4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My sisters chose this cruise. I just wrote a cheque. Glad I did. I’ve been on four cruises. This was the best. The atmosphere was mellow and laid back. It was an older crowd; I’m older, so that was a plus. Food was always delicious. ... Read More
My sisters chose this cruise. I just wrote a cheque. Glad I did. I’ve been on four cruises. This was the best. The atmosphere was mellow and laid back. It was an older crowd; I’m older, so that was a plus. Food was always delicious. Staff were attentive and friendly. Ports were fun. Chose only one HAL excursion, then switched to other, in Port providers because these are cheaper and more flexible. Liked all the nightly small music venues on board; however, the main stage entertainment was a weak spot. Maybe I’ve been spoiled with large ensemble musical shows on other cruise lines. Also irritated by cumbersome internet package options, sold in 24 hour increments. Who needs internet 24 hours a day? Give me 3 hours/day for ten days, and I’ll be happy. Embarking was easy; staff were so cheerful and funny. Did this around 1:30PM, so we may have missed rush hour. Expedited disembarkation was also easy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We had the pleasure of cruising on the Holland America Koningsdam for 10 days with six ports in the Southern Caribbean Sea that included the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Embarkation and ... Read More
We had the pleasure of cruising on the Holland America Koningsdam for 10 days with six ports in the Southern Caribbean Sea that included the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Embarkation and disembarkation went quickly and smoothly. We were pleasantly surprised with our 4th floor interior room. It was spacious, clean, and had ample of storage space. The beds were comfortable and we loved the roomy bathroom! The cabin exceeded our expectations. The Koningsdam is my favorite cruising ship so far. It exceeded all expectations! The wonderful staff and excellent food were over the top! There were few lines for food, plenty of seating for the shows, no screaming kids, nor intoxicated people. It was pleasant, peaceful, and restful. My favorite ship highlights were the Lincoln Center Stage performances, the Lido Market cuisine, the afternoon tea service, lounging poolside, and the EXC excursion talks. Don’t get me wrong. If you want live music or movies playing by the pool with a lot of dancing and drinking, this cruise isn’t for you. However, if you like it quiet enough to hold a conversation, read books, play cards, nap, or tune out with earbuds, HAL Koningsdam is the perfect choice! We enjoyed all of the ports and excursions, except Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This line was the only line that offered the first 10 days with stops we had not visited before. The ship and crew were great. HA schedulers suck. When we received our flights (booked through HA) there were two sore spots. We depart out ... Read More
This line was the only line that offered the first 10 days with stops we had not visited before. The ship and crew were great. HA schedulers suck. When we received our flights (booked through HA) there were two sore spots. We depart out of MSY at 8 am and arrive FLL ONE and a HALF hour before ship departs. The return leg is airport for 10 am, departing flight at 7 pm and not arriving at MSY till midnight. As i write this, our plane is delayed 1/2 hour with beautiful weather. Good ole Delta. We called HA months in advance to express our concerns. Was told that was within their guidelines. Well, we were slid onto the ship 2 of the last 4 people after security was closed and the ship was late departing. Virtually did not screen us so we could make departure. We missed the first afternoon of our cruise which we always look forward to. No remorse from the ‘desk people’ on board. The rest of the ship’s crew (98%) were wonderful. I wanted to write reviews for the excursions so other people can plan their trips but there is no place in HA website to create these. Dining experience was very good. Service was excellent in all areas of the ship. However, the food was good but bland - no extra seasoning available such as Tony’s, Zatarains, Slap ya Mama, etc. We ordered breakfast in cabin all but 3 days. No complaints, on time, coffee and selection was acceptable. Cabin crew was very helpful with the small needs such as cabin menus, fruits and snacks. Cabin was spotless each day twice a day minimum. The nightly live band on Deck 2 was awesome. Great talent and popular music enjoyed by standing room only crowd each night. There are no art auctions like Norwegian or Carnival which is strange because HA is owned by Carnival Corp. There is an art gallery where u can purchase but thats it. Nothing we liked. We booked ooked snorkeling excursions through HA all stops except The Dom Rep and Curaçao which were average experiences. We completed the Coffee experience at The Dom Republic which we are still talking about. You travel up into the mountains to learn, taste and help the local coffee farmers bring back their coffee industry. In Curaçao, we did the ATV tour which takes you through and across the island. Dusty but a lot of fun and a learning experience all booked through HA. We were fortunate enough to see Carnival in Aruba and dine at Lucy’s (nachos). Awesome experience - we are from Louisiana and experience Mardi Gras every year. Carnival in Aruba was very colorful and very close to our home experience. The ship’s photography dept is not what we expected. We wanted to take a pic and have them place it on the embarkation background. We were told that they would take some pics of us but it would be black & white. We arrived for our appointment at 7:30 pm and was advised that the first pic (if purchased) would be $450.00! No thanks - see ya! Rip off artist but we are smarter than that. In this digital world, there is NO one on that ship that can make us believe that they couldn’t fulfill our request. We paid $19.95 for a dock photo and that’s it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We were looking for a cruise that could accommodate 6 of us at a reasonable cost. HAL Koningsdam fit the bill. The ship's art is wonderful. The ship's musical theme is throughout with interesting art that is worth walking all ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise that could accommodate 6 of us at a reasonable cost. HAL Koningsdam fit the bill. The ship's art is wonderful. The ship's musical theme is throughout with interesting art that is worth walking all the staircases to look at. We found the flow of the ship easy to get around. Typical of a Carnival Corp. ship the staff were friendly and always helpful. Cabins: The rooms were tight but very functional. Bathroom was a good size with a large shower stall. We had a veranda stateroom next to my Son and Father-in-law's room. We asked the steward if he could open the door between balconies which he was happy to do. This gave extra space and made our before dinner socializing easy, when my Daughter and Son-in-law would also come by. Only thing I wish was available was outdoor lighting. Although there are light fixtures on the balconies, these are controlled by the bridge. The first night I went on the verandah and banged up a shin on the chair. Dining: Our dining experiences were fantastic. We enjoyed any meals at the dining room we had. There was only 1 night that none of us were thrilled with what we ordered. The buffet was great for breakfast and lunch. I was impressed with the cleanliness and care there. There were new dishes to try every day. We also went to 3 specialty restaurants as well. Each were a unique and great experience. I would highly recommend De Liberje. Entertainment: The shows we're fine. My favourite was BBC Earth with musicians from the ship playing the background music. The dance show dazzles, the technology of the world stage is great. There was a comedian onboard named Cory Rodriguez. He was funny and then hung out with my kids at the Casino. It made for entertaining evenings. There is also trivia everyday and various other events. The Rolling Stone room had great music every night, the Lincoln Centre had classical music late in the day until early evening. This room would then change in the BB King blues club. The band was great but the music was more Motown then Blues. This was disappointing to me but it's all about finding the common denominator. Service: Absolutely no complaints. Whatever we needed was there for the asking. In Curacao, we arranged a dinner off the ship, we were in port until 11:00 pm. The front desk was fantastic in getting us a map to the restaurant, which was about a 20 minute walk from the port. Ports and Excursions: Although we didn't use HAL for excursions we arranged a lot of things for ourselves. The nicest beach was at Half Moon Cay which is their private island. It wasn't busy, only 2 ships there and was the only tender we had on the trip. Grand Turk was also a swim day with the beach right there when we got off the ship. Amber Cove was the weakest of all the ports. We went into Puerto Plata but there wasn't much there. Our favourite stop was Bonaire. Our kids arranged scuba diving (privately) and we rented a golf cart from Bonaire Cruisers. We traveled the island from top to bottom. It is the least commercial of the "ABC" islands. It was a great time. Willemstad in Curacao is very pretty. We hired a driver, went to a secluded beach and as mentioned above went for dinner in Willemstad. Aruba was a treat. We headed off to Eagle beach which was empty that day. It happened to be the last day of Carnival and there was a 7 hour parade. The colours and sights were great. The ship delayed leaving by 2 hours so we could catch the parade. Bottom line was although this ship has an older clientele my kids in there 20s had no problem with the Koningsdam. We filled our time on sea days playing shuffleboard, table tennis, basketball and cards. I would definitely go on a HAL cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We choose this cruise to escape winter and actually did back to back cruises as they were to different ports, so we spent 3 weeks on this ship. It's bright and fairly new and has the best food we ever had on any cruise ship ... Read More
We choose this cruise to escape winter and actually did back to back cruises as they were to different ports, so we spent 3 weeks on this ship. It's bright and fairly new and has the best food we ever had on any cruise ship (we've been on 35 cruises). Soups were wonderful and the lobster the best ever. Wonderful restaurant choices without additional fees, like New York Deli, The Dive In and the Dutch Café plus the huge Lido Buffet. The rooms are spacious and everything is super clean and gorgeous fresh flowers everywhere. The crew was wonderful and so friendly. There is music everywhere. Most of one floor is devoted to music venues from dual pianos to rock and classical and is called the Music Walk. The only disappointment was the World Stage (their main theater). It's a weird stage and has poor lighting on the performers. When they do do a nice production show like the dancers did in Humanity, it was awesome, but in 3 weeks of cruising there was only that one really well done show. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have cruised around 13 times, usually loyal to Royal, so I was nervous to try Holland America because I felt the vibe would be too low key for me. While the energy on the outdoor decks was too low key for me, the energy at the various ... Read More
