1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Having cruised in the past with a different company, we chose this particular one for its itinerary. However, one chooses a cruise to enjoy the time on board as well, otherwise you would just pick another mean of transportation to get you ... Read More
Having cruised in the past with a different company, we chose this particular one for its itinerary. However, one chooses a cruise to enjoy the time on board as well, otherwise you would just pick another mean of transportation to get you where you want. No entertainment whatsoever during the day, the food-American quality (need I say more?!) Muffins you can hardly bite into, horrible just horrible coffee, cheapest possible juices, restaurant food looks homemade. A cruise should dazzle, surprise, entice, get you home with few extra kilos! As it is, I am on a diet. Furniture, carpets, couches, look old and stained. Everything is dull and poorly decorated. Staff is nice, helpful but they cannot be called professionals. On other cruises, staff amazes you, you keep thinking "how they manage it?!". Well, no wonders here, i guarantee. So: comfort? Little. Food: ikea style. (Actually, i prefer ikea). And the plates and cutlery in the dining restaurant!!! Such poor quality!!! Using those you actually start reconsidering plastic! Entertainment: bring books with you. Thick ones. Staff: nice. Not that professional. Overall cruise experience: as said in the title, ferry like experience. And some ferries are actually better. No exageration. Boarding procedures were carried on alright, though we had to wait for our luggages to be brought. In other cruises, they are in your room by magic before you go in. If you plan on a cruise, choose something you can enjoy. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
I have recently made a Mediterranean cruise with koningsdam from 21 August 11 days. My tourism agency had recommended koningsdam. They said ”new ship, it is very clean and the food is very good” I believed of course. But unfortunately ... Read More
I have recently made a Mediterranean cruise with koningsdam from 21 August 11 days. My tourism agency had recommended koningsdam. They said ”new ship, it is very clean and the food is very good” I believed of course. But unfortunately as soon as I got on board I realized that this was not what I expected. Because I traveled with many different companies I can compare very easily. I have been cruising last 10 years with several different companies and ships. This time is my first time with Holland America. I wish to share my experience for the sake of other customers and as well as your benefit. (Actually I am very busy person who works 10 hours a day but I hope it will be appreciated that I spend my resting time to write this.) I have a very serious complaint about the reception manager (or chef) his name was M...... He made me angry so much. He treated me very unpleasantly. We are Turkish but since we are high level civil servant (We are professor doctor working in university) we were given a “special passport” which we don’t need any visa in EU countries. In every cruise, in check in desk they understand it and they don’t keep our passports. They know special passports or they can easily understand when they look at the pages there are plenty of stamps of many countries but there was not any visa. In Rome port they did the same. They checked the passports and gave them to us. The first day was sea day we would be in Cartagena following morning, But at night I found a note someone calling me to the reception. I went there a girl in the reception wanted me to give our passports to them. It was so strange. She said “my manager wants them”. I refused of course. The explanation was not adequate. She called the manager He said “Turkey is not EU country that is why I want to keep your passport”. It should not be a personal preference. I tried to explain why we did not need any visa. But he was person who cannot understand the situation. His attitude and words were very very annoying and irritating. He insist to take it. (Be honest even if we are not obliged to give it. Since I am a mature and respectful and respective person, If he had asked nicely and kindly I would give it right a way). I said no. Finally he wanted to scan them, I said “I have a copy I can give it”. In that case he dared to insist to get them before 7 am in the morning!!!!(Look at his personal caprice) I was even angrier he had to understand that I was a guest and on my vacation no one has a right to force me to do something. I said “I don’t want to get up very early in the morning”. Following day I ask an appointment for “hotel manager” to discuss this issue and the other issues related with crew behaviour. No one responded. I asked total 3 times for an appointment in different days. He didn’t even send a message to me. I know he must be very busy (actually I am one of his businesses) but even dough he should have had arrange someone else to meet me. He totally ignored me (as many of them). He didn’t give any value and credit to me as a human being who actually prefer and trust them to spend her holiday on his ship. There are plenty of issues to be mentioned: But I will briefly tell. First of all the behavior of the crew (most of them) was the most unacceptable. It seems almost all of them don’t like their job. Or even they hate with what they are doing. No smiling at all. They don’t make eye contact with you they don’t even say hello or any other greetings. From the barmen to the waiters, from the officers to simple mariners every one was tossing out you. I was shocked . (none of the ship had not had such a crew like that). First day as soon as we settled, we wanted to have a drink. We approached to the bar (opposite to “guest relation”) no one cared. I asked for a menu. He didn’t even move and looked at me very unwillingly and showed the wall (there were some writings on the wall). We didn’t drink anything. We went up to the restaurant (self-service) in deck 9. For lunch There were some stations with different type of food and there was one person in it as if they were in prison (They were looking at you as if somebody forced them to stand unwillingly). It was so strange that the self-service restaurant was not self-service. All stations were covered (protected from the customers) by glass. At dinner in the 2. floor is another story. It takes ages to wait for a dish. I had to speak to restaurant chef to attract the attention to be served. The most important thing is security. In the gang way going out and coming back, IN all other ship companies they ask to take off sun glasses and hats. It is very important to recognize the people. But in Koningsdam most of customers were wearing glasses and hats !! No one asked them to take off. Crew were only concentrated if there was an alcohol in the bags. All other companies they serve water and wet cold towels in the gangways in every port they make a tent. But in koninsdam we had nothing. Even water. No one greeted and no one welcomed us. Only last day in Livorno a couple of officers were standing in front of gangway and told “welcome”. And no entertainment at all.. There are many more to tell but these are facts. I have no intention being rude I didn’t mean to offend anybody. Because I respect everybody who does their job properly, I spent my time to give this feedback. I am sorry to tell these perhaps they reevaluate the issues to please their customers and consider them as "guest" Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We upgraded on HAL Mediterranean cruise, to include the services of a concierge. It was very poor value for money. The quality of the food was very poor - numerous errors in the menu. The kitchen staff are better than the passengers!! ... Read More
