. The free onboard dining options, for the most part, offered very, very good food. The Lido Market was generally good but was overcrowded at times, some of the staff there were a bit aggressive, and I did get a reheated and overcooked steak there one evening. While the quality of espresso drinks at Explorations Café and the Grand Dutch Café remained very good, it was disappointing that the extra cost of standard tall drinks had increased by about 40% in just over a year. We noticed that the crowd seemed to be younger this year, than last, which is probably good news for the future of Holland America. This was particularly true on the second part of this back-to-back cruise which included younger families and a number of kids. The room stewards were absolutely incredible, consistently delivering superior quality service with a smile and friendly comments. We were a bit disappointed with the evening shows at times as there were no Broadway/ Los Vegas style shows (or onboard dance/singing troupe) as in the past. We found it strange that during the second part of the cruise, EXC port presentations were offered instead of evening shows and on days with late evening departure times, there were no shows at all. This may in part be the price of a music walk with 4 different acts. Overall, Koningsdam is a lovely ship and delivered a consistently high quality cruise experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Husband and I chose this transatlantic because of sailing dates and we had a future cruise deposit with HAL. Everything went smoothly from embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale to disembarkation (Expedited Early Departure) in Civitevecchia. Ft. ... Read More
Husband and I chose this transatlantic because of sailing dates and we had a future cruise deposit with HAL. Everything went smoothly from embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale to disembarkation (Expedited Early Departure) in Civitevecchia. Ft. Lauderdale's terminal traffic is somewhat of a bottleneck but once in the bujilding we breezed onto the ship and found our stateroom ready and luggage there soon after. The weather was generally comfortable but somewhat overcast but the waters were smooth except for about 1 day in the Mediterranean where we had a little rocking. Ship is well maintained and appears as fresh as the brand-new Nieuw Statendam which we sailed Dec. 29, 2018-Jan, 2019. Only exception is some slightly worn furniture in the Crow's Nest. We were in verandah cabin 6219 (aft)- convenient, especially for most dining locales. Wonderful shower; not fond of the closet/storage/bathroom area-too many doors banging into each other. So much cabin storage we never have enough with us to fill everything up! Food was wonderful and some was better than we have had on other ships/lines. Service excellent throughout: unobtrusive and polite. Particularly enjoyed the superb quintet in the Lincoln Center Stage and a boogie-woogie pianist in the World Stage. Also enjoyed all of the enrichment talks with EXC. Very thorough. Also enjoyed the posted times to talk to the EXC experts about all ports. Weakness of this ship and the Nieuw Statendam is the quality of musicians/entertainers isn't top-tier (based on our 2 experiences) in venues, other than Lincoln Center, particularly the World Stage-subpar magicians, singers and BBC show. We had planned our port excursion activities in advance and booked one through the ship (Granada/Alhambra, Spain) from the port of Malaga. It was a pricey excursion but worth the money considering transportation, guides and lunch. Some Staff Kudos: John in the Microsoft Room and Nathan as Cruise Director (led a wonderful book club meeting-suggest posting the book titles for the sailings on the HAL website so they can be purchased/read in advance, as Princess does).-these 2 individuals are treasures the company should give raises to so they keep them with HAL. We have been on 20+ cruises/6 lines and they stood out. Our 7 days at sea before our first port flew by with so much going on aboard (and my husband was concerned he might be bored!!!). After 2 eastbound transatlantic cruises we are now hooked and want to do a westbound so I can experience 6 25-hour days instead of 6 23-hour days during the time changes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Had never sailed with HA before (28 cruises) and had done three transatlantic crossings so were ready for another and liked the itinerary continuing on to Croatia. Things started out great as the cabins were ready when we got on the ship ... Read More
Had never sailed with HA before (28 cruises) and had done three transatlantic crossings so were ready for another and liked the itinerary continuing on to Croatia. Things started out great as the cabins were ready when we got on the ship around noon. First balcony room was fine but slightly smaller than ones we'd had on other lines. Great TV and wonderful shower. However, whoever designed the bathroom forgot to leave enough leg room in front of commode. We asked for a different room about three days into the cruise due to mechanical noise that was going on directly across the hall from our room. We did get moved after 13 nights and had nice, quiet sleeping for the last nine days. Don't know how they justify putting any passenger that has paid for a veranda room within range of that constant noise. Dining was fine in main dining room. Menu was varied and our service was good at the early seating. We use the buffet as little as possible, but found the food selection O.K. but hated the lines that were caused by the fact that there were very few things you could serve yourself. Annoying! The french fries at the Dive In near the pool were great and the burgers were fine also. Need to send the food service staff of HA a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, however, as they certainly don't know how to make the real stuff. The entertainment in the World Stage left a lot to be desired. Too many comedians who weren't that good and the need to arrive 30 minutes or more ahead of time to guarantee a seat. The string quartet in another venue was very talented, but performed more often than needed. Have no comments about the ship excursions as we always plan our own private groups or join others that have done so and did three on this cruise. We also used the HOHO buses in Malaga and Cartagena and Kotor. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Sail Dates: March 27, 2019 – April 7, 2019 Cabin: 6177, Verandah Stateroom Ports: Leaving out of Fort Lauderdale; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia with a Cruise of Soufriere Bay; Bridgetown Barbados; ... Read More
Sail Dates: March 27, 2019 – April 7, 2019 Cabin: 6177, Verandah Stateroom Ports: Leaving out of Fort Lauderdale; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia with a Cruise of Soufriere Bay; Bridgetown Barbados; Fort-De-France, Martinique with a Daylight Cruise Passed Mount Pelee; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Captain: Darin Bowland Cruise Director: Nathan Hinojosa Hotel Director: Mustafa Galbahar Our Cruise Experience: First with HAL; 40 total Pre Cruise Stay: We decided to stay in Fort Lauderdale the night before so we booked a room at the Rodeway Inn Airport. They provided a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the cruise terminal, which you have to reserve when you check in. We arrived around 4:00 and found the waiting area for shuttles, called the hotel and the shuttle arrived within about 20-30 minutes. After we got into our room, it was close to dinner time so we decided to try Marina84, the hotel’s restaurant & bar. We’d read some reviews on it and they were mostly good. Since we didn’t have a car to go anywhere else, this was as good as any place. It was already doing a pretty good business when we went in and sat down. My husband ordered a hamburger and I ordered the French Dip…wish I’d ordered the hamburger! He said it was good and it looked good. My French Dip, however, was pretty bad. After dinner, we walked around checking out the hotel. It has a business center, which consists of two computers and I think a printer, located around the corner from the lobby. It has a shop in case you forgot something or want to buy other items. A pool of course, and the restaurant. Our room was nice with two full beds, TV, fridge, and a coffee maker. After we settled in for the night and were watching TV, the power went out. Once I found our flashlight, it came back on. Apparently lightening from the storm had struck a substation and caught the lines on fire causing the outage. It wasn’t out very long, but the next morning when I was getting ready for breakfast, it went out for a few hours. I was just getting out of the shower when it went out, and I had to put my makeup on with the trusty flashlight and couldn’t dry my hair. When the power finally came back on, we went for breakfast. I was not in a good mood, and breakfast took forever because everyone was so slow getting what they wanted. It’s one of those typical hotel breakfasts that has cereals, fruits, pastries, make your own waffles and pancakes, etc. As I said, I was not in a good mood with the power being out and this man walks in dressed as a yacht captain making jokes like this… “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking”. “That’s it, just your captain speaking.” Well some people thought it was funny, I, however, did not. He walked around the room making jokes with people and fortunately for him, he did not stop at our table. Shuttle time…we had reserved seats on the first shuttle to the terminal which left a little after 9:30. It was supposed to be 10:00, but we were ready and actually glad it was leaving earlier. I hope no one missed it! Embarkation: We really didn’t have to wait very long before they began boarding and we were on board around 11:30. We had read on Cruise Critic that the main dining room was open for lunch on embarkation day so we threw our carry-on in the cabin and headed there for lunch. I’m glad we did, it was so much nicer than trying to fight the crowds in the buffet. It was a nice relaxing wonderful lunch. My husband had a steak sandwich that he liked and I had the fluke shrimp butter; not sure why it was called that, and my husband had the peanut butter silk pie. The dining room is pretty with everything in white with red and white lights. The waiters’ stations are in rooms along the outsides of the dining room so no tables are by the stations. I liked that. Our Cabin: We liked the fact that our luggage had already been delivered to our cabin when we boarded and we were able to go to our cabins right away instead of waiting until 1:00. That was a good thing! We had cabin 6177 with a verandah. The verandah was a nice size with two adjustable semi-lounge chairs, one with a foot stool, and a small round table. We spent quite a bit of time on the verandah. Another good thing. The layout of the cabin was good. As you walk in, the the bathroom is on your right with closets adjacent on your left. The bathroom shower has glass doors and was a good size, but it didn’t drain well at all. The toilet is squeezed into a corner facing the shower, so if you have long legs, be prepared to sit sideways…a bad thing. There is plenty of closet space with shelving and the safe is inside another closet-like space. You will program in a four-digit number to lock and unlock it. The beds were pushed together to make a king size bed and it was very comfortable; you couldn’t tell where the crack was! A good thing! We had four pillows, two small ones, and two queen size ones. It took a couple of nights to find the ones we each liked. There is a sofa with two cabinets above it, and a small table that can easily be moved around – a good thing – since you had to move it to use the desk that was across from it. The desk had three drawers for storage. There seemed to be plenty of lighting over the desk, but for applying make-up, it cast a shadow so it was hard to really see. A bad thing. One thing I loved was on the wall under the TV is an area that seemed to be recessed into the wall with wire cables. It was great for storing books and my pocket folder with all of our cruise info. I have a folder for cruise docs, airline info, each port with confirmations, etc. in it, and that was a really handy place for it. A good thing. There are plenty of outlets, both European and U.S., along with a USB port for charging your cell phone at the desk, and one at each