I have cruised around 13 times, usually loyal to Royal, so I was nervous to try Holland America because I felt the vibe would be too low key for me. While the energy on the outdoor decks was too low key for me, the energy at the various music venues and main stage was just perfect. All other aspects of the cruise and ship were also perfect, so this was pretty darn close to a perfect cruise. We added this cruise to our winter itinerary only about 3 weeks before departure because we were scheduled to be out of the country. We chose this particular cruise because the dates were perfect and 11 day itinerary took us to some islands never visited. First, the condition of this 2 year old ship was sparkling clean and new. The attention to every detail in terms of design, cleanliness, and maintenance has been meticulous. I was surprised to learn that our last minute upgrade to a balcony room landed us on the 4th deck and an extra large balcony. Our room was very clean and our bathroom seemed larger than usual (but not suite size by any means). Secondly, the service and hospitality were outstanding. Every staff member greeted us with a smile and a hello. The cruise director was consistently professional and upbeat. The captain was outstanding. Great mix of professionalism and humor. The food was the best cruise food I have experienced in a long time. The buffet stations were staffed and each meal was quickly crafted with fresh and healthy ingredients. We made it to the main dining room only twice because of our love for the various food stations. We also enjoyed two dinners in the specialty Italian restaurant. Our itinerary included stops at St Thomas, Bonnaire, Martinique, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Marteen, and HA’s private island. All good stops but our faves were St Kitts and Barbados. The only aspect of this cruise that I would want to be different is the lack of love music on the pool deck, especially during our sea days. Given the theme of the ship and all venues is music, I remain baffled why live music from any of the numerous bands on board was not provided by the pool deck, if even for a couple of hours around lunch time or during the sail away. Some reggae on a Caribbean Cruise is a must for me but there was NO reggae at all. Despite this, the various headliner and regular shows below deck were exceptional. The lack of outdoor music is nearly a deal breaker for me; however, given the exceptional levels in service, food, ship appearance, and indoor entertainment, I will strongly consider Holland America for all future cruising. (As a side note, we cruised on RCCL a few days after this cruise on a long planned cruise, and I have to say RCCL was out performed by HA in every aspect, except for the pool deck vibe and music which I really look forward to any cruise). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
best cruise of more that 25 beautiful ship music thruout main auditorium awesome not a bad seat entertainment was good 10s for the cabin stewards and 10s for the waiter staff excellent fresh omlettes and eggs for ... Read More
best cruise of more that 25 beautiful ship music thruout main auditorium awesome not a bad seat entertainment was good 10s for the cabin stewards and 10s for the waiter staff excellent fresh omlettes and eggs for breakfast tea time was super and not a supplement fee ate one time at specialty and it was same time one and half hours as MDR the music was good if you like rock and roll in one part of the ship chamber music on another part of the ship dueling pianos in the middle of the ship and they take "requests" late night the room service each morning was right on time and everything came as ordered the Dive in had specialty dogs and burgers. the NY deli did a great breakfast sandwich and later in the day they had build your own pizza which was awesome. we chose antime dining and made a reservation each night in MDR. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew into Fort Lauderdale 2 nights early and took public transit to the Sawgrass Mills Mall as an interesting way to spend the spare day. It is great for shoppers and just people watching. Embarkation was well organized and the terminal had good WiFi while we waited. We were the only ship in port that days, which probably helped. The cabin was ready when we boarded and the Lido Market was open for an early afternoon bite. We didn't have set seating for dinner, so we made reservations for an early dinner for the first 3 evenings (limited by HAL, otherwise we would have done the whole cruise). We were unable to get reservations for tables for 2, but had the option on arrival. We mostly shared as we like the opportunity to meet new people (but there is the risk of monologists and political trolls). The Koningsdam is new and has a contemporary decor with clean lines and the neutral-earthy colors that seem to be the trend right now. The photographic and collage art in the stairwells aren't my taste, but to each their own... Our cabin was one of the best (if not the best) we have had (see cabin specific review) as they made very good use of the space. We ate in the main dining-room for dinner every evening. The service was good and the food was good. On gala nights, the service could be a bit slow and we had a couple of occasions with a shared table when we were unduly delayed because the waiter didn't know if the last 2 seats were going to be filled (they weren't, so communication with the front desk could be improved). I am always surprised that the desserts aren't sweeter on cruise ships and this was no exception. I have rarely had a dessert that wasn't toned down from what you would get in a shore-based restaurant. We had breakfast and lunch in the Lido Market except one pizza (not very good) from the deli. For the most part, everything is served by staff with only a few individually plated or packaged items that can be reached by passengers. On balance, we thought that this is good (having seen unhygienic behavior by passengers on other cruises), but it did result in lines to get some food items quite frequently. Waiters cleared tables and offered to serve water, coffee, orange juice (breakfast), iced tea (lunch) and lemonade (lunch). It would have been nice to have another choice (e.g. fruit punch), but that might be a bit to picky. Waiters weren't interrupting to remove plates as they do on some ships and were generally quite friendly if you gave them the opportunity (as were the food servers). Entertainment and activities were the low point of the cruise, but some people really liked the layout and offerings. Enrichment was quite limited with only a few talks that were repeats on consecutive cruises. However, they did do port orientation talks that were helpful and not totally focused on the ship's excursions. The were a few cooking shows and computer seminars (not very interesting to us), and a lot of promotional (shopping and health/spa) talks/demonstrations that we avoided. As far as entertainment went, we were very disappointed. First, the "World Stage" is not a conventional theater and doesn't have the capacity of the ones on other ships. People were consistently there 45 minutes before the show to get seats. It isn't a suitable venue for production shows with props, but then they don't have a production group of singers and dancers (or a live stage band or place for it). The multimedia, open stage has great potential for even more production shows (using virtual sets and props), but clearly that isn't what they are going for (and we missed the production shows). The performers (usual comedians, magicians, vocal, dance and musical performers) ranged from bad (people leaving in the middle of the show) to pretty good, but nothing outstanding. There were repeat performances within a cruise (even more for back-to-backers). The rest of the entertainment is very dependent on interests and cruising style. The venues for live music are basically unused until dinner time when there were some classical musicians in the Lincoln Center (which will later become BB King's). Unfortunately, for many passengers, they did VERY classical pieces rather than popular ones. The rest of the live entertainment had to wait until after 8pm (probably not a good decisions for the HAL demographic). The 3 venues (BB King's jazz/blues; Rolling Stone hard rock alternating with Billboard Onboard dueling pianos) are strung out along the promenade level. Capacity is limited and there wasn't much in the way of pleasant easy-listening. We were so disappointed that there was so little and it was so extreme in the genre that each played. It didn't affect us, but we also heard that some were too loud there wasn't good seating. The fitness area was well outfitted with a good number of aerobic and resistance machines as well as free weights (dumbbells). Live TV was available on the aerobic machines and they were mostly kept working properly. There were also rooms for spin classes and group classes (paid) that we didn't use. The onboard experience was not what we were hoping for, and we wondered why (other than reducing costs and improving revenue) the Koningsdam was built the way it was. Is HAL looking to the future when their well-known aged passengers aren't cruising anymore. If so, they are losing them faster by such a radical change in design and offerings. Of course there are older, slower people that sometimes are an obstruction, but that is expected on HAL. More power to them (and their scooters and oxygen supplies). On the positive side, there were few children and a mature cruise director that wasn't overpowering with unnecessary, forced enthusiasm. The captain was personable and understandable. The internet package gave us the access for email that we needed and didn't break the bank. We found that most of the serving and steward staff were quite friendly, but ran into a few that didn't seem to want to be there. Notably, the security staff (who should do their job AND be friendly and pleasant), the future cruise staff (who just didn't seem to care or like people), some of the photo staff (who weren't very helpful) and one of the fitness people who just seemed to have an attitude where ever he went. We had a pair of cabin stewards and liked that team approach. The excursions were okay. Not overpriced as some cruise lines tend to do (NCL can you hear me). As far as value for money, we were satisfied because we got to go to the destinations that we wanted to go to at a reasonable price with good food and accommodations. To us that was the most important thing. That being said, HAL could have done so much more and we don't understand this new direction in the design of the Koningsdam and her sister ship, the Nieuw Statendam. One final comment is about the HAL loyalty (mariner) program. It is the worst we have ever seen. You can cruise forever and get almost nothing in return (compared to NCL and Princess). HAL has some of the best destination-based itineraries, but doesn't reward its members at all... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Would not recommend. Ship was clean and rooms were nice but woefully understaffed. Waited endlessly at dinner and for drinks. Tables around pool were left with trash and drink glasses for hours. Food portions at dinner were ... Read More