We upgraded on HAL Mediterranean cruise, to include the services of a concierge. It was very poor value for money. The quality of the food was very poor - numerous errors in the menu. The kitchen staff are better than the passengers!! Couldn’t reach the customer service after being on hold for 10 mins - simply disconnected. The concierge service was only avail till 8pm then just no response. The Neptune lounge was in the interior of the boat no view of the water. The concierges main goal was to know our names but beyond that couldn’t offer anything additional! Very disappointed in our upgrade... really didn’t see any value for money, no significant improvement in cabin, service, or assistance from concierge. Nightly entertainment shows were poor as were the choice of movies. For a “newer” ship no real wow factor. Limited photo ops. Dining room service was also very slow until we spoke to several staff members. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a great time on our first cruise on Koningsdam, cruising the Adriatic in late July/early August. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The service on board was excellent. The ports of call were plentiful on this 12 day ... Read More
We had a great time on our first cruise on Koningsdam, cruising the Adriatic in late July/early August. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The service on board was excellent. The ports of call were plentiful on this 12 day itinerary and although most ports were too crowded due to the dates we were traveling, we appreciated that this itinerary included ports like Koper and Korcula which are a little less popular and hence much more inviting. The entertainment was much better than expected with the music venues available on board offering a wide variety of live performances. Even some of the shows at the main theater were good which was a pleasant surprise compared to our prior cruise experiences. Due to the time of year, the demographics of the passengers included passengers of all ages and from all over the world but was heavy on big multi-generation family groups. The food on board was very good. We dined a number of times in Club Orange because we booked a suite and thought they did a terrific job there. We especially enjoyed the specialty dining at Rudi’s and Tamarind (which remains our favorite cruise ship restaurant on any line). We also tried the special Indonesian night at Tamarind but didn’t care for it as much as the regular Tamarind menu. We did not enjoy the Pinnacle Grill as much as we did on another HAL ship in the past. We ordered room service once and they sent us the wrong food so we didn’t try it again. We purchased the couples spa pass and enjoyed using the hydrotherapy pool and steam room there. The only negatives which I think are worth sharing as they may be helpful to others to know in advance: The main dining room, Lido buffet, and the main theater are too small for the number of passengers when the ship is at capacity. It seemed that anytime dining often included very long waits, the buffet was generally an unpleasant experience unless you visited at off peak times, and the better theater shows often had no seats available at all by the time the show was about to start. The family pool and loungers were too crowded on the two sea days and since staff did not appear to remove any towels/personal belongings from loungers left unattended for hours, there were rarely loungers available. The adult pool usually had space available but the area was full of people smoking. I anticipate that if you sail at off peak times of the year, your experiences would vary considerably on these specific issues but I think they are worth noting so that one can go in with realistic expectations. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
No one told me it would be impossible to change large Euro notes. Guest services warns against taking large notes on tour excursions yet refused to change my 200 Euro note so I could have smaller notes. The person at guest services went to ... Read More
No one told me it would be impossible to change large Euro notes. Guest services warns against taking large notes on tour excursions yet refused to change my 200 Euro note so I could have smaller notes. The person at guest services went to plead my case to the purser. The purser opened the door, looked at me from the doorway, then went back in and the guest services person returned to say the purser had refused my request. I saw they had plenty of change, so this was unreasonable. They did say I could buy Eu200 on my credit card for 3% commission. The next concern I had was with the service charge which now appears daily on our account. No one told me it would cost US14.50 per day, per person. I have always left what I thought was a generous tip to those that gave me exceptional service but have never been forced to tip. For a family of 4, this means you need to budget US580 for tips. This has resulted in the crew not needing to try so hard with their service. For example, I drink tea instead of coffee. Every other cruise, staff have recognised me and automatically remembered this, but not on this cruise. In fact they even tried to keep topping me up with coffee. We tried to book The Dining room several times and the only time available was 5.45pm. Much too early. We tried to walk up and were told nothing was available. On our second last day another passenger said that if we walked up and said we were willing to share a table, they would give us a pager and we could wait in a bar. This should have been communicated to us on at least one of the occasions we tried to book. But when they are assured of a ‘tip’ their service standard drops. Also we did not make use of all of the facilities, so why should our service charge go to those areas when we wouldn’t normally tip them. And why do they put an additional 15% service charge on drinks and coffee? We also had a problem with IT where it could not properly print one of our stateroom cards. This was going to prevent us leaving the boat as the name would not print on the card due to its length. Three times we had to go to customer service and explain our situation all over again, despite them saying they would bring a new card to our room. They kept forgetting about us. The poor customer service really impacted on my holiday. Also I travelled with my sister and they gave us a double bed when we had asked for a twin. I asked for bottles of water on arrival and had to wait until the following day for it to arrive. Then we had a $37.50 beverage charge appear on our account by mistake. This was removed. We took a four meal dining package and the steaks in Pinnacle were nice but not as tender as the wagyu in Chops on the Ovation, but we would have had to pay a surcharge for that. Also included in the meal package was sushi but it didn’t compare to the 5 star sushi on the Ovation, where the soft shell sushi was amazing. The one on the Koningsdam was mostly rice and no shell that I could see. I was told they brought the crab in from another restaurant so it was not cooked by the sushi chef. The barramundi in red curry sauce that I ate in Tamarind was delicious. We returned to Tamarind on the last night to have rijstafel which cost US$30. I saw the menu which had about ten dishes on it and looked very traditional. After soup and salad starter, the other eight dishes were served together on one plate. Not very traditional and not the ‘rijstafel experience’ we expected. To top it off after this meal, I needed the toilet. The cleaner followed soon after and wouldn’t leave until she had serviced my toilet. She banged on the door three times in two minutes, despite me acknowledging her. The Planet earth show with an orchestra playing background music was excellent but too short (40mins). The rest of the entertainment was average. The free movies available in our cabin were recent and plentiful. The food in the complimentary areas was excellent although the msg used in the Asian Fusion area disturbed my sleep. We loved The Grand Dutch Cafe and returned several times for their coffee and croquettes. The shore tours are expensive but very good. We had a nice holiday but it will have to be a very good sale price to get us to try Holland America again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The Good - 95% of the workers are lovely & incredibly hard working. They make up for the ship's many flaws. Embarkation/Disembarkation was smooth, swift & without issues. We had a balcony cabin, & the size of the ... Read More
