3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We were handed beepers our first three dinners because the dining room was too full and had to wait for 45 minutes...it felt like we were at a Chili's or something... Not a good first impression The food is pretentious and portions ... Read More
We were handed beepers our first three dinners because the dining room was too full and had to wait for 45 minutes...it felt like we were at a Chili's or something... Not a good first impression The food is pretentious and portions are very small. The Lido deck is not a buffet and you are forced to ask someone to plate your food for you. This causes lines and long waits for something as simple as a Caesar salad. FIRE!! There was also a fire on our cruise that was announced over the ships intercoms. My wife was in tears after that and left a very poor taste in our mouths. Beware Vegetarians!! Usually there was only one vegetarian option. We asked to have meals just without the meat multiple times are we're told no... If you love beets and mushrooms, this is your ship though. Cilantro is on everything... Lots of people hate this stuff...beware. Portion sizes are TINY compared to a cruise lines like Princess. Where I received a full beef wellington on princess, I only received a slice on HAL. Also, it was cooked medium and the breading was a soggy mess when I got it... The entertainment is awful. They have one good band (BB King band) and the rest is shockingly bad. There was an hour long presentation on the "art of towel folding".... If thats not bad enough, Microsoft also has daily seminars on how to use Windows 10...I'm not joking, this is the entertainment on your cruise. The staff is really the only shining light on this ship. All of them were incredibly friendly, but there are just so many drawbacks about this ship. We will never come back and definitely would not recommend sailing with them unless you get a massive deal. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the stops in Greece did not disappoint they were amazing. This is our 17th cruise and have been on all the major lines. Getting on the ship was very easy and very quick. The ship itself is ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the stops in Greece did not disappoint they were amazing. This is our 17th cruise and have been on all the major lines. Getting on the ship was very easy and very quick. The ship itself is still fairly new and is in great shape. The main pool is very nice, one of the nicest I have seen in a while there is plenty of room and you don't feel sandwiched in. There are many spots to sit including areas by the outside glass that have curtains that partition off areas. The level above the pool also has lovely seating sofas which are very stylish and an eatery that not many people go to, they serve salads and pizzas and snacks. All this being said this ship is not designed for kids as there is no kids pool so the 500 or so kids on this ship made the main pool their home and at times the area was really noisy. The pool on the back of the ship is just plain, really did not like hanging out there. I was shocked that there was no sail away party, with music and dancing like they have on most ships. The food on this ship was good, we did anytime dining and hardly ever had to wait for a table, this includes the main dining room. All of the public washrooms on this ship were always clean and working, they were in pristine shape. They were also centrally located. In the buffet they dish out of the food for you and I thought this was a plus, it minimized people touching food that they shouldn't. The band that played in the BBKing lounge was amazing, we listened and danced to them many nights. They also had dueling pianos which were good. There was a hard rock band which was not very good and we listened for a couple of songs and never went back. This ship did not have any major shows, with singers and dancers. They had three male singers from the UK who all came from Broadway shows, they were very good and we saw their three shows. They also had a comedian for one night, but then he did not have anymore shows anywhere during our sailing. One night they had a local group come in and sing and dance we walked in and did not even sit down. One night they had a documentary in the main theatre and they called this one of their main shows.... In the pool area at night they had films, one night the film was not starting and there was no one around to ask so after 20 minutes or so we went up to one of the staff and they said they had technical difficulties but failed to let anyone know. We like a lot of entertainment and thought that this ship came up short in that regard. We did however like the chat with the captain that they held in the main theatre, it was very informative. We also attended one of the Americas test kitchen shows in the day time and the flower arranging demonstrations. We did the kitchen tour, it was fairly quick but interesting to see. There was no live music by either pool during the day. This ship was one of the smoothest that we have been on, the weather on this specific cruise was also very good. Getting off the ship was also very easy and quick. Katakolon-We did the winery and the beach with the tourist train, very easy and fun. Athens-We bought a two day pass for the Red hop on hop off bus,it picks you up at the port and went to the Acropolis the first day and did other sites. Had lunch at Gods restaurant in the Plaka, we ordered calamari and salad. The calamari was so huge and very tender, probably the best I have ever tasted. The second day we took the beach line and went to a beach club. You can ride the bus all the way down to the end, it then turns around and heads the other way, very pretty views. Mykonos-walked around the port area,very pretty and had lunch at one of the restaurants. We walked to the windmills and continued past them to two beaches. Kuadasi-went to Ladies beach , which was crazy busy. Had lunch at Ladies Beach restaurant which was amazing. Rhodes-went to the Palace of the grandmasters it is open from 8 to 20:00 and costs 6 euro to get in, what an amazing castle.Then we went to Ellie beach restaurant beach club. Very nice chairs 16 euro for 2 loungers and an umbrella Santorini- We took the boat to Oia, spent the morning there, it was crazy busy. Very scenic. Then took the bus back to Fira in the afternoon, had lunch at Salt & Pepper which was very good. Took the cable car down to the port. Chania- I knew very little about this port, it turned out to be my favourite stop. We took the bus from the port into town. It drops you off across the street from the market. We went to the waterfront which looks like Venice, very scenic. We walked to the lighthouse and stopped to put our feet in the water in a mini beach. We walked around that whole area and the many streets behind the waterfront that have restaurants and shops. We also walked down to the beach, but only stayed for a short while. Then went to the market. Naples-We took the hydrofoil to Sorrento. It was very pretty. If you have never been to this area of Italy before my recommendations would be to go either to the Amalfi coast or to Capri, which we did last year. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 13th cruise and the 2nd on HAL. We sailed the Baltic on the Zuiderdam last year and it was so wonderful that we tried to re-create it with a different itinerary. The Baltic definitely wins the weather contest, as this time we ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise and the 2nd on HAL. We sailed the Baltic on the Zuiderdam last year and it was so wonderful that we tried to re-create it with a different itinerary. The Baltic definitely wins the weather contest, as this time we were in the Mediterranean during a heat wave, but we still had a very good cruise. The Koningsdam is beautiful and service on HAL continues to be a high point. Most of the staff seemed to go out of their way to demonstrate genuine warmth. Our cabin stewards, Edi and Rangga, and our dining staff, Sang and Eka, were top notch. We loved that this ship has a full promenade deck for us to stroll every evening, although the view is somewhat blocked by life boats. The activities on HAL suit us; we don’t need a rock climbing wall! We especially enjoyed the America’s Test Kitchen demonstrations, since we are fans of the show at home. I have seen reviews in which people were disappointed in the entertainment, but we were not. We did not go to everything, but some highlights were the fabulous pianist Tian Jiang, the local Croatian singers and dancers, and the BBC Earth movie set to live music. The Lincoln Center performers were stellar, and the “music walk” bars are a fun and creative feature. Food in the main dining room ranged from good to great, and our meal in the Pinnacle Grill was excellent. We found some good things in the Lido buffet, but it seemed that there were less choices than on the Zuiderdam and one side was often closed even at busy times. I notice that some reviewers did not like that the Lido staff serves the items rather than self-service, but I appreciate the attempt to control the spread of germs. In fact there were a few side dishes that were self-serve this time and I didn’t like it. I don’t remember that from the Zuiderdam. A few complaints: Smoking is allowed in the casino. I think it’s only supposed to be in a certain part but the smoke doesn’t know that. I respect people’s right to smoke, but in a closed area it affects non-smokers too. The casino usually was not crowded so it wasn’t too bad, but one night I had to leave my favorite slot machine when someone beside me lit up. I like the way HAL does happy hour. You buy a drink and the second one is only $2, plus they have some pretty good snacks. However, our dinner time was at 5:30 and happy hour was from 5:00 to 6:00! No fair! There was another one at 10:00 but we enjoy drinks before dinner. This was the first time I have ever used the ship salon but the humidity in the Mediterranean was not my friend. I was impressed both visits, first with Jalena and then with the young man from Bosnia. Disembarkation was the best we’ve ever experienced. Embarkation could have been better. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. and were met by lovely staff who showed us where to sit and wait. It was a rather long wait, because they had to get the ship ready after the previous cruise. When the buses finally arrived, however, a lady with a HAL sign led a group of new arrivals to the bus first, while motioning impatiently for our group, who had been waiting the longest, to sit back down and wait some more. It was another half hour before the next bus came. Once we were at the cruise terminal, we waited another hour or so but it was a pleasant place to wait. My suggestion would be for the airport welcome staff to keep a list of arrivals and call them in that order when the buses come. We enjoyed all of our ports, although there were a few mishaps. DUBROVNIK - We need a do-over here. We walked the city walls but unfortunately it was 91 degrees with extreme humidity, and I felt ill after climbing the many steps. I exercise and believe myself to be in good shape, but this was hard for me. My husband did not have difficulty, however, so maybe it was just me. Anyway, it affected the rest of our time there. I would love to try again at a cooler time. Dubrovnik is beautiful. HAL charges about 16 euro per person for their shuttle to town. KOTOR - One of the most beautiful places we have ever seen! We strolled the old city and had lunch. There is a wall to climb but we didn’t because of my previous experience. When we arrived in the tender, lots of young men tried to sell us boat tours. They offered a 1.5 hour tour at a reasonable price to Perast and Lady of the Rock that I might try next time. SPLIT - We visited Diocletian’s Palace and Saint Domnius Cathedral, where we climbed the bell tower for beautiful views. Then we strolled the waterfront. This is an easy port to do on your own. RIJEKA - We were originally scheduled to visit Ravenna, Italy but our itinerary was changed. We had rather low expectations for this port but ended up enjoying it. Go to the friendly tourist office at Korso 14 and they will tell you everything you need to know. We bought city bus tickets across the street from their office and visited Trsat Castle, a lovely place to walk and take in the views. Rijeka does not seem as touristy as some ports and the people there were especially nice. TRIESTE - In retrospect, we should have done an excursion here. We went to see the Roman ruins and San Giusto castle and they were fine but nothing spectacular. HAL offered excursions to Slovenia and to Venice that were tempting but expensive, as well as some shorter tours. But they sold out fast! CORFU - Lovely, fun, friendly town to stroll and have lunch. There were 5 ships in town, however, and the crowd for security at the cruise terminal was a disorganized madhouse. There has got to be a better way. CATANIA - The HAL excursion to beautiful Taormina was great. It would have been easy to walk back into town from the ship afterwards but our tour guide took us through on our way back and we felt like we had seen it. VALLETTA - We could easily have spent two days here. If you like military history, you will love it. We visited the Malta at War Museum and Fort St. Elmo, but there’s lots more to see and it’s easy to do on your own. NAPLES - We went with HAL to Pompeii. Great tour. Overall, we loved our cruise and we look forward to sailing with HAL again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Overall we had a great cruise in the Mediterranean on board the Koningsdam. It's a newer ship and very pretty inside and out. The public spaces, music walk bars, pool areas, lido deck buffets were are all well organized and staffed. ... Read More
Overall we had a great cruise in the Mediterranean on board the Koningsdam. It's a newer ship and very pretty inside and out. The public spaces, music walk bars, pool areas, lido deck buffets were are all well organized and staffed. The Crow's Nest lounge was one of our favorite places on the ship. The outdoor exercise track was the best place for taking pictures when coming into port or passing a really interesting geographic feature. Cabin - We had a nice aft facing vista suite. Nothing to complain about except the toilet is mounted at a 45 deg angle that really leave no leg room when seated, so if you happen to have legs you be forced to sit at a very awkward angle to use this appliance for its intended purpose. (I can only image the arguments that happened in the design phase of this ship over this "compromise" solution. I'm sure there were some great exchanges! Maybe an interview by Cruise Critic? Would certainly be entertaining.) Food - The food was simply fantastic. Most people said it was the best on any cruise they've had. Chocolate desserts were varied and outstanding. MDR was run efficiently and other than the sommeliers being stretched a bit too thin, things went fine there for us. Pinnacle grill was a very nice meal for us, too. If you like espresso drinks, the Dutch Cafe and Explorer's cafe in the crow's nest are great too. Entertainment - This was probably their weakest suit but this was really an excursion cruise so not a big deal to us. The BB King blues band was the best thing on the boat featuring a great group of musicians. The Billboard lounge dueling piano players were second rate and the rock band was okay at best. There were some shows on the world stage, I did not see much of that but one act I caught was a cheesy singer putting on a show for an unenthusiastic audience. Plenty of opportunities to socialize and make friends and we enjoyed that greatly. Try trivia or some of the other ship activities. Whiskey tasting at the Notes bar is a great idea but needs to move to a quieter location where you can have a conversation. The casino was lightly attended. Two pools on lido are available, mid ship and an adult only pool aft. Most of the smokers hang out by the aft pool but it wasn't overwhelming as the smokers congregated mainly in one covered section and it was easily avoided. I swam there every day so I did not find it to be an issue. Service - I really cannot say enough about how good the service staff is. From servers to housekeeping these folks hustle and work hard, are polite, remember names and drinks you've ordered. I was impressed. Ports - Everywhere we went was pretty interesting and fun. Due to it being high season, we encountered some crowds at main attractions like the old town of Dubrovnik (truly over run with tourists, tacky tourist trip shops, but some side street cafe's were still bright spots and I would still recommend walking the walls of this city for the history and views.) Among the highlights were Kotor, Sicily and Malta. I cannot say enough about sailing into the ancient seaport of Velletta, Malta. Don't sleep in! I got my camera and took some amazing photos in the early morning light. You won't see a port like this anywhere else in the world, it's a time capsule. The last sea day was a cruise past the active volcano, Stromboli. Since it had just erupted 2 days earlier there was a lot to witness. The Italian Navy was present to be ready for an evacuation of the island and there were 2 firefighting sea plane dowsing out lava spawned fires that threatened the town at the foot of the volcano. Everyone on board was treated to front row seat to a fascinating operation and a string of small eruptions of lava that were plainly visible. Excursions are not our thing so I will not comment other than to say these folks were highly organized and will get you a good guide and tightly run tour if that is your thing. Wifi services were pricey and not that great but if you need to be online, you can be. Pick-ups and transfers were handled extremely well. The hallmark of this ship was that a great deal of professionalism and organization allowed guests to relax and enjoy the trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise had a good itinerary. We stayed for 3 days in Rome, it was a disgrace, with rubbish piled up in the streets everywhere. Embarkation was very efficient. However, the entertainmemt is very poor. There is no orchestra, no big ... Read More
This cruise had a good itinerary. We stayed for 3 days in Rome, it was a disgrace, with rubbish piled up in the streets everywhere. Embarkation was very efficient. However, the entertainmemt is very poor. There is no orchestra, no big dance productions, just 6 ballet style dancers. hALmust be cost cutting. There was no library. BB Kings played the same music every night. The Lido buffet was always crowded , with lines for everything, no self service so you had to explain what you wanted. Some of the servers had difficulty understanding English. Activities consisted of bingo or trivia, no dancing classes at all. The computer classes were impossible to access as ithey. were always packed. Internet expensive. Hard sell constantly for beauty salon. The decor on the ship is dingy. The Cruise Director did very little, apart from introducing stage acts. He rarely smiled and ever made a joke!! Overall a big disappointment. We will never sail o HL again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise as I had previously used HA for Med cruises and really enjoyed the experience, rated it as the best cruise line I had been on This time was quite different and although the staff are still fantastic the changes to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as I had previously used HA for Med cruises and really enjoyed the experience, rated it as the best cruise line I had been on This time was quite different and although the staff are still fantastic the changes to the ship made it impossible to find a quiet place to sit and read or talk The promenade deck was reduced to a very small area with no room for loungers in the shade where you could have a quiet rest looking at the sea and the lifeboats hung in the way so not much view There wasn’t anywhere on the boat we could get away from loud piped pop music and the only loungers were in the full sun There were so many children in the pool area that made it noisy and a very hot place too The adults pool and spa were in a smoking area so smelly and hot! The lunch dining room is not available now and there are no libraries They don’t have the events like they used to and the free drink and nibbles for sail away and last night is no more The shows are not nearly as elaborate although this ship had a great screen background and technical capability for laser shows You are constantly bombarded with requests to buy alcohol if you sit anywhere on the ship The jogging area was really tiny Everything is now designed to make more money We won’t hurry back and will try other lines now Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My husband and I have just returned from an 11-day cruise to the Mediterranean, our first cruise with Holland America. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, it covered pretty much all the places we wanted to see (except Venice). ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from an 11-day cruise to the Mediterranean, our first cruise with Holland America. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, it covered pretty much all the places we wanted to see (except Venice). We are not big drinkers or late night activity seekers, and we are easy to please with food. We are all about sightseeing. We spent 4 days in Rome first (on our own). We were very pleased. I had some concern with the entertainment based on other reviews however we were very pleased with what we saw. The ship was very clean and the staff was, we thought, happier than other cruises we have been to. Embarkation and disembarkation were very organized and quick. I saw many advantages of it being a newer ship. The bathroom had a real shower which we greatly appreciated, very roomy, for a nice shower after a sweaty day of sightseeing. The angle of the toilet was really not a problem. There are electrical outlets and USB ports all around the cabin. The balcony was roomy and the glass door was immaculately clean. There is ample storage. We purchased the unlimited laundry service and it was so worth it. Our stewards Christina and Agu were wonderful. We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants and had most of our dinners in the dining room. The quality of the food was a bit inconsistent, and presentation was generally better than flavor/texture. The Lido buffet was very varied and I liked the fact that most of the time you need to be served, which contributes to hygiene and illness prevention. They have these awesome hand washing stations. We would have liked to see food available at all times. One day we wanted to have a late lunch and all the stations were closed (we went to the grill instead, no big deal). There were no lines for the big theater as I had read. In the dining room, we did have a wait (approx 20 minutes) on both formal nights. We loved the Planet Earth show with the string quartet and the dueling pianos shows. The Knights (3 guys) were fabulous, so talented. We did not have any complaints about the service in general. This is a large operation and everyone seemed focused on service. Every time I cruise I think about these people, away from their families for months... We did all our excursions with Shore Excursions instead of the cruise line's, to save money. Now that I know that in Santorini the the passengers who bought the excursion with them are given priority into the tenders, I would have purchased that one with HAL. We ended up losing about an hour on land. Santorini is absolutely beautiful. We liked everything we saw (again, easy to please). I guess Athens was my least favorite one although the Acropolis was memorable. We saw a lot of decay and graffiti. Lastly, HAL offers Catholic masses and this was so wonderful (and convenient). Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first Holland America cruise and we didn't know what to expect with the cruise line in general or our ship (Koningsdam). We have taken several cruises before with other lines (Princess, Celebrity, RC, and Carnival). ... Read More
This was our first Holland America cruise and we didn't know what to expect with the cruise line in general or our ship (Koningsdam). We have taken several cruises before with other lines (Princess, Celebrity, RC, and Carnival). This was by far the best cruise of them all from the itinerary, to the condition of the ship, to the service of our room attendant and wait staff in the main dining room. I would agree with some other reviews that getting in to see a show in the main theatre is challenging unless you arrive very early. We didn't, so we chose not to attend any of the main theatre shows. Instead we took advantage of the Lincoln Center, BB King's blues, and the Rolling Stone Rock rooms which were all very good. Our room attendant for our cabin (6184) did a fantastic job of keeping our space clean and coming up with creative towel animals each night. Jo and his assistant got extra tips from us for their efforts. Jo and his assistant were the first to call us by name after just a few minutes on the ship. The room was a standard veranda and was quite comfortable for two people. I really liked the large screen TV and the features that it offered. There are some enhancements that could be done to improve this (like broadcasting the main theatre performances), but overall there were lots of movies to choose from or some live TV if you wanted to catch up on events. The only issue we had was that ESPN's signal was spotty on occasion. The room was ready for us when we boarded and we received our luggage quite quickly as well as some flowers my in-laws arranged to celebrate my wife's birthday. There is ample storage room in the closets and different cubbies in the room. The shower is very large for a cruise ship with great water pressure and temperature. The food in the main dining room was very good to excellent on a far majority of the evenings. The exception being the 2nd gala night when the filet mignon wasn't cooked to the asked temperature. They offered a replacement quickly and addressed the issue. Service was attentive and we were called by our names after the first evening. The food on the Lido deck and some of the other areas of the ship were very good. I really like how the staff serve the food rather than allowing everyone to touch everything. I appreciate this is to prevent any shipboard illnesses and fully agree with this approach. The condition of the ship is very good. I actually went looking for rust and only find a very small spot on the main passenger areas. Clearly maintenance is being enforced and it shows. Well done. Our cruise director, Nathan, was what we were looking for on our cruise. He wasn't an over the top party boat director like other lines and did a good job keeping us informed on what was going on during the morning update without being too intrusive. The captain was the same person as the recently released Mighty Ship episode on the Discovery channel. He was quite funny and you can tell that he enjoys his role as master of the ship. Due to weather issues we weren't able to get into Santorini, but the captain found an alternative port in Crete (Souda) that was very enjoyable. He greeted passengers upon arrival in Souda as a way to apologize for the change in our plans. It was the right decision even though I was really looking forward to our visit in Santorini. The safety of the ship and guests would not have allowed us to tender in port easily. Overall we really enjoyed our cruise and will be travelling with Holland America again in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have done several cruises with Holland America and we really like them. The ships are clean and classy and they have itineraries that we like. We always consider every availability but frequently choose Holland America for these ... Read More
We have done several cruises with Holland America and we really like them. The ships are clean and classy and they have itineraries that we like. We always consider every availability but frequently choose Holland America for these reasons. The ports were excellent and the amount of time allocated for each port we thought adequate. We don't use the cruise ship tours. We prefer to find travelers we like and share tours / transportation with them once we reach port. This has worked very well for us. I am a vegetarian and the main dining room always has excellent accommodations. The have a full vegetarian menu available on request and I order from that a day in advance for dinner. The food, and service were both very good. The only criticism we had of this trip was the entertainment. The Rolling Stone venue is by far the best. The BB King venue is a close second, but the BB King lineup we had on the last ship was far better. The dueling pianos venue is terrible. No one we spoke to liked it and the typical response when bringing it up was an eye roll. Holland American used to have the classic piano bar setup which was a lot better in our estimation. We had Barry from Boston on that cruise and he is hands-down the best ship performer I have ever seen. And I was a recording engineer for 20 years. Barry Rocklin. If you get the chance to see him on a cruise, say Hi for me. He's incredible. Meanwhile, Holland America? If you're listening... The dueling pianos thing needs to go away. The gym is very nicely arranged and outfitted. I would like to see 2 or so more recumbent bikes and it would be nice to have it open at 5 AM rather than 6 AM, but those are very minor points. Overall the gym is excellent and it has a great view of where you're going. I am working on the full travel blog which will be on my website warrenharris.net Also, my YouTube channel (look for Warren Paul Harris) has numerous videos of our adventures on this trip as well as video reviews of the ship itself. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise included the very high quality of onboard services and food quality. While not seeing the rationale of Holland America reworking some areas to provide private space for Club Orange, we did like other changes made during the late 2018 dry dock, including addition of the Rolling Stone Rock Room (good quality rock music performed several times most nights by an onboard cover band) and conversion of the space outside of the former Culinary Arts Center to nice tables for couples with great ocean views. We missed the early evening a-la-carte menu formerly offered in the Culinary Arts Center but tried and were impressed by the Nami Sushi area added to the Tamarind restaurant. The free onboard dining options, for the most part, offered very, very good food. The Lido Market was generally good but was overcrowded at times, some of the staff there were a bit aggressive, and I did get a reheated and overcooked steak there one evening. While the quality of espresso drinks at Explorations Café and the Grand Dutch Café remained very good, it was disappointing that the extra cost of standard tall drinks had increased by about 40% in just over a year. We noticed that the crowd seemed to be younger this year, than last, which is probably good news for the future of Holland America. This was particularly true on the second part of this back-to-back cruise which included younger families and a number of kids. The room stewards were absolutely incredible, consistently delivering superior quality service with a smile and friendly comments. We were a bit disappointed with the evening shows at times as there were no Broadway/ Los Vegas style shows (or onboard dance/singing troupe) as in the past. We found it strange that during the second part of the cruise, EXC port presentations were offered instead of evening shows and on days with late evening departure times, there were no shows at all. This may in part be the price of a music walk with 4 different acts. Overall, Koningsdam is a lovely ship and delivered a consistently high quality cruise experience. Read Less
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew into Fort Lauderdale 2 nights early and took public transit to the Sawgrass Mills Mall as an interesting way to spend the spare day. It is great for shoppers and just people watching. Embarkation was well organized and the terminal had good WiFi while we waited. We were the only ship in port that days, which probably helped. The cabin was ready when we boarded and the Lido Market was open for an early afternoon bite. We didn't have set seating for dinner, so we made reservations for an early dinner for the first 3 evenings (limited by HAL, otherwise we would have done the whole cruise). We were unable to get reservations for tables for 2, but had the option on arrival. We mostly shared as we like the opportunity to meet new people (but there is the risk of monologists and political trolls). The Koningsdam is new and has a contemporary decor with clean lines and the neutral-earthy colors that seem to be the trend right now. The photographic and collage art in the stairwells aren't my taste, but to each their own... Our cabin was one of the best (if not the best) we have had (see cabin specific review) as they made very good use of the space. We ate in the main dining-room for dinner every evening. The service was good and the food was good. On gala nights, the service could be a bit slow and we had a couple of occasions with a shared table when we were unduly delayed because the waiter didn't know if the last 2 seats were going to be filled (they weren't, so communication with the front desk could be improved). I am always surprised that the desserts aren't sweeter on cruise ships and this was no exception. I have rarely had a dessert that wasn't toned down from what you would get in a shore-based restaurant. We had breakfast and lunch in the Lido Market except one pizza (not very good) from the deli. For the most part, everything is served by staff with only a few individually plated or packaged items that can be reached by passengers. On balance, we thought that this is good (having seen unhygienic behavior by passengers on other cruises), but it did result in lines to get some food items quite frequently. Waiters cleared tables and offered to serve water, coffee, orange juice (breakfast), iced tea (lunch) and lemonade (lunch). It would have been nice to have another choice (e.g. fruit punch), but that might be a bit to picky. Waiters weren't interrupting to remove plates as they do on some ships and were generally quite friendly if you gave them the opportunity (as were the food servers). Entertainment and activities were the low point of the cruise, but some people really liked the layout and offerings. Enrichment was quite limited with only a few talks that were repeats on consecutive cruises. However, they did do port orientation talks that were helpful and not totally focused on the ship's excursions. The were a few cooking shows and computer seminars (not very interesting to us), and a lot of promotional (shopping and health/spa) talks/demonstrations that we avoided. As far as entertainment went, we were very disappointed. First, the "World Stage" is not a conventional theater and doesn't have the capacity of the ones on other ships. People were consistently there 45 minutes before the show to get seats. It isn't a suitable venue for production shows with props, but then they don't have a production group of singers and dancers (or a live stage band or place for it). The multimedia, open stage has great potential for even more production shows (using virtual sets and props), but clearly that isn't what they are going for (and we missed the production shows). The performers (usual comedians, magicians, vocal, dance and musical performers) ranged from bad (people leaving in the middle of the show) to pretty good, but nothing outstanding. There were repeat performances within a cruise (even more for back-to-backers). The rest of the entertainment is very dependent on interests and cruising style. The venues for live music are basically unused until dinner time when there were some classical musicians in the Lincoln Center (which will later become BB King's). Unfortunately, for many passengers, they did VERY classical pieces rather than popular ones. The rest of the live entertainment had to wait until after 8pm (probably not a good decisions for the HAL demographic). The 3 venues (BB King's jazz/blues; Rolling Stone hard rock alternating with Billboard Onboard dueling pianos) are strung out along the promenade level. Capacity is limited and there wasn't much in the way of pleasant easy-listening. We were so disappointed that there was so little and it was so extreme in the genre that each played. It didn't affect us, but we also heard that some were too loud there wasn't good seating. The fitness area was well outfitted with a good number of aerobic and resistance machines as well as free weights (dumbbells). Live TV was available on the aerobic machines and they were mostly kept working properly. There were also rooms for spin classes and group classes (paid) that we didn't use. The onboard experience was not what we were hoping for, and we wondered why (other than reducing costs and improving revenue) the Koningsdam was built the way it was. Is HAL looking to the future when their well-known aged passengers aren't cruising anymore. If so, they are losing them faster by such a radical change in design and offerings. Of course there are older, slower people that sometimes are an obstruction, but that is expected on HAL. More power to them (and their scooters and oxygen supplies). On the positive side, there were few children and a mature cruise director that wasn't overpowering with unnecessary, forced enthusiasm. The captain was personable and understandable. The internet package gave us the access for email that we needed and didn't break the bank. We found that most of the serving and steward staff were quite friendly, but ran into a few that didn't seem to want to be there. Notably, the security staff (who should do their job AND be friendly and pleasant), the future cruise staff (who just didn't seem to care or like people), some of the photo staff (who weren't very helpful) and one of the fitness people who just seemed to have an attitude where ever he went. We had a pair of cabin stewards and liked that team approach. The excursions were okay. Not overpriced as some cruise lines tend to do (NCL can you hear me). As far as value for money, we were satisfied because we got to go to the destinations that we wanted to go to at a reasonable price with good food and accommodations. To us that was the most important thing. That being said, HAL could have done so much more and we don't understand this new direction in the design of the Koningsdam and her sister ship, the Nieuw Statendam. One final comment is about the HAL loyalty (mariner) program. It is the worst we have ever seen. You can cruise forever and get almost nothing in return (compared to NCL and Princess). HAL has some of the best destination-based itineraries, but doesn't reward its members at all... Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced ... Read More