Would not recommend. Ship was clean and rooms were nice but woefully understaffed. Waited endlessly at dinner and for drinks. Tables around pool were left with trash and drink glasses for hours. Food portions at dinner were ridiculously small. Extra hidden charges in main dining room for lobster. Beverage backage was terrible. $9 was the maximum allowed per drink and if you ordered a drink that was over the $9; they didn't charge you the difference; they charged the whole price. Extra charges for Spin classes in gym. They offered a tour of the ship's kitchen for $150 pp. Are you kidding me????? Beverage package was also not valid on the ship's own private island Half Moon Cay. Had to pay full price. Buffet at Half Moon Cay was included but the food was horrible. Long lines for everything. The ports were ok; not great but ok. The beach at Half Moon Cay was the nicest. Not a good value for the money. Don't waste your money on this cruise line. Go with Celebrity. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced ... Read More
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced crowd and that did in fact be the case. At 60 years of age for the two of us, we felt 10 years more youthful than the average passenger. Be that as it may... it was all just fine. Embarkation: Boarded hotel shuttle to the cruise port at 11:00 AM and stepped into our cabin at 12:50 PM. Good process for checking in and greeted by friendly staff the entire way. Cabin: Not only our first HAL cruise but our first inside cabin experience. Cabin 6077. We entered our cabin and thankfully had read reviews about needing to insert the key card into the slot to activate the lights, otherwise we'd be fumbling in the dark. In retrospect, a good idea and it must save energy or something not to have lights on in cabins 24/7. The bigger issue we had with the cabin was that we entered and discovered a puddle of water on the foot of the bed where the luggage covers were placed. Interesting... We looked up and found that water was dripping out of what looked like a ceiling speaker. We called Guest Services and were assured the issue would be taken care of. As it was only 1:00 we left to go get some lunch and explore. After an hour an a half or so we returned and found the "fix" was a towel placed on the puddle to soak up the water, the ceiling still looked damp. This time we took pictures and visited Guest Services in person. Happily they did the right thing and moved us to a different cabin, 5071, a deck lower which was fine. This cabin was great, certainly an inside and we had to get used to it, we made great use of the fantastic TV and the bridge cam! Heard about toilet layout in the bathrooms was not so good, not an issue with the inside cabin and let me just say... the shower? OMG!!!! Where have you been all my life??!!! Ship: I'm of the opinion that all cruise ships are marvels to behold and Koningsdam was no exception! We did miss a grand central atrium area but the music walk made up for it. Decks 2 and 3: Shops, Guest Services, World Stage, main dining, photo area, art gallery, casino... you get the point. Well laid out IMO, the shops were unobtrusive, and it was amazing with the four different music venues that they never stepped on each other. Bars and side cafes were subtly located for enjoyment of guests. Blend was a bit more in the open than what I expected and what ever the Orange dining area was, well it was simply odd. I didn't get it, if for high rollers then at least make it so it appears that way. Frankly, the evenings we walked by there I felt sorry for the lonely souls dining in there. When shows were over in the Grand Stage (which was Grand!), there were some traffic issues but it added to the fun, sort of like walking the Strip in Las Vegas, okay, not that big but still fun! Lido Buffet area: There is an American Football axiom, "keep your head on a swivel". Could not be more apt than in the Lido Buffet. Having said that, if anyone gets irritated by the traffic or anything else in that buffet, you really have no one to blame but yourself. Figure out when the majority of people will go for breakfast, lunch or dinner and go at a different time. Simple really. Bless the staff as they had a lot on their plate (pun intended) when it came to serving so many people. They along with the servers of coffee, tea, etc, had the patience of Job times 100. Excellent job to them. Our Sea Days were spent mostly aft over looking the pool and the ocean behind us, not on the pool deck, we opted for, let's see, deck 10 I guess it would be... we were blocked from the majority of the breeze, had a great view all around us and had wonderful sun exposure (side note... we had 15 minutes of light rain the entire cruise, being from the PNW, this was a shock!), Smoke from smokers (well, that was redundant...) in this area had been brought up in reviews and frankly it was not an issue. Yes, aft pool was a gathering place in the evening for cards and smokes but.... guess what? You can avoid that! Do not miss time in the Crows Nest! Do not miss Apple Pie at the Dutch Cafe (not 100% sure of the name, but 100% sure of the pie!), look for the tapas bar at the Blues Club late afternoon. Spa: No report as we did not partake. The staff were up-selling around the Lido Pool but not overly aggressive. Bottlenecks: They are real. Be patient, be aware of your surroundings and don't be a contributor. People movement is a tad slower on this ship but there are physical boundaries that also make ease of mobility an issue. This is especially true around the Lido pool area both on deck 9 and deck 10. Walls that jut out into walk ways, loungers that jut out into walk ways, lack of multiple entrance and egress points...all of these things can make for slow going at times. Wait time at the lifts are par for the course. FOOD: Ah yes, the dining experience: 1. Tamarind was amazing! Highly recommend for all the right reasons, service, food, and the view. Bride had the stir fry lobster and shrimp, yum! I had the wasabi fillet, yum! 2. Pinnacle: What was not to like? Bride had halibut on cedar plank with scampi, amazing, I had the rib eye.... still drooling. 3. Main dining room: 4 nights dining here without a set time. We arrived almost every night around 7:15 an were promptly seated. 3 times in the lower area and once on the deck above. Service was fine and the food was very very good. (I've been banished of meat for at least of month after this trip! Well worth it!). We had zero issues with dining and making a 10:00 show at the World Stage, however don't doddle as the auditorium does fill up early. 4. New York Pizza: One time for dinner while watching a movie by the lido pool. I thought it was great, bride not so much, (that's what she gets for having a white sauce on a pizza, right? Right??) However, the Caesar salad and dessert there were great! 5. Dive In: Good burgers and fries, not great but good and turn around time is pretty quick even in the busy time. 6. Gellato: For $2.00, ah yeah, well worth it! 7. We did not opt for a drink package nor spend a great deal on drinks. We mostly filled our tumblers with iced tea, ice water and lemon aid. (please respect the signs requesting that you do not fill your tumbler or mug directly from the dispensers, it is for sanitary reasons.) 8. Lastly on dining, I mentioned how the Orange place on deck 2 was odd, so was the Italian restaurant in the Lido buffet. Just seemed awkward and to pay $13 PP for it, I dunno.... Entertainment World Stage: 1. Emperors of Soul: Excellent (fun to interact with them on the cruise as well) 2. Naomi, Virtuoso Pianist: Jaw Dropping 3. BBC Earth: Well done 4. Comedian Tim Kaminski: Very Good 5. Second Comedian: Can't recall his name - poor 6. Third Comedian: Can't recall his name either but better than the second - better than poor. 7. Superbowl: Never thought I'd see a Superbowl on a ship! Fun atmosphere to be sure! Available to see on the World Stage, in your cabin and at the Lido Pool screen. 8, 9 and 10? Hmmm.... where does the time go? Actually, the availability of things to watch on your in cabin TV are excellent and we did take advantage of this. Crew: 95% outstanding! Our only slight irritation came with the staff of the shops. A bit condescending and borderline rude. We are very patient people and they tested that patience. Cabin stewards were great, room service a couple of time for breakfast was great including a follow-up phone call to make sure we were happy with the service. Guest Services was also great. America's Test Kitchen demos were also well done and informative and the preview of the next day's ports were outstanding!! Do not miss these if possible! All in all a very quiet reserved atmosphere which was fine. We moored along side a Carnival ship at Grand Turk and I thanked Poseidon that we were NOT on board that maniacal brain blowing tub. (sorry, harsh). Also interesting to read about the Norwegian Epic and her issues as we were along side her in Jamaica. Hmmm... note to self! Ports: 1. Jamaica: Large cruise ship port with a Margaritaville on location. Lots of shops, lots of competition and lots of aggressive selling. We debated many nights about what to do here and decided not to do the Dunn's Falls or any of the other excursions (although later we found out the rafting down the river was amazing), we did end up doing a walking tour of Falmouth which was informative and fun. 2. Curacao: What a grand location! For us a wonderful day or wandering and exploring the city, both sides. Just fantastic! 3. Aruba: A bit of wandering and shopping and public transportation to Eagle and Palm Beach for some beach time! I could see a return trip to Aruba possible for a week or so? We'll see! Great adventure to the light house and to really take in the desert landscape. 4. Amber Cove: Delightful port, great shops and the pool area was better than advertised. Excursion to Puerto Plata was fun and interesting. The lushness of the island was beautiful and in stark contrast to the islands of Curacao and Aruba 5. Grand Turk: Not a lot on Grand Turk. There was a Carnival ship that was also in port and combined with our ship, made the beach impossible to enjoy. We took a cab to the town of Cockburn and explored there. Lovely beaches too. Port area also nice. 6. Half Moon Cay: Paradise... nuff said. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting ... Read More