The Good - 95% of the workers are lovely & incredibly hard working. They make up for the ship's many flaws. Embarkation/Disembarkation was smooth, swift & without issues. We had a balcony cabin, & the size of the balcony was impressive. Ports were also fantastic & the reason we chose this cruise line to begin with. This was our first cruise with HA & sadly will be our last. We have traveled over a dozen times with cruise ships & have used various cruise lines repeatedly, so we had the same expectations for HA. We've never had prior issues/concerns with other ships, so we believed HA would be a repeat cruise line for us as all others have been in the past. Not the case or even close. It seems a lot of corners have been cut from HA & the clients & the hard working employees are the ones suffering. So on to the bad... The unfortunate bad... First, our room was the smallest we have ever stayed in for 3 people. The pull out bed is meant for a child/adult under the size of 5 feet. If you are 5'1+, you will get bruised, scratched & woken up daily because the bed hits right into the desk in front of it & you WILL hit the desk with your feet, etc. The bed also blocks the door to your balcony completely. You must climb over the pull out bed to get in/out of it (ie: to go to the restroom, change, etc) or to get in/out of your balcony (which are all fire/emergency hazards). I would not recommend this room for 3 people, 2 would be perfectly fine (the bed remains a couch the entire time), but definitely not 3, even with a small child as you will have no space or easy access to your balcony. Second issue with the room was the cleanliness. The gentlemen who were in charge of our rooms were as sweet as could be, however, they were also responsible for countless hallways of rooms. It would be physically impossible for these 2 hard working men to completely service/clean the rooms to their fullest. They were both being tirelessly overworked. On arrival, the shampoo/condition/soap dispensers in the showers were all near empty (an oversight & an understood one as these guys could barely get to all the rooms). Additionally, we had nail clippings in the bathroom & balcony, dust in the cabin & no tissue. Clearly, these workers just don't have the manpower or time to do a full on thorough cleansing & this was on our arrival. On 3 separate occasions we were given replacement towels with various stains on them & were unusable. On multiple occasions, we were without towels & had to ask for the dispensers to be refilled. Smoking & noise issues were also a problem with one neighbor (the walls are paper thin) & we reported our concerns repeatedly, but nothing could really be accommodated (we asked to switch rooms), even after 2 separate occasions of cigarette butts on our balcony, I took photos & brought it to the attention of guest services, but they just ask you to let our servicemen be aware & they refer us right back to guest services. It was a joke all the different finger pointing of who to speak with for various issues. None of the employees want to handle or address concerns & refer you elsewhere constantly. We also opted to pay for the unlimited LAUNDRY deal during our stay. This for the most part was a nice option, however, they did lose a laundry item on one occasion & on another instance, we had to wait for 3 days for our laundry return, when it is supposed to be returned within 48 hrs. Again, we were referred to guest services twice to get an update. PHOTOS are another thing - buyers beware. We purchased several & were given wrong photos - definitely check before leaving. Our photos had wrong templates with different dates/locations of a cruise we weren't even on. Last of interest was the FOOD. The taste & quality were fine & not better or worse than other cruise lines. We did the additional pay for Italian Canaletto restaurant & the Asian-fusion, Tamarind. Tamarind was far better than Canaletto (service & food wise). Canaletto food is actually cooked in the Lido buffet area & was a step below an Olive Garden. We had the dine on your own time dining & had no problem getting a table. However, the service in the own time dining is horrible. I believe these workers may be in training because every night we had an issue with incorrect orders (not just us, but many tables around us as well) & lengthy times to be served. Dinner took 2-3 hours for a 3 course meal. We were eventually told (by mistake, perhaps), that the main dining food was the same as what was being served in the buffet's Lido's. An employee brought me a chicken dish & actually admitted HE picked it out for me himself. Lo & behold, the next evening, we decided to opt for the Lido buffet & sure enough the same soup, main entrees & desserts were exactly the same being offered in the main dining menu. We were able to hand pick the food ourselves & eat/finish within an hour, not 3 hours. A few differences on the menu, but 90% was exactly the same, including surf & turf. Lastly, the wine stewards & beverages. We have never been more hounded to drink or pay for soft drinks like we were on the HA. I think because these employees are so overworked, they are really looking to make extra money via tips. We were constantly being bombarded throughout the cruise to purchase alcohol or soft drinks. The stewards would come by multiple times, even after declining & trying to get you to buy beverages (alcohol or otherwise). It was annoying & unnecessary after the first decline, especially, when drink orders, like the meal orders, were being delivered incorrectly to various patrons Our experience about HA vs all the other big name competitor cruise lines we have taken, is that they do all they can to nickel & dime their customers at the sad cost of their hardworking employees. Where other cruise lines provided complimentary toasts at departure, HA passed out beverages (with the aim you believed it was complimentary) & then asked for your key card & said your beverage cost $. No thanks. Chocolate party night - on other lines, was magnificent, creative & worth waiting for. HA had 15 or so servers walking around for 5 minutes at 10pm at night that you had to actually chase down for a thumb sized chocolate sample bite. It was a joke (I took photos to show family/friends because it was comical). Reminded me of the samples people line up for at Costco. Same could be said for their alcohol samples. A complete joke. HA is no value - they are after one thing & it's your money which unfortunately doesn't go into these hard working employees, but the corporate headquarters. The Koningsdsam was a sad disappointment & lacks great service because they are so overwhelmingly understaffed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Very comfortable cruise overall. it's a fair size ship so it can be crowded so if you prefer a more intimate experience this is not for you. Having said that, we were able to find our own space and keep our privacy when we chose. Dine ... Read More
Very comfortable cruise overall. it's a fair size ship so it can be crowded so if you prefer a more intimate experience this is not for you. Having said that, we were able to find our own space and keep our privacy when we chose. Dine as you wish worked a treat! We did room service breakfast alot and it was great. We work out and the gym more than satisfied our needs. plenty of food and dining options, specialty restaurants if you want spend a little more. My only negative critique would be that drinks and wine expensive together with bev packages. 26 days cruise would be steep if we indulged. We would prefer that gratuities be included in the price but you can have them removed at the start of the cruise if you so wish be registering it with guest relations. We prefer to be more personal with our gratuity and know where and who it is going to. All up, a more than pleasant experience with awsome destinations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Pros: Ship rarely felt like it was near capacity, even though it was Generous amount of time ashore in ports Embarkation and disembarkation was the best/fastest/easiest I've seen; also very good for going ashore/coming back ... Read More