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced crowd and that did in fact be the case. At 60 years of age for the two of us, we felt 10 years more youthful than the average passenger. Be that as it may... it was all just fine. Embarkation: Boarded hotel shuttle to the cruise port at 11:00 AM and stepped into our cabin at 12:50 PM. Good process for checking in and greeted by friendly staff the entire way. Cabin: Not only our first HAL cruise but our first inside cabin experience. Cabin 6077. We entered our cabin and thankfully had read reviews about needing to insert the key card into the slot to activate the lights, otherwise we'd be fumbling in the dark. In retrospect, a good idea and it must save energy or something not to have lights on in cabins 24/7. The bigger issue we had with the cabin was that we entered and discovered a puddle of water on the foot of the bed where the luggage covers were placed. Interesting... We looked up and found that water was dripping out of what looked like a ceiling speaker. We called Guest Services and were assured the issue would be taken care of. As it was only 1:00 we left to go get some lunch and explore. After an hour an a half or so we returned and found the "fix" was a towel placed on the puddle to soak up the water, the ceiling still looked damp. This time we took pictures and visited Guest Services in person. Happily they did the right thing and moved us to a different cabin, 5071, a deck lower which was fine. This cabin was great, certainly an inside and we had to get used to it, we made great use of the fantastic TV and the bridge cam! Heard about toilet layout in the bathrooms was not so good, not an issue with the inside cabin and let me just say... the shower? OMG!!!! Where have you been all my life??!!! Ship: I'm of the opinion that all cruise ships are marvels to behold and Koningsdam was no exception! We did miss a grand central atrium area but the music walk made up for it. Decks 2 and 3: Shops, Guest Services, World Stage, main dining, photo area, art gallery, casino... you get the point. Well laid out IMO, the shops were unobtrusive, and it was amazing with the four different music venues that they never stepped on each other. Bars and side cafes were subtly located for enjoyment of guests. Blend was a bit more in the open than what I expected and what ever the Orange dining area was, well it was simply odd. I didn't get it, if for high rollers then at least make it so it appears that way. Frankly, the evenings we walked by there I felt sorry for the lonely souls dining in there. When shows were over in the Grand Stage (which was Grand!), there were some traffic issues but it added to the fun, sort of like walking the Strip in Las Vegas, okay, not that big but still fun! Lido Buffet area: There is an American Football axiom, "keep your head on a swivel". Could not be more apt than in the Lido Buffet. Having said that, if anyone gets irritated by the traffic or anything else in that buffet, you really have no one to blame but yourself. Figure out when the majority of people will go for breakfast, lunch or dinner and go at a different time. Simple really. Bless the staff as they had a lot on their plate (pun intended) when it came to serving so many people. They along with the servers of coffee, tea, etc, had the patience of Job times 100. Excellent job to them. Our Sea Days were spent mostly aft over looking the pool and the ocean behind us, not on the pool deck, we opted for, let's see, deck 10 I guess it would be... we were blocked from the majority of the breeze, had a great view all around us and had wonderful sun exposure (side note... we had 15 minutes of light rain the entire cruise, being from the PNW, this was a shock!), Smoke from smokers (well, that was redundant...) in this area had been brought up in reviews and frankly it was not an issue. Yes, aft pool was a gathering place in the evening for cards and smokes but.... guess what? You can avoid that! Do not miss time in the Crows Nest! Do not miss Apple Pie at the Dutch Cafe (not 100% sure of the name, but 100% sure of the pie!), look for the tapas bar at the Blues Club late afternoon. Spa: No report as we did not partake. The staff were up-selling around the Lido Pool but not overly aggressive. Bottlenecks: They are real. Be patient, be aware of your surroundings and don't be a contributor. People movement is a tad slower on this ship but there are physical boundaries that also make ease of mobility an issue. This is especially true around the Lido pool area both on deck 9 and deck 10. Walls that jut out into walk ways, loungers that jut out into walk ways, lack of multiple entrance and egress points...all of these things can make for slow going at times. Wait time at the lifts are par for the course. FOOD: Ah yes, the dining experience: 1. Tamarind was amazing! Highly recommend for all the right reasons, service, food, and the view. Bride had the stir fry lobster and shrimp, yum! I had the wasabi fillet, yum! 2. Pinnacle: What was not to like? Bride had halibut on cedar plank with scampi, amazing, I had the rib eye.... still drooling. 3. Main dining room: 4 nights dining here without a set time. We arrived almost every night around 7:15 an were promptly seated. 3 times in the lower area and once on the deck above. Service was fine and the food was very very good. (I've been banished of meat for at least of month after this trip! Well worth it!). We had zero issues with dining and making a 10:00 show at the World Stage, however don't doddle as the auditorium does fill up early. 4. New York Pizza: One time for dinner while watching a movie by the lido pool. I thought it was great, bride not so much, (that's what she gets for having a white sauce on a pizza, right? Right??) However, the Caesar salad and dessert there were great! 5. Dive In: Good burgers and fries, not great but good and turn around time is pretty quick even in the busy time. 6. Gellato: For $2.00, ah yeah, well worth it! 7. We did not opt for a drink package nor spend a great deal on drinks. We mostly filled our tumblers with iced tea, ice water and lemon aid. (please respect the signs requesting that you do not fill your tumbler or mug directly from the dispensers, it is for sanitary reasons.) 8. Lastly on dining, I mentioned how the Orange place on deck 2 was odd, so was the Italian restaurant in the Lido buffet. Just seemed awkward and to pay $13 PP for it, I dunno.... Entertainment World Stage: 1. Emperors of Soul: Excellent (fun to interact with them on the cruise as well) 2. Naomi, Virtuoso Pianist: Jaw Dropping 3. BBC Earth: Well done 4. Comedian Tim Kaminski: Very Good 5. Second Comedian: Can't recall his name - poor 6. Third Comedian: Can't recall his name either but better than the second - better than poor. 7. Superbowl: Never thought I'd see a Superbowl on a ship! Fun atmosphere to be sure! Available to see on the World Stage, in your cabin and at the Lido Pool screen. 8, 9 and 10? Hmmm.... where does the time go? Actually, the availability of things to watch on your in cabin TV are excellent and we did take advantage of this. Crew: 95% outstanding! Our only slight irritation came with the staff of the shops. A bit condescending and borderline rude. We are very patient people and they tested that patience. Cabin stewards were great, room service a couple of time for breakfast was great including a follow-up phone call to make sure we were happy with the service. Guest Services was also great. America's Test Kitchen demos were also well done and informative and the preview of the next day's ports were outstanding!! Do not miss these if possible! All in all a very quiet reserved atmosphere which was fine. We moored along side a Carnival ship at Grand Turk and I thanked Poseidon that we were NOT on board that maniacal brain blowing tub. (sorry, harsh). Also interesting to read about the Norwegian Epic and her issues as we were along side her in Jamaica. Hmmm... note to self! Ports: 1. Jamaica: Large cruise ship port with a Margaritaville on location. Lots of shops, lots of competition and lots of aggressive selling. We debated many nights about what to do here and decided not to do the Dunn's Falls or any of the other excursions (although later we found out the rafting down the river was amazing), we did end up doing a walking tour of Falmouth which was informative and fun. 2. Curacao: What a grand location! For us a wonderful day or wandering and exploring the city, both sides. Just fantastic! 3. Aruba: A bit of wandering and shopping and public transportation to Eagle and Palm Beach for some beach time! I could see a return trip to Aruba possible for a week or so? We'll see! Great adventure to the light house and to really take in the desert landscape. 4. Amber Cove: Delightful port, great shops and the pool area was better than advertised. Excursion to Puerto Plata was fun and interesting. The lushness of the island was beautiful and in stark contrast to the islands of Curacao and Aruba 5. Grand Turk: Not a lot on Grand Turk. There was a Carnival ship that was also in port and combined with our ship, made the beach impossible to enjoy. We took a cab to the town of Cockburn and explored there. Lovely beaches too. Port area also nice. 6. Half Moon Cay: Paradise... nuff said. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting ... Read More
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting the islands, St. Lucia, St. Marteen, Barbados, Martinique, Antiqua, St. Tomas and HAL's Half Moon Cay was outstanding. The selection of TV shows and Movies in our room, did get very thin after 11 days. But we understand there were many outstanding things to do outside of our room. Having said all that, I want to give you the negatives, so you are not surprised. Do not misunderstand, we loved the cruise and feel very positive about it, but want to tell you what we did not like. The food was great. Loved the Lido buffet for both breakfast and dinner. All the eggs Benedict, omlets, waffles and pancakes you can eat for breakfast, who could not like that? After 11 days some of the sameness did wear just a little old. The hamburgers and hotdogs at the Dive were fine snacks. The Pizza, nachos and deli sandwiches were fine too. We ate at one specialty restaurant, the Tamarind and it was very good. We felt the dining room tried to be too fancy and gourmet and failed. Also the process in the dining room took too long...2 hours. I was shocked that the Crème Bule was almost liquid, not custardly. And, if you do not mesh with the people you are seated with, the 2 hour dinner can seem really long. Paying $50 per person for the Pinnacle Room seemed a little extreme, when our cruise fee already included food. As far as the reviews I have read about bad pillows, dirty rooms, too loud if you are mid-ship over the entertainment, they are hogwash. We did not experience anything like that. We were disappointed to learn that you had to come nearly an hour early for the one hour show in the main room, the World Stage, in order to get a seat!. There needs to be a better system for reserving seats or similar. We very much enjoyed the entertainment in the BB King Room and the Rolling Stone Room. Be prepared for Holland