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting the islands, St. Lucia, St. Marteen, Barbados, Martinique, Antiqua, St. Tomas and HAL's Half Moon Cay was outstanding. The selection of TV shows and Movies in our room, did get very thin after 11 days. But we understand there were many outstanding things to do outside of our room. Having said all that, I want to give you the negatives, so you are not surprised. Do not misunderstand, we loved the cruise and feel very positive about it, but want to tell you what we did not like. The food was great. Loved the Lido buffet for both breakfast and dinner. All the eggs Benedict, omlets, waffles and pancakes you can eat for breakfast, who could not like that? After 11 days some of the sameness did wear just a little old. The hamburgers and hotdogs at the Dive were fine snacks. The Pizza, nachos and deli sandwiches were fine too. We ate at one specialty restaurant, the Tamarind and it was very good. We felt the dining room tried to be too fancy and gourmet and failed. Also the process in the dining room took too long...2 hours. I was shocked that the Crème Bule was almost liquid, not custardly. And, if you do not mesh with the people you are seated with, the 2 hour dinner can seem really long. Paying $50 per person for the Pinnacle Room seemed a little extreme, when our cruise fee already included food. As far as the reviews I have read about bad pillows, dirty rooms, too loud if you are mid-ship over the entertainment, they are hogwash. We did not experience anything like that. We were disappointed to learn that you had to come nearly an hour early for the one hour show in the main room, the World Stage, in order to get a seat!. There needs to be a better system for reserving seats or similar. We very much enjoyed the entertainment in the BB King Room and the Rolling Stone Room. Be prepared for Holland America to try to find many ways every day to separate you from your money. They present many "opportunities". They price gouge you in some ways that I believe were over the top. Internet service is $24.95 a day! But worse of all was the wine. To buy 4 bottles of wine for us to have in our room I paid over $170...and this was for Estancia wine which I pay about $12.00 for in the grocery store!. Over $40 for a $12 bottle of wine! Paying double, like in a restaurant, would be understandable, but FOUR times the cost is simply uncalled for. And there is an $18 corkage fee for bringing on your own wine purchased at a port. So I ended up paying $25.50 for a $7.50 bottle of wine. Come on Holland America, I was already paying thousands for the cruise! I found calling guest services with a problem, like when I screwed up the combination to the safe in my room, was fruitless. They put you on hold for the longest time. When I did reach a human, they said someone would be up in 10 minutes...after over an hour they had not appeared. I learned going to the Service desk in person worked well. The were competent and timely, In the case of re-setting my room safe, the person, said I will come and fix it right now, and she did. Getting off the ship and finding your excursion in ports was no problem at all and the excursions were fine. We did the 2 snorkel catamarans (one with a lobster lunch) and a tour that included 2 hours at a beach and shopping. Staff was fine and everything was fun. Holland America's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas was wonderful. Do not listen to the review that said getting your claim shell (basically an umbrella and 2 beach chairs) was a hassle. It was fine. So there you have it. A fine cruise on a fine ship that was not without some down sides. And I am 70, a young 70. Be aware that HAL seems to cater to seniors, I would say 70 was about the average age and less than 1/4 of the people were under 50. It is what it is. Holland America, you really can do better on those wine and internet charges. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I sailed on the ms Koningsdam last August on a cruise to Norway. Apparently the ship went into drydock for some updates and new officers, not long after that cruise. I’ll describe some of the updates in my review, many of ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the ms Koningsdam last August on a cruise to Norway. Apparently the ship went into drydock for some updates and new officers, not long after that cruise. I’ll describe some of the updates in my review, many of which enhance your cruising experience. I provided a lot of details and tips about cruising on the Koningsdam in my review last October for Cruise Critic; I will not repeat that information here; please read my earlier review to learn more. We only did the 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruise. Here are some of the changes. The Lincoln Center Stage area has been combined with the BB King's Blues Club; they perform at different times. The area formerly used by Lincoln Center Stage is now the Rolling Stone Rock Room. The rock & roll band there was excellent; it seems like every performance had overflow crowds with standing in the hallway. It was a big hit with the passengers. The band members were enthusiastic and put on great shows. The Assignments restaurant near the 2nd floor Main Dining Room entrance is now part of Club Orange, and serves “private” lunch and dinners for club members. My wife and I got an offer to join Club Orange prior to the cruise for about $50 a day per person; you get the private dining venue, priority boarding and tenders, and some other benefits. This is an alternative to the pricier Neptune Club. Another change since our last cruise is that hot dogs, burgers, and other food at the Dive-In by the Lido Pool are now free (as they used to be on Caribbean cruises; Norway was probably an anomaly). There was an Elvis impersonator on the ship with his girlfriend and an entourage of fans who travel with him. I think he was trying to get Holland America Line (HAL) interested in hiring him for a future cruise. I attended one of his impromptu performances, when a couple at dinner (open dining) told me about the upcoming event in the Hudson Room. He sang Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty songs. He should be hired; he is good enough to be a performer for a nightly World Stage show. Another change is that the Tamarind Restaurant—with excellent Asian cuisine, one of our favorite specialty restaurants—has been split into Tamarind and the Nami Sushi bar. You pay a la carte for the sushi (about $6-8 for a long sushi roll) at the bar; you can order sushi if you dine at Tamarind, but you pay the a la carte price in addition to the $25 per person surcharge for the Tamarind. Other changes: the handy Navigator app now lists events until they finish. There is a motion-sensor-activated night light in the room under one of the closets. And there are kiosks by the Guest Services desk where you can print out your room charges (statement) without having to wait in line. People seemed to stay healthy on the ship. We had no issues with norovirus or the like. I still wish more guests could be encouraged to use the hand washing stations before entering the Lido Market to eat. We did arrive about 4 hours early back to Fort Lauderdale, because a passenger needed medical assistance. Even though there were about 3000 passengers on the ship, it didn’t feel that big. And the size of the ship does allow for all the entertainment venues and restaurants on the ship. The only time the size was somewhat apparent was in Grand Turk. Ship personnel only opened one gangway. In the afternoon, 2 hours before departure, there was a long line to get back on the ship, about a 15-minute wait. At other ports, there were 2 gangways available and hardly any lines. There was a mix of ages on this cruise from young children to teenagers to older senior citizens. I think the average age was late 50s to early 60s for the approximately 3000 passengers. Someone told me that about 40% of the passengers were Canadians, who were escaping from the very cold temperatures back home (well below freezing). Unlike with the Norway cruise, there were hardly any active excursions (e.g., hiking, kayaking), known as EXC [Exploration Central] Tours, except for snorkeling. Some people did their own tours (e.g., mentioned on Cruise Critic’s helpful resource, the “Roll Call” for the Koningsdam cruise in the months prior to sailing). My wife and I did a couple of active excursions through a company recommended by my travel agent, Shore Excursions Group. They were small group excursions, which I liked. One of the reasons my wife and I selected this cruise was the itinerary which included Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and, of course Holland America’s private island, Half Moon Cay. The port at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, was apparently built by Carnival. It is very nice. There is a free pool area with loungers and hammocks to the right of the duty-free building. I was told that Carnival also built the port used at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos. There is a free swimming pool area behind the Margaritaville bar/café at the port in Grand Turk. We met many people who were doing back-to-back cruises in the warm, sunny Caribbean. We heard, though, that either US Customs or the TSA requires those passengers to get off the ship and wait in the cruise terminal at Fort Lauderdale before they can reboard on the transition day between cruises. My wife and I did a back-to-back in Amsterdam for the Norway cruises, and we got to stay on the ship there. Some procedures don’t seem to make sense. My wife and I did open dining again. We would typically go to the Main Dining Room about 7:30 pm and get seated almost immediately at a table for 6 or 8 people. We had interesting dinner companions each night. Be prepared for a wait on some nights. On the first Gala Night (of two), the Main Dining Room was not able to handle the number of guests for open seating. There was a wait of 30-45 minutes or longer by 7:30 pm. It was nice of the Dining Room to hand out vouchers for a glass of champagne in the Ocean Bar, along with a beeper. There was a minimal wait for the second Gala Night. When you get to your stateroom, you should find a “Plan Your Voyage” brochure. It lists key events for each day, including World Stage entertainers. It lists the first Gala Night, but not the second. You have to ask when that will be, if you don’t want it to conflict with going to one of the specialty restaurants. It’s easy to lose track of the days on the cruise. Helpfully, the staff puts rugs in the elevators showing you the current day of the week. One of the highlights of the cruise was watching the total lunar eclipse as the ship sailed from Aruba. The overhead lights on the deck could not be turned off. (I asked and was told that would be a Security issue, although Princess Cruises has done that on its ships for preplanned stargazing, with no apparent security problem.) Fortunately, you could still see the eclipse well enough. A change for this cruise is that HAL offered dining packages which provided a discount for eating at several of the specialty restaurants on the ship (e.g., Signature Dining Package, $44 per person for the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto, a savings of $6). All of the packages included Canaletto which suggests that it is underutilized by passengers. The entertainment was mostly very good on this cruise. Kudos go to solo pianist Indre, the Lincoln Center Stage performers (classical music), the Billboard Onboard performers (2 guys this cruise), the BB King's Blues Club (soulful voices), and the Rolling Stone Rock Room (rock ’n roll energy). We saw the first performance by the onboard dance troupe, Stage One; the second performance was cancelled when one of the dancers sustained an injury. The dancing still lacks the “wow” factor of cruises years ago. We enjoyed comedian Derrick Cameron, but not Nikki Carr. We missed the performance by Tom Franek. The juggling and comedy of Hilby was entertaining. With a company like HAL, you would not think that entertainment would still be hit or miss on a cruise. One thing I was more aware of this cruise was the noise level for the entertainers and the need for hearing protection. I have an app for my smartphone called SoundPrint that can measure the ambient noise in decibels (dB). One night it was 94 dB (average) for Billboard Online. On several nights, the reading was 96-97 dB for BB King's sitting away from the stage, and 108 dB on the dance floor. For the Rock Room, the reading was 96-98 dB, and 106 dB on the dance floor. At 106 dB, hearing loss can occur after 3-3/4 minutes; songs last longer than that. At 97 dB, permissible exposure is 30 minutes; performers played at least 45-minute sets with a pause between lyrics. Bring your own ear plugs if you want to be close to the music. I feel sorry for the small child who was held by his mother on the dance floor one night; he is likely to suffer some permanent hearing loss. If you’re a Mariner member, when you check in, be sure to