night stand along with U.S. outlets. A good thing! To keep your lights on and the A/C running while you are out, keep a card of some type in the holder at the door. I used an old Blockbuster card. We always turned the lights off, but want the A/C to stay on. The temp in our room usually stayed around 68, but some nights it did get up to 72 or 73. I had ordered a fan for my asthma for sleeping and that helped as well. After lunch, we went back to the room so I could get everything hung up to minimize any wrinkling, and get everything in its place. I brought magnetic clips to put up our itinerary and any invitations or anything else important that we didn’t want to lose. I also brought strong magnetic hooks for hanging pants, pool bag, etc. Food: Food options were plenty around the ship, but we ate most of our breakfasts and lunches, and all of our dinners in the main dining room. No complaints on the food here except for the red snapper at dinner one evening. It was pretty bad and I couldn’t eat it and didn’t want anything else from the menu. The MDR’s menu selections were good, I suppose, but we are the meat and potatoes kind of people so we did have some challenges. Most everything we chose was good and all of the soups were very good. Main Dining Room: For dinner we had anytime dining, and eventually ended up with a wait team that we liked and had the rest of the cruise. They were Swedana and Al Rey. A very good team, always getting our food out right away and making sure we finished in time to get to the 7:00 show. The Maitre d’ actually assigned us to them after my husband spoke with him one morning about his eggs. They made sure everything was perfect with us from that day on. A good thing! Breakfast: I ordered egg white omelets with peppers, onion, and cheese every morning and it was always perfect. It comes with a little hash brown that is scrumptious, but I had to be careful with that. My husband would order his eggs over medium and they were always overcooked. We figured they continued to cook inside the cloche from the galley to the table. Once he began ordering them over easy, they were perfect. Dinner Apps & Soups: Shrimp and chicken croquette, crab & and daikon cakes, jumbo shrimp cocktail, hazelnut crusted brie, Caribbean island fritters, crab and shrimp Louis, wild mushroom with Thai red curry, spring rolls, shrimp cocktail with mustard sauce, scallops, and traditional shrimp cocktail. Wish I’d gotten two of all of these! The flavors were so good of each of these apps. Soups were all delicious and included French onion, cream of mushroom, Thai shrimp bisque, potato and leek soup, tomato and zucchini soup, corn and something soup, sun choke soup with toasted pumpkin seed, and butternut squash soup. Each soup was very flavorful with a rich creamy texture (except for the French onion) and left you wanting more. The French onion was the best I’ve had anywhere, except for one night when I had no onions, only the crouton and broth! A bad thing…but when it had the onions, this soup was excellent. The crouton was excellent and covered the entire bowl. It was only super hot a night or two, which was okay with me because French onion soup is usually so hot you can’t eat it. Again, all of the soups were delicious…another good thing! Dinner Entrees: Entrees included shrimp Diablo, prime rib, tenderloin and shrimp, spaghetti, pot roast, red snapper, red wine brisket, petite tenders, parmesan crusted chicken breast, surf & turf (filet mignon and lobster), and sweet and sour shrimp. We enjoyed the entrees we got with the exception of the red snapper. All dishes were beautiful and tasted wonderful! The waiter takes the lobster out of the shell for you – a good thing! We are hit or miss on that detail from cruise to cruise, as some do and some don’t. Desserts: All of the desserts were good. They were scrumptious, but I couldn’t eat too many being diabetic. Desserts we got are, peanut butter silk pie, cheese & fruit plate, chocolate soufflé, Nutella cheesecake, rum cake, cheese plate, almond & orange cake, warm flourless chocolate cake. I got sorbet a couple of nights, but I have to say the fruit and cheese plate was very good. NY Deli: Most days for lunch I would get the New Jersey Turkey Club Decker sandwich. It was very good and I would order it without lettuce and remove the middle piece of bread, you know, to cut down on calories – really, don’t laugh! The bread is buttered and toasted just the right amount and the turkey is shaved and piled on with a tomato and cheese, emmm…just thinking about it now makes my mouth water! They also have pizza here, but you can’t get it by the slice – a bad thing – so you do have to order the whole pizza. It’s about the size of a medium pizza. In the evening my husband would get wings here and I would get the sliders, nachos with cheese, or popcorn. The popcorn is not available until just before the movie starts. Dive-In: My husband got a hamburger from here at lunch one day along with some fries. He liked the food he got from here. I think the fries were double fried and looked scrumptious! Buffet: We didn’t eat from the buffet often because they serve you and it is slow getting through it. Another reason was that it wasn’t open when we wanted something. A bad thing. The hours are 6:00 a.m. – 9:00, 11:30 a.m. -- 3:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. -- 10:30 p.m. Every time we went there they were closing up. We are used to buffets being open later than 10:30 so we were forced to go to the NY Deli for snacks after 10:30. A bad thing. Items we did get from the buffet were shrimp stir fry from the Asian station, brisket, shrimp cocktails, but they don’t have cocktail sauce, and desserts. My husband went up after dinner and said they had lobster on lobster night and he was able to get three. The buffet pretty much had whatever the main dining room served at dinner, so that was a good thing! Star Mariner Lunch: We had an invitation to attend the Star Mariner Lunch on the first sea day; we started with one Mariner Star because we have many Carnival cruises under our belts. They did not take up invitations, so I kept ours. We were seated at a table for two that was beautifully decorated with glasses of champagne and beautiful exotic flowers. Lunch was a choice of chicken and Andouille gumbo, Caribbean Montego pepper steak, Cobia and grilled shrimp, and pasta pasta. My husband had the gumbo and liked it. I think he got the pepper steak, but can’t remember now. I got the Pasta Pasta and it was very good. It had a very smooth and flavorful consistency that almost melted on your tongue. We didn’t get dessert. On the next sea day, we headed to the MDR for lunch and when we got off the elevator a huge crowd was going into the dining room. We merged in and wondered why the Captain and ship’s officers were there. Once seated, we realized it was a second Star Mariner lunch, exactly like the one we had the day before! That’s what happens when they don’t take your invitation! Ports of Call: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten: Our first stop was St. Maarten. Since we have been here so many times, we stayed on board and enjoyed getting a chair by the Sea View pool and soaked up some rays while most everyone else was in port. If you have not been here before, I recommend a tour with Bernard’s. Castries, Saint Lucia: Again, we’d been here so many times we opted to stay on board. I think we did get off and walk around the terminal and got some great shots of the ship and the water. If you haven’t been here I recommend a tour with Cosol. We’ve taken his tour twice and you will see lots, eat lots, drink lots, and do lots! You can get a mud bath, you will see the Pitons, you will see a waterfall, botanical gardens, and eat a local lunch. As we were leaving St. Lucia, the ship took a slow tour around the bay and we were very close to the Pitons! You could see them so well; usually it’s cloudy and we can never see them, but we got some beautiful shots of them as we sailed through the bay. A good thing! Bridgetown, Barbados: Once again, been there done that so we decided to take a taxi to Rascal’s and enjoy the day at Brandon’s Beach. When we arrived, we checked in with Leigh and for $20 we got two chairs on the beach with umbrella, and a complimentary rum drink each. We got our chairs and walked along the beach. It was a beautiful, sunny day. After a nice walk along the beach, we headed back to our chairs to bask in the sun awhile. Since it was a week-day, it wasn’t crowded with locals, but by around 11:00 more and more people began showing up. We had told our taxi driver to pick us up around 1:00 so we packed up around 12:00 and went to the bar for those free drinks! Yes, they had plenty of rum in them! They were very tasty with nutmeg and other spices. My husband bought one more for the road and while we were sitting there relaxing, our taxi driver walked through looking for us around 12:30. It opens at 9:00 a.m. even though the signs reads 10:00. Brandon’s Beach is beautiful and this was a very nice, relaxing day for us. Leigh, Corey, Carson, and Michael will take very good care of you. Fort-de-France, Martinique: This port was the only one we had not been to and were excited about our visit. We had booked a tour with Krambole Tours, and Christelle, our guide, was excellent. Instructions were to meet her at the pier at 9:00. While we were waiting, it began to rain…oh, no! She arrived precisely at 9:00 and said that this was the first rain they’d had in months and they were glad to see it. Van loaded, we began our journey to the top of the mountain. First stop was a Catholic church that is magnificent. It’s an old beautiful church that has some rich history. There are also restrooms here that are the last ones for a while. We left the church and headed to the rain forest. We saw the Alma River, and while most walked down to the Saut Gendarme water fall, I and another lady opted to stay in the van since it was raining and the steps to the falls were steep. I didn’t want to chance slipping and breaking something -- like my pride! From here we visited the ruins of an old theater in St. Pierre, the DePaz Rum Distillery, and on to Grey Sand Beach, our last stop. We also saw Mt. Pelee. At each stop, Christelle would present us with tasty local treats that she had prepared for us. The trip takes extremely winding roads so if you have motion sickness, I would recommend you take whatever you use for that before the tour. Christelle has something she can give you, but I wished I had taken my Bonine! This tour costs 65 Euros pp and she prefers you pay with Euros. They are easy to order from your bank and have within a few days; otherwise it’s $85 pp. You may also pay with a credit card. We enjoyed this tour. As we were leaving, the ship sailed passed Mt. Pelee, but we were at dinner and couldn’t see it from the ship. Basseterre, Saint Kitts: Again, been there done all that. We had reserved chairs at Palms Court Gardens and Restaurant here. It is a short taxi ride there and you can walk it in about 15 minutes if you’re up to that. We arrived early and our chairs were waiting for us with our name on them! They were located at the edge of the pool overlooking the beautiful blue ocean with a wonderful view of the ship. They offer free Wi-Fi, but be aware that it doesn’t work for every phone and wouldn’t work with ours. The gardens are beautiful with a lot of gorgeous tropical plants and flowers. The pool is very nice, large enough and extremely clean. There is a hot tub there as well. There is no beach here, just the beautiful view of the ship and gardens around the resort. We did not eat lunch here, but my husband did order a Toilet Water drink. I tasted it, and it was very strong… The ships’ crews also like to visit here, so soon after lunch time they began arriving and the peacefulness and quietness of the pool and surrounding area became noisy and not as enjoyable, so be aware of this as well. Around 1:00 we decided we’d had enough of the sun and asked them to call us taxi so we could head back to the ship. I would recommend this place if you can get there early (it opens at 9:00), if you would like a quiet, beautiful day. The day pass is $12pp and if you take the taxi, that is $10. Be sure to use a good sunscreen because it is very hot and with the nice breezes, you don’t realize how much sun you are getting. If you prefer a tour, Grey’s does a good tour here. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas: Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but again, been there done it all. We stayed on the ship and enjoyed the peacefulness of the Sea View pool. Several years ago we took a snorkeling tour with Rumbaba and I think they are still in business with new owners. That a was a great day and I would recommend it. Island tours are always good as well. Half Moon Cay: Been here several times and it always has been our favorite day. Half Moon Cay is so pretty with its pristine beaches and beautiful views of the water and our ship. This day, however, was not so enjoyable. This was our first time visiting HMC on a HAL ship and HAL decided to add this port to its new ship, the Nieuw Statendam as well. This small private island is not big enough to handle two large ships on the same day, in my opinion. The Koningsdam arrived first which was good. We were able to get some good chairs in the sun near the pirate ship. After the Statendam arrived, it began to get quite crowded on the small island. Lunch was not good at all. Our other times here it has always been a good lunch. It was very crowded trying to get lunch and the hamburgers weren’t cooked enough and neither was my hot dog. The chicken was not that good either. Thank goodness for fruit! We left around 1:00 and the line for the tender was extremely long. People would cut in line by going under the ropes instead of snaking around and through the maze of rope. We sat on the tender for at least 30 minutes while they filled it up. Once full, the tender had a hard time trying to back away from the pier. After several tries we finally made it, turned around and headed for the ship. I quietly wondered if we would sink on the way to the ship... We were disappointed that they put two large ships here on the same day. I would call this day the ugly. Entertainment: We were disappointed in entertainment for an 11-day cruise. The ship has what it calls the Music Walk, consisting of a BB King’s Blues Club, Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard on Board, and RollingStone Rock Room. We enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage with its classical musicians, but the times they were on stage was when we were at dinner. We managed to catch the tail end of their performances a couple of nights and I really liked them. We went to BB King’s three nights and liked the band, they were really good, but after three or four nights, we got bored with it. The female singer was much better than the male singer, but I like listening to them both. The same thing with RollingStone Rock Room…we went there three nights and after a while got bored with that. The lead singer wasn’t that good, but the band itself was. We didn’t even listen to the Billboard on Board because just walking passed it was enough; we couldn’t take an hour of them. There was no entertainment the first night in the World Stage theater, but the second night we had a comedian, Kira Soltanovich. She was funny talking about her Russian mother. The second night on the World Stage was StepOne Dance Company presenting “Humanity”. That was the best in my opinion. The walls in the theater are millions of tiny LED lights. This performance was really professional and beautiful with the incorporation of the laser lights and the use of the walls. This should not be missed and they performed this show twice during the cruise. The theater is quite small for this size ship, but the Humanity show wouldn’t work well if the theater were larger. StepOne Dance Company’s performance, “Stages”, was the ugly in my opinion. It was about three couples and the different stages of their relationships (no talking)…not a good performance at all and some people did walk out during this performance. Other shows on World Stage included BBC Earth Presents: Blue Planet II; another ugly. We could have watched this in our stateroom. It is comparable to a National Geographic movie, only not as good; another comedian, Kelly McDonald; an illusionist, Ruben Vilagrand who was really good and shouldn’t be missed; a master mentalist, Jon Stetson who was very good; singer, Petrina Johnson, who was good; and one night they combined the mentalist and Petrina Johnson calling it a variety show. In the evening there was also Majority Rules Game Show, and music trivia, if you like those types games. The casino was another option. There were options during the day, but when not in port, we were at the pool. We would go the Crow’s Nest in the evening for happy hour and hang out there for a while. There is a little café outside the Crow’s Nest called Explorations Café, but it was only open one night we went there. Our When & Where paper says it’s open from 9:00 a.m—8:00 p.m.; guess we went early one night! Disembarkation: Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. We had a disembarkation time of 8:15, but they called us earlier. We found our luggage right away and getting through Customs was a breeze. We got a taxi right away and were at the airport in plenty of time for our flight, which happened to be an hour late! One thing they give you is a summary of the entertainment for the whole cruise so you can plan what you want to do at a glance. I noticed that they showed us in Half Moon Cay on March 16th. Problem was, the cruise didn’t begin until March 27th. Oops! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This cruise left Ft Lauderdale March 27 2019 - April 7 Neptune Suite. There is no priority tender service for Neptune Suite passengers as has been stated in the summary on this site and in others. In 5 cruises on HAL ships I have ... Read More
This cruise left Ft Lauderdale March 27 2019 - April 7 Neptune Suite. There is no priority tender service for Neptune Suite passengers as has been stated in the summary on this site and in others. In 5 cruises on HAL ships I have never found a place to board or depart separate from other guests, except during home port embarkation. I have asked. They seem amazed that I would ask about it. The newly designed Koningsdam Neptune suites are less user friendly than on the other ships. Smaller, it seems, with fewer closets, less storage space and worst of all, the "water closet" is separated from the rest of the bathroom by a door. The area for the toilet measures 8 ft 5 inches by 46 inches. Once reduced by the sink and counter, I believe you are left with about 5 ft by 40 inches of space, minus the toilet itself. which is ok, except that TWO doors enter into this area. One opens inward and comes within 2 inches of front of the toilet seat. In an otherwise luxurious suite why have they designed the bathroom this way is beyond me. Those issues aside, it was a great trip. The bed is comfortable, the service perfect. We ate in the new Orange Dining Room (Neptune Suite, Pinnacle Suite passengers and 4 Star Mariners) every night except when in the Pinnacle Grill. We made use of the free laundry service for Neptune Suite passengers, room service for breakfast on days when we had an excursion planned and one night for a late night snack. All these services were wonderful. Entertainment on HAL still is not anything to write about, so I won't. The ship is only about 2 years old and is being well taken care for. The staff is welcoming and friendly. The Hotel Director seems to be everywhere making sure all runs smoothly. Even on the tender to Half Moon Cay. That stop, by the way, is a really nice way to enjoy a day at the beach. Be sure to reserve a "clam shell" which is a shaded spot for two beach lounges, before you leave on your trip. On a sunny day you will fry out there without one and things move much more quickly when you land if you already have your ticket in hand. We have enjoyed every single one of our voyages on HAL. This one was particularly fun because in two ports we berthed along side our sister ship, The Niew Statendam. We made friends with Niew Statendam travelers when we ended up on some the same excursions and spent the day at half Moon Cay. It was noisy and fun when The Konningsdam pulled out of port in St Thomas just a little ahead of the New Statendam. As they were side by side the ships signaled each other with those long blasts, and passengers stood on decks and waved and cheered. A good memory. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
The quality of this cruise line and the ship speaks for itself. My wife and I from Florida Have sailed 7 different cruise lines. The Oosterdam in December 2018 was the first HAL which we so enjoyed. The crew from the Captain from Canada ... Read More
The quality of this cruise line and the ship speaks for itself. My wife and I from Florida Have sailed 7 different cruise lines. The Oosterdam in December 2018 was the first HAL which we so enjoyed. The crew from the Captain from Canada , who was informative in the Q and A session, the cruise director, Nathan from Texas, who was the CD on the Oosterdam and remembered us as we boarded the ship ,to the assistant director, Ines,from Portugal is what made this Trip so much fun. We enjoyed Lincoln Center Stage, played Pickleball, played trivia, where we met friends that we played trivia with the whole cruise .We did morning stretching, went to afternoon tea and evening shows. We did not use the casino,or the computer classes this time. We ate in the dining rooms and buffet, which was very,very good. We used the thermal spa. The room was fine and our steward wonderful.We encountered NO ONE that was not polite,friendly, respectful and fair. We look forward to our next visit cruise, that we booked on the ship , to New England/ Canada. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Everything was wonderful! The food was xlnt. The main dining room wasn’t as noisy as some previously stated. The portions were ample and presented well. All servers were friendly and courteous and we found this true throughout the ship. ... Read More
Everything was wonderful! The food was xlnt. The main dining room wasn’t as noisy as some previously stated. The portions were ample and presented well. All servers were friendly and courteous and we found this true throughout the ship. Our balcony stateroom on deck 5 was perfect size and always clean and fresh. The bathroom was fine with an excellent shower. The toilet is close to the shower, but it’s no big deal. The bed is very comfortable and the pillows aren’t “hard as rocks” as previously stated. The lido dining was very good and we thought that having the servers fill our plates rather than ourselves worked out very well. One might stand in a line for 2 minutes to get some fried eggs or an omelette but I never thought the lines were exceptionally long. We were always able to find a seat; either inside or out by the pool. Breakfast in the main dining room also was very nice without the lido hustle and bustle. Yes, the chair saving by the pool was evident; I don’t think that will ever change. Most of our time was spent at the aft pool. Half of this section is used by the smokers but surprisingly didn’t bother the other half. Plenty of drink servers and guys clearing tables. Can’t figure out why the pool water was green and the jacuzzis were blue. Loved the Blues and Rock venues. Saw a comedian and a mentalist both mediocre. Every time we went to the main theatre we walked right in at about 8:40 for a 9 pm show no problem. Embarkation and disembarkation we among the smoothest we’ve ever experienced. Maybe 45 minutes for each. My guess at the average age of cruisers would be late 60’s and above. LOTS of wheelchairs and scooters. Probably only about 15 kids total. We didn’t take any ship sponsored tours as we felt they were too expensive. The biggest disappointment of ports was Half Moon Cay in that there were 2 ships in port for a total of about 5000 people on the beach. Probably would have been pretty cool with half that as it is a very beautiful location. We thought some Caribbean music out by the pools in the afternoon would have been nice, but it never happened. We are looking forward to cruising with HAL again soon! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this ship because it was newer and we lived the itinerary and not too many sea days. (We have been on about 26 cruises) This is what we loved: 1. The ship is beautiful 2. Staff is attentive and friendly 3. Dinner in ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was newer and we lived the itinerary and not too many sea days. (We have been on about 26 cruises) This is what we loved: 1. The ship is beautiful 2. Staff is attentive and friendly 3. Dinner in dining room doesn’t seem rushed 4. Itinerary 5. Very clean 6. Despite reviews that say they don’t have an “unlimited” internet package they actually did. On our 10 day cruise it cost $179. This is what we did NOT love: 1. Theatre so small it does not accommodate guests. We showed up 40 minutes early for two shows and there was not one seat left 2. Formal night, a dance show is about to begin, ONE show, really? It starts at 9pm and we are waiting outside the theatre standing here at 7:50pm, we have a 1 hour 10 min wait. It’s day 9 of our 10 day cruise and we love the dance shows and this is the third one and if we get a seat it will be the first one we get to see. I think the theatre holds 300 people, I may be wrong. Smallest theatre on any cruise ship I have ever been on. They need 3 shows per night for the dance shows to accommodate the guests. Tomorrow night is the last dance show and they also have ONE show. So nope we won’t sail with them again. 3. Eating in the lido buffet is exasperating. You can basically not get any food by yourself, maybe you can serve yourself some fruit or a cinnamon roll AFTER they hand you a plate. What I’m trying to say is that the buffet is a lot of work. You have to wait in line. You can’t grab your own plate. There is say one person maybe two behind the glass at each food station. At one food station this one girl has to make crepes, spoon out oatmeal and cream of wheat into bowls, put bacon and sausage on your plate..it’s pretty crazy and slow. Then suppose you want toast or a bagel, now go to the bread food station wait in that line so that one person that’s runnjng that can take care of it. Then find a table and try to get coffee, it’s just an ordeal. 4. Then they close breakfast most days at 9:30am. 5. The food has been good but some meals better than others. Not every meal has been amazing. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
