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
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
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We are experienced cruisers (a group of 4) but have not tried Holland America before. The cruise was chosen because we wanted to go to three specific ports, Kusadsi (Ephesus), Mykonos and Santorini. The itinerary turned out to be ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers (a group of 4) but have not tried Holland America before. The cruise was chosen because we wanted to go to three specific ports, Kusadsi (Ephesus), Mykonos and Santorini. The itinerary turned out to be everything we wanted and more, and the holiday was really lovely due to the places we went to. The ship was something of a mixed bag and the four of us we all have slightly different views so I will try and present a balanced picture. Cabins - probably one of the best we've had. A balcony stateroom on Deck 5, good size, nice touches (a fully stocked mini-bar, bathrobes, beach towels, umbrella, blankets for the balcony etc). What made the cabin though was the bathroom, slightly bigger than normal and with the best double shower to be found on any ship, it had a proper door (no nasty shower curtain here) and Elemis products. Comfortable bed, lots of electrical sockets and USB ports by the bed - which was a great touch. Cabin stewards were wonderful, attentive and very friendly. Food - Holland America prides itself on its food and other reviews on here often cite the great quality and variety. We did not find this was the case. The food was average to good but never excellent and on a couple of occasions, poor. The first two nights our food in the dining room was cold so I had a word with the Maitre d' who then personally served us every meal from then on, and there was a very big improvement. However, there was one night when he was very busy and unable to see to us personally and we were back on cold food! The wine waiters seemed absolutely incapable of bringing four drinks at the same time - in fact every single time we ordered throughout the whole holiday our drinks never arrived together. The single biggest fault with this ship was the food and beverage service throughout the ship - it left a lot to be desired. Entertainment - it was pretty much standard cruise fare - nothing awful, nothing wonderful. Pleasant would be the best word to describe it. Excursions - we arranged all our excursions ourselves before we sailed and saved a fortune in doing so. For Santorini we would highly recommend Black Pearl Tours run by Panos and Cristos. Great service at a fraction of the price. Embarkation/Disembarkation - have to hand it to Holland America here, the best experience we've ever had. Very smooth, no long lines, very well organised, top marks, couldn't be faulted. Fitness & Recreation - the gym was pretty good, not the best equipped I've seen but not the worst either. Public rooms/spaces - this ship, although quite new, lacked a certain wow factor. Personally we like a grand staircase and an atrium - a bit of glitz on a cruise ship is no bad thing but this ship doesn't have this and we thought it was slightly the worse for it. VfM - cruising with Holland America is going to cost a bit more and that's ok when one can feel the difference, I'm just not sure we did. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean and we are Platinum members with Princess. We chose HAL for its itinerary. First hand the ship is impressive and user friendly. Both embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. But ... Read More
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean and we are Platinum members with Princess. We chose HAL for its itinerary. First hand the ship is impressive and user friendly. Both embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. But sail-a-way was ordinary and we missed the hoopla we have had on other cruises. Both pools were very nice and I like the movable roof at the midship pool. The aft pool was also good but I disliked that smoking was allowed here. No matter where you sat, the smell of smoke was present. I also noticed that no pool boys were seen and the cruise wide chair hogs were apparent everywhere with no discipline whatsoever. We saw very little of the onboard entertainment and so cannot comment. But I did note that the cruise director did very little and seemed somewhat of a snob. We booked our own excursions with friends we made on cruise critics and found the onboard excursions pricey for what was offered. When tendered in Santorini, the ship let the pax who had ship excursions off before the rest resulting in our pre-booked excursion being shortened. Not nice HAL. My biggest con is with the onboard dining. The Lido Market was chaotic at best. There were no specific lines and the service staff seemed unaware of what they were serving. I asked for oatmeal but was given a dry cold cereal. Many of the staff in the Lido were also curt & unresponsive to your needs. The main dining room somewhat much better. The courses more pizzazz than taste. The presentation may have competed with 5 star restaurants but the end results left less to the imagination. I'm also confused as to a wine steward who cannot make a wine suggestion. Most couldn't even pronounce the names of wines they served. In fact I brought 2 bottles onboard which I brought to the dining room, the wine steward looked at the bottle and mispronounced it's name; chianti. The assistant waiters also didn't seem to understand basic English. We ate in the Pinnacle Grill which I found ok but not great. I was looking forward to America's Test Kitchen but found our that the space was used by Club Orange, which was never full. I'm not to keen on having to book a suite to try out the fare in that restaurant. All things told, it was an enjoyable cruise. Will we sail with HAL again? Maybe. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
First time with HAL and our longest cruise to date, we did back to back cruises covering ports in Italy, the Adriatic and Greece. We selected the cruise for the itinerary as it visited some bucket list places such as Dubrovnik, Malta and ... Read More
First time with HAL and our longest cruise to date, we did back to back cruises covering ports in Italy, the Adriatic and Greece. We selected the cruise for the itinerary as it visited some bucket list places such as Dubrovnik, Malta and Santorini. As first timers on HAL we were very impressed with the ship. Loved the public rooms and decor particularly around the pool areas, the Crows Nest and the cafe. We were also happy with the entertainment but don't expect spectacular shows as the focus was more on the music walk. We found the standard of entertainers on board much better than on other lines (Princess and NCL). We ate mainly in the Lido and the main dining room. There is a huge choice of food on offer in the Lido but you have to wait at busy times as at most stations you cannot serve yourself. This is great for hygiene but some impatient people still try to reach under the glass to grab food! Food in the dining room was generally good but service was lacking on many occasions. Also the menu on the second leg of the cruise was the same as the first. The few times we ate breakfast in the dining room the service was very amateur - slow then food arriving all at once. The crew were wonderful, always ready with a smile and greeting, and we loved the Captain and his amusing announcements every day! On the whole it is the best cruise we have been on and there were only a couple of gripes. We were not happy with the response from Guest Services when we had issues in the cabin. These were the TV not working - eventually fixed by cabin steward - and a lack of hot water. Also regarding the EXC team we felt we were mislead about the number of ships in port in Katakolon and the likelihood of getting transport to Olympia so we booked a ship's tour at the last minute. When we arrived we were the only ship in port and felt this was a ploy to get more people on tours. Having said that, the tour was very good and we learned a lot more than if we had gone independently. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Our 2019 Cruise, this will be our fifth cruise in our wish list of trying all the cruise lines with various star rating. Holland America Koningsdam was next on our list and our longest, 23 nights around the Mediterranean. Pure bliss. Best ... Read More