Pros: Ship rarely felt like it was near capacity, even though it was Generous amount of time ashore in ports Embarkation and disembarkation was the best/fastest/easiest I've seen; also very good for going ashore/coming back in ports Secondary Eateries (Grand Dutch Cafe, Dive In, Pizza) are quite good and very convenient Sanitation taken seriously Cons: MDR food quality has noticeably dropped since cruises 5 & 15 years ago Waitstaff/wine stewards in MDR and lounges are stretched too thin and cannot serve timely; they need more staff Specialty restaurants touted, but the expense and space should be devoted to the MDR This was a mid-June 25-day sailing combining two "legs"-- western Med and Adriatic. We (H&W + 2 teens) selected it for number and variety of ports; if you were more interested in life aboard the ship than ashore, you need a less port-intensive itinerary. The variety of ports was awesome, and we loved the itinerary with only minor quibbles. This was a great cruise, so please take the critical comments below as constructive criticism meant to be helpful for others considering this ship or a similar itinerary; overall, we would rate the cruise a solid A. It was nice being on a new ship--the more modern touches (LED lighting, better bathrooms) were great. Embarkation in Civitavecchia was a breeze; far easier than any previous onboarding regardless of cruise line or location. Very organized; we showed up around noon for our "suggested" 1pm boarding and were in our cabin not 15 minutes after dropping our bags. Luggage was delivered before we even had a chance to step out for lunch. Cabins (Vista + Inside) were nice, and the stewards were good at keeping up with what looked to be a heavy load. More below. We got the unlimited laundry for $225 and got our money's worth for sure! Note that although the service is nice in that clothes come back folded or hung, the washers are not always thorough and they surely don't pretreat for stains. Excursions: we booked our own for each port, as well as transfers for two reasons. First, on simple transfers and excursions, we saved both time and money. But more fundamentally, we'd done enough with HAL to know that in Europe we would be better off booking our own so we could go faster and do and see a better variety of things. The median passenger age seemed to be about 65. From what I heard, those who took EXC excursions were happy, and I do note that in one port (Livorno, I think) they held the ship for several buses of EXC tours that had been stuck in traffic. Comments on the ones we used: Spain--SpainDayTours and had good luck with those. Gibraltar--Carl at Inside-Out Rock tours, and he was excellent. Malta--Joan Sheridan, best guide of the trip. Split--tour via AirbNB, excellent (and particularly good value) Trieste--ToursByLocals to Slovenia: not good, requested partial refund (enervated guide) Naples--AmalfiCar: fiasco, do not use, ever Catania--cooking class at a local's house via Expedia: excellent. Cadiz (paragliding; canceled due to wind direction), Split (canyoning; canceled due to timing), Dubrovnik (sea kayaking; hard but excellent), Corfu (parasailing; excellent), Rijeka (rafting; nice but a bit slow), Kotor (paragliding; awesome): all but the last booked through Adrenaline Hunter. All but the last had some problem. Adrenaline Hunter is convenient, but I would use it as a research tool to see generally what adventure activities are available in an area, but then I would book directly with the outfitter so that you have better control of the communication and can be specific about times and locations. Specifically, we had issues with all of our excursions mostly related to communications/location/pick-up and timing (we had to cancel canyoning when we found out the night before that the transfer took 2 hours and thus would return us after all-aboard; the website disclosures were ambiguous at best (note further that the outfitter tried very hard to accommodate us, but we just didn't have enough time in port for this one). In general, the operators were all helpful, but AH didn't add anything, and my advice is to pin down every detail before you embark. Transfers: we booked various ones through KiwiTaxi (good/very good), MyDayTrip (mixed) and Taxis For Cruisers (very good). Main Dining (late seating) was a bit rough on the first leg as we had an awful table by the waitstation. Compounding matters, the service often had long gaps between courses (with no beverage/water service, either). This improved on the second leg of the cruise, but was still less consistent than expected and not what you could call "excellent service". Four or five nights we had to let the kids leave early to get dessert at the Lido because the meal dragged on past 10pm (we would be seated at 8:15). Making sure we were seated right as they opened helped some...usually. Sadly, the only way to get more than a garnish serving of vegetables was to go to the Lido. Allergies: daughter has an almost absurd array of food allergies. We had alerted HAL pre-cruise, but it was unclear who should know. Answer: if you have food allergies, see the MDR manager AND let your servers know as soon as the MDR opens. They took the allergies VERY seriously and took great care to ensure her safety. Wine service was poor. Stewards seemed to have gaps in training, and were required to serve far too many tables to be able to provide proper service. One steward we had seemed puzzled that we would have more than one wine open at a time (a white, a rose and a red), as though we should always finish what we had the night before regardless of that evening's meal choices. They also had a hard time managing wines brought aboard...which is pretty frustrating given the corkage fee and the fact we were cruising through great wine regions. (Bottles were "misplaced" for several days, and not stored at proper temperature.) Specialty dining: We ate at Pinnacle and Tamarind, both of which were excellent and nice as a treat...although if they are letting MDR decay as they have they should lower the price point on these. Other dining: I would have to say that I think the Lido food is better than on our last cruise, and generally good to very good. The Grand Dutch Cafe, Dive In, NY Pizza are even better and very convenient. Sanitation: I've read many reviews and heard grumblings from passengers about the Lido food being served by staff (rather than self serve) and that causing lines/crowds/delays. So be it. Indeed, if you are bothered by such things, I invite you to travel on a line that is less serious about sanitation so that you won't ever be in front of me. (One good example I witnessed was when I came up to a Lido station as meal service was winding down. The server was wiping down the service area, and when he noticed me, he didn't stop, but rather said "please wait a minute" [or some such], and then finished the wipe-down AND washed his hands (thoroughly) before serving me. Good training and discipline there.) Club HAL (kids club): we expected our kids to be bored recluses and that there would not be many teens aboard. Wrong. There was a good scrum of teens who mostly got along very well, and my kids had a lot of fun with their peers aboard. They often were the last back to the cabin...and hard to wake in the morning. They had a blast! Bars: meh. Service is average, some drinks better than others, but prices a tad higher than deserved...as usual. Entertainment: We really enjoyed Billboard (dueling pianos) and Rolling Stone (rock band). We wish they could have played a wider repertoire, but we assume they were making valid assumptions about their audience. The BB King and Lincoln Center Stage performances were also solid, although we saw fewer of those. Saw only a few World Stage acts; seemed fine, not great, but we're really not their audience. Fitness Center: Quite good IMHO. Good equipment and only a few were out of order. Enough equipment that few people waited (that I saw), and even then not for long. Happily, a courteous group of pax in there, too. Art: I'm far from an art snob, but I really liked the art on the Koningsdam! It was clever and different, and kept with the musical theme...in sharp contrast to the generic but garish and trying too hard art on every other cruise ship I've been on. Ports: All were good. Rijeka (swapped for Ravenna at the last minute) was a downgrade, but OK. Corfu was just OK. Malta was spectacular. Some of the smaller Spanish ports (Cadiz, Malaga) were a bit sleepy, but that was fine with us. Again, we chose the itinerary because of the variety, and we definitely got what we expected! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Embarkation and disembarkation went as smoothly as we could have ever dreamed. No problem until you are at the Civitavecchia port trying to get anywhere, but that is not the cruise company's fault. The ship is classic and elegant, ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation went as smoothly as we could have ever dreamed. No problem until you are at the Civitavecchia port trying to get anywhere, but that is not the cruise company's fault. The ship is classic and elegant, and not too big. It was easy and quick to get everywhere from anywhere on the ship. The cabins are well appointed, nicely decorated, spacious, with lots of storage space. There was fine dining in the very attractive dining room, and lots of choices in the Lido Buffet. However, it closes early, and although some sections are open longer, it really limits the choices and it gets crowded. Service was excellent everywhere. Entertainment was very poor. You can read a more extensive review in Trip Advisor. We didn't take any ship shore excursions which are outrageously priced, so we booked three on our own, in Katakolon (Olympia), Kusadasi (Ephesus), and the Amalfi Coast with Pompeii. The only disappointment was in Olympia, not with the places we visited, but with our "guide". We hired Manoussis Tours, with a total of 7 people in our group. Adriana wasn't really a guide but a driver who would pick us up at the port, take us to the different places, and return us to the ship. She was not were she was supposed to be and we were expected to find her. Then she gave us instructions to meet her at a parking lot in Olympia which resulted in two of us getting lost and making everyone late because there were two possible ways to go and we forgot which was the right one. It would have been much more professional to meet us all right outside the museum and walk us together to her van. Then she kept us waiting after lunch to pick us up which didn't matter much because we were all having a really good time. We then drove by and got out to see a beach, more to please her than anything else. None of us really cared to go to a beach. Mr Manoussis really tried to accommodate our wishes, and I don't know that it is his fault that things didn't work out very well with our driver. 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
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
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
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: January 2019
Entertainment was the worst ever nothing to do on this ship . They just added Rolling Stone room two 45 min sets most days the only good entertainment on the cruise . Everything shuts down at 10:30 pm you cant find a cup of coffee or a ... Read More
Entertainment was the worst ever nothing to do on this ship . They just added Rolling Stone room two 45 min sets most days the only good entertainment on the cruise . Everything shuts down at 10:30 pm you cant find a cup of coffee or a snack anywhere . The days we stoped at a port of call the casino was closed and there was no entertainment on the ship not even the rock & roll room had a show everyone was walking around with nothing to do . The pools are very small one holds 40 people the othe holds 17 not great for a caribean cruise . The food in the dining room was good & also in the speciality dining rooms the service was good . They seem to focus on a older crowd that dosnt care about doing anything on the ship Im 60 years old . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our third sailing on the K'dam. We booked this cruise because of the itinerary, the new Rolling Stone Rock Room, many food venues, great staterooms and always awesome crew. Ports of call at Tortola, BVI, St. Maartin, ... Read More
This was our third sailing on the K'dam. We booked this cruise because of the itinerary, the new Rolling Stone Rock Room, many food venues, great staterooms and always awesome crew. Ports of call at Tortola, BVI, St. Maartin, Antingua, St Thomas and Half Moon Cay were great. Weather was very good and seas calm. Started with two sea days, which we like. Ate at most of the many dining venues. Spent a fair amount of time in the casino and every night at least one set in the Rock Room. This new venue was packed every set. The band was great, especially the female lead guitar and the drummer. They will be moving on to the Nieuw Statendam after three months on the K. The BB Kings weren't quite as good as other BB King groups we have heard on other HAL ships, but seemed to be well received. Overall, a fun cruise with plenty to keep us occupied. We will be back. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This started poorly with the embarkation process. Very unorganized and SLOW. once onboard, no music (Usually a calypso band playing on other cruise lines), no welcome drink. To top it off, we didn’t leave Port for four hours waiting ... Read More
This started poorly with the embarkation process. Very unorganized and SLOW. once onboard, no music (Usually a calypso band playing on other cruise lines), no welcome drink. To top it off, we didn’t leave Port for four hours waiting for the meat delivery! Holland did nothing to compensate for this late departure. Most lines will serve drinks or snacks or SOMETHING to ease the pain of inconvenience. Thie ship was nice, but the availability of entertainment was far less than mediocre. Also, the service was almost nonexistent at the pool and on deck. Had to keep going to the bar. The main pool was like a sauna because they didn’t fully open the roof! Forget about late-night - no food and not many entertainment options. The Main Stage Theater had less than average entertainment and the showtimes did not coincide with the dining. 2nd Dinner seating was at 7:45 and the last show was at 9:00. The staff was so slow that we had to skip dessert in order to see a show. There were two bands and a dueling piano bar. Nothing available after their last sets at 11 pm. I always felt like the staff was doing me a favor by doing their jobs. I will stick with Royal Caribbean or Carnival for guaranteed fun and better service. Holland America is not for me. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Interested in visiting Islands not visited before. Party of four, two were elderly parents. Embarkation was a hassle. Brought several bottles of Vintage wine, champagne and port on board including bottle of vermouth(wine) as I had ordered ... Read More
Interested in visiting Islands not visited before. Party of four, two were elderly parents. Embarkation was a hassle. Brought several bottles of Vintage wine, champagne and port on board including bottle of vermouth(wine) as I had ordered gin and vodka delivered to room. Vermouth was confiscated at embarkation. Excuse was higher alcohol content, @ 15% alc. (In a martini? This policy is inept. Why spend $100 for the gin and vodka?) Yet they allowed two Bottles of vintage port at 18% alc. (One oz each with dessert.) All except vermouth was to be consumed in restaurant with meals. As my wine was better than any they had on board, corkage fee was irrelevant. Assigned #18, to embark.. Numbers were called in order except called #19 first which was a large group, then #18 which put a smaller group behind them. Sent directly to the adjoining balcony cabins (previously reserved) to drop off carry-ons before joining the crowd at the Lido to eat lunch. Rested 'til dinner on balcony with bottle of sparkling wine as gift. (Late 8 PM seating). Table for the four of us. Chose instead of open dining to have same dinner staff. Knew few phrases of Indonesian which broke the ice and we had a wonderful time with them at dinners. Food and presentation was excellent. To accomplish that for thousands of meals daily is a feat I can't comprehend. My major complaint about dinner is that it conflicted with the show times. Eating late dinner, there was no way to get to the theater shows. This is a major fault as far as my family was concerned, and should be corrected. We never had this problem with Holland America before. Another issue was drinking water and ice bucket. Hierarchy between stewards and in-room dining staff. Couldn't order water and Ice refill together. Got carafe of ice water. Had to order separately. Ice from steward and water from in-room dining. Didn't choose to drink $5 per liter bottled water in cabin. Final issue was a/c in room was sporadic. On packing day, a/c failed completely, and we called to have it repaired. This was done after hour or two, but we really suffered until it was repaired. . We enjoyed the cruise as a whole and the ports. On the whole it is a fabulous cruise if you avoid the pitfalls we experienced. Finally disembarkation. Elderly parents and us were initially assigned different colors. This wasn't feasible and we corrected to black#2, (last off). Mix up in shuttle service handling baggage. Somehow, unnoticed, my bag wasn't loaded, and arriving at hotel, my bag was missing. Shuttle took me back for bag but it was gone. Attempts to find it contacting Holland America personnel was usless. They were loading passengers like robots. Knew there job assigned and that was all. Couldn't or wouldn't help. told to stand over ther and wait. Waited an hour with nothing.Left terminal and finally found heplful porter you called supervisor, who found bag in 10 minutes. Unfortunately this delay caused elderly parent to miss her plane. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Just returned from a 14 day Northern Isles cruise on HAL’s Koningsdam. Had a wonderful time... the ship is very nice with lots of quiet areas to sit. The crew members were very friendly, both on and off the ship. Bar staff quickly ... Read More
Just returned from a 14 day Northern Isles cruise on HAL’s Koningsdam. Had a wonderful time... the ship is very nice with lots of quiet areas to sit. The crew members were very friendly, both on and off the ship. Bar staff quickly remembered our drink choices. We were very surprised to have the Promenade deck (3) to ourselves while walking most days. There is also a small jogging track on deck 11. Cabin - We stayed in cabin 6199 which was located starboard and aft. It was very convenient to walk down to deck 3 for the promenade deck or walk up to deck 9 where the buffet and the Dive In hamburger venues were. We only used the elevators 3 times during the cruise but there did not seem to be much wait time for an elevator. The bathroom was small, as expected, but ok. The toilet was angled toward the shower which would make it a tight fit for someone over 6 feet tall. There was enough room in the shower; also good water pressure. We did have some water temp changes while showering. Dispensers with shampoo, conditioner and bath gel were located on the wall. There was sufficient storage in the room- several drawers but they were not deep. Suitcase will fit under the bed. We had a small sofa and a desk beside the indoor looking out. Balcony size was sufficient with 2 chairs, 1 foot rest and 1 small table. The chairs reclined slightly. Our cabin stewards, Jas and Cristine, did a good job keeping the cabin serviced. Dining - The hamburger and pizza venues were good. The buffet food was also very good with diverse food choices but extremely crowded, noisy, and congested, unless you got there as soon as they opened. Finding a seat was challenging at times. The dining room food was very good, but service was a little slow at times at breakfast. Service was faster at dinner. At dinner, the dining room got to be a little noisy. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind - both were excellent choices. BB King Blues Lounge and the dueling pianos provided excellent entertainment. Expedited disembarkation - very easy and quick once we were allowed off the ship. We took our bags off ourselves. You need to get in line around 0630 (for a 0715 departure) if you want to leave as soon as possible. There was no passport control or customs check once we left the ship. Taxis were plentiful since we got off early. Overall, I would recommend cruising on the Koningsdam; I would sail on her again. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This review will be a comparison with a very similar ship, the Celebrity Silhouette. I think many people might like the comparison since they are similar in size and offer a similar cruise experience. The Koningsdam easily wins for ... Read More
This review will be a comparison with a very similar ship, the Celebrity Silhouette. I think many people might like the comparison since they are similar in size and offer a similar cruise experience. The Koningsdam easily wins for destination since Norway Fjords are way more interesting than the caribbean beaches. Plus the scenery while cruising the fjords is really breathtaking! In terms of food it is really tough, I would say that the people who work on Koningsdam are the friendliest I have ever seen, everyone smiles and wishes you a good day. The Lido buffet on the Koningsdam is better than the silhouette(better breads, soups, salads), but the main dining room on the Silhouette had better service, presentation and food quality. In terms of entertainment this one easily goes to Silhouette and an incredible cruise director named Sue Denning(you really can't find a better entertainer than Sue!). On the Koningsdam I did like the 280 degree theatre with a fantastic presentation of BBC Blue Planet with music played by the Koningsdam musicians, really impressive, but the rest of the entertainment including the singers did not compare with the Silhouette. Now to the ship itself, the rooms definitely look nicer on the Koningsdam since it is newer but the layout on the Silhouette is still better. They have the best concept for adjoining rooms I have ever seen plus you can sit properly on the toilet whereas on the Koningsdam you can't if you are tall(really stupid design!). The Koningsdam is also lacking a large atrium, they have one but it is not impressive like on the Silhouette. The interior of the Koningsdam with its music themed artwork does beat out the Silhouette so I would call it a tie up until the top deck, the designers of the Koningsdam totally forgot to do anything on the top deck of the ship, there is a basketball court and jogging track, but that is it! What sets the Silhouette class ships apart from the competition is that they did an incredible job making the top deck an inviting place. They have an outdoor restaurant that grills delicious steaks, comfortable hammocks, a supersized deck chair that fits four people all on a luxurious real grass lawn. Before taking the cruise on the Silhouette I thought the "lawn" on the ship was a gimmick, but I found myself spending almost all my time up there whereas I almost never went up to the top deck on the Koningsdam. In the end, which was the better cruise, easliy the Koningsdam to Norway, the destination and scenery totally makes up for the small shortcomings of the ship. In comparison of the ships it amazes me that the design and comfort on the Silhouette still beats out the brand new Koningsdam. I would be glad to sail either ship in the future, but if the Silhouette has the better destination it is an easy choice! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
To start with we were very happy with the overall feel and amenities of the ship. Staff outstanding as usual and the layout and shows are great. The cooking shows were the best! The entertainment is better than any of the other cruise ... Read More