America to try to find many ways every day to separate you from your money. They present many "opportunities". They price gouge you in some ways that I believe were over the top. Internet service is $24.95 a day! But worse of all was the wine. To buy 4 bottles of wine for us to have in our room I paid over $170...and this was for Estancia wine which I pay about $12.00 for in the grocery store!. Over $40 for a $12 bottle of wine! Paying double, like in a restaurant, would be understandable, but FOUR times the cost is simply uncalled for. And there is an $18 corkage fee for bringing on your own wine purchased at a port. So I ended up paying $25.50 for a $7.50 bottle of wine. Come on Holland America, I was already paying thousands for the cruise! I found calling guest services with a problem, like when I screwed up the combination to the safe in my room, was fruitless. They put you on hold for the longest time. When I did reach a human, they said someone would be up in 10 minutes...after over an hour they had not appeared. I learned going to the Service desk in person worked well. The were competent and timely, In the case of re-setting my room safe, the person, said I will come and fix it right now, and she did. Getting off the ship and finding your excursion in ports was no problem at all and the excursions were fine. We did the 2 snorkel catamarans (one with a lobster lunch) and a tour that included 2 hours at a beach and shopping. Staff was fine and everything was fun. Holland America's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas was wonderful. Do not listen to the review that said getting your claim shell (basically an umbrella and 2 beach chairs) was a hassle. It was fine. So there you have it. A fine cruise on a fine ship that was not without some down sides. And I am 70, a young 70. Be aware that HAL seems to cater to seniors, I would say 70 was about the average age and less than 1/4 of the people were under 50. It is what it is. Holland America, you really can do better on those wine and internet charges. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to try the newest HAL ships and find out how they stacked up compared to the last 'new' versions (Eurodam, etc.) which we thought were pretty fantastic. HAL outdid themselves with this class of ships and they are our ... Read More
We wanted to try the newest HAL ships and find out how they stacked up compared to the last 'new' versions (Eurodam, etc.) which we thought were pretty fantastic. HAL outdid themselves with this class of ships and they are our new favorite; well, our favorite is any "dam" ship we are sailing on actually. Because of three things; 1. The CREW - You just can't say enough good about the wonderful crews that staff Holland American's ships. The service they provide is just beyond most accolades reach. Because not only is the service fantastic but they are so friendly, so helpful, you feel by day two you've known them a long time, & they are making you welcome more like family, than just passengers. 2. The CABINS are perfected. HAL moved the refrigerator into one wardrobe and got it out of the way of the desk. Replaced it with three HUGE drawer. Added two overhead cabinets above the love seat. Added a triangular cabinet to the end of the closet 'stack' as you enter.Which has the 'stuff' off the desk; Ice bucket, glasses, fruit basket, and more storage. Enlarged the bed side tables, added enough outlets for us to have extras, which is really different (!) along with USB charging ports all over. One special thing they did; that night time visit to the bath when you don't want to wake up your companion? When your foot hits the floor, a light bar on the bottom of the triangle cabinet lights, with light JUST on the floor! GREAT thought went into that! 3. We are both Celiacs; a gluten free diet is deadly serious for us as Celiac is an autoimmune disease. HAL's gluten free offerings get better and better and on this cruise we even had pizza, burgers, fries, and all the other pool side offerings normal people take for granted. And the specialty restaurants really outdid themselves. Can't say enough good about this FOOD on this ship. OUTSTANDING doesn't do it credit. Music: We love the music walk; the classical players, the jumping jive of BB Kings, and the great music in the rock area to 'get down' and wiggle on the floor. The Piano Bar area is different, but we came to like it. And the Scotch Tasting Bar is outstanding if you like a wee dram. Old favorite small dance floor and combo in the Ocean Bar is still there for a romantic ballad and dance. There is so much to do it is hard to do everything any one night. We missed the DJ in the Crow's Nest totally. We also missed (its not there any more) the library; hate it when they take them off ships. Sitting on your balcony or on the promenade deck (not very wide on this ship; about only thing we are not happy about that change) reading a good book is a special treat on a day at sea. Ports are ports; we enjoyed some, we didn't others, we cruise for the ship and the KONINGSDAM is a GREAT ship. Would we sail on her again? Yes, upcoming very soon we'll be on board being WOWed again! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for the Southern Caribbean ports, which are warm in January, newer ship, and ease of getting to fort lauderdale. The positives...very very well run ship, very good service in all areas, some of the best food in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Southern Caribbean ports, which are warm in January, newer ship, and ease of getting to fort lauderdale. The positives...very very well run ship, very good service in all areas, some of the best food in the buffet and the MDR of any cruise that we ve taken, the ship is kept very clean and well maintained in all regards. Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth and relatively quick. There was music going on all night every night. A rock group, the BB King Blues and jazz, dueling piano's and few others. The movies on the big screen by the pool and the in room movies were great opttions also. The only negatives for us, and its hard to find many. The inside rooms are workable but a tad small for us as we had packed 4 bags as we were traveling for a month. Go for a larger room. The entertainment had its ups and downs. One stage show cancelled, the rock band was down one night due to software crash and one comedian did a late night show at 7 am, which bombed. The fun factor was somewhat lacking for us...especially on sea days. Both pools are fairly quiet areas to lounge around, we d prefer to see the rear pool be more lively with some great music, maybe some games, contests, or anything lively at all. How about an evening deck party when in a warm climate like the caribbean? There is a rather overly generous smoking area near the rear pool, which made it unpleasant to lay back there with the smoke drift. The ship seems to be making a transition towards the next generation of cruisers, and there is some progress, but it still a work in progress in my book. I d give the cruise 5 stars, but that's where things still need some fresh ideas and some work imho. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
DH and I were on the January 13th 10 day southern Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam. We have cruised several other times with HAL, but not on the bigger ships, and we were not sure whether we would like it. We did! We were supposed to be ... Read More
DH and I were on the January 13th 10 day southern Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam. We have cruised several other times with HAL, but not on the bigger ships, and we were not sure whether we would like it. We did! We were supposed to be cruising with my DB and DSIL, but they had to cancel due to family and job issues. This was a real problem, because they had a suite and we had an inside cabin. We planned on spending many evenings on their balcony! We were a little bummed, but an inside cabin is sure better than being home or at work. EMBARKATION We arrived at the cruise terminal right around 11 AM and were in group 6 to board. We were on the ship close to 11:45 and I have to say this was probably the smoothest embarkation we have ever had. We were directed to the Lido, but we took a chance that the main dining room was open and it was. After a lovely lunch, we discovered that our luggage had arrived so we unpacked and set out to explore the ship. DECOR The art is very different from what I’ve come to expect from Holland America – I really liked some of it (the cello ship on deck 12) but some of it I just did not get. I did see two of what I think were two of Captain Card’s paintings in the meeting rooms adjacent to the Crow’s Nest, which made me feel more at home. The decor overall is really lovely and understated compared to the ships we have sailed previously. The last time we sailed HAL was on the Veendam, and it was the old garish color combinations. POOLS One thing we really missed was any kind of music at the aft pool. We understand the limitations on live bands, but some kind of music would’ve made an incredible improvement to the environment. Drink service was very good in the area, and seating capacity was OK. Several afternoons there were no clean towels at the aft pool and occasionally under cover seating was slim pickings because one side was designated for smoking. Although it was not full, asthma made that side not an option for us. We did not spend any time at the Lido pool. It seemed crowded, and being mostly enclosed it was pretty warm. We had an informal meet and greet at the aft pool with our roll call, and it was very nice to put names and faces together with folks whose posts I have enjoyed in the past. A lot of great information was passed back-and-forth on our roll call, which was greatly appreciated. STATEROOM We were getting ready for gala dinner on Monday when we received a call from guest services. It seemed they have been trying to reach us since embarkation and wanted to upgrade us to a balcony room down the hall. At no charge!! I thought it was a joke, or that