this was our 5th cruise with HAL and 2nd on the Koningsdam in the Caribbean. We loved the 10 day cruise to the ABC islands. We go on cruises to explore new ports and relax and love the HAL experience complete with gala nights. That is ... Read More
this was our 5th cruise with HAL and 2nd on the Koningsdam in the Caribbean. We loved the 10 day cruise to the ABC islands. We go on cruises to explore new ports and relax and love the HAL experience complete with gala nights. That is one of the reasons we book with HAL. Early runs in the morning on deck are lovely after a long winter and the spa experience was great as well! The addition of the rolling stone band is a great entertainment venue after dinner. We feel overall the main dining room experience is going downhill a little in the past 7 years, so we booked a few more of the specialty restaurants. the pinnacle and tamarind are absolute favourites. Diving and snorkeling excursions were wonderful. Great staff that go above and beyond. Our cabin had an oversized veranda and we booked the unlimited laundry which is super to have as you can take a few less things. One thing we completely avoid is the LIDO market. Why stand in line when you can get everything much better in the dining room? We arrived early in the morning and check in and embarkation was seamless. We definitely will go again but may chose a smaller ship next time to see if we can experience again some of the reasons we like to go with HAL in the first place, which is excellent service, excellent dining and super friendly staff. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I am not a person who feels that a vacation should go perfectly. I expects some bumps along the way. In saying this, I am bothered by the bumps that are preventable. The issues that I have detailed below in the 'Cabin Review' ... Read More
I am not a person who feels that a vacation should go perfectly. I expects some bumps along the way. In saying this, I am bothered by the bumps that are preventable. The issues that I have detailed below in the 'Cabin Review' were preventable and it is my hope that the creaking room is repaired before others experience sleepless nights on their vacation. We found the crew as wonderful as ever. Aside from the creaking room, we were looked after very well. I was quite worried about the entertainment after 4 nights. Post Modern Jukebox was not good. The theater was full when this group started and at least one quarter of the people left the first night before the performance ended and less people showed up for the second night performance. There was only polite clapping during the performances. With the second performance they gave themselves an encore when no one was clapping and people were leaving. Some awkwardly sat down while others just left. One of the singers had an amazing voice. I hope she finds another company. The entertainment got better. There were two dance performance nights and they were very good with well deserved standing ovations. The live orchestra performance to Planet Earth II with the wrap around screen was great. Karen Grainger (female impressionist) was very good. We enjoyed quite a few Lincoln Centre performances, wonderful! We would have attended more but our early dining time conflicted with performance times. We went to 2 Rolling Stone Room performances and the band was great. We watched a few songs from the BB King room and again this was good. We liked the music walk. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My sisters chose this cruise. I just wrote a cheque. Glad I did. I’ve been on four cruises. This was the best. The atmosphere was mellow and laid back. It was an older crowd; I’m older, so that was a plus. Food was always delicious. ... Read More
My sisters chose this cruise. I just wrote a cheque. Glad I did. I’ve been on four cruises. This was the best. The atmosphere was mellow and laid back. It was an older crowd; I’m older, so that was a plus. Food was always delicious. Staff were attentive and friendly. Ports were fun. Chose only one HAL excursion, then switched to other, in Port providers because these are cheaper and more flexible. Liked all the nightly small music venues on board; however, the main stage entertainment was a weak spot. Maybe I’ve been spoiled with large ensemble musical shows on other cruise lines. Also irritated by cumbersome internet package options, sold in 24 hour increments. Who needs internet 24 hours a day? Give me 3 hours/day for ten days, and I’ll be happy. Embarking was easy; staff were so cheerful and funny. Did this around 1:30PM, so we may have missed rush hour. Expedited disembarkation was also easy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We had the pleasure of cruising on the Holland America Koningsdam for 10 days with six ports in the Southern Caribbean Sea that included the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Embarkation and ... Read More
We had the pleasure of cruising on the Holland America Koningsdam for 10 days with six ports in the Southern Caribbean Sea that included the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Embarkation and disembarkation went quickly and smoothly. We were pleasantly surprised with our 4th floor interior room. It was spacious, clean, and had ample of storage space. The beds were comfortable and we loved the roomy bathroom! The cabin exceeded our expectations. The Koningsdam is my favorite cruising ship so far. It exceeded all expectations! The wonderful staff and excellent food were over the top! There were few lines for food, plenty of seating for the shows, no screaming kids, nor intoxicated people. It was pleasant, peaceful, and restful. My favorite ship highlights were the Lincoln Center Stage performances, the Lido Market cuisine, the afternoon tea service, lounging poolside, and the EXC excursion talks. Don’t get me wrong. If you want live music or movies playing by the pool with a lot of dancing and drinking, this cruise isn’t for you. However, if you like it quiet enough to hold a conversation, read books, play cards, nap, or tune out with earbuds, HAL Koningsdam is the perfect choice! We enjoyed all of the ports and excursions, except Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This line was the only line that offered the first 10 days with stops we had not visited before. The ship and crew were great. HA schedulers suck. When we received our flights (booked through HA) there were two sore spots. We depart out ... Read More
This line was the only line that offered the first 10 days with stops we had not visited before. The ship and crew were great. HA schedulers suck. When we received our flights (booked through HA) there were two sore spots. We depart out of MSY at 8 am and arrive FLL ONE and a HALF hour before ship departs. The return leg is airport for 10 am, departing flight at 7 pm and not arriving at MSY till midnight. As i write this, our plane is delayed 1/2 hour with beautiful weather. Good ole Delta. We called HA months in advance to express our concerns. Was told that was within their guidelines. Well, we were slid onto the ship 2 of the last 4 people after security was closed and the ship was late departing. Virtually did not screen us so we could make departure. We missed the first afternoon of our cruise which we always look forward to. No remorse from the ‘desk people’ on board. The rest of the ship’s crew (98%) were wonderful. I wanted to write reviews for the excursions so other people can plan their trips but there is no place in HA website to create these. Dining experience was very good. Service was excellent in all areas of the ship. However, the food was good but bland - no extra seasoning available such as Tony’s, Zatarains, Slap ya Mama, etc. We ordered breakfast in cabin all but 3 days. No complaints, on time, coffee and selection was acceptable. Cabin crew was very helpful with the small needs such as cabin menus, fruits and snacks. Cabin was spotless each day twice a day minimum. The nightly live band on Deck 2 was awesome. Great talent and popular music enjoyed by standing room only crowd each night. There are no art auctions like Norwegian or Carnival which is strange because HA is owned by Carnival Corp. There is an art gallery where u can purchase but thats it. Nothing we liked. We booked ooked snorkeling excursions through HA all stops except The Dom Rep and Curaçao which were average experiences. We completed the Coffee experience at The Dom Republic which we are still talking about. You travel up into the mountains to learn, taste and help the local coffee farmers bring back their coffee industry. In Curaçao, we did the ATV tour which takes you through and across the island. Dusty but a lot of fun and a learning experience all booked through HA. We were fortunate enough to see Carnival in Aruba and dine at Lucy’s (nachos). Awesome experience - we are from Louisiana and experience Mardi Gras every year. Carnival in Aruba was very colorful and very close to our home experience. The ship’s photography dept is not what we expected. We wanted to take a pic and have them place it on the embarkation background. We were told that they would take some pics of us but it would be black & white. We arrived for our appointment at 7:30 pm and was advised that the first pic (if purchased) would be $450.00! No thanks - see ya! Rip off artist but we are smarter than that. In this digital world, there is NO one on that ship that can make us believe that they couldn’t fulfill our request. We paid $19.95 for a dock photo and that’s it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We were looking for a cruise that could accommodate 6 of us at a reasonable cost. HAL Koningsdam fit the bill. The ship's art is wonderful. The ship's musical theme is throughout with interesting art that is worth walking all ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise that could accommodate 6 of us at a reasonable cost. HAL Koningsdam fit the bill. The ship's art is wonderful. The ship's musical theme is throughout with interesting art that is worth walking all the staircases to look at. We found the flow of the ship easy to get around. Typical of a Carnival Corp. ship the staff were friendly and always helpful. Cabins: The rooms were tight but very functional. Bathroom was a good size with a large shower stall. We had a veranda stateroom next to my Son and Father-in-law's room. We asked the steward if he could open the door between balconies which he was happy to do. This gave extra space and made our before dinner socializing easy, when my Daughter and Son-in-law would also come by. Only thing I wish was available was outdoor