Our 2019 Cruise, this will be our fifth cruise in our wish list of trying all the cruise lines with various star rating. Holland America Koningsdam was next on our list and our longest, 23 nights around the Mediterranean. Pure bliss. Best value....two cruised joined together for just a little more. Many Pros about this stunning ship, but also a few extremely annoying unnecessary Cons. Pros: This ship is immaculate, spotless and well maintained, even though it is only three years old, it still looks new and they never stop cleaning. HAL’s still is classical cruising, so If you prefer a party or ship for children, this is not for you. Very relaxing. The ship’s captain, Werner Timmers has a great sense of humour, especially during his addresses during the day. The onboarding was fast, efficient and we even were allowed to board early and access our rooms, a first for us. The suites were spotless, excellent showers and shampoo, conditioner and body wash which were mounted on the shower wall, saving the waste of plastics bottles. Our balcony was huge and we just had a basic veranda suite. Bedding was also comfy with a large TV just in front of the bed on the wall, showing all the latest movies, for free! This was great when you just wanted to relax in bed at night. The “fill your laundry bag” for $30 US was brilliant for cleaned and pressed laundry. Another first for us, was the ability to chat with other cruisers via their cruise app. Brilliant, we were a group of eight and this made life so much easier. Pool area is bright and colourful, but on sea days, staff must be more vigilant and remove towels placed on beds and lounges for hours, while passengers were off somewhere else. The movies at night on the big screen near the pool were lovely along with the movie’s snacks The excursions were fairly priced and well organised and their daily talks with Andrea, one of their EXC were informative and more importantly, gave you many options to visit the ports on your own and how do via local transport, which was greatly appreciated, a true passionate travel gesture to the passengers. The food was EXCELLENT and even though my husband wasn’t keen on the buffets, as there were many queues in the morning and not self-serve, especially on sea days, it kept the messy fingers of passengers out of the food keeping the health standards up. But they should increase their staff as the waiting time seemed long at times and some of the staff don’t seem to be in any rush. ******The CONS: the first main con for us was the relentless smoking odour outside our stateroom, it welcomed us and those in our group staterooms each and every morning, noon and night. Sometimes so bad, you had to cover your nose. We became passage envy at other corridors that smelt nice. I complained on average, twice a day, met with the management, but nothing could be done. WE later found out, that there was a staff smoking room at the end of our corridor behind a staff door. When staff used the door (which they were not supposed to) the smell followed them. Either stop smoking there, or put in extractor fans, it did ruin our experience and was such a shame. The casino also allows smoking, which is ridiculous, as it is a contained area, we love the casino, but could only last 10mins, they do have non-smoking nights, but people still smoke, unless you report them. To avoid this smell, don’t enter the casino and avoid staying on level 4, bow. The second main con, is the constant over charging for drinks on your account. There were eight of us, all with different packages, four with only soft drink package as we don’t drink. At dinner, you would order all your drinks, all cards would be picked up and it was luck of the draw who got charged what. The quench packages ended up having wine or beer charges on their account as no care was given on who had what card. This happened daily. As soon as you checked your account on your app straight away to check, if you were over-charged, you would then show the waiter what had happened and they would ask you to see guest services, another battle at reception!! As they cannot reverse it. Reception would reply “but your card was swiped for that drink””, then the whole story has to be explained, right drink, wrong person, wrong card. This really needs to be addressed by the beverage team. Guest services were also unsure what drinks were included in each package, I had to actually correct then. We had over 18 charges that has to reversed on average. Staff just seemed not to really care sometimes and some not as friendly as other cruise lines. The ones that were, were exceptional, best at sea, especially the barista on level 12, Paula, best at sea. Dinner in the dining room was great, but disappointed that we could never get a window table, unless we booked dinner at 5.30pm which was too early or the same waiters. Tables were cramped in and it seemed there were a lot of new staff, as it was crazy on most nights. The shows were ok, but repetitive and no real wow factor. We were looking forward to the much hyped 360 surround screens showing of blue planet 2, but only three screens were on. Which was a shame. Shopping was not really that exciting, which is good, as we spent less! In all, a great relaxing cruise, we would go again, but re-think the drinks package and avoid level 4, or anywhere near smoking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and HAL's reputation for food and service. We love all the ports: Argostolian, Kefalonia Greece; Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Split and Korcula, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Catania, Sicily; ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and HAL's reputation for food and service. We love all the ports: Argostolian, Kefalonia Greece; Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Split and Korcula, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Catania, Sicily; Valletta, Malta; and Naples, Italy. The schedule was port intensive and we could have used a couple more sea days. The ship itself is nicely decorated, with beautiful flower arrangements. Food in the MDR was very good and though we had anytime dining, we loved the team at table 336 (Sumardi, Yusi and Carlos) and made regular reservations to ensure we got them. We ate in the Pinnacle Grille twice, once for the De Librije specialty dinner. That menu was fabulous and the food interesting and delicious. Service for the standard Pinnacle menu was significantly better than service for the De Librije dinner. Entertainment in the theater was limited but the music made up for it. We enjoyed the quality of the performers in both the Rolling Stone Rock Room and BB King Blues club. The Lincoln Center stage was very good, but times did not always fit our schedule. We booked only private company excursions all of which were fabulous. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Our last cruise was on a Princess ship, which turned out to be a less than ideal vacation because it appeared that the average age of the passengers was at least 82, or maybe higher. We wanted to avoid that type of crowd, so we decided to ... Read More
Our last cruise was on a Princess ship, which turned out to be a less than ideal vacation because it appeared that the average age of the passengers was at least 82, or maybe higher. We wanted to avoid that type of crowd, so we decided to try the Koningsdam. The ship itself is not luxurious in any way; there are no interesting or unusual features that are often found on other lines. The atrium itself was especially dull. The food, however, was excellent both at the lido bar and at the two main dining rooms. The variety of food was exceptional at all meals. Other than the dining areas, the only other food offering was at a pizza place and a hamburger place. We would have liked to have more options for food, especially since the hours of operation were not that great at the two places. We went on four excursions, and had mixed results with them. Our main complaint about the excursions was that we were given very little time to stop and take pictures. The professionalism of the tour guides varied considerably. We did find out that at many ports you can hire a taxi to take you to the same sites covered by the excursion, but at a considerably lower cost. Our cabin had a balcony and the room itself was suitable in size and comfort. The folks who cleaned the cabin did a phenomenal job of making sure everything was in order and that the room was perfectly cleaned. We had no issue with the cabin itself. Our main disappointment was with the entertainment and activities. In essence, there really wasn't much to do on the ship. I'm not sure why the staff can't come up with something for the passengers to do. The entertainment was especially disappointing. The same music was played night after night at the various venues. If the ship can't have different groups playing, at least have them play different songs each night. The stage entertainers were OK, but some of them performed the same acts more than one night. The acts included a pianist, a singing group, and a juggler. Not much variety. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We are not cruisers.One 4 day disaster to the Carribbean on another line was all we had to go on. We were looking for a five star floating hotel to cruise the Greek Islands and spend a few days in Athens, and we found it in spades with the ... Read More