DH was not asking the right questions to verify the up charge! Gina from guest services came by to show us the cabin and make sure the cabin was satisfactory. What, I’m going to say “no, I’d rather be inside”??? Our wonderful cabin stewards Andry and Freddy came along to help us move and voilà! We were in a veranda cabin! Pour the champagne! That was a most wonderful moment! Note: The inside cabin was fine, but let’s be real! DINING We purchased the ultimate dining package, and would not do it again. We have loved the Pinnacle in the past and have heard such good things about Tamarind that we felt like it was a great deal. We went to the Pinnacle the first night, and I have to say we were disappointed. The food was good, but our server really gave us the impression that we were a bother. He took our order and was never seen or heard from again. In a complete contrast, Rozelle, our wine steward, was fast and friendly. I had thought to try a fellow cruise critic poster's suggestion about ordering all of our wine at once to avoid a wait, but we never had a delay. I will definitely keep it in mind for the future though. The Tamerind was excellent, service and food alike. We actually dined there twice because guest services gifted us with dinner there due to the terrible inconvenience of moving. We did not say no. We also participated in DiLibrije, and I was again disappointed in the service. We received our sparkling wine and the wine for the first course before we ever received the amuse bouche. The food was stellar, but we had the same server we had previously and he was inattentive in the extreme. Canaletto was fine, the food was good and the service was good as well, but nothing was awe inspiring. I was surprised that it did feel like a separate area; I was concerned that we would feel like we were still in the Lido. Dive In was good, and was much quicker than I expected based on previous comments. The Lido is the Lido – lots of choices, with a better layout than previously. The salad station was much appreciated as you could ask for and receive anything in your salad that was available, and DH loved the eggs Florentine for breakfast. The dutch café was terrific. We had lattes from there every morning, and the bitterballen was superb. Our best experience by far was in the main dining room. We were upstairs at a two top, and our waiters (Abu and Silmi) were attentive and friendly. Being on the third floor makes a big difference in the acoustics, and we never felt that it was too loud. The food was very good, and because we had the EBP, we didn’t feel that we had to coordinate our menu choices the way we do when we bring our own wine. I did feel that the selection of red wines by the glass was not great, but that also be my personal taste. Lester, our wine steward was fast, made good recommendations, and was really funny. We really felt like we had our own personal entertainment in the main dining room. One of the things that was fun was when we asked about the celebration song performed by the waiters for birthdays, they arranged to have a celebrated with our neighboring two top just because! DH was the one who had been interested, so I filmed it and took the video and cake to the poker table (have party, will travel). ENTERTAINMENT We very much enjoyed the Rolling Stone Rock Room, and the BB Kings Blues Club. The pianists were excellent also, as were the Lincoln Stage performers. All drew huge crowds, but we never really had a problem finding a seat although they may have been tucked in the back corner. We also enjoyed the casino. DH came out ahead, as did I (but barely). Sidebar: How can there only be 1 to 2 bottles of Makers Mark on the entire ship? I can’t see leaving the Crow’s Nest at 7 PM to go down to the aft pool to get myself a Makers Mark Manhattan. PORTS Half Moon Cay is a beautiful island, and we were fortunate in that the weather was flawless. Tendering was a breeze and the water was like glass. We did not have lunch on the island, too many options available on the ship and with no crowds! We didn’t do much on Grand Turk – we mostly wandered up and down the streets. They have some nice beaches, but we did not visit them. Bonaire has a very nice and close by downtown area. They had a farmers market going on, and many locals were getting lunch from the guy cooking barbecue. There was lots of really nice jewelry (not expensive), and miscellaneous handmade things to be had. Curaçao was our absolute favorite island. The buildings with the historic Dutch style, and the cafés along the waterway and the swinging pontoon bridge all made for a lovely day. We spent the afternoon wondering the streets, and ended with cocktails and beer at one of the waterside cafés. The weather was lovely, there was a live band performing nearby, and we were able to watch the pontoon bridge open and close several times. We left right at sunset, which was beautiful over the Koningsdam. The waterfront buildings and the bridge are lit up with multicolored lights which makes it so festive. I did not get off the ship in Aruba, but DH did. He took the path from port to town, and said it was enjoyable. I found it enjoyable that he found several little gifts to bring back to me! In summary, it was a wonderful cruise – one we would do again. Holland America has the service model down, and I sure hope they don’t fix what isn’t broken. The ship is lovely, the entertainment is great, but best of all we were on vacation! It’s hard to find fault with that. PS: I forgot to include that Elvis was on the ship! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was to be a second honeymoon but turned out to be a huge disappointment. It took years of saving on a disabled veteran's compensation to pay for the cruise and we feel ripoffed. Embarkation was slow and disorganized. When ... Read More
This was to be a second honeymoon but turned out to be a huge disappointment. It took years of saving on a disabled veteran's compensation to pay for the cruise and we feel ripoffed. Embarkation was slow and disorganized. When boarding, we were summarily given directions to an elevator and told how to go find our stateroom. Hardly the reception we had anticipated. No one told us that they was a welcome lunch in the Lido. We were traveling with friends and had connecting stateroom and it took two days to finally get screen between veranda removed. Dining room experience was mixed. After we changed our seating to assigned, we found fellow passengers were more likely to follow the dress code. Inaddition, the staff was very attentive and service was excellent. Boorish behavior of a group of fellow passenger was finally addressed after several complaints from other diners. Menu choices was minimal and food taste was marginal. Presentation,however was very good. Lido food was the same every day and tasted like it was recycled from the previous day. Testament to the Lid o food was the lines at the deli and the DIVE IN. Entertainment for 70 year passengers who love ballroom dancing was nonexistent even though the cruise consultant assured us it would be there. Unless you love acid rock and disco don't expect to be entertained. One world stage comedian was superb. The dancers were excellent and put on a good show. The rest of the shows were not worth the time and we left early. The music was the same in all three venues and was not "danceable". We went to the Blues Club at midnight as a DJ was advertised. The DJ began playing the same music as the three bands and did not have a clue when we asked for a rumba, chacha, or waltz. Stateroom was comfortable and veranda was spacious. Will never cruise with Holland again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Previous Holland cruises were fantastic with excellent food and service. We explored other lines and wanted to return to the excellence that was Holland. Unfortunately this cruise was hit and miss.... food in the dining room was not ... Read More
Previous Holland cruises were fantastic with excellent food and service. We explored other lines and wanted to return to the excellence that was Holland. Unfortunately this cruise was hit and miss.... food in the dining room was not Holland quality forcing us to have to pay up for specialty restaurants to get good food. Some of the staff were the excellence of old Holland days but there were many who were not. In my opinion Holland is just not the same. The experience started badly when embarkation took 2 hours standing in the sun outside with not even a hello or were sorry for the wait. We missed lunch because of this. Once on board we found the ship's decor to be less elegant but still clean. The best staff were in the rolling stone's rock room and the band was very good. The best food on the ship was in Sel De Mar! We ate there 3 times. Also the ports were great and were the best part of this cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have sailed Holland 4 times in 4 years. This was not like the others.The ship seemed too big with many of the help not speaking English very well. Seemed to gather a lot without checking on people’s orders in the Main Dining Room. ... Read More
We have sailed Holland 4 times in 4 years. This was not like the others.The ship seemed too big with many of the help not speaking English very well. Seemed to gather a lot without checking on people’s orders in the Main Dining Room. Embarkation and Dembarkation were a nightmare. Over 2 hours, almost missed flight home. Spent more than an hour waiting for the bus to leave for the airport. Officers yelling at passengers. Difficulty getting reservations at speciality restaurants even though they were half empty. Seemed like lots of people not knowing their jobs. No Test Kitchen demonstrations. Casino very Smokey with loud, rude, drunk people. Smoking even though there was a non smoking night. Food in main dining room so-so. Lots of upsale. Couldn’t even get coffee, oj, and English Muffin for in room dining. Fake scrambled eggs only option. Best dining: Sel de Mer. Cabin was fine. Very loud music in BB Kings. Heard from many people this was not the Holland of before. Felt like cutbacks at every corner. Just didn’t have the feel of the smaller ships. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were looking to get out of town (Ohio) for the Christmas Holiday. So why not go someplace tropical. We have been on 20+ cruises and chose this one for the cabin location and and Koningsdam. The ship turned out to be just what we had ... Read More