lighting. Although there are light fixtures on the balconies, these are controlled by the bridge. The first night I went on the verandah and banged up a shin on the chair. Dining: Our dining experiences were fantastic. We enjoyed any meals at the dining room we had. There was only 1 night that none of us were thrilled with what we ordered. The buffet was great for breakfast and lunch. I was impressed with the cleanliness and care there. There were new dishes to try every day. We also went to 3 specialty restaurants as well. Each were a unique and great experience. I would highly recommend De Liberje. Entertainment: The shows we're fine. My favourite was BBC Earth with musicians from the ship playing the background music. The dance show dazzles, the technology of the world stage is great. There was a comedian onboard named Cory Rodriguez. He was funny and then hung out with my kids at the Casino. It made for entertaining evenings. There is also trivia everyday and various other events. The Rolling Stone room had great music every night, the Lincoln Centre had classical music late in the day until early evening. This room would then change in the BB King blues club. The band was great but the music was more Motown then Blues. This was disappointing to me but it's all about finding the common denominator. Service: Absolutely no complaints. Whatever we needed was there for the asking. In Curacao, we arranged a dinner off the ship, we were in port until 11:00 pm. The front desk was fantastic in getting us a map to the restaurant, which was about a 20 minute walk from the port. Ports and Excursions: Although we didn't use HAL for excursions we arranged a lot of things for ourselves. The nicest beach was at Half Moon Cay which is their private island. It wasn't busy, only 2 ships there and was the only tender we had on the trip. Grand Turk was also a swim day with the beach right there when we got off the ship. Amber Cove was the weakest of all the ports. We went into Puerto Plata but there wasn't much there. Our favourite stop was Bonaire. Our kids arranged scuba diving (privately) and we rented a golf cart from Bonaire Cruisers. We traveled the island from top to bottom. It is the least commercial of the "ABC" islands. It was a great time. Willemstad in Curacao is very pretty. We hired a driver, went to a secluded beach and as mentioned above went for dinner in Willemstad. Aruba was a treat. We headed off to Eagle beach which was empty that day. It happened to be the last day of Carnival and there was a 7 hour parade. The colours and sights were great. The ship delayed leaving by 2 hours so we could catch the parade. Bottom line was although this ship has an older clientele my kids in there 20s had no problem with the Koningsdam. We filled our time on sea days playing shuffleboard, table tennis, basketball and cards. I would definitely go on a HAL cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We choose this cruise to escape winter and actually did back to back cruises as they were to different ports, so we spent 3 weeks on this ship. It's bright and fairly new and has the best food we ever had on any cruise ship ... Read More
We choose this cruise to escape winter and actually did back to back cruises as they were to different ports, so we spent 3 weeks on this ship. It's bright and fairly new and has the best food we ever had on any cruise ship (we've been on 35 cruises). Soups were wonderful and the lobster the best ever. Wonderful restaurant choices without additional fees, like New York Deli, The Dive In and the Dutch Café plus the huge Lido Buffet. The rooms are spacious and everything is super clean and gorgeous fresh flowers everywhere. The crew was wonderful and so friendly. There is music everywhere. Most of one floor is devoted to music venues from dual pianos to rock and classical and is called the Music Walk. The only disappointment was the World Stage (their main theater). It's a weird stage and has poor lighting on the performers. When they do do a nice production show like the dancers did in Humanity, it was awesome, but in 3 weeks of cruising there was only that one really well done show. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have cruised around 13 times, usually loyal to Royal, so I was nervous to try Holland America because I felt the vibe would be too low key for me. While the energy on the outdoor decks was too low key for me, the energy at the various ... Read More
I have cruised around 13 times, usually loyal to Royal, so I was nervous to try Holland America because I felt the vibe would be too low key for me. While the energy on the outdoor decks was too low key for me, the energy at the various music venues and main stage was just perfect. All other aspects of the cruise and ship were also perfect, so this was pretty darn close to a perfect cruise. We added this cruise to our winter itinerary only about 3 weeks before departure because we were scheduled to be out of the country. We chose this particular cruise because the dates were perfect and 11 day itinerary took us to some islands never visited. First, the condition of this 2 year old ship was sparkling clean and new. The attention to every detail in terms of design, cleanliness, and maintenance has been meticulous. I was surprised to learn that our last minute upgrade to a balcony room landed us on the 4th deck and an extra large balcony. Our room was very clean and our bathroom seemed larger than usual (but not suite size by any means). Secondly, the service and hospitality were outstanding. Every staff member greeted us with a smile and a hello. The cruise director was consistently professional and upbeat. The captain was outstanding. Great mix of professionalism and humor. The food was the best cruise food I have experienced in a long time. The buffet stations were staffed and each meal was quickly crafted with fresh and healthy ingredients. We made it to the main dining room only twice because of our love for the various food stations. We also enjoyed two dinners in the specialty Italian restaurant. Our itinerary included stops at St Thomas, Bonnaire, Martinique, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Marteen, and HA’s private island. All good stops but our faves were St Kitts and Barbados. The only aspect of this cruise that I would want to be different is the lack of love music on the pool deck, especially during our sea days. Given the theme of the ship and all venues is music, I remain baffled why live music from any of the numerous bands on board was not provided by the pool deck, if even for a couple of hours around lunch time or during the sail away. Some reggae on a Caribbean Cruise is a must for me but there was NO reggae at all. Despite this, the various headliner and regular shows below deck were exceptional. The lack of outdoor music is nearly a deal breaker for me; however, given the exceptional levels in service, food, ship appearance, and indoor entertainment, I will strongly consider Holland America for all future cruising. (As a side note, we cruised on RCCL a few days after this cruise on a long planned cruise, and I have to say RCCL was out performed by HA in every aspect, except for the pool deck vibe and music which I really look forward to any cruise). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
best cruise of more that 25 beautiful ship music thruout main auditorium awesome not a bad seat entertainment was good 10s for the cabin stewards and 10s for the waiter staff excellent fresh omlettes and eggs for ... Read More
best cruise of more that 25 beautiful ship music thruout main auditorium awesome not a bad seat entertainment was good 10s for the cabin stewards and 10s for the waiter staff excellent fresh omlettes and eggs for breakfast tea time was super and not a supplement fee ate one time at specialty and it was same time one and half hours as MDR the music was good if you like rock and roll in one part of the ship chamber music on another part of the ship dueling pianos in the middle of the ship and they take "requests" late night the room service each morning was right on time and everything came as ordered the Dive in had specialty dogs and burgers. the NY deli did a great breakfast sandwich and later in the day they had build your own pizza which was awesome. we chose antime dining and made a reservation each night in MDR. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew into Fort Lauderdale 2 nights early and took public transit to the Sawgrass Mills Mall as an interesting way to spend the spare day. It is great for shoppers and just people watching. Embarkation was well organized and the terminal had good WiFi while we waited. We were the only ship in port that days, which probably helped. The cabin was ready when we boarded and the Lido Market was open for an early afternoon bite. We didn't have set seating for dinner, so we made reservations for an early dinner for the first 3 evenings (limited by HAL, otherwise we would have done the whole cruise). We were unable to get reservations for tables for 2, but had the option on arrival. We mostly shared as we like the opportunity to meet new people (but there is the risk of monologists and political trolls). The Koningsdam is new and has a contemporary decor with clean lines and the neutral-earthy colors that seem to be the trend right now. The photographic and collage art in the stairwells aren't my taste, but to each their own... Our cabin was one of the best (if not the best) we have had (see cabin specific review) as they made very good use of the space. We ate in the main dining-room for dinner every evening. The service was good and the food was good. On gala nights, the service could be a bit slow and we had a couple of occasions with a shared table when we were unduly delayed because the waiter didn't know if the last 2 seats were going to be filled (they weren't, so communication with the front desk could be improved). I am always surprised that the desserts aren't sweeter on cruise ships and this was no exception. I have rarely had a dessert that wasn't toned down from what you would get in a shore-based restaurant. We had breakfast and lunch in the Lido Market except one pizza (not very good) from the deli. For the most part, everything is served by staff with only a few individually plated or packaged items that can be reached by passengers. On balance, we thought that this is good (having seen unhygienic behavior by passengers on other cruises), but it did result in lines to get some food items quite frequently. Waiters cleared tables and offered to serve water, coffee, orange juice (breakfast), iced tea (lunch) and lemonade (lunch). It would have been nice to have another choice (e.g. fruit punch), but that might be a bit to picky. Waiters weren't interrupting to remove plates as they do on some ships and were generally quite friendly if you gave them the opportunity (as were the food servers). Entertainment and activities were the low point of the cruise, but some people really liked the layout and offerings. Enrichment was quite limited with only a few talks that were repeats on consecutive cruises. However, they did do port orientation talks that were helpful and not totally focused on the ship's excursions. The were a few cooking shows and computer seminars (not very interesting to us), and a lot of promotional (shopping and health/spa) talks/demonstrations that we avoided. As far as entertainment went, we were very disappointed. First, the "World Stage" is not a conventional theater and doesn't have the capacity of the ones on other ships. People were consistently there 45 minutes before the show to get seats. It isn't a suitable venue for production shows with props, but then they don't have a production group of singers and dancers (or a live stage band or place for it). The multimedia, open stage has great potential for even more production shows (using virtual sets and props), but clearly that isn't what they are going for (and we missed the production shows). The performers (usual comedians, magicians, vocal, dance and musical performers) ranged from bad (people leaving in the middle of the show) to pretty good, but nothing outstanding. There were repeat performances within a cruise (even more for back-to-backers). The rest of the entertainment is very dependent on interests and cruising style. The venues for live music are basically unused until dinner time when there were some classical musicians in the Lincoln Center (which will later become BB