ask when and where the Mariner Welcome Onboard Lunch and Mariner Welcome Onboard Reception will be held. The Check-in Desk was supposed to tell us, but they didn’t, and we missed both events. While you’re waiting to board the ship, go ahead and sign into the Navigator app (really just a website). Select the Koningsdam Guest website for Wi-Fi. Open a browser on your phone and type in “login.com”. You are taken to the website “navigator.hollandamerica.com”. Then register for an account (provide your stateroom number and last name). It’s a handy app for finding out about activities on the ship and seeing your shipboard account. This is free to use on the ship. You can pay for Internet access to the “outside world” and access it through the Navigator. There are many other features for the app; see my previous review for more info. If you’re buying a new smartphone to bring on the cruise, be sure to activate it and download any software updates before you get on the ship. You need a working smartphone to use the Wi-Fi and Navigator app. As a general rule, there was not free Wi-Fi at the ports. You’d have to go into a bar or restaurant and buy something to get Wi-Fi access: e.g., Froots or Margaritaville bar/café in Grand Turk; the Café at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. I think Curacao was the only port with free Wi-Fi (over by the fort). In the past, when my wife and I would sign up for wine tastings, we would get reminders delivered to our room the day before the event. That was not happening this cruise, until we called up Guest Services and asked to specifically get such reminders. Until changes are made to the ship, avoid booking stateroom 4068 and nearby rooms. We met the couple staying in that room. They said they could hear the BB King band in their room when the band practiced in the afternoon (so no napping) and when it played at night. The Hotel Manager was able to find a different, quieter room which they could use for sleeping. There was an ugly altercation among passengers, and between one passenger and the Assistant Cruise Director, in the Billboard lounge one afternoon. This occurred when the second US football (quarterfinal) game ran late and afternoon Trivia was scheduled in the lounge at the same time. Words were exchanged, Security was called (but did not show up for about 10 minutes), and Trivia was cancelled. The cruise staff should have better anticipated the situation and come up with an alternative location (like right across the hall in the Rolling Stone Rock Room). The situation was aggravated by bar staff apparently serving alcohol to footfall fans for 3+ hours. If you plan to disembark yourself, expect a long line. It seems to be very popular to take your own luggage off the ship. You do get to leave the ship first. Just be patient with the line. And, if you have Global Entry membership, follow the signs in the cruise building to get expedited passport control back into the USA. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 3rd HA cruise. The most recent was last year on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal and it was an amazing trip. We expected the Koningsdam as one of the newer ships to be even better, but it was not. The ship is beautiful and ... Read More
This was our 3rd HA cruise. The most recent was last year on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal and it was an amazing trip. We expected the Koningsdam as one of the newer ships to be even better, but it was not. The ship is beautiful and clean. All of the public rest rooms were kept very nicely. The weather was probably the worst of any Caribbean cruise we have ever been on—blame climate change! It rained much of the first sea day, the whole day in St Lucia, and part of most other days. The ship has so many nice, quiet places to hang out, we never minded. On sea days there is plenty to do. My favorite activity is Microsoft On Board. I have learned so much about Windows 10 on 2 HA cruises! The evening entertainment was varied and quite good. The major issue for us on this ship was the food. Several of the fish dishes were dry and not very good. The lobster was awful, and one shrimp cocktail had waterlogged, thawed shrimp. The kitchen seemed more focused on presentation, rather than taste. The soups were so salty I couldn’t eat them. We had the best waiter for dinner— Raymond! The buffet for breakfast and lunch was good with a huge variety. It was usually very crowded but the lines seemed to move fairly well. Between 3 and 5:30 finding something to eat other than waiting 20 minutes for burgers or a whole pizza was difficult. No ice cream after 3 unless you paid for gelato. We really missed a pizza station to get a slice or a soft ice cream machine after coming back from the beach. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We had a beautiful holiday with the Koningsdam. Our overall rating is average. The ship is good, but not perfect. And that is the reason why it is average rated by us. We had better cruises, like with NCL, Princess and Celebrity. We ... Read More
We had a beautiful holiday with the Koningsdam. Our overall rating is average. The ship is good, but not perfect. And that is the reason why it is average rated by us. We had better cruises, like with NCL, Princess and Celebrity. We expected already that the average age of the cruising people is more than 50 years. But I think that we were with 48/47 years one of the youngest on the ship. Not a real problem, but it was almost every day "excuse me, we will continue our walk, but can we pass you? You are blocking the way". Sometimes very irritating. But ok, if we want younger people, we have to cruise on NCL or Carnival etc. Our embarkation was really perfect. In 15 minutes we were already on board (with some help of a very nice man from HAL ;-) ). Our first impression of the ship was good, but it was not glamerous. It is not the "WOW"-effect. There is no attrium with a creature, lightning or other things that gives the WOW. It is standard. This is also in the corridor to the rooms. It is standard. No beatiful paintings or prints. The stairs to the different floors are nice with beautiful paintings or art. When we entered the room (6010), we were suprised. There is a lot of space in the room. Beautiful bathroom, very good bed, a lot of storage, nice balcony. But not really clean. We saw spots on the door, mirrors etc. And the worst thing, the climate-control. The first days it looked that the temperature of the room was not cool, but the display of the control was marked with "cool". We went to the reception and they promised to help this. But after one day nothing was changed. The temperature in the room was too high, worser in the night. Went again back to the reception, they promised again to help. But nothing, even no reaction from them. And surprise, surprise, last evening the temperature of the room was finally COLD! We think that there was a problem with the climate-controle in our place of the ship, but why didnt the reception mention this? By the way, we have send now a complaint to the HAL as we were not happy with this situation! The evening-program was very linked to the people of the USA. Rock and Roll, Blues, pop music. Suprising as the average of people was high! I didnt know that people of 80/90 years like rock and roll....we didnt hahahaha...it was much to loud! And the shows in the theather....really BAD!!! The dance-show, what was this? The BBC-film with live music is ok, but live??? No no, it is some musicians playing with the music-tape from the BBC. Also the other shows we visited were bad (we have very good experiences with the NCL and Celebrity). Food in restaurant was good. Our waiter was ok, the wine-sommelier was slow sometimes. The second glass of wine was mostly after our diner! Meat was very good, but the fish was sometimes fat (looked like it was cooked in oil?). And also here, it was not really clean. The chairs were dirty, the walls were dirty of red wine?? Variaty of food was ok, but we had better experiences with other cruises. Our package of drink was EXCELLENT! 15 drinks a day with a limit of 9 dollar each drink. But most drinks were less than 9 dollar (cocktails, coffees, refreshments etc). Only the choiche of wine was very low with the limit of 9 dollar. We dont like to eat in the buffet-restaurant. So we did this only 2 times in our cruise. Food was ok, but difficult to see which food you could choose. There are no good signs explaining what is for example on the sandwich. Buffet restaurant was mostly very busy. Swimmingpool is nice. And as it was mostly good weather the roof was open. Otherwise it was too hot to stay there. But to sun on the decks it was difficult. You had to pick up your own sun bed, mostly they were blocked with a belt. And places to sun on the decks are not really nice. This can be improved for sure! We did some excursions organized by HAL and some organized by other company. The HAL experience with excursions was good. And most surprising, you could immediately go outside (not waiting for half our in the theather). And also the start-time of excursions, very good. Not 8 o clock, but mostly after 9 (mmmm longer sleep). We had a very bad experience with the border of the Virgin Islands. On every visit we had ever done on a island, with all our cruised, we never had to show our ID. But yes, it is USA, TRUMP-country. We had to show our ID to enter the ship. Our ship-card was not enough. It looked like that we were criminals, unbelievable! Unpolite people of this border-people! Yes we forgot to bring our ID, but to be rude to us. With help of some HAL people we could go back to the ship, to take our ID's and to show this to this rude border-people I hope if these 2 guys ever visit Netherlands they never will accepted by our border!!!! And now the best of our trip. The DUTCH CAFE!!! Many thanks for Pim, Jehan and Andre. What a trio! Always a smile, from 7am till 9pm! And lovely Dutch food, snacks, beer etc. Normally we dont like to go to Dutch cafe's outside the Netherlands, we want to have the experience of the country that we visit. But this was so excellent! It was a pleasure to meet these 3 guys and to visit the cafe every day to eat perfect food and lovely beers! Thanks, thanks, thanks!!! The disembarkation went very good. And again, thanks for the 3 guys of the Dutch Cafe. We enjoyed in the morning the coffee, water and waited till we could disembark in the Dutch Cafe. And before this, it was even possible to have breakfast in the restaurant. WOW! It went so fast, it was so good organized! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
my sister-in-law and i 85 & 73 years old respectively) did an 11-night Caribbean cruise, both of us experienced cruises on 5 different lines, mostly HAL for her, Celebrity for me. The good: excellent crew, HAL does a terrific job in ... Read More