We were looking to get out of town (Ohio) for the Christmas Holiday. So why not go someplace tropical. We have been on 20+ cruises and chose this one for the cabin location and and Koningsdam. The ship turned out to be just what we had expected. It is a very beautifully appointed ship a little over 2 years old with lots of food and entertainment options from fancy to very casual. We fall more on the casual side and tend to not enjoy 2 hour dinners in the MDR. Being in a suite, you have access to the "Orange" restaurant for breakfast and dinner It is a little on the fancy side but faster with excellent service. Lido deck buffet has all kinds of options...it does get a little crowded at time and the only negatives I heard had to do with the fact that servers behind the glass serve the food. Personally I don't have a problem with that because they will give you exactly what you as for in the quantity you ask for. And I prefer my food to only be touched by one person as opposed to everyone on the ship. Cuts way down on the sickness factor for me. Dive In for hamburgers and a Gelato and pizza place are opened quit late. Room service was not up to par on Koningsdam compared to the other 6 HAL ships we have been on. Entertainment, there is a lot of it on board from Rock and Roll bands, BB King Band was outstanding and love the music every night, Lincoln Center performances for classical music and recorded music in several of the venues. Stage shows in the 270 degree two story theater and numerous lecture on different subjects. Casino was fun but if smoking bothers you there was only one night that was smoke-free....HAL needs to get on the ball and make their ships NON-SMOKING. Several pools on the ship that never seemed overcrowded and a movie under the stars ever night at 7 and 10. Santa came on Christmas Eve and they had a beautiful tree in the atrium. Being a Christmas cruise there were way more kids that you would expect on HAL but most were under control and if not several hundred Grand Parents were there to say something. Service on board was very good from a cheerful staff but the folks in Management staff could use a little Customer Service training as most seemed a tad on the aloof side. Ports were pretty standard for an Eastern Caribbean cruise. Turks and Caicos we took a two hour tour around the island on a tram open air bus. Interesting to see how they have mostly recovered from Irma and Maria hurricanes. San Juan, Puerto Rico a little shopping and back to our balcony. St Thomas, a little shopping and lunch at Gladys' restaurant in down town CA. Half Moon Cay spent most of the day on our balcony as we have been here many time. All in all this was a nice get away on a beautiful ship. I probably missed a number of thing and places on the ship but that will be for our next voyage...there is only so much time every day for eating, drinking, reading, relaxing and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We did this same cruise last year and had problems but did it again because my husband liked the ports of call.. This year it was worse - Koningsdam just came off dry dock but there were lots of maintenance issues. Apparently it takes 21 ... Read More
We did this same cruise last year and had problems but did it again because my husband liked the ports of call.. This year it was worse - Koningsdam just came off dry dock but there were lots of maintenance issues. Apparently it takes 21 days but management felt that they could get it done in a week. We were not the only ones that experiened problems, many other did too. We did not meet anyone that was pleased with this cruise. Our problems were mainly with staff not being able to handle what issues and not being able to get our OBC. First day on the ship and was told at breakfast that they were out of egg whites. It was downhill from that point. There was no tea - out of order equipment of at beverage stations everyday. The lido staff were unfriendly and impolite. Ports of call were great but HA docked at two industrial ports leaving cruisers at the mercy of belligerent taxi drivers. Getting around was very inconvenient and difficult. Caution about OBC - check OBC before final payment is made and make sure that you read the fine print. HA did not honor the OBC and it was too difficult to get with travel agents or brokers when on the ship..Menus are limited and not practical. Entertainment was good but not well planned - there were repeat performances of artists. In addition, there were lighting and equipment problems throught out the cruise. Lastly one of the best things about HA cruises were their stops at their private island - cancelled on our cruise because of high wave swells. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We embarked for our cruise in Civitavecchia on 9/28/18. We flew into Rome that morning and used Holland America's transfer to get to the port. We were very happy we opted for the transfer with Holland America, simply for ease of use. ... Read More
We embarked for our cruise in Civitavecchia on 9/28/18. We flew into Rome that morning and used Holland America's transfer to get to the port. We were very happy we opted for the transfer with Holland America, simply for ease of use. There were Holland America Employees directing us as soon as we left the terminal to point us toward baggage claim and where to catch our bus. We decided on Holland America for our Honeymoon due to the itinerary and the more laid back feel advertised by Holland America, and we were not disappointed! The ship was beautiful and while there were a lot of people on board, we were always able to find somewhere to sit and walk right in with Anytime Dining. As soon as we boarded around 11 am, we were able to visit our room and grab a quick lunch (we chose New York Pizza and Deli! So so good!) and meet our room stewards. Our luggage was delivered about 2 hours later. We had a very port intensive cruise, and decided to get the spa package (access to the thermal pool, ceramic loungers, steam rooms, and a variety of showers). We booked it a few days into the cruise and spent $99 each. We used it daily after our excursions and always felt so refreshed! We enjoyed visiting the panorama bar for Martini Sampling, and the shows on the World Stage. All of the staff we encountered were always so friendly. Even when we would see the staff enjoying time off in port, they always took time to speak to other travelers who saw them (a quick tip: Let these people take time off when you see them in port! A friendly smile is enough, don't flag them down and start peppering them with questions. They deserve time NOT dealing with cruisers :)) The food in the Lido was okay, but never really had a "hot and fresh" impression. We ordered room service for breakfast, but got the same feeling that our food had been plated a while before making it's way to us. Room service was always prompt and convenient, so we opted for pastries and cereals when we ordered. We enjoyed all of our ports with the exception of Corfu Greece (there was nothing wrong here, just nothing note worthy. We wouldn't go out of our way to visit here again). Pompeii was a highlight along with Dubrovnik and Kotor! We opted to self disembark and that was very painless! We spent a few days in Rome after our cruise and truly had the trip of a lifetime! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We spent 22 nights from the 16th September on Koningsdam and this was even better than the first time we cruised on her back in September 2016. The food was amazing whether it was in Lido or the main dining room. Tamarind where there is a ... Read More
We spent 22 nights from the 16th September on Koningsdam and this was even better than the first time we cruised on her back in September 2016. The food was amazing whether it was in Lido or the main dining room. Tamarind where there is a surcharge to eat once again exceeded our expectations. Crew was as usual on HAL ships incredible and the Captain very informative and funny. We love this ship, we've cruised on several cruiselines and this is our favourite. We also spoke to a number of people who have cruised a lot more times than us who were on Koningsdam for the first time and they also said that it was the best ship they had been on. If your looking at taking a cruise in Europe we believe that you cant go past HAL for a wonderful itinerary, brilliant ships which are great value for money. We look forward to hopefully boarding Koningsdam again in the not to distant future. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are Australians who were in Europe visiting family so we added this cruise to Norway leaving from Amsterdam. We were a little taken aback by the size and number of passengers but the public spaces are many and we didn't feel ... Read More
We are Australians who were in Europe visiting family so we added this cruise to Norway leaving from Amsterdam. We were a little taken aback by the size and number of passengers but the public spaces are many and we didn't feel crowded except at breaksfast in the Market at 0900 or thereabouts. We loved the quality of the food - far superior to what we have had on cruises before - especially the rib filet steak and lobster tails - supurb. The dining staff were friendly, attentitive and efficient. The quality of the entertainment suprised and delighted us. Particularly the Lincoln Centre Stage classical quintet and BB King's jazz room. The cabin staff were wonderful and kept everthing tidy and clean. We took the cycling tour in Oslo and can highly recommend it. Only medium fitness is needed - we are both in our late 60s and found it easy. 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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