King's). Unfortunately, for many passengers, they did VERY classical pieces rather than popular ones. The rest of the live entertainment had to wait until after 8pm (probably not a good decisions for the HAL demographic). The 3 venues (BB King's jazz/blues; Rolling Stone hard rock alternating with Billboard Onboard dueling pianos) are strung out along the promenade level. Capacity is limited and there wasn't much in the way of pleasant easy-listening. We were so disappointed that there was so little and it was so extreme in the genre that each played. It didn't affect us, but we also heard that some were too loud there wasn't good seating. The fitness area was well outfitted with a good number of aerobic and resistance machines as well as free weights (dumbbells). Live TV was available on the aerobic machines and they were mostly kept working properly. There were also rooms for spin classes and group classes (paid) that we didn't use. The onboard experience was not what we were hoping for, and we wondered why (other than reducing costs and improving revenue) the Koningsdam was built the way it was. Is HAL looking to the future when their well-known aged passengers aren't cruising anymore. If so, they are losing them faster by such a radical change in design and offerings. Of course there are older, slower people that sometimes are an obstruction, but that is expected on HAL. More power to them (and their scooters and oxygen supplies). On the positive side, there were few children and a mature cruise director that wasn't overpowering with unnecessary, forced enthusiasm. The captain was personable and understandable. The internet package gave us the access for email that we needed and didn't break the bank. We found that most of the serving and steward staff were quite friendly, but ran into a few that didn't seem to want to be there. Notably, the security staff (who should do their job AND be friendly and pleasant), the future cruise staff (who just didn't seem to care or like people), some of the photo staff (who weren't very helpful) and one of the fitness people who just seemed to have an attitude where ever he went. We had a pair of cabin stewards and liked that team approach. The excursions were okay. Not overpriced as some cruise lines tend to do (NCL can you hear me). As far as value for money, we were satisfied because we got to go to the destinations that we wanted to go to at a reasonable price with good food and accommodations. To us that was the most important thing. That being said, HAL could have done so much more and we don't understand this new direction in the design of the Koningsdam and her sister ship, the Nieuw Statendam. One final comment is about the HAL loyalty (mariner) program. It is the worst we have ever seen. You can cruise forever and get almost nothing in return (compared to NCL and Princess). HAL has some of the best destination-based itineraries, but doesn't reward its members at all... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Would not recommend. Ship was clean and rooms were nice but woefully understaffed. Waited endlessly at dinner and for drinks. Tables around pool were left with trash and drink glasses for hours. Food portions at dinner were ... Read More
Would not recommend. Ship was clean and rooms were nice but woefully understaffed. Waited endlessly at dinner and for drinks. Tables around pool were left with trash and drink glasses for hours. Food portions at dinner were ridiculously small. Extra hidden charges in main dining room for lobster. Beverage backage was terrible. $9 was the maximum allowed per drink and if you ordered a drink that was over the $9; they didn't charge you the difference; they charged the whole price. Extra charges for Spin classes in gym. They offered a tour of the ship's kitchen for $150 pp. Are you kidding me????? Beverage package was also not valid on the ship's own private island Half Moon Cay. Had to pay full price. Buffet at Half Moon Cay was included but the food was horrible. Long lines for everything. The ports were ok; not great but ok. The beach at Half Moon Cay was the nicest. Not a good value for the money. Don't waste your money on this cruise line. Go with Celebrity. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced ... Read More
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced crowd and that did in fact be the case. At 60 years of age for the two of us, we felt 10 years more youthful than the average passenger. Be that as it may... it was all just fine. Embarkation: Boarded hotel shuttle to the cruise port at 11:00 AM and stepped into our cabin at 12:50 PM. Good process for checking in and greeted by friendly staff the entire way. Cabin: Not only our first HAL cruise but our first inside cabin experience. Cabin 6077. We entered our cabin and thankfully had read reviews about needing to insert the key card into the slot to activate the lights, otherwise we'd be fumbling in the dark. In retrospect, a good idea and it must save energy or something not to have lights on in cabins 24/7. The bigger issue we had with the cabin was that we entered and discovered a puddle of water on the foot of the bed where the luggage covers were placed. Interesting... We looked up and found that water was dripping out of what looked like a ceiling speaker. We called Guest Services and were assured the issue would be taken care of. As it was only 1:00 we left to go get some lunch and explore. After an hour an a half or so we returned and found the "fix" was a towel placed on the puddle to soak up the water, the ceiling still looked damp. This time we took pictures and visited Guest Services in person. Happily they did the right thing and moved us to a different cabin, 5071, a deck lower which was fine. This cabin was great, certainly an inside and we had to get used to it, we made great use of the fantastic TV and the bridge cam! Heard about toilet layout in the bathrooms was not so good, not an issue with the inside cabin and let me just say... the shower? OMG!!!! Where have you been all my life??!!! Ship: I'm of the opinion that all cruise ships are marvels to behold and Koningsdam was no exception! We did miss a grand central atrium area but the music walk made up for it. Decks 2 and 3: Shops, Guest Services, World Stage, main dining, photo area, art gallery, casino... you get the point. Well laid out IMO, the shops were unobtrusive, and it was amazing with the four different music venues that they never stepped on each other. Bars and side cafes were subtly located for enjoyment of guests. Blend was a bit more in the open than what I expected and what ever the Orange dining area was, well it was simply odd. I didn't get it, if for high rollers then at least make it so it appears that way. Frankly, the evenings we walked by there I felt sorry for the lonely souls dining in there. When shows were over in the Grand Stage (which was Grand!), there were some traffic issues but it added to the fun, sort of like walking the Strip in Las Vegas, okay, not that big but still fun! Lido Buffet area: There is an American Football axiom, "keep your head on a swivel". Could not be more apt than in the Lido Buffet. Having said that, if anyone gets irritated by the traffic or anything else in that buffet, you really have no one to blame but yourself. Figure out when the majority of people will go for breakfast, lunch or dinner and go at a different time. Simple really. Bless the staff as they had a lot on their plate (pun intended) when it came to serving so many people. They along with the servers of coffee, tea, etc, had the patience of Job times 100. Excellent job to them. Our Sea Days were spent mostly aft over looking the pool and the ocean behind us, not on the pool deck, we opted for, let's see, deck 10 I guess it would be... we were blocked from the majority of the breeze, had a great view all around us and had wonderful sun exposure (side note... we had 15 minutes of light rain the entire cruise, being from the PNW, this was a shock!), Smoke from smokers (well, that was redundant...) in this area had been brought up in reviews and frankly it was not an issue. Yes, aft pool was a gathering place in the evening for cards and smokes but.... guess what? You can avoid that! Do not miss time in the Crows Nest! Do not miss Apple Pie at the Dutch Cafe (not 100% sure of the name, but 100% sure of the pie!), look for the tapas bar at the Blues Club late afternoon. Spa: No report as we did not partake. The staff were up-selling around the Lido Pool but not overly aggressive. Bottlenecks: They are real. Be patient, be aware of your surroundings and don't be a contributor. People movement is a tad slower on this ship but there are physical boundaries that also make ease of mobility an issue. This is especially true around the Lido pool area both on deck 9 and deck 10. Walls that jut out into walk ways, loungers that jut out into walk ways, lack of multiple entrance and egress points...all of these things can make for slow going at times. Wait time at the lifts are par for the course. FOOD: Ah yes, the dining experience: 1. Tamarind was amazing! Highly recommend for all the right reasons, service, food, and the view. Bride had the stir fry lobster and shrimp, yum! I had the wasabi fillet, yum! 2. Pinnacle: What was not to like? Bride had halibut on cedar plank with scampi, amazing, I had the rib eye.... still drooling. 3. Main dining room: 4 nights dining here without a set time. We arrived almost every night around 7:15 an were promptly seated. 3 times in the lower area and once on the deck above. Service was fine and the food was very very good. (I've been banished of meat for at least of month after this trip! Well worth it!). We had zero issues with dining and making a 10:00 show at the World Stage, however don't doddle as the auditorium does fill up early. 4. New York Pizza: One time for dinner while watching a movie by the lido pool. I thought it was great, bride not so much, (that's what she gets for having a white sauce on a pizza, right? Right??) However, the Caesar salad and dessert there were great! 5. Dive In: Good burgers and fries, not great but good and turn around time is pretty quick even in the busy time. 6. Gellato: For $2.00, ah yeah, well worth it! 7. We did not opt for a drink package nor spend a great deal on drinks. We mostly filled our tumblers with iced tea, ice water and lemon aid. (please respect the signs requesting that you do not fill your tumbler or mug directly from the dispensers, it is for sanitary reasons.) 8. Lastly on dining, I mentioned how the Orange place on deck 2 was odd, so was the Italian restaurant in the Lido buffet. Just seemed awkward and to pay $13 PP for it, I dunno.... Entertainment World Stage: 1. Emperors of Soul: Excellent (fun to interact with them on the cruise as well) 2. Naomi, Virtuoso Pianist: Jaw Dropping 3. BBC Earth: Well done 4. Comedian Tim Kaminski: Very Good 5. Second Comedian: Can't recall his name - poor 6. Third Comedian: Can't recall his name either but better than the second - better than poor. 7. Superbowl: Never thought I'd see a Superbowl on a ship! Fun atmosphere to be sure! Available to see on the World Stage, in your cabin and at the Lido Pool screen. 8, 9 and 10? Hmmm.... where does the time go? Actually, the availability of things to watch on your in cabin TV are excellent and we did take advantage of this. Crew: 95% outstanding! Our only slight irritation came with the staff of the shops. A bit condescending and borderline rude. We are very patient people and they tested that patience. Cabin stewards were great, room service a couple of time for breakfast was great including a follow-up phone call to make sure we were happy with the service. Guest Services was also great. America's Test Kitchen demos were also well done and informative and the preview of the next day's ports were outstanding!! Do not miss these if possible! All in all a very quiet reserved atmosphere which was fine. We moored along side a Carnival ship at Grand Turk and I thanked Poseidon that we were NOT on board that maniacal brain blowing tub. (sorry, harsh). Also interesting to read about the Norwegian Epic and her issues as we were along side her in Jamaica. Hmmm... note to self! Ports: 1. Jamaica: Large cruise ship port with a Margaritaville on location. Lots of shops, lots of competition and lots of aggressive selling. We debated many nights about what to do here and decided not to do the Dunn's Falls or any of the other excursions (although later we found out the rafting down the river was amazing), we did end up doing a walking tour of Falmouth which was informative and fun. 2. Curacao: What a grand location! For us a wonderful day or wandering and exploring the city, both sides. Just fantastic! 3. Aruba: A bit of wandering and shopping and public transportation to Eagle and Palm Beach for some beach time! I could see a return trip to Aruba possible for a week or so? We'll see! Great adventure to the light house and to really take in the desert landscape. 4. Amber Cove: Delightful port, great shops and the pool area was better than advertised. Excursion to Puerto Plata was fun and interesting. The lushness of the island was beautiful and in stark contrast to the islands of Curacao and Aruba 5. Grand Turk: Not a lot on Grand Turk. There was a Carnival ship that was also in port and combined with our ship, made the beach impossible to enjoy. We took a cab to the town of Cockburn and explored there. Lovely beaches too. Port area also nice. 6. Half Moon Cay: Paradise... nuff said. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting ... Read More