To start with we were very happy with the overall feel and amenities of the ship. Staff outstanding as usual and the layout and shows are great. The cooking shows were the best! The entertainment is better than any of the other cruise ships from HAL we have been on. When we arrived we got comfortable in our cabin (4075.) When you book make sure you aren't anywhere near this cabin. After the second night we lay awake every single night to the noise of the Queens Room two stories below us to a point we were dreading go to bed for another uncomfortable night. We were right over the base/sound system. The Queens lounge had the Big Band playing almost every single night till 11:00-11:15 pm. Then the disco started till 1:30-2:00 am. It was so loud that our floor vibrated every night and after reporting this several times they didn't take it seriously and we were not moved to another location like some of the guests in cabins around us. They offered a free meal in the Pinnacle. That is not going to ease the "pain" of sleepless nights. Finally after I recorded the sound at 1:00 am in the morning on my phone they gave us earplugs which made it even worse. The vibration was more noisy with the plugs than without. The fact that we were sailing across the Atlantic and giving up 6 hours of sleep over 8 days didn't help either. The staff/crew is well aware of this problem and they continue to book guests in these rooms. They know about it yet they don't seem to care. Several of our "neighbors" on the ship were relocated because of their complains. However, they didn't seem to take our cause seriously enough to move us (they claimed they didn't have other rooms, however, we heard from other crew members that they weren't at capacity and had empty cabins. This is the first time that I couldn't wait for the cruise to be over with. I was totally exhausted. An apology letter and $150 is what they gave us on the day of departure. The apology is not sincere in my opinion since they know about this problem and don't seem to do anything about it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our trip of the year for my DW me. 55 and 65. We cruise often but are more laid back and less demanding than other. One thing we enjoyed about this cruise was the age groups 50 -80. The lack of children was a big plus for us. ... Read More
This was our trip of the year for my DW me. 55 and 65. We cruise often but are more laid back and less demanding than other. One thing we enjoyed about this cruise was the age groups 50 -80. The lack of children was a big plus for us. I was very uncomfortable believing that the smoking would be an issue but I found next to none in the casino and only a whiff on my balcony. Service was great but the staff was slightly over friendly as I felt the need to return their greetings. I can't speak to the shore excursions as we did our own thing. The entertainment was top notch except for the horn guy.who was a real bore and did 2 shows on our 2 week cruise. The lounge groups were all really good as was the classical quintet . Loved the BB King lounge most though. The 2 piano players were good but sounded too much like banging at times. Food was good with tons of selection. Be sure to have the beef Wellington.. It is wonderful. Koningsdam is a beautiful well managed ship. We loved it and would book her again Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My sister and I chose this itinerary to get a feel for my ancestors' lives. My Grandma left a tiny island for Alaska when she was 16 to work in a mining camp. The similarities are remarkable, except the scenery is Alaska on steroids! ... Read More
My sister and I chose this itinerary to get a feel for my ancestors' lives. My Grandma left a tiny island for Alaska when she was 16 to work in a mining camp. The similarities are remarkable, except the scenery is Alaska on steroids! And the ports, ah, the ports have been forgotten by the Diamond vendors, and chotchke shops of the Caribbean that have taken over the Alaskan ports. Norway is still run by charming Norwegians, who value tourists and care for your tourist dollars (and the VAT you leave there), which helps support their charming lifestyle. I had sailed the Konigsdam in her first season in the Mediterranean, and what an improvement! Tender lines were short, if any. Never a walk off line, and the ship was full. The only time it felt crowded was just before the Lido closed for lunch about 2:00pm, folks rushing back from shore to eat, get back a bit earlier, or plan to order room service, avoid the crush. On this 7 day, we never ate in the MDR once. It was something we planned to try. The ship has many lovely dining venues. Pinnacle Grill, as always, great. Canaletto, delicious Italian, and best value of all. Culinary Arts Center surprised us, a Tapas Menu (previously it was farm to table) and the new menu was awesome! Harry, our waiter, chose several items for us from the tapas menu, then had paella, delicious meal to share. We would have gone back again, but didn't discover it until late in the cruise. The deLibrje (?) Pop Up in Pinnacle is a once per cruise extravaganza, and should not be missed if you are a foodie. Rudi's in Sel de Mer was quite special because Rudi Sudimon was on board this cruise and it was a night to remember. He and his staff put together a 9 course meal we won't soon forget. Tamarind is so calming and peaceful, the menu is Pan Asian and the food is delicious. My mushroom allergies left many wonderful dishes out of reach, but we had a memorable meal here too. Many don't know that if it's lobster night in the MDR, it's also the same in the Lido. There was a World Cup Match on the big screen by the Lido pool, so we grabbed our lobster and watched the match with our swimsuits on! Also a memorable night. The Music is especially wonderful on the ship.Lincoln (Kennedy?) Center Stage the classical music stage plays music you know during their "recital programs." Beatles, Elton John, Radiohead (ask the grandkids).The BB King Queens Lounge is next, though most nights we run between the dueling piano bar next door to sing and there to dance. They play fun songs you know, like Earth, Wing & Fire, Bruno Mars, Pharell William's, doesn't matter if you know how to dance, everyone is out there having fun. Best BBKing band I've seen on 6 ships. John & Jordan on the Pianos are hugely talented, one sounds just like Billy Joel, the other does really high & low notes, they too pack them in every night. At least on out Norway cruise they did. The bar crew didn't mind us ordering waters or bringing drinks from next door. They were great! They have America's Test Kitchen in the Culinary Arts Center, also very well set up so all can see. There are 2 every sea day. There is a wine barrel mixing, but since I don't drink wine, and Chateau St. Michelle is 6 miles from me it never interested me. There is a very lively Scotch tasting bar, big with the Europeans, right next to the Piano Bar. I did mostly HAL excursions, which I felt were reasonable for the price, considering the price of gas, food and time involved in each. Our guides spoke English perfectly, we were given plenty of time for toilet and lunch breaks, and were never on the Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Nice ,new ship.balcony stateroom pretty nice,but on the small size.cramped bathroom,not well designed,difficult to sit.shower head didnt fixed well.first and secod day,steward didnt come to clean the room untill 3p.m,we went to complain ... Read More
Nice ,new ship.balcony stateroom pretty nice,but on the small size.cramped bathroom,not well designed,difficult to sit.shower head didnt fixed well.first and secod day,steward didnt come to clean the room untill 3p.m,we went to complain and after this no problem.Molde port,I think was choosed to give expencive trips.staff in dining room pushed to order drinks,not always in good manner.But all in all nice experience,mainly because of new ,and well organized ship and crew.good port of calls,exept Molde,I think to push you expensive excursions.Super Geiranger and Bergen.embarkation and dis..well organised. Tender in Geiranger good .In dining room crew pushed you yo order drinks ,expensive.Super restaurant Tamarind!!nice experience delicious food also in dining room.In north cruises I think not to order balcony room next time.bit cold to seat.Just ocean view enough.A lot of disabled on board,somrtimes feeled like in reabilitation hospital.but its not much to do.It was world cup and they translated it at the big screen near the pool.by the way jakuzzi near the pool always occupied by children.a problem if you want to seat there Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My family of five and my sister-in-law's family of four decided on this cruise to Norway based upon the calendar, the excursions available and the age of the ship. Regarding the last criteria, we like to cruise on newer ships. That ... Read More