my sister-in-law and i 85 & 73 years old respectively) did an 11-night Caribbean cruise, both of us experienced cruises on 5 different lines, mostly HAL for her, Celebrity for me. The good: excellent crew, HAL does a terrific job in choosing and training employees from the captain to the people who clean & maintain. The ship is spotless. I was actually on the ship last May in Europe for 12 nights so could see some of the changes. Club Orange, I think they need to rethink that one. I counted people every time we went by, most I ever saw was 18 on the last night. My suggestion, at least put a sheer curtain so people walking by aren't staring at you and your meal. Lincoln Center Stage was wonderful, likewise BIllboard. Jason & Michael at the piano was just the best. Rolling Stone & BB King's was loud, very loud, and energetic. I'm a little bit of a foodie, I thought the food was pretty good. Beef dishes excellent. But maybe more vegetables would be nice. Now the not-so-good. The theatre in concept is great, but you should not have to get there an hour early to get a seat. They either need to go back to 3 shows a night or hand out tickets. We stood for one show we got to 20 minutes before curtain, could not get near the so-called production show even though we were there 40 minutes before curtain tine. The shows themselves, pretty poor comedian, didn't care for singers. "Big" production show was a laser light show, 6 dancers, canned music. come on, HAL, you can do better. 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 were on the 10 day piece of this 21 day cruise, we sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale on 1/14/2019. This ship was in excellent condition, no signs of wear anywhere. Despite there being only 2 small pools, we were able to swim and spend ... Read More
We were on the 10 day piece of this 21 day cruise, we sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale on 1/14/2019. This ship was in excellent condition, no signs of wear anywhere. Despite there being only 2 small pools, we were able to swim and spend quality time outside in both pool areas. There should probably be some more 'gentle' enforcement of deck chair holding as many people attempted to hold on to their chars way longer than the 30 minute limit if not with them. This was the first time we took an interior cabin. I was pretty nervous about getting claustrophobic but surprisingly, we spend a good majority of time out of the cabin and since it was so well appointed and comfortable, I would do it again as it make cruising so much more affordable. Our cabin stewards were beyond excellent, we were in cabin 5006. I honestly cannot say enough about the dining experience. From being provided with a window table for 2 almost nightly to the genuine care and interest in our nightly experience by Mr. Anne-Jan Hoogland, Asst. Maitre D. The food was superb every night, no need to go to a specialty restaurant. The same applied to breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. The food in the Lido was also of high quality, I especially enjoyed the Pasta Station. As far as the entertainment, we heard about the lack of seats for the evening shows and the crowds so we pretty much stayed away. We did, however, enjoy America's test Kitchen and went to both shows. Of particular highlight was watching the 'blood' mood eclipse, it was just magical. The cruise director missed a good opportunity for a special evening as nothing was mentioned about this amazing event. We snorkeled in Bonaire and Curacao and rented a car in Aruba as we love this Island and wanted to go back to places were were familiar with. We also met just wonderful friends from Vancouver and have stayed in touch. We plan to do a reunion cruise in 2 years!!! We are HAL fans for sure and can't wait for our next adventure! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Entertainment was the worst ever nothing to do on this ship . They just added Rolling Stone room two 45 min sets most days the only good entertainment on the cruise . Everything shuts down at 10:30 pm you cant find a cup of coffee or a ... Read More
Entertainment was the worst ever nothing to do on this ship . They just added Rolling Stone room two 45 min sets most days the only good entertainment on the cruise . Everything shuts down at 10:30 pm you cant find a cup of coffee or a snack anywhere . The days we stoped at a port of call the casino was closed and there was no entertainment on the ship not even the rock & roll room had a show everyone was walking around with nothing to do . The pools are very small one holds 40 people the othe holds 17 not great for a caribean cruise . The food in the dining room was good & also in the speciality dining rooms the service was good . They seem to focus on a older crowd that dosnt care about doing anything on the ship Im 60 years old . Read Less
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
First the high points. The ship is beautiful. The exercise facility is the best I’ve seen on any ship. The Lido is large with high quality food and extensive selection. The Dutch cafe is a nice touch as are the deli and pizza place. ... Read More
First the high points. The ship is beautiful. The exercise facility is the best I’ve seen on any ship. The Lido is large with high quality food and extensive selection. The Dutch cafe is a nice touch as are the deli and pizza place. There is a lot of outdoor seating of. The two level pool lido deck is a nice touch. The bad points are that the cabins seemed cramped compared to other Holland America ships. The changing room at the exercise facility was totally inadequate if you want to shower and shave there. The enrichment seemed to be sponsored by Microsoft and was poorer than on other Holland America ships. But worst of all the entertainment venues were totally inadequate and overcrowded. If you go to the main venue you have to get there at least 45 minutes early to even look for a seat. All the others were over crowded also. All in it is a disappointment for their new flagship. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 44th cruise. We had previously sailed on the Maasdam 18 years ago. The Koningsdam's emphasis on music is what caused us to choose this sailing. We felt that Hal's new emphasis on entertainment that appeals to a ... Read More
This was our 44th cruise. We had previously sailed on the Maasdam 18 years ago. The Koningsdam's emphasis on music is what caused us to choose this sailing. We felt that Hal's new emphasis on entertainment that appeals to a younger crowd, plus a newer ship, would make this cruise a good choice for us. We are eclectic cruisers. Last year we sailed on Seabourn for 12-days in the Caribbean and 7-days on an NCL Bermuda cruise from Boston with friends. We were not impressed with Seabourn's food and service. Our expectations for the NCL were very low. We were shocked to find the dining service and food quality on NCL was up-to-par, if not better, than Seabourn. Embarkation and Disembarkation were flawless. We arrived at the pier around 10:40am and were onboard at 11:30am. We were pleasantly surprised to be informed upon entering the Koningsdam that all staterooms were ready. Our stateroom was 8197, an aft facing verandah with a very large deck. It was a shame to have one tiny table, two upright chairs and just one foot rest. Our room stewardess, who was amazing, found us an extra table to allow us some more room to put our feet up. We knew the Lido would be jammed at lunch, so we opted to have lunch in the Main Dining Room (MDR). Lunch was lovely. The service was prompt and the food was delicious. One huge negative for me was that we were seated in a corner and all I had to look at was a solid white panel. Those panels should be replaced with art as they block the window views. The MDR décor was rather plain. The yellow wall color did not add to the room and the white panels were boring. After lunch, we spent the rest of the day exploring the ship. We thought the ship décor overall was very relaxing. We had pre-paid our three specialty dinner reservations which was helpful as the HAL assigned times did not work for us. We stopped at the dining reservation center on Deck 2, across from the Pinnacle Grill to change our reservations. At the end of the cruise, our pre-paid dining was credited to our account. If you are concerned about specialty dining at certain dates and times, I recommend pre booking online. At the same desk, we were able to reserve the next two nights at 7:45pm in the MDR. We would have preferred 7:00pm or 7:30pm, but 7:45 is the earliest time we were able to reserve with Anytime Dining. The first night in the MDR was great. We arrived and were immediately seated. The service and food were perfect. We were happy campers! However, the first Gala Night was a disaster. We arrived at 7:45pm and were shocked to see the "reservation" line was almost around the corner. However, the line for walk in was light. I went up and asked how long the wait was without reservations and was told 15 minutes. We stood in the reservation line for over 20 minutes. When we finally got to the front of the line, I mentioned to the officer who was just standing there, why we had the wait and walk ins were seated before us and he just shrugged his shoulders. No apology. No explanation. We were seated in the middle of the room in a very poor location. The din from the fully packed MDR made it almost impossible to hear each other. Tables who had arrived five and ten minutes after us had their orders taken first. Our waiter threw the menus on our plates and did not greet us. Obviously, he was frantic to get orders in and food served. I've had warmer service in a cafeteria. My soup arrived cold. My tenderloin was that side piece that chefs typically do not serve as tenderloin as it has a large fatty center. Neither the waiter or his assistant inquired about our meal. The head waiter, stopped by at the end of the meal and was quite gracious. He informed us that they had been having large issues with the MDR on the first Gala night. He offered to make reservations for the next few nights at 7:00pm. We found the 7:00pm time to be perfect as it appeared that most reservations were for 7:45pm and we never had to wait again. We opted to dine in the Pinnacle on the second gala night and it was a great option. We had breakfast most mornings in the MDR. The service was prompt and friendly and the food was always served hot. We had breakfast twice in the Lido and while the omlets were fantastic, the hectic atmosphere was just not for us. Our sea days were spent either in the main or aft pool. We preferred the aft pool location. However, the smokers take up ¼ of the space. The smoking area was never as crowded as the non-smoking side. We decided that we would be looking for non-smoking ships in the future. The towel game is played in the main pool. After 7:45am, most chairs were taken. The Aft pool still had chairs available until around 8:30am. Of course, they were by the smoking section. I truly feel that a better option should be available to prevent chair hogs. We like to read early in the day and witnessed chairs that sat empty until mid-day. We danced most nights in BBKings or in Rock & Roll. We enjoyed the Billboard as well. We only went to one show and enjoyed the entertainment provided by the comic pianist. We saw the cruise director, Tom, for the first time at that show and did not see him again until we passed him on disembarkation day. We visited the Crows Nest a few times. This venue is totally underused. It would have been so nice to have had a small combo playing in the evenings when we were too tired to dance and just wanted some background music. We looked forward to the Lincoln Center performances, but they were at very odd times and we missed them. We had four sea days and very few daytime activities were scheduled. This was the first time we have sailed in an aft facing verandah. We loved the shower and the large verandah. Our room was just under the Lido deck aft pool and we did hear some chair scraping each morning about 7:00am. We are early risers so the noise did not bother us. We were more effected by the noise of the propellers as they were loud when we were cruising at higher speeds. We decided to go back to mid-ship staterooms in the future. What do we know now that we wished we had known before our cruise? We would have scheduled main dining at 7:45pm. Folks in assigned dining seemed to be much happier with their dining experience. The upper dining room appeared to be quieter and more organized. We took way too many clothes. My husband did not need his dark suit. A navy blue blazer and nice shirt would have been fine. On the final night, several men were in shorts in the MDR. Will we cruise HAL again? The jury is still out for us. While we enjoyed our cruise; we were not wowed. The Koningsdam lacked sizzle. Boarding the ship was underwhelming. There were no smiling officers welcoming us or waiters bearing champagne. We were herded into elevators and told our rooms were ready. We couldn’t help compare HAL to Princess. We tend to choose cruises based on the itinerary. In the future, If we have a choice between a HAL and Princess cruise; we would choose Princess. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose this itinerary because prior cruises skipped Turks, and we had never visited Bonaire and Curacao. We dined at Tamarind, ok, Pinnacle , not as good as Oceania's steak house, and Ship's 1 night where they try to do a Michelin ... Read More