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting the islands, St. Lucia, St. Marteen, Barbados, Martinique, Antiqua, St. Tomas and HAL's Half Moon Cay was outstanding. The selection of TV shows and Movies in our room, did get very thin after 11 days. But we understand there were many outstanding things to do outside of our room. Having said all that, I want to give you the negatives, so you are not surprised. Do not misunderstand, we loved the cruise and feel very positive about it, but want to tell you what we did not like. The food was great. Loved the Lido buffet for both breakfast and dinner. All the eggs Benedict, omlets, waffles and pancakes you can eat for breakfast, who could not like that? After 11 days some of the sameness did wear just a little old. The hamburgers and hotdogs at the Dive were fine snacks. The Pizza, nachos and deli sandwiches were fine too. We ate at one specialty restaurant, the Tamarind and it was very good. We felt the dining room tried to be too fancy and gourmet and failed. Also the process in the dining room took too long...2 hours. I was shocked that the Crème Bule was almost liquid, not custardly. And, if you do not mesh with the people you are seated with, the 2 hour dinner can seem really long. Paying $50 per person for the Pinnacle Room seemed a little extreme, when our cruise fee already included food. As far as the reviews I have read about bad pillows, dirty rooms, too loud if you are mid-ship over the entertainment, they are hogwash. We did not experience anything like that. We were disappointed to learn that you had to come nearly an hour early for the one hour show in the main room, the World Stage, in order to get a seat!. There needs to be a better system for reserving seats or similar. We very much enjoyed the entertainment in the BB King Room and the Rolling Stone Room. Be prepared for Holland America to try to find many ways every day to separate you from your money. They present many "opportunities". They price gouge you in some ways that I believe were over the top. Internet service is $24.95 a day! But worse of all was the wine. To buy 4 bottles of wine for us to have in our room I paid over $170...and this was for Estancia wine which I pay about $12.00 for in the grocery store!. Over $40 for a $12 bottle of wine! Paying double, like in a restaurant, would be understandable, but FOUR times the cost is simply uncalled for. And there is an $18 corkage fee for bringing on your own wine purchased at a port. So I ended up paying $25.50 for a $7.50 bottle of wine. Come on Holland America, I was already paying thousands for the cruise! I found calling guest services with a problem, like when I screwed up the combination to the safe in my room, was fruitless. They put you on hold for the longest time. When I did reach a human, they said someone would be up in 10 minutes...after over an hour they had not appeared. I learned going to the Service desk in person worked well. The were competent and timely, In the case of re-setting my room safe, the person, said I will come and fix it right now, and she did. Getting off the ship and finding your excursion in ports was no problem at all and the excursions were fine. We did the 2 snorkel catamarans (one with a lobster lunch) and a tour that included 2 hours at a beach and shopping. Staff was fine and everything was fun. Holland America's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas was wonderful. Do not listen to the review that said getting your claim shell (basically an umbrella and 2 beach chairs) was a hassle. It was fine. So there you have it. A fine cruise on a fine ship that was not without some down sides. And I am 70, a young 70. Be aware that HAL seems to cater to seniors, I would say 70 was about the average age and less than 1/4 of the people were under 50. It is what it is. Holland America, you really can do better on those wine and internet charges. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I sailed on the ms Koningsdam last August on a cruise to Norway. Apparently the ship went into drydock for some updates and new officers, not long after that cruise. I’ll describe some of the updates in my review, many of ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the ms Koningsdam last August on a cruise to Norway. Apparently the ship went into drydock for some updates and new officers, not long after that cruise. I’ll describe some of the updates in my review, many of which enhance your cruising experience. I provided a lot of details and tips about cruising on the Koningsdam in my review last October for Cruise Critic; I will not repeat that information here; please read my earlier review to learn more. We only did the 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruise. Here are some of the changes. The Lincoln Center Stage area has been combined with the BB King's Blues Club; they perform at different times. The area formerly used by Lincoln Center Stage is now the Rolling Stone Rock Room. The rock & roll band there was excellent; it seems like every performance had overflow crowds with standing in the hallway. It was a big hit with the passengers. The band members were enthusiastic and put on great shows. The Assignments restaurant near the 2nd floor Main Dining Room entrance is now part of Club Orange, and serves “private” lunch and dinners for club members. My wife and I got an offer to join Club Orange prior to the cruise for about $50 a day per person; you get the private dining venue, priority boarding and tenders, and some other benefits. This is an alternative to the pricier Neptune Club. Another change since our last cruise is that hot dogs, burgers, and other food at the Dive-In by the Lido Pool are now free (as they used to be on Caribbean cruises; Norway was probably an anomaly). There was an Elvis impersonator on the ship with his girlfriend and an entourage of fans who travel with him. I think he was trying to get Holland America Line (HAL) interested in hiring him for a future cruise. I attended one of his impromptu performances, when a couple at dinner (open dining) told me about the upcoming event in the Hudson Room. He sang Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty songs. He should be hired; he is good enough to be a performer for a nightly World Stage show. Another change is that the Tamarind Restaurant—with excellent Asian cuisine, one of our favorite specialty restaurants—has been split into Tamarind and the Nami Sushi bar. You pay a la carte for the sushi (about $6-8 for a long sushi roll) at the bar; you can order sushi if you dine at Tamarind, but you pay the a la carte price in addition to the $25 per person surcharge for the Tamarind. Other changes: the handy Navigator app now lists events until they finish. There is a motion-sensor-activated night light in the room under one of the closets. And there are kiosks by the Guest Services desk where you can print out your room charges (statement) without having to wait in line. People seemed to stay healthy on the ship. We had no issues with norovirus or the like. I still wish more guests could be encouraged to use the hand washing stations before entering the Lido Market to eat. We did arrive about 4 hours early back to Fort Lauderdale, because a passenger needed medical assistance. Even though there were about 3000 passengers on the ship, it didn’t feel that big. And the size of the ship does allow for all the entertainment venues and restaurants on the ship. The only time the size was somewhat apparent was in Grand Turk. Ship personnel only opened one gangway. In the afternoon, 2 hours before departure, there was a long line to get back on the ship, about a 15-minute wait. At other ports, there were 2 gangways available and hardly any lines. There was a mix of ages on this cruise from young children to teenagers to older senior citizens. I think the average age was late 50s to early 60s for the approximately 3000 passengers. Someone told me that about 40% of the passengers were Canadians, who were escaping from the very cold temperatures back home (well below freezing). Unlike with the Norway cruise, there were hardly any active excursions (e.g., hiking, kayaking), known as EXC [Exploration Central] Tours, except for snorkeling. Some people did their own tours (e.g., mentioned on Cruise Critic’s helpful resource, the “Roll Call” for the Koningsdam cruise in the months prior to sailing). My wife and I did a couple of active excursions through a company recommended by my travel agent, Shore Excursions Group. They were small group excursions, which I liked. One of the reasons my wife and I selected this cruise was the itinerary which included Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and, of course Holland America’s private island, Half Moon Cay. The port at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, was apparently built by Carnival. It is very nice. There is a free pool area with loungers and hammocks to the right of the duty-free building. I was told that Carnival also built the port used at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos. There is a free swimming pool area behind the Margaritaville bar/café at the port in Grand Turk. We met many people who were doing back-to-back cruises in the warm, sunny Caribbean. We heard, though, that either US Customs or the TSA requires those passengers to get off the ship and wait in the cruise terminal at Fort Lauderdale before they can reboard on the transition day between cruises. My wife and I did a back-to-back in Amsterdam for the Norway cruises, and we got to stay on the ship there. Some procedures don’t seem to make sense. My wife and I did open dining again. We would typically go to the Main Dining Room about 7:30 pm and get seated almost immediately at a table for 6 or 8 people. We had interesting dinner companions each night. Be prepared for a wait on some nights. On the first Gala Night (of two), the Main Dining Room was not able to handle the number of guests for open seating. There was a wait of 30-45 minutes or longer by 7:30 pm. It was nice of the Dining Room to hand out vouchers for a glass of champagne in the Ocean Bar, along with a beeper. There was a minimal wait for the second Gala Night. When you get to your stateroom, you should find a “Plan Your Voyage” brochure. It lists key events for each day, including World Stage entertainers. It lists the first Gala Night, but not the second. You have to ask when that will be, if you don’t want it to conflict with going to one of the specialty restaurants. It’s easy to lose track of the days on the cruise. Helpfully, the staff puts rugs in the elevators showing you the current day of the week. One of the highlights of the cruise was watching the total lunar eclipse as the ship sailed from Aruba. The overhead lights on the deck could not be turned off. (I asked and was told that would be a Security issue, although Princess Cruises has done that on its ships for preplanned stargazing, with no apparent security problem.) Fortunately, you could still see the eclipse well enough. A change for this cruise is that HAL offered dining packages which provided a discount for eating at several of the specialty restaurants on the ship (e.g., Signature Dining Package, $44 per person for the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto, a savings of $6). All of the packages included Canaletto which suggests that it is underutilized by passengers. The