My family of five and my sister-in-law's family of four decided on this cruise to Norway based upon the calendar, the excursions available and the age of the ship. Regarding the last criteria, we like to cruise on newer ships. That led us to the Konigsdam for its 7-night trip from Amsterdam to Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Flam, then back to Amsterdam. Our ages range from 18 to 58 and are all in at least "good" physical condition. For that reason, we were really looking forward to the excursions we booked through Holland America: biking in Oslo, white-water rafting in Kristiansand, the hike to Pulpit Rock (Preikstolen) in Stavanger and the Flam Railway and hiking tour in Flam. None of us had ever taken a Holland America ("HA") cruise before and we were interested to see what one would be like. Between the 9 of us, we had two Neptune suites, a regular suite and a verandah cabin. First the good: The ship is beautiful and well-designed. Everyone was very pleased with their cabins. Very comfortable and plenty of closet and storage space. The verandahs were ample and the suite bathrooms had not only shower stalls (nicely sized) but also whirlpool tubs. The latter were great to have after some rigorous hikes. The common areas were also very nice and the ship's spaces were all comfortable and accommodating. The food: Excellent. We are not "buffet" people. So, no comment on the food offerings there. The main dining room is a beautiful space on two levels. The food in the main dining room was excellent in quality and choice. Service was a little slow, however. We could not seem to do dinner in under 2 hours. This is a problem when you want to make a show or other activity. We chose open dining and, while it took some wrangling each day, we were always able to get either a table for 9 or two tables (5 and 4) right next to each other. The specialty restaurants ranged in quality. Tamarind, the Asian restaurant, had excellent service and food. It is a stand-alone restaurant that is very attractively appointed. So too is the Pinnacle Grill. Also very attractive. The food selection and quality was very good, but not great. And the service was extremely slow. Canaletto's is the Italian restaurant offering smaller plates for sharing. The food was good. But, we could not get over that it is basically a cordoned-off section of the buffet area. Accordingly, there is no intimacy or atmosphere to the restaurant whatsoever. Not good. If I am paying a premium for a specialty restaurant, it should be a stand-alone that is attractive and comfortable. This was neither. NOTE: While our experience with the specialty restaurants was mostly pleasant, reserving them was anything but. We bought a 3 specialty restaurant package in advance of the cruise (providing a $10 savings per person) for each person in our party. However, HA does not allow you to reserve the dates and times of your dinners in advance. So, when we arrived on the ship, we found that we were "assigned" dates and times without consultation. Luckily for us, our first dinner (Tamarind) was the first night at 7:00 and it worked for everyone involved. But then, we were told we had 5:15 pm dinners for the other two restaurants on dates that did not work for us. We had to spend way too much time re-arranging our dining reservations (and then confirming that they were right) for these restaurants. Had we know this, we would never have bought the packages to save a mere $10 per person. HA needs to allow those purchasing in advance to reserve their dates and times in advance. After all, they are giving HA their money in advance. So, in addition to the meager savings, they should add the perk of reserving in advance. Now, the bad: The ship is beautiful and accommodating, but anything but lively. Maybe this is HA's "thing", but we found the overall atmosphere of the ship to be boring. Our 18 through 27 year olds said the nightlife was terrible and there was really nothing for them to do past 11:00 p.m. Even we 50-somethings found the bars closed too early and the venues for dancing, drinking and gathering past 10:00 p.m. to be limited and poor. If you were not into dueling pianos or a blues/R&B club, you were out of luck. Unlike Celebrity ships we have cruised, there is no real "club" on the ship where people (of any age) can dance and drink into the later hours. Maybe that is intentional on HA's part. But, it was not for us. Moreover, the demographic of the ship was definitely "an older crowd". We figure the average age was 60+. The excursions: Far too expensive for what we got. The bike tour in Oslo was a joke. Our guide was useless and without detailed knowledge. And the route was uninspired and, at times, too congested to even ride. We feel like we got no real introduction to Oslo. The white-water rafting was a lot of fun and very exciting. But, unlike what the brochure advertised, we did not get 3 hours on the water. Rather, between getting there, being equipped and then carrying our rafts around, we maybe had 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the water. It was fun while rafting, but for $230 per person (with no lunch), it was overpriced. So too was the hiking trip to Pulpit Rock. This was a great hike: very difficult but rewarding when you ultimately arrived at the top and were privy to fantastic views. However, at $190 per person, I don't know what the money went to. Other than a bus and ferry ride and a cold sandwich, there are no guides (not even on the bus to tell you about the areas you are driving through) and we did all the hard work (the climbing). It seems the only thing you get from HA is a guarantee that the boat will not sail without you. Finally, the train/hiking excursion in Flam was also not worth the price. At $210 per person, you got a one way ride on the train and a waffle. Once the guide got off the train, he never said a word. So, as far as I can tell, HA makes a killing on this trip as my research tells me that the train ticket for the ride we took was probably between $50 and $70. Add $20 per person for the waffles and HA is pocketing more than 50% of the cost. We would never do excursions through HA again. Finally, the ugly: Embarkation. We arrived for our sailing at about 3:45 p.m. for a 5:00 p.m. departure. There was no line at that time but it still took way to long to get aboard. This is because, despite checking-in in advance online, HA had our information wrong. Our group had two suites with my wife and I as the financially responsible parties for ourselves and our two sons and my older son's fiancée. However, upon getting our embarkation materials, we found that HA had my son's fiancée as the main contact person and financially responsible party. This required wasted time "fixing" this info before boarding. And, despite addressing it at embarkation, she was still the main contact person (for dinner reservations and announcements) until we finally got the concierge in the Neptune Lounge to fix it. BTW, perhaps this was not the case earlier in the day, but when we checked-in, there was neither a dedicated line for suite guests nor for those who checked-in in advance online. Debarkation: We had Expedited Debarkation due to an early flight home on 7/1. This was supposed to mean that we could exit the ship prior regular debarkation starting at 7:30. It also meant we kept our bags with the understanding that we were responsible for getting them off the ship ourselves. However, as 7:15 came, we tried to get down to the A deck where we could depart. However, the elevators would only take you to Deck 1. When we exited the elevator, we found a hoard of other Expedited Debarkation passengers crowding the elevator lobby waiting to depart. Then, when the ship's crew finally said we could depart, it was madness. There were so many people wanting elevators that most opted instead to lug their bags DOWN THE STAIRS to the A deck. Not only was this totally disorganized but, frankly, it was dangerous. We had no real problem doing it. But, there were elderly people forced to do it too who were trying to negotiate getting down the stairs with heavy bags in very crowded conditions. I can honestly say I have not experienced anything like this on a cruise ship since a Carnival cruise I took in the early 90's. It was ridiculous. How could HA not organize this better? Whoever the person responsible for safe and orderly expedited debarkation is, that person should lose their job. All in all, Norway was great. But, Holland America would not be our choice again for this destination or, for that matter, any other. 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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