We are not cruisers.One 4 day disaster to the Carribbean on another line was all we had to go on. We were looking for a five star floating hotel to cruise the Greek Islands and spend a few days in Athens, and we found it in spades with the HA Koningsdam! Flew into Rome, were met immediately by HA staff, and transported seamlessly to the port. Our boarding was easy, and our cabin everything I had envisioned. Now for the trip itself. We NEVER waited for anything on board.The longest line we ever had was 5 people in front of us for an omelet. The Lido deck is a thing of beauty, with all food served individually, plexi-glass covering every station (phew!), and too many choices to take in. Silverware wrapped in cloth napkins at every place, beverages served by wait staff, and, oh..desserts to die for with a killer view! For dinner, we opted for the open seating plan, and are so happy we did. We chose to sit with other couples each night (you CAN sit solo), and met so many fascinating people. The wait staff had just won a HA award for service, and were working to live up to it. The food was 4 star worthy, and no one ever rushed us or forgot we were there. A wine steward approached us each night, but there was no feeling of being "sold" anything. We paid extra for the Pinnacle Room one night and loved it. The Canneletto disappointed only because of the location.The entertainment was top notch every night, and our stop at the BB KIng lounge--a must if you love music and/or dancing--ended our nights on an up note every time. I even got to play Pickle Ball on our sea days. Deck 12 was the lounge and internet cafe with private rooms for meetings like our CruiseCritic meet and greet the first day. The fitness room is extensive with the usual forward view. Two pools and many hot tubs for relaxing. We booked tours thru Viator, and one with CruiseCritic buddies, and loved every one. Met right off the boat, on time, just as advertised, with incredible guides. Heard nothing but raves about Viator tours...not so much about those booked through the ship. And Hop-on, Hop off in Athens, Rome and Naples worked great, as usual. Do not miss Ephesus. No words to describe it accurately. MInd blowing is all I can think of. And our guide was phenomenal. If you are thinking of this HA tour-- DO IT! For adults 50 and over. Ave. age about 55-65 Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and loved all the port visits especially Kotor, Dubrovnik and Korcula. Embarkation and disembarkation were excellent, efficient and stress free. The two tender ports were also very well ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and loved all the port visits especially Kotor, Dubrovnik and Korcula. Embarkation and disembarkation were excellent, efficient and stress free. The two tender ports were also very well organised with no hold ups. Stateroom (4030) was clean and comfortable with great storage options but we travelled with our teenage daughter and found the ergonomics not so good when the pull out bed was made up. (Effectively blocked access to the balcony.) The bathroom is a good size (especially the shower) and very functional. The big negative with the stateroom was the noise level from the theatre productions, unacceptable for a new build vessel. In room entertainment offers a great choice of movies and information. Food overall was very good however the service in the main dining room was inconsistent and actually quite poor at times. The Lido buffet had good options but felt quite crowded at times and there were quite long periods where not much was available when changing between meal sessions. Service always very good in the buffet. My favourite was the Grand Dutch Cafe which offers great coffee, nice snacks (have to try the fries) and excellent service! Entertainment was not to our taste, the feature act was Vox Fortura whose singing voices were good but the show was aimed at a very 'senior' audience. The 'comedian' Chas Burnett was plain awful (had to escape after 10 minutes) The main theatre seemed too small for the number of passengers with many missing out on seats. We liked the music in the Rolling Stone Rock venue and the Blues Club but felt the sessions were cut too short. Overall the ship's public spaces felt to be too smal, I wonder if too much space has gone to pay restaurants and exclusive areas? On the whole she is a nice modern ship with an excellent crew but we felt our previous two cruises on Celebrity Solstice class vessels were far superior. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Transatlantic Bucket List with ongoing Adriatic ports. Our first cruise on HAL. The ship, staff food and amenities were on par with our other cruises but nothing exceptional. Entertainment on main stage was mediocre but HAL Lincoln Center ... Read More
Transatlantic Bucket List with ongoing Adriatic ports. Our first cruise on HAL. The ship, staff food and amenities were on par with our other cruises but nothing exceptional. Entertainment on main stage was mediocre but HAL Lincoln Center Venue was exceptional. HAL's other on-board activities were targeted toward keeping the physically inactive mentally alert. Port excursions were both over-priced and crowded. Reminded us of 6th grade school field trips. The most rigorous activity required you climb on and off the big buses. We booked all of our excursions either through ToursbyLocal or directly with the operators. For example, a sailing charter, 40 mile bike trek, another 20 mile bike trek and 6 private tours with private guide and transport at 1/4th cost of what was being offered by HAL. Overall, HAL offers a distinct product to their target market of geriatric passive travelers who value being coddled. We enjoyed our trip and met some more adventurous souls like us but overall impression was we were traveling in a floating assisted living facility Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise included the very high quality of onboard services and food quality. While not seeing the rationale of Holland America reworking some areas to provide private space for Club Orange, we did like other changes made during the late 2018 dry dock, including addition of the Rolling Stone Rock Room (good quality rock music performed several times most nights by an onboard cover band) and conversion of the space outside of the former Culinary Arts Center to nice tables for couples with great ocean views. We missed the early evening a-la-carte menu formerly offered in the Culinary Arts Center but tried and were impressed by the Nami Sushi area added to the Tamarind restaurant. The free onboard dining options, for the most part, offered very, very good food. The Lido Market was generally good but was overcrowded at times, some of the staff there were a bit aggressive, and I did get a reheated and overcooked steak there one evening. While the quality of espresso drinks at Explorations Café and the Grand Dutch Café remained very good, it was disappointing that the extra cost of standard tall drinks had increased by about 40% in just over a year. We noticed that the crowd seemed to be younger this year, than last, which is probably good news for the future of Holland America. This was particularly true on the second part of this back-to-back cruise which included younger families and a number of kids. The room stewards were absolutely incredible, consistently delivering superior quality service with a smile and friendly comments. We were a bit disappointed with the evening shows at times as there were no Broadway/ Los Vegas style shows (or onboard dance/singing troupe) as in the past. We found it strange that during the second part of the cruise, EXC port presentations were offered instead of evening shows and on days with late evening departure times, there were no shows at all. This may in part be the price of a music walk with 4 different acts. Overall, Koningsdam is a lovely ship and delivered a consistently high quality cruise experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Husband and I chose this transatlantic because of sailing dates and we had a future cruise deposit with HAL. Everything went smoothly from embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale to disembarkation (Expedited Early Departure) in Civitevecchia. Ft. ... Read More