entertainment was mostly very good on this cruise. Kudos go to solo pianist Indre, the Lincoln Center Stage performers (classical music), the Billboard Onboard performers (2 guys this cruise), the BB King's Blues Club (soulful voices), and the Rolling Stone Rock Room (rock ’n roll energy). We saw the first performance by the onboard dance troupe, Stage One; the second performance was cancelled when one of the dancers sustained an injury. The dancing still lacks the “wow” factor of cruises years ago. We enjoyed comedian Derrick Cameron, but not Nikki Carr. We missed the performance by Tom Franek. The juggling and comedy of Hilby was entertaining. With a company like HAL, you would not think that entertainment would still be hit or miss on a cruise. One thing I was more aware of this cruise was the noise level for the entertainers and the need for hearing protection. I have an app for my smartphone called SoundPrint that can measure the ambient noise in decibels (dB). One night it was 94 dB (average) for Billboard Online. On several nights, the reading was 96-97 dB for BB King's sitting away from the stage, and 108 dB on the dance floor. For the Rock Room, the reading was 96-98 dB, and 106 dB on the dance floor. At 106 dB, hearing loss can occur after 3-3/4 minutes; songs last longer than that. At 97 dB, permissible exposure is 30 minutes; performers played at least 45-minute sets with a pause between lyrics. Bring your own ear plugs if you want to be close to the music. I feel sorry for the small child who was held by his mother on the dance floor one night; he is likely to suffer some permanent hearing loss. If you’re a Mariner member, when you check in, be sure to ask when and where the Mariner Welcome Onboard Lunch and Mariner Welcome Onboard Reception will be held. The Check-in Desk was supposed to tell us, but they didn’t, and we missed both events. While you’re waiting to board the ship, go ahead and sign into the Navigator app (really just a website). Select the Koningsdam Guest website for Wi-Fi. Open a browser on your phone and type in “login.com”. You are taken to the website “navigator.hollandamerica.com”. Then register for an account (provide your stateroom number and last name). It’s a handy app for finding out about activities on the ship and seeing your shipboard account. This is free to use on the ship. You can pay for Internet access to the “outside world” and access it through the Navigator. There are many other features for the app; see my previous review for more info. If you’re buying a new smartphone to bring on the cruise, be sure to activate it and download any software updates before you get on the ship. You need a working smartphone to use the Wi-Fi and Navigator app. As a general rule, there was not free Wi-Fi at the ports. You’d have to go into a bar or restaurant and buy something to get Wi-Fi access: e.g., Froots or Margaritaville bar/café in Grand Turk; the Café at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. I think Curacao was the only port with free Wi-Fi (over by the fort). In the past, when my wife and I would sign up for wine tastings, we would get reminders delivered to our room the day before the event. That was not happening this cruise, until we called up Guest Services and asked to specifically get such reminders. Until changes are made to the ship, avoid booking stateroom 4068 and nearby rooms. We met the couple staying in that room. They said they could hear the BB King band in their room when the band practiced in the afternoon (so no napping) and when it played at night. The Hotel Manager was able to find a different, quieter room which they could use for sleeping. There was an ugly altercation among passengers, and between one passenger and the Assistant Cruise Director, in the Billboard lounge one afternoon. This occurred when the second US football (quarterfinal) game ran late and afternoon Trivia was scheduled in the lounge at the same time. Words were exchanged, Security was called (but did not show up for about 10 minutes), and Trivia was cancelled. The cruise staff should have better anticipated the situation and come up with an alternative location (like right across the hall in the Rolling Stone Rock Room). The situation was aggravated by bar staff apparently serving alcohol to footfall fans for 3+ hours. If you plan to disembark yourself, expect a long line. It seems to be very popular to take your own luggage off the ship. You do get to leave the ship first. Just be patient with the line. And, if you have Global Entry membership, follow the signs in the cruise building to get expedited passport control back into the USA. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 3rd HA cruise. The most recent was last year on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal and it was an amazing trip. We expected the Koningsdam as one of the newer ships to be even better, but it was not. The ship is beautiful and ... Read More
This was our 3rd HA cruise. The most recent was last year on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal and it was an amazing trip. We expected the Koningsdam as one of the newer ships to be even better, but it was not. The ship is beautiful and clean. All of the public rest rooms were kept very nicely. The weather was probably the worst of any Caribbean cruise we have ever been on—blame climate change! It rained much of the first sea day, the whole day in St Lucia, and part of most other days. The ship has so many nice, quiet places to hang out, we never minded. On sea days there is plenty to do. My favorite activity is Microsoft On Board. I have learned so much about Windows 10 on 2 HA cruises! The evening entertainment was varied and quite good. The major issue for us on this ship was the food. Several of the fish dishes were dry and not very good. The lobster was awful, and one shrimp cocktail had waterlogged, thawed shrimp. The kitchen seemed more focused on presentation, rather than taste. The soups were so salty I couldn’t eat them. We had the best waiter for dinner— Raymond! The buffet for breakfast and lunch was good with a huge variety. It was usually very crowded but the lines seemed to move fairly well. Between 3 and 5:30 finding something to eat other than waiting 20 minutes for burgers or a whole pizza was difficult. No ice cream after 3 unless you paid for gelato. We really missed a pizza station to get a slice or a soft ice cream machine after coming back from the beach. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We had a beautiful holiday with the Koningsdam. Our overall rating is average. The ship is good, but not perfect. And that is the reason why it is average rated by us. We had better cruises, like with NCL, Princess and Celebrity. We ... Read More
We had a beautiful holiday with the Koningsdam. Our overall rating is average. The ship is good, but not perfect. And that is the reason why it is average rated by us. We had better cruises, like with NCL, Princess and Celebrity. We expected already that the average age of the cruising people is more than 50 years. But I think that we were with 48/47 years one of the youngest on the ship. Not a real problem, but it was almost every day "excuse me, we will continue our walk, but can we pass you? You are blocking the way". Sometimes very irritating. But ok, if we want younger people, we have to cruise on NCL or Carnival etc. Our embarkation was really perfect. In 15 minutes we were already on board (with some help of a very nice man from HAL ;-) ). Our first impression of the ship was good, but it was not glamerous. It is not the "WOW"-effect. There is no attrium with a creature, lightning or other things that gives the WOW. It is standard. This is also in the corridor to the rooms. It is standard. No beatiful paintings or prints. The stairs to the different floors are nice with beautiful paintings or art. When we entered the room (6010), we were suprised. There is a lot of space in the room. Beautiful bathroom, very good bed, a lot of storage, nice balcony. But not really clean. We saw spots on the door, mirrors etc. And the worst thing, the climate-control. The first days it looked that the temperature of the room was not cool, but the display of the control was marked with "cool". We went to the reception and they promised to help this. But after one day nothing was changed. The temperature in the room was too high, worser in the night. Went again back to the reception, they promised again to help. But nothing, even no reaction from them. And surprise, surprise, last evening the temperature of the room was finally COLD! We think that there was a problem with the climate-controle in our place of the ship, but why didnt the reception mention this? By the way, we have send now a complaint to the HAL as we were not happy with this situation! The evening-program was very linked to the people of the USA. Rock and Roll, Blues, pop music. Suprising as the average of people was high! I didnt know that people of 80/90 years like rock and roll....we didnt hahahaha...it was much to loud! And the shows in the theather....really BAD!!! The dance-show, what was this? The BBC-film with live music is ok, but live??? No no, it is some musicians playing with the music-tape from the BBC. Also the other shows we visited were bad (we have very good experiences with the NCL and Celebrity). Food in restaurant was good. Our waiter was ok, the wine-sommelier was slow sometimes. The second glass of wine was mostly after our diner! Meat was very good, but the fish was sometimes fat (looked like it was cooked in oil?). And also here, it was not really clean. The chairs were dirty, the walls were dirty of red wine?? Variaty of food was ok, but we had better experiences with other cruises. Our package of drink was EXCELLENT! 15 drinks a day with a limit of 9 dollar each drink. But most drinks were less than 9 dollar (cocktails, coffees, refreshments etc). Only the choiche of wine was very low with the limit of 9 dollar. We dont like to eat in the buffet-restaurant. So we did this only 2 times in our cruise. Food was ok, but difficult to see which food you could choose. There are no good signs explaining what is for example on the sandwich. Buffet restaurant was mostly very busy. Swimmingpool is nice. And as it was mostly good weather the roof was open. Otherwise it was too hot to stay there. But to sun on the decks it was difficult. You had to pick up your own sun bed, mostly they were blocked with a belt. And places to sun on the decks are not really nice. This can be improved for sure! We did some excursions organized by HAL and some organized by other company. The HAL experience with excursions was good. And most surprising, you could immediately go outside (not waiting for half our in the theather). And also the start-time of excursions, very good. Not 8 o clock, but mostly after 9 (mmmm longer sleep). We had a very bad experience with the border of the Virgin Islands. On every visit we had ever done on a island, with all our cruised, we never had to show our ID. But yes, it is USA, TRUMP-country. We had to show our ID to enter the ship. Our ship-card was not enough. It looked like that we were criminals, unbelievable! Unpolite people of this border-people! Yes we forgot to bring our ID, but to be rude to us. With help of some HAL people we could go back to the ship, to take our ID's and to show this to this rude border-people I hope if these 2 guys ever visit Netherlands they never will accepted by our border!!!! And now the best of our trip. The DUTCH CAFE!!! Many thanks for Pim, Jehan and Andre. What a trio! Always a smile, from 7am till 9pm! And lovely Dutch food, snacks, beer etc. Normally we dont like to go to Dutch cafe's outside the Netherlands, we want to have the experience of the country that we visit. But this was so excellent! It was a pleasure to meet these 3 guys and to visit the cafe every day to eat perfect food and lovely beers! Thanks, thanks, thanks!!! The disembarkation went very good. And again, thanks for the 3 guys of the Dutch Cafe. We enjoyed in the morning the coffee, water and waited till we could disembark in the Dutch Cafe. And before this, it was even possible to have breakfast in the restaurant. WOW! It went so fast, it was so good organized! Read Less
Koningsdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.2
Dining 4.5 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 4.0 3.1
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.6

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