Chose this itinerary because prior cruises skipped Turks, and we had never visited Bonaire and Curacao. We dined at Tamarind, ok, Pinnacle , not as good as Oceania's steak house, and Ship's 1 night where they try to do a Michelin 3 Star at Pinnacle for a big sur charge. Nice experience , but 30 plus minute wait for 4 couples with 8 PM reservations for days and no tables set up....not a 3 Star experience. We most breakfasts and dinners at Club Orange....excellent preparation and service and friendly! Similar menu as Dining Room , but cooked to order in sight and served Hot. Plus special every meal, Veal Cutlet, was actually a 20 once Veal Chop Tomahawk with mushroom risotto, cooked to order - had that twice! Only time in Dining Room was Mariner's Lunch, weak!! Music in BB King's was excellent as was Rolling Stone Room! BBC' Planet Earth movie with surround screens and live orchestra was excellent. One comedian was very good, skipped dancers and juggler. Buffet was very good with lots of made to order salads and pasta. Open long hours for some of the choices. Have sailed 40 plus cruises on a dozen lines and now 104 countries and all 7 continents. 100 plus nights on Holland, but first in some years. All staff was friendly and efficient, but all Carnival owned ships need to pay their employees a living wage from the fares charged and not assess a daily charge to each passenger! We always have them remove those charges and tip directly , generously and frequently as service is rendered! Have always believed staff doesn't see much of what is actually collected! To get charge removed, much do it first day in writing!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I've always wanted to try the ABC islands and the Koningsdam rates were good so I thought I'd give Holland America a try. Check in was fine, the lines moved fairly quickly. We brought in a case of water which was fine and ... Read More
I've always wanted to try the ABC islands and the Koningsdam rates were good so I thought I'd give Holland America a try. Check in was fine, the lines moved fairly quickly. We brought in a case of water which was fine and compliant to their policy if you carry it in. Cabin space was fairly generous. The deck outside was a fair size as well. Cabins were clean, bed was nice, the washroom was a little tight on space however due to the diagonal positioning of the toilet. Definitely easier with 1 person in the washroom at a time. Our cabin stewards were great, very friendly and accommodating. Dining, well I had written a big blurb on dining on and off the ship, but I didn't write the last few days because I was too busy enjoying the cruise with my wife. I think in the future I'm just going to buy a go pro and video review all the meals instead of writing and taking photos. During the Cruise I had submitted a portion of my review of the meals on the Koningsdam writing the review while I waited for shows to start and other events and activities to start. I didn't mean to cause a lot of trouble with my review and tried to be as truthful and objective as possible. However, after my submission of the review I received a small letter from the foods and restaurants Manager, and he as well as the Executive Chef met with me to talk to me about my experiences. They really took care to make sure my dining experience on the Koningsdam was as good as possible within their policies and procedures and ingredients and I was thoroughly impressed by the attention paid by all levels of the staff from wait staff, to cooking, and management. Below is the portion of my review on the dining pretty much unaltered from what I had submitted to HAL during the cruise, keep in mind we probably have different tastes in food as to level of seasoning and what flavors are expected but I tried to be as objective as possible so the reviews would actually be useful to someone out there. It's also a little difficult to read because I typed this all up on my phone while waiting: Day 1 Lunch random cooked food from Lido, roasted pork leg, fried fish, were pretty tasty, berries black and raspberry were very good and fresh. I'm impressed at the sourcing of their ingredients, produce tasted very fresh. Dinner at Pinnacle grill, steak was not cooked to order, ordered medium, got well done on one side, medium rare on the other. Lobster bisque was excellent, I believe same one as the one in de librije(later found out that it's not the same and that the lobster bisque in pinnacle was more to my taste than the one offered by de librije). Baked Alaska wasn't very good, Amuse bouche of mushroom cappuccino with truffle foam was fairly good. Aside from the overall mediocre food and terrible execution, our waiter was absent for the entire service only to come back to walk the wrong desserts to us (this waiter wanted to apologize for the service so he served us during our de librije reservation and that service was very good!). We were a 7:30 table. It wasn't even busy that night far less than half the tables were filled and they still made all those mistakes. I wouldn't recommend Pinnacle grill to anyone except for the bisque but it's hard to justify paying the fixed fee just for the bisque. Day 2 Breakfast new York deli, breakfast bagel sandwich on toasted sesame seed bagel. Excellent. Dinner, gala night, iberico ham was not bad, the combinations of the ham sauce and greens worked. Salad very overwhelming strength of sherry vinegrette, fruits helped balance the acidity funnily enough, seeds were there but earthiness was overwhelmed by the sherry. Mushroom truffle risotto fell flat. No truffle fragrance or flavor. Mushroom flavor of the risotto was underwhelming. Risotto was a little undercooked. Dessert no sugar black Forest cake was inedible. This is mostly my fault as I assumed no sugar meant it would be a predominantly bitter chocolate dessert which would've been interesting, instead I believe they used Splenda or another artificial sweetener. Aside from the terrible taste of that, the cake was drenched and syrup logged, Cherry flavor was pretty nonexistent. Pizza from New York deli was not very good unfortunately. Asked for Margherita, cheese used was the wrong cheese completely changing the flavor profile of the pizza. Expected a napolitan style pizza dough, or a modified version like Joe's pizza from New York as it's called New York deli, got neither. Pan pizza like dough without the grease. Day 3 Breakfast in main dining room, good Swedish muesli, Texan French toast, never had this style before but I thought the other flavor profiles should be emphasized more to differentiate against normal French toast. The cinnamon didn't come through very well. Hash browns weren't proper, pre packaged. Lunch dive in burger, great except they forgot all the components other than the patty, and sauces. Went back, asked for them on a seperate plate and assembled myself. Beef used for the burger is good and flavorful. Overall burger is a good burger. Skinny fries were normal. Chocolate cupcake and raspberry cream puff were neither good not memorable. Afternoon tea, raisin scone and fruit tart. Both were ok. Dinner at MDR. Starter seafood deviled eggs. Tasted like normal deviled eggs. Nothing too special but not bad. Caribbean jerked chicken. Jerk was non existent. Tasted a little like the flavor profile of Vietnamese cooked pork. Rice was overly salted, broccoli was inedible, too salty. Probably soaked in brine for too long. Dessert mango cream cone, cream flavored well, fruits cut the richness but could've used fruits piped into the cream cone. Sugar crust did not add anything to the dessert. Was unnecessary calories from sugar without adding anything to flavor. Day 4 Breakfast Lido Omelette from the omelette station with pico de Gallo was tasty topped with salsa. Lunch I had on a non HAL excursion. It was passable. Not too memorable. Dinner at Canaletto Amuse bouche of pumpkin and tomato crostini, pumpkin one was very well balanced, good bite, neither were soggy. Appetizer of Zucchini and saffron risotto. Much better than the mushroom one in the MDR on gala night in terms of both flavor and doneness. Appetizer of bufala mozzarella salad was alright. Zuppa Di pesce was heavy in seafood flavor, very appropriate but too strong for my taste ordered by my wife. Pasta course of gnocchi with braised beef short rib was excellent, doneness was good, red wine reduction sauce was well balanced by the cream. Beef was flavorful and tender. Main course of chicken cacciatore Al forno was executed. Chicken meat was tender and falling off bone, sauce was appropriate though not too complex, polenta was flavorful and combined nicely with the sauce. Dessert appears to be not the specialty of dining on Holland America. Tiramisu was pretty terrible. Overly drenched ladyfingers, mascarpone what seems to have been a mousse, cocoa powder didn't come though. Pistachio ice cream from the gelato bar outside. Overall much better food quality, cooking execution, and much better service than Pinnacle grill. You are getting value here for I believe 15/person. Day 5 Lunch at dive in and grand Dutch. Got a bunless gainer with cheese and a side of guacamole. Delicious like last time. Got a ham and honey mustard sandwich from Grand Dutch, great flavors, bun was crisp and fresh. Apple pie pastry however was soggy, though apples in the pie were good. Snack at cafe next to library in crow's nest. Strawberry tarts were good. Non soggy, slightly acidic strawberries cut the slight richness of the cream. I wish I had discovered these sooner and not halfway through the cruise as they only appear to come out once a day at a specific time. Brownie was average. Dinner at sel de mer. Trio of seafood salad. I like my salads with a little acidity. All three salads lacked acidity tuna needed some Lemon which I had asked for to bring out the flavor. King crab was passable as is. Crab itself was nice and fresh. Shrimp salad was far too heavy. Perhaps it was meant to be eaten together and combined but I had no instructions to do so. Crudo was good, fish was very fresh. Main of the salt crusted branzino was delicious, I had expected them to break the salt crust tableside however it was broken and already served in portions. Service was excellent overall. Dessert was tarte tatin. Good balance of the bitterness from caramel. I was afraid it would be overly sweet but it wasn't. Flavors combined well together with that slight