Husband and I chose this transatlantic because of sailing dates and we had a future cruise deposit with HAL. Everything went smoothly from embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale to disembarkation (Expedited Early Departure) in Civitevecchia. Ft. Lauderdale's terminal traffic is somewhat of a bottleneck but once in the bujilding we breezed onto the ship and found our stateroom ready and luggage there soon after. The weather was generally comfortable but somewhat overcast but the waters were smooth except for about 1 day in the Mediterranean where we had a little rocking. Ship is well maintained and appears as fresh as the brand-new Nieuw Statendam which we sailed Dec. 29, 2018-Jan, 2019. Only exception is some slightly worn furniture in the Crow's Nest. We were in verandah cabin 6219 (aft)- convenient, especially for most dining locales. Wonderful shower; not fond of the closet/storage/bathroom area-too many doors banging into each other. So much cabin storage we never have enough with us to fill everything up! Food was wonderful and some was better than we have had on other ships/lines. Service excellent throughout: unobtrusive and polite. Particularly enjoyed the superb quintet in the Lincoln Center Stage and a boogie-woogie pianist in the World Stage. Also enjoyed all of the enrichment talks with EXC. Very thorough. Also enjoyed the posted times to talk to the EXC experts about all ports. Weakness of this ship and the Nieuw Statendam is the quality of musicians/entertainers isn't top-tier (based on our 2 experiences) in venues, other than Lincoln Center, particularly the World Stage-subpar magicians, singers and BBC show. We had planned our port excursion activities in advance and booked one through the ship (Granada/Alhambra, Spain) from the port of Malaga. It was a pricey excursion but worth the money considering transportation, guides and lunch. Some Staff Kudos: John in the Microsoft Room and Nathan as Cruise Director (led a wonderful book club meeting-suggest posting the book titles for the sailings on the HAL website so they can be purchased/read in advance, as Princess does).-these 2 individuals are treasures the company should give raises to so they keep them with HAL. We have been on 20+ cruises/6 lines and they stood out. Our 7 days at sea before our first port flew by with so much going on aboard (and my husband was concerned he might be bored!!!). After 2 eastbound transatlantic cruises we are now hooked and want to do a westbound so I can experience 6 25-hour days instead of 6 23-hour days during the time changes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Had never sailed with HA before (28 cruises) and had done three transatlantic crossings so were ready for another and liked the itinerary continuing on to Croatia. Things started out great as the cabins were ready when we got on the ship ... Read More
Had never sailed with HA before (28 cruises) and had done three transatlantic crossings so were ready for another and liked the itinerary continuing on to Croatia. Things started out great as the cabins were ready when we got on the ship around noon. First balcony room was fine but slightly smaller than ones we'd had on other lines. Great TV and wonderful shower. However, whoever designed the bathroom forgot to leave enough leg room in front of commode. We asked for a different room about three days into the cruise due to mechanical noise that was going on directly across the hall from our room. We did get moved after 13 nights and had nice, quiet sleeping for the last nine days. Don't know how they justify putting any passenger that has paid for a veranda room within range of that constant noise. Dining was fine in main dining room. Menu was varied and our service was good at the early seating. We use the buffet as little as possible, but found the food selection O.K. but hated the lines that were caused by the fact that there were very few things you could serve yourself. Annoying! The french fries at the Dive In near the pool were great and the burgers were fine also. Need to send the food service staff of HA a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, however, as they certainly don't know how to make the real stuff. The entertainment in the World Stage left a lot to be desired. Too many comedians who weren't that good and the need to arrive 30 minutes or more ahead of time to guarantee a seat. The string quartet in another venue was very talented, but performed more often than needed. Have no comments about the ship excursions as we always plan our own private groups or join others that have done so and did three on this cruise. We also used the HOHO buses in Malaga and Cartagena and Kotor. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Sail Dates: March 27, 2019 – April 7, 2019 Cabin: 6177, Verandah Stateroom Ports: Leaving out of Fort Lauderdale; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia with a Cruise of Soufriere Bay; Bridgetown Barbados; ... Read More
Sail Dates: March 27, 2019 – April 7, 2019 Cabin: 6177, Verandah Stateroom Ports: Leaving out of Fort Lauderdale; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia with a Cruise of Soufriere Bay; Bridgetown Barbados; Fort-De-France, Martinique with a Daylight Cruise Passed Mount Pelee; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Captain: Darin Bowland Cruise Director: Nathan Hinojosa Hotel Director: Mustafa Galbahar Our Cruise Experience: First with HAL; 40 total Pre Cruise Stay: We decided to stay in Fort Lauderdale the night before so we booked a room at the Rodeway Inn Airport. They provided a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the cruise terminal, which you have to reserve when you check in. We arrived around 4:00 and found the waiting area for shuttles, called the hotel and the shuttle arrived within about 20-30 minutes. After we got into our room, it was close to dinner time so we decided to try Marina84, the hotel’s restaurant & bar. We’d read some reviews on it and they were mostly good. Since we didn’t have a car to go anywhere else, this was as good as any place. It was already doing a pretty good business when we went in and sat down. My husband ordered a hamburger and I ordered the French Dip…wish I’d ordered the hamburger! He said it was good and it looked good. My French Dip, however, was pretty bad. After dinner, we walked around checking out the hotel. It has a business center, which consists of two computers and I think a printer, located around the corner from the lobby. It has a shop in case you forgot something or want to buy other items. A pool of course, and the restaurant. Our room was nice with two full beds, TV, fridge, and a coffee maker. After we settled in for the night and were watching TV, the power went out. Once I found our flashlight, it came back on. Apparently lightening from the storm had struck a substation and caught the lines on fire causing the outage. It wasn’t out very long, but the next morning when I was getting ready for breakfast, it went out for a few hours. I was just getting out of the shower when it went out, and I had to put my makeup on with the trusty flashlight and couldn’t dry my hair. When the power finally came back on, we went for breakfast. I was not in a good mood, and breakfast took forever because everyone was so slow getting what they wanted. It’s one of those typical hotel breakfasts that has cereals, fruits, pastries, make your own waffles and pancakes, etc. As I said, I was not in a good mood with the power being out and this man walks in dressed as a yacht captain making jokes like this… “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking”. “That’s it, just your captain speaking.” Well some people thought it was funny, I, however, did not. He walked around the room making jokes with people and fortunately for him, he did not stop at our table. Shuttle time…we had reserved seats on the first shuttle to the terminal which left a little after 9:30. It was supposed to be 10:00, but we were ready and actually glad it was leaving earlier. I hope no one missed it! Embarkation: We really didn’t have to wait very long before they began boarding and we were on board around 11:30. We had read on Cruise Critic that the main dining room was open for lunch on embarkation day so we threw our carry-on in the cabin and headed there for lunch. I’m glad we did, it was so much nicer than trying to fight the crowds in the buffet. It was a nice relaxing wonderful lunch. My husband had a steak sandwich that he liked and I had the fluke shrimp butter; not sure why it was called that, and my husband had the peanut butter silk pie. The dining room is pretty with everything in white with red and white lights. The waiters’ stations are in rooms along the outsides of the dining room so no tables are by the stations. I liked that. Our Cabin: We liked the fact that our luggage had already been delivered to our cabin when we boarded and we were able to go to our cabins right away instead of waiting until 1:00. That was a good thing! We had cabin 6177 with a verandah. The verandah was a nice size with two adjustable semi-lounge chairs, one with a foot stool, and a small round table. We spent quite a bit of time on the verandah. Another good thing. The layout of the cabin was good. As you walk in, the the bathroom is on your right with closets adjacent on your left. The bathroom shower has glass doors and was a good size, but it didn’t drain well at all. The toilet is squeezed into a corner facing the shower, so if you have long legs, be prepared to sit sideways…a bad thing. There is plenty of closet space with shelving and the safe is inside another closet-like space. You will program in a four-digit number to lock and unlock it. The beds were pushed together to make a king size bed and it was very comfortable; you couldn’t tell where the crack was! A good thing! We had four pillows, two small ones, and two queen size ones. It took a couple of nights to find the ones we each liked. There is a sofa with two cabinets above it, and a small table that can easily be moved around – a good thing – since you had to move it to use the desk that was across from it. The desk had three drawers for storage. There seemed to be plenty of lighting over the desk, but for applying make-up, it cast a shadow so it was hard to really see. A bad thing. One thing I loved was on the wall under the TV is an area that seemed to be recessed into the wall with wire cables. It was great for storing books and my pocket folder with all of our cruise info. I have a folder for cruise docs, airline info, each port with confirmations, etc. in it, and that was a really handy place for it. A good thing. There are plenty of outlets, both European and U.S., along with a USB port for charging your cell phone at the desk, and one at each night stand along with U.S. outlets. A good thing! To keep your lights on and the A/C running while you are out, keep a card of some type in the holder at the door. I used an old Blockbuster card. We always turned the lights off, but want the A/C to stay on. The temp in our room usually stayed around 68, but some nights it did get up to 72 or 73. I had ordered a fan for my asthma for sleeping and that helped as well. After lunch, we went back to the room so I could get everything hung up to minimize any wrinkling, and get everything in its place. I brought magnetic clips to put up our itinerary and any invitations or anything else important that we didn’t want to lose. I also brought strong magnetic hooks for hanging pants, pool bag, etc. Food: Food options were plenty around the ship, but we ate most of our breakfasts and lunches, and all of our dinners in the main dining room. No complaints on the food here except for the red snapper at dinner one evening. It was pretty bad and I couldn’t eat it and didn’t want anything else from the menu. The MDR’s menu selections were good, I suppose, but we are the meat and potatoes kind of people so we did have some challenges. Most everything we chose was good and all of the soups were very good. Main Dining Room: For dinner we had anytime dining, and eventually ended up with a wait team that we liked and had the rest of the cruise. They were Swedana and Al Rey. A very good team, always getting our food out right away and making sure we finished in time to get to the 7:00 show. The Maitre d’ actually assigned us to them after my husband spoke with him one morning about his eggs. They made sure everything was perfect with us from that day on. A good thing! Breakfast: I ordered egg white omelets with peppers, onion, and cheese every morning and it was always perfect. It comes with a little hash brown that is scrumptious, but I had to be careful with that. My husband would order his eggs over medium and they were always overcooked. We figured they continued to cook inside the cloche from the galley to the table. Once he began ordering them over easy, they were perfect. Dinner Apps & Soups: Shrimp and chicken croquette, crab & and daikon cakes, jumbo shrimp cocktail, hazelnut crusted brie, Caribbean island fritters, crab and shrimp Louis, wild mushroom with Thai red curry, spring rolls, shrimp cocktail with mustard sauce, scallops, and traditional shrimp cocktail. Wish I’d gotten two of all of these! The flavors were so good of each of these apps. Soups were all delicious and included French onion, cream of mushroom, Thai shrimp bisque, potato and leek soup, tomato and zucchini soup, corn and something soup, sun choke soup with toasted pumpkin seed, and butternut squash soup. Each soup was very flavorful with a rich creamy texture (except for the French onion) and left you wanting more. The French onion was the best I’ve had anywhere, except for one night when I had no onions, only the crouton and broth! A bad thing…but when it had the onions, this soup was excellent. The crouton was excellent and covered the entire bowl. It was only super hot a night or two, which was okay with me because French onion soup is usually so hot you can’t eat it. Again, all of the soups were delicious…another good thing! Dinner Entrees: Entrees included shrimp Diablo, prime rib, tenderloin and shrimp, spaghetti, pot roast, red snapper, red wine brisket, petite tenders, parmesan crusted chicken breast, surf & turf (filet mignon and lobster), and sweet and sour shrimp. We enjoyed the entrees we got with the exception of the red snapper. All dishes were beautiful and tasted wonderful! The waiter takes the lobster out of the shell for you – a good thing! We are hit or miss on that detail from cruise to cruise, as some do and some don’t. Desserts: All of the desserts were good. They were scrumptious, but I couldn’t eat too many being diabetic. Desserts we got are, peanut butter silk pie, cheese & fruit plate, chocolate soufflé, Nutella cheesecake, rum cake, cheese plate, almond & orange cake, warm flourless chocolate cake. I got sorbet a couple of nights, but I have to say the fruit and cheese plate was very good. NY Deli: Most days for lunch I would get the New Jersey Turkey Club Decker sandwich. It was very good and I would order it without lettuce and remove the middle piece of bread, you know, to cut down on calories – really, don’t laugh! The bread is buttered and toasted just the right amount and the turkey is shaved and piled on with a tomato and cheese, emmm…just thinking about it now makes my mouth water! They also have pizza here, but you can’t get it by the slice – a bad thing – so you do have to order the whole pizza. It’s about the size of a medium pizza. In the evening my husband would get wings here and I would get the sliders, nachos with cheese, or popcorn. The popcorn is not available until just before the movie starts. Dive-In: My husband got a hamburger from here at lunch one day along with some fries. He liked the food he got from here. I think the fries were double fried and looked scrumptious! Buffet: We didn’t eat from the buffet often because they serve you and it is slow getting through it. Another reason was that it wasn’t open when we wanted something. A bad thing. The hours are 6:00 a.m. – 9:00, 11:30 a.m. -- 3:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. -- 10:30 p.m. Every time we went there they were closing up. We are used to buffets being open later than 10:30 so we were forced to go to the NY Deli for snacks after 10:30. A bad thing. Items we did get from the buffet were shrimp stir fry from the Asian station, brisket, shrimp cocktails, but they don’t have cocktail sauce, and desserts. My husband went up after dinner and said they had lobster on lobster night and he was able to get three. The buffet pretty much had whatever the main dining room served at dinner, so that was a good thing! Star Mariner Lunch: We had an invitation to attend the Star Mariner Lunch on the first sea day; we started with one Mariner Star because we have many Carnival cruises under our belts. They did not take up invitations, so I kept ours. We were seated at a table for two that was beautifully decorated with glasses of champagne and beautiful exotic flowers. Lunch was a choice of chicken and Andouille gumbo, Caribbean Montego pepper steak, Cobia and grilled shrimp, and pasta pasta. My husband had the gumbo and liked it. I think he got the pepper steak, but can’t remember now. I got the Pasta Pasta and it was very good. It had a very smooth and flavorful consistency that almost melted on your tongue. We didn’t get dessert. On the next sea day, we headed to the MDR for lunch and when we got off the elevator a huge crowd was going into the dining room. We merged in and wondered why the Captain and ship’s officers were there. Once seated, we realized it was a second Star Mariner lunch, exactly like the one we had the day before! That’s what happens when they don’t take your invitation! Ports of Call: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten: Our first stop was St. Maarten. Since we have been here so many times, we stayed on board and enjoyed getting a chair by the Sea View pool and soaked up some rays while most everyone else was in port. If you have not been here before, I recommend a tour with Bernard’s. Castries, Saint Lucia: Again, we’d been here so many times we opted to stay on board. I think we did get off and walk around the terminal and got some great shots of the ship and the water. If you haven’t been here I recommend a tour with Cosol. We’ve taken his tour twice and you will see lots, eat lots, drink lots, and do lots! You can get a mud bath, you will see the Pitons, you will see a waterfall, botanical gardens, and eat a local lunch. As we were leaving St. Lucia, the ship took a slow tour around the bay and we were very close to the Pitons! You could see them so well; usually it’s cloudy and we can never see them, but we got some beautiful shots of them as we sailed through the bay. A good thing! Bridgetown, Barbados: Once again, been there done that so we decided to take a taxi to Rascal’s and enjoy the day at Brandon’s Beach. When we arrived, we checked in with Leigh and for $20 we got two chairs on the beach with umbrella, and a complimentary rum drink each. We got our chairs and walked along the beach. It was a beautiful, sunny day. After a nice walk along the beach, we headed back to our chairs to bask in the sun awhile. Since it was a week-day, it wasn’t crowded with locals, but by around 11:00 more and more people began showing up. We had told our taxi driver to pick us up around 1:00 so we packed up around 12:00 and went to the bar for those free drinks! Yes, they had plenty of rum in them! They were very tasty with nutmeg and other spices. My husband bought one more for the road and while we were sitting there relaxing, our taxi driver walked through looking for us around 12:30. It opens at 9:00 a.m. even though the signs reads 10:00. Brandon’s Beach is beautiful and this was a very nice, relaxing day for us. Leigh, Corey, Carson, and Michael will take very good care of you. Fort-de-France, Martinique: This port was the only one we had not been to and were excited about our visit. We had booked a tour with Krambole Tours, and Christelle, our guide, was excellent. Instructions were to meet her at the pier at 9:00. While we were waiting, it began to rain…oh, no! She arrived precisely at 9:00 and said that this was the first rain they’d had in months and they were glad to see it. Van loaded, we began our journey to the top of the mountain. First stop was a Catholic church that is magnificent. It’s an old beautiful church that has some rich history. There are also restrooms here that are the last ones for a while. We left the church and headed to the rain forest. We saw the Alma River, and while most walked down to the Saut Gendarme water fall, I and another lady opted to stay in the van since it was raining and the steps to the falls were steep. I didn’t want to chance slipping and breaking something -- like my pride! From here we visited the ruins of an old theater in St. Pierre, the DePaz Rum Distillery, and on to Grey Sand Beach, our last stop. We also saw Mt. Pelee. At each stop, Christelle would present us with tasty local treats that she had prepared for us. The trip takes extremely winding roads so if you have motion sickness, I would recommend you take whatever you use for that before the tour. Christelle has something she can give you, but I wished I had taken my Bonine! This tour costs 65 Euros pp and she prefers you pay with Euros. They are easy to order from your bank and have within a few days; otherwise it’s $85 pp. You may also pay with a credit card. We enjoyed this tour. As we were leaving, the ship sailed passed Mt. Pelee, but we were at dinner and couldn’t see it from the ship. Basseterre, Saint Kitts: Again, been there done all that. We had reserved chairs at Palms Court Gardens and Restaurant here. It is a short taxi ride there and you can walk it in about 15 minutes if you’re up to that. We arrived early and our chairs were waiting for us with our name on them! They were located at the edge of the pool overlooking the beautiful blue ocean with a wonderful view of the ship. They offer free Wi-Fi, but be aware that it doesn’t work for every phone and wouldn’t work with ours. The gardens are beautiful with a lot of gorgeous tropical plants and flowers. The pool is very nice, large enough and extremely clean. There is a hot tub there as well. There is no beach here, just the beautiful view of the ship and gardens around the resort. We did not eat lunch here, but my husband did order a Toilet Water drink. I tasted it, and it was very strong… The ships’ crews also like to visit here, so soon after lunch time they began arriving and the peacefulness and quietness of the pool and surrounding area became noisy and not as enjoyable, so be aware of this as well. Around 1:00 we decided we’d had enough of the sun and asked them to call us taxi so we could head back to the ship. I would recommend this place if you can get there early (it opens at 9:00), if you would like a quiet, beautiful day. The day pass is $12pp and if you take the taxi, that is $10. Be sure to use a good sunscreen because it is very hot and with the nice breezes, you don’t realize how much sun you are getting. If you prefer a tour, Grey’s does a good tour here. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas: Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but again, been there done it all. We stayed on the ship and enjoyed the peacefulness of the Sea View pool. Several years ago we took a snorkeling tour with Rumbaba and I think they are still in business with new owners. That a was a great day and I would recommend it. Island tours are always good as well. Half Moon Cay: Been here several times and it always has been our favorite day. Half Moon Cay is so pretty with its pristine beaches and beautiful views of the water and our ship. This day, however, was not so enjoyable. This was our first time visiting HMC on a HAL ship and HAL decided to add this port to its new ship, the Nieuw Statendam as well. This small private island is not big enough to handle two large ships on the same day, in my opinion. The Koningsdam arrived first which was good. We were able to get some good chairs in the sun near the pirate ship. After the Statendam arrived, it began to get quite crowded on the small island. Lunch was not good at all. Our other times here it has always been a good lunch. It was very crowded trying to get lunch and the hamburgers weren’t cooked enough and neither was my hot dog. The chicken was not that good either. Thank goodness for fruit! We left around 1:00 and the line for the tender was extremely long. People would cut in line by going under the ropes instead of snaking around and through the maze of rope. We sat on the tender for at least 30 minutes while they filled it up. Once full, the tender had a hard time trying to back away from the pier. After several tries we finally made it, turned around and headed for the ship. I quietly wondered if we would sink on the way to the ship... We were disappointed that they put two large ships here on the same day. I would call this day the ugly. Entertainment: We were disappointed in entertainment for an 11-day cruise. The ship has what it calls the Music Walk, consisting of a BB King’s Blues Club, Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard on Board, and RollingStone Rock Room. We enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage with its classical musicians, but the times they were on stage was when we were at dinner. We managed to catch the tail end of their performances a couple of nights and I really liked them. We went to BB King’s three nights and liked the band, they were really good, but after three or four nights, we got bored with it. The female singer was much better than the male singer, but I like listening to them both. The same thing with RollingStone Rock Room…we went there three nights and after a while got bored with that. The lead singer wasn’t that good, but the band itself was. We didn’t even listen to the Billboard on Board because just walking passed it was enough; we couldn’t take an hour of them. There was no entertainment the first night in the World Stage theater, but the second night we had a comedian, Kira Soltanovich. She was funny talking about her Russian mother. The second night on the World Stage was StepOne Dance Company presenting “Humanity”. That was the best in my opinion. The walls in the theater are millions of tiny LED lights. This performance was really professional and beautiful with the incorporation of the laser lights and the use of the walls. This should not be missed and they performed this show twice during the cruise. The theater is quite small for this size ship, but the Humanity show wouldn’t work well if the theater were larger. StepOne Dance Company’s performance, “Stages”, was the ugly in my opinion. It was about three couples and the different stages of their relationships (no talking)…not a good performance at all and some people did walk out during this performance. Other shows on World Stage included BBC Earth Presents: Blue Planet II; another ugly. We could have watched this in our stateroom. It is comparable to a National Geographic movie, only not as good; another comedian, Kelly McDonald; an illusionist, Ruben Vilagrand who was really good and shouldn’t be missed; a master mentalist, Jon Stetson who was very good; singer, Petrina Johnson, who was good; and one night they combined the mentalist and Petrina Johnson calling it a variety show. In the evening there was also Majority Rules Game Show, and music trivia, if you like those types games. The casino was another option. There were options during the day, but when not in port, we were at the pool. We would go the Crow’s Nest in the evening for happy hour and hang out there for a while. There is a little café outside the Crow’s Nest called Explorations Café, but it was only open one night we went there. Our When & Where paper says it’s open from 9:00 a.m—8:00 p.m.; guess we went early one night! Disembarkation: Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. We had a disembarkation time of 8:15, but they called us earlier. We found our luggage right away and getting through Customs was a breeze. We got a taxi right away and were at the airport in plenty of time for our flight, which happened to be an hour late! One thing they give you is a summary of the entertainment for the whole cruise so you can plan what you want to do at a glance. I noticed that they showed us in Half Moon Cay on March 16th. Problem was, the cruise didn’t begin until March 27th. Oops! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This cruise left Ft Lauderdale March 27 2019 - April 7 Neptune Suite. There is no priority tender service for Neptune Suite passengers as has been stated in the summary on this site and in others. In 5 cruises on HAL ships I have ... Read More
This cruise left Ft Lauderdale March 27 2019 - April 7 Neptune Suite. There is no priority tender service for Neptune Suite passengers as has been stated in the summary on this site and in others. In 5 cruises on HAL ships I have never found a place to board or depart separate from other guests, except during home port embarkation. I have asked. They seem amazed that I would ask about it. The newly designed Koningsdam Neptune suites are less user friendly than on the other ships. Smaller, it seems, with fewer closets, less storage space and worst of all, the "water closet" is separated from the rest of the bathroom by a door. The area for the toilet measures 8 ft 5 inches by 46 inches. Once reduced by the sink and counter, I believe you are left with about 5 ft by 40 inches of space, minus the toilet itself. which is ok, except that TWO doors enter into this area. One opens inward and comes within 2 inches of front of the toilet seat. In an otherwise luxurious suite why have they designed the bathroom this way is beyond me. Those issues aside, it was a great trip. The bed is comfortable, the service perfect. We ate in the new Orange Dining Room (Neptune Suite, Pinnacle Suite passengers and 4 Star Mariners) every night except when in the Pinnacle Grill. We made use of the free laundry service for Neptune Suite passengers, room service for breakfast on days when we had an excursion planned and one night for a late night snack. All these services were wonderful. Entertainment on HAL still is not anything to write about, so I won't. The ship is only about 2 years old and is being well taken care for. The staff is welcoming and friendly. The Hotel Director seems to be everywhere making sure all runs smoothly. Even on the tender to Half Moon Cay. That stop, by the way, is a really nice way to enjoy a day at the beach. Be sure to reserve a "clam shell" which is a shaded spot for two beach lounges, before you leave on your trip. On a sunny day you will fry out there without one and things move much more quickly when you land if you already have your ticket in hand. We have enjoyed every single one of our voyages on HAL. This one was particularly fun because in two ports we berthed along side our sister ship, The Niew Statendam. We made friends with Niew Statendam travelers when we ended up on some the same excursions and spent the day at half Moon Cay. It was noisy and fun when The Konningsdam pulled out of port in St Thomas just a little ahead of the New Statendam. As they were side by side the ships signaled each other with those long blasts, and passengers stood on decks and waved and cheered. A good memory. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
The quality of this cruise line and the ship speaks for itself. My wife and I from Florida Have sailed 7 different cruise lines. The Oosterdam in December 2018 was the first HAL which we so enjoyed. The crew from the Captain from Canada ... Read More
The quality of this cruise line and the ship speaks for itself. My wife and I from Florida Have sailed 7 different cruise lines. The Oosterdam in December 2018 was the first HAL which we so enjoyed. The crew from the Captain from Canada , who was informative in the Q and A session, the cruise director, Nathan from Texas, who was the CD on the Oosterdam and remembered us as we boarded the ship ,to the assistant director, Ines,from Portugal is what made this Trip so much fun. We enjoyed Lincoln Center Stage, played Pickleball, played trivia, where we met friends that we played trivia with the whole cruise .We did morning stretching, went to afternoon tea and evening shows. We did not use the casino,or the computer classes this time. We ate in the dining rooms and buffet, which was very,very good. We used the thermal spa. The room was fine and our steward wonderful.We encountered NO ONE that was not polite,friendly, respectful and fair. We look forward to our next visit cruise, that we booked on the ship , to New England/ Canada. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Everything was wonderful! The food was xlnt. The main dining room wasn’t as noisy as some previously stated. The portions were ample and presented well. All servers were friendly and courteous and we found this true throughout the ship. ... Read More
Everything was wonderful! The food was xlnt. The main dining room wasn’t as noisy as some previously stated. The portions were ample and presented well. All servers were friendly and courteous and we found this true throughout the ship. Our balcony stateroom on deck 5 was perfect size and always clean and fresh. The bathroom was fine with an excellent shower. The toilet is close to the shower, but it’s no big deal. The bed is very comfortable and the pillows aren’t “hard as rocks” as previously stated. The lido dining was very good and we thought that having the servers fill our plates rather than ourselves worked out very well. One might stand in a line for 2 minutes to get some fried eggs or an omelette but I never thought the lines were exceptionally long. We were always able to find a seat; either inside or out by the pool. Breakfast in the main dining room also was very nice without the lido hustle and bustle. Yes, the chair saving by the pool was evident; I don’t think that will ever change. Most of our time was spent at the aft pool. Half of this section is used by the smokers but surprisingly didn’t bother the other half. Plenty of drink servers and guys clearing tables. Can’t figure out why the pool water was green and the jacuzzis were blue. Loved the Blues and Rock venues. Saw a comedian and a mentalist both mediocre. Every time we went to the main theatre we walked right in at about 8:40 for a 9 pm show no problem. Embarkation and disembarkation we among the smoothest we’ve ever experienced. Maybe 45 minutes for each. My guess at the average age of cruisers would be late 60’s and above. LOTS of wheelchairs and scooters. Probably only about 15 kids total. We didn’t take any ship sponsored tours as we felt they were too expensive. The biggest disappointment of ports was Half Moon Cay in that there were 2 ships in port for a total of about 5000 people on the beach. Probably would have been pretty cool with half that as it is a very beautiful location. We thought some Caribbean music out by the pools in the afternoon would have been nice, but it never happened. We are looking forward to cruising with HAL again soon! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this ship because it was newer and we lived the itinerary and not too many sea days. (We have been on about 26 cruises) This is what we loved: 1. The ship is beautiful 2. Staff is attentive and friendly 3. Dinner in ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was newer and we lived the itinerary and not too many sea days. (We have been on about 26 cruises) This is what we loved: 1. The ship is beautiful 2. Staff is attentive and friendly 3. Dinner in dining room doesn’t seem rushed 4. Itinerary 5. Very clean 6. Despite reviews that say they don’t have an “unlimited” internet package they actually did. On our 10 day cruise it cost $179. This is what we did NOT love: 1. Theatre so small it does not accommodate guests. We showed up 40 minutes early for two shows and there was not one seat left 2. Formal night, a dance show is about to begin, ONE show, really? It starts at 9pm and we are waiting outside the theatre standing here at 7:50pm, we have a 1 hour 10 min wait. It’s day 9 of our 10 day cruise and we love the dance shows and this is the third one and if we get a seat it will be the first one we get to see. I think the theatre holds 300 people, I may be wrong. Smallest theatre on any cruise ship I have ever been on. They need 3 shows per night for the dance shows to accommodate the guests. Tomorrow night is the last dance show and they also have ONE show. So nope we won’t sail with them again. 3. Eating in the lido buffet is exasperating. You can basically not get any food by yourself, maybe you can serve yourself some fruit or a cinnamon roll AFTER they hand you a plate. What I’m trying to say is that the buffet is a lot of work. You have to wait in line. You can’t grab your own plate. There is say one person maybe two behind the glass at each food station. At one food station this one girl has to make crepes, spoon out oatmeal and cream of wheat into bowls, put bacon and sausage on your plate..it’s pretty crazy and slow. Then suppose you want toast or a bagel, now go to the bread food station wait in that line so that one person that’s runnjng that can take care of it. Then find a table and try to get coffee, it’s just an ordeal. 4. Then they close breakfast most days at 9:30am. 5. The food has been good but some meals better than others. Not every meal has been amazing. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
this was our 5th cruise with HAL and 2nd on the Koningsdam in the Caribbean. We loved the 10 day cruise to the ABC islands. We go on cruises to explore new ports and relax and love the HAL experience complete with gala nights. That is ... Read More
this was our 5th cruise with HAL and 2nd on the Koningsdam in the Caribbean. We loved the 10 day cruise to the ABC islands. We go on cruises to explore new ports and relax and love the HAL experience complete with gala nights. That is one of the reasons we book with HAL. Early runs in the morning on deck are lovely after a long winter and the spa experience was great as well! The addition of the rolling stone band is a great entertainment venue after dinner. We feel overall the main dining room experience is going downhill a little in the past 7 years, so we booked a few more of the specialty restaurants. the pinnacle and tamarind are absolute favourites. Diving and snorkeling excursions were wonderful. Great staff that go above and beyond. Our cabin had an oversized veranda and we booked the unlimited laundry which is super to have as you can take a few less things. One thing we completely avoid is the LIDO market. Why stand in line when you can get everything much better in the dining room? We arrived early in the morning and check in and embarkation was seamless. We definitely will go again but may chose a smaller ship next time to see if we can experience again some of the reasons we like to go with HAL in the first place, which is excellent service, excellent dining and super friendly staff. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I am not a person who feels that a vacation should go perfectly. I expects some bumps along the way. In saying this, I am bothered by the bumps that are preventable. The issues that I have detailed below in the 'Cabin Review' ... Read More
I am not a person who feels that a vacation should go perfectly. I expects some bumps along the way. In saying this, I am bothered by the bumps that are preventable. The issues that I have detailed below in the 'Cabin Review' were preventable and it is my hope that the creaking room is repaired before others experience sleepless nights on their vacation. We found the crew as wonderful as ever. Aside from the creaking room, we were looked after very well. I was quite worried about the entertainment after 4 nights. Post Modern Jukebox was not good. The theater was full when this group started and at least one quarter of the people left the first night before the performance ended and less people showed up for the second night performance. There was only polite clapping during the performances. With the second performance they gave themselves an encore when no one was clapping and people were leaving. Some awkwardly sat down while others just left. One of the singers had an amazing voice. I hope she finds another company. The entertainment got better. There were two dance performance nights and they were very good with well deserved standing ovations. The live orchestra performance to Planet Earth II with the wrap around screen was great. Karen Grainger (female impressionist) was very good. We enjoyed quite a few Lincoln Centre performances, wonderful! We would have attended more but our early dining time conflicted with performance times. We went to 2 Rolling Stone Room performances and the band was great. We watched a few songs from the BB King room and again this was good. We liked the music walk. Read Less
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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