hint of cinnamon from the gelato, textures was a little more difficult as puff pastry absorbs the moisture easily. Overall it was a good dessert, first decent dessert I've had on koningsdam. Overall, sel de mer was a great experience with great food and service. Our meal came to the same price as Pinnacle grill with our 2 sides. I would recommend Sel de Mer over Pinnacle Grill. Day 6 Breakfast at New York deli, ordered the breakfast bagel with tomato on sesame. Had that with a fruit cup, blackberries were over ripe but they're back. Watched a documentary before about the ripening of fruit on cruises so it's understandable if they mistimed them or maybe pulled the wrong ones in store. raspberries are still great. Had lunch at dive in again with the gainer again bunless with cheese, and 2 sides of guacamole, quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Good as usual. Fries were a little hard and over fried. Since they are crunchier than the fries in the new York deli, Lido and Pinnacle, I think the dive in fries are double fried.. maybe triple fried? Dinner was at the tamarind. the amuse bouche was house made giant prawn crackers with dips. That's definitely a step up from the cheap dried wasabi peas we got from our experience in Celebrity Equinox Asian specialty dining. Appetizer course was a fig tempura with an arugula salad. The dish was very well balanced. Never tried this flavor combination before but it was surprisingly very good. Mild subtle sweetness of the fig brought out further by the tempura fry. Together with light dressing of the Apple vinegar and the peppery arugula it was balanced extremely well. The main course of the crispy duck with the ginger chili glaze was a hit and a miss. The duck was fried to achieve the crispiness. The fry is very similar in flavor to the fry of the Chinese fried chicken and was fried well. (coincidentally that's traditionally served with prawn crackers/chips which we had as a amuse bouche) however the miss was the bed of udon "drunken" on what seemed to be teriyaki sauce and boy was it drunk. I found what I think to be the teriyaki sauce overpowered the savory elements on the dish. Adding on sweetness to balance the dish is fine, however I found that this dish went overboard in that direction. I guess they want to balance the strong savory flavors of the crispy duck and not make it too one dimensional in flavor profile but this combination did not work for me, the sprouts also didn't work for me. Dessert was the yuzu cheesecake and the matcha cake. The yuzu cheesecake was a deconstructed cheesecake with its cheese component as a yuzu cream cheese filling inside a white chocolate holder. It's cake component was crumbled across the dessert. All in all it worked well for me with the yuzu flavor coming through cleanly in the cream cheese filling. The matcha cake was delicious as a chocolate cake. I didn't taste any matcha in the cake component which made 2/3 of the dessert. Instead it tasted like a normal egg based cake with texture similar to cornbread due to use of the almond flour. It was a very good cake. I think I've stated this before but if I haven't, the chocolate used or made by Holland America koningsdam kitchens are quite good. At this point I was contacted by Holland America on how my dining experience was so far and I relayed to them that overall it was a great dining experience. Day 7 Breakfast at main dining room Was the pan Asia breakfast with the pan fried salmon Jasmine rice and miso soup. Salmon was fine. The problems were with the rice and the miso soup. The rice was cooked with oil of some sort to make it salty and more fragrant. I don't know about the other Asian cultures but for rice for breakfast in Japan and China, you don't add oil to flavor the rice. The rice is meant to be like a plain piece of bread and the entire meal is meant to be a relatively clean tasting meal. The main issue with the soup is the use of Nori for the miso soup instead of wakame. I'm actually surprised they used Nori instead. Wakame is not expensive and it's shelf life is extremely long. Lunch was at Grand Dutch cafe. I had the beenham sandwich again the pea soup and the quiche. The quiche was very flaky and the filling was not heavy. A proper quiche compared to the one served at Lido. Portion for the quiche is quite large though. We had Dinner off ship at Fort Nassau. Location is definitely one of a kind. Great view and atmosphere. Amuse bouche of a beef salad was not too great. Appetizers of pumpkin ravioli with truffle sauce was very light and good. I think the bacon is meant to season to the degree of saltiness each person likes. Adding bacon to the bite completely changes the flavor of the dish. Eats great both with and without. Also had the shrimp and sweet potato chowder. The soup was great. Fried bacon bits gave that pop in your mouth whenever you had a spoonful with them in it. Again adding the Cajun popcorn into the bite completely changes the flavor of the dish. To something close to a jambalaya. Very interesting appetizers. Had a bite of the tasting menu appetizers. The particularly good one to note of the 3 was the grilled lobster salad. Good combination of flavors. The main of the tame duck breast and liver was very good. It was served with a side of green plantain and ginger mash and topped with a plantain chip. The sauce of the curacao liqueur reduction was drizzled onto the well seared duck breast for a good balance of sweet and savory and topped with some slightly dehydrated cranberries. The main was also served with a second side of a very appetizing sweet and sour mango and cucumber salad. Between the seared breasts and the salad was a single side seared and caramelized duck liver. It was very good and tasted very fresh, if you enjoy foie gras you should enjoy this duck liver as well. All in all a very impressive dish. Overall experience was great. Aside from service which seemed like typical bar or pub type service, in my opinion this restaurant executes food on the level of lower level Michelin star restaurants. Day 8 Breakfast at the new York deli, breakfast bagel with tomato was fine. Lunch at Grand Dutch cafe I had the ham and Edam cheese sandwich. The Edam cheese is toasted on the top piece of bread on the sandwich on the outside and also between the ham and bottom piece of bread of the sandwich. Sandwich tasted good. Salad that accompanied it was a little over dressed. Dinner at Pinnacle grill converted into de librije. 5 course meal with an amuse bouche. Amuse bouche was alright, I think it's size was a little large for an amuse bouche the Golden egg was the main culprit there. Unfortunately this is where i stopped writing the review about 5 months ago and though I have pictures I can't recall exactly what I thought of each dish nor remember what they were called so unfortunately 2 of the next 3 restaurants (including this one) were good and I can only provide general descriptions. North Sea Scallop. The best course from de librije was the fish course I believe it was bass, they had accentuated by crisping the skin the texture and adding something along the skin I think it was celery or something. Taste and texture of the dish was impeccable. The other dishes presentations were great but the balance and complexity of the taste and texture was not at the same level. For example the scallops and the oysters (made of foie gras) on the beach. As previously mentioned I didn't enjoy the bisque as much as the one offered by pinnacle grill. The deconstructed I think apple pie was ok a little too scattered across the plate. The gin and tonic dessert I didn't enjoy, but then I don't drink gin and tonic so this may have been lost on me. Club Orange Kitchen: This replaced the area that was used for America's test kitchen. I'm sure you've read all about it by now, it's a premium service you could pay for to get many different perks including the privilege of eating at this restaurant. This restaurant has a dedicated head chef that will prepare your meal, the menu is almost essentially the same as the MDR menu except I think there are 2 items that are added on additionally. The food and restaurant manager decided to let me try it if I wanted to as I believe a way to make amends for the less than ideal pinnacle grill experience and other potentially negative experiences I had during the cruise related to the dining. Before I went on the cruise I thought paying the extra fee wouldn't be worth it but the execution of the head chef for every single course we had in the restaurant. I was thoroughly impressed by the execution of the dishes, and guess I had underestimated the effect of putting a head chef in a small space restaurant. The meal felt personal, the head chef came to greet us after the dinner, and if you go at certain times there are not that many people in there in our sailing anyways (only 2 other tables) so it's almost as if you had a highly skilled personal chef. I'm unsure if we had a special experience because the lack of seated tables in the restaurants but I believe this club orange kitchen is underrated and it's a shame more people can't try it out. The last day we had dinner at nami sushi. It was a joke. If you are used to eating authentic japanese food this place is not for you. Be warned. though I dislike wasting food I didn't finish half the food I ordered because it was so off, and I don't think there's anything they could've done to rectify the situation because it just wasn't authentic Japanese food. what you expect when you order and what you get are different. In summary for dining I would rate fee dining restaurants in the following order: 1. Sel de Mer - good plates and some high plates, one average plate - a la carte but worked to be same as pinnacle grill 2. Club Orange Restaurant - good plates all around 2. Tamarind - above average plates and some high plates 4. De Librije - few high plates mainly average plates 5. Canaletto - average plates 6. Pinnacle Grill - 1 high plate mostly low plates 7. Nami Sushi - all low plates Activities and entertainment: In general Koningsdam has about the same type of activities other mega ships have. However it's scheduled I think in a way that 2 or 3 run at the same time, so if you have similar interests as others, you will be bumping to others a lot, and this in my opinion creates the feel of a smaller ship where you know most of the people on the ship. I enjoyed the show on pirates, and pirate history, that was quite interesting. The headliners for entertainment on the mainstage were very amusing for the most part. the shows the comedians put on in particular resonated i believe with people of all ages on the ship. I didn't try out the music shows very much as I'm not an avid lover of contemporary rock and pop music, I listened to some performances from the string quartet they had, and most of the performances were medleys. Some of them would have pop music mixed in. Would've preferred to listen to full pieces. All in all there was plenty for me to do, and I was not bored. There was a lot of space in public areas however I found myself frequenting the crows nest the most. I liked how they had a little library and cafe on the side and plenty of seating area. Overall service was great, the staff were attentive and will assist if you require. I'm actually puzzled why Koningsdam can't sell more. It could possibly be the itinerary, maybe the rumors about smoke wafting to the music areas from the casino, but all in all if you avoid the casino and surrounding areas it's not bad at all. The Koningsdam is a great ship and I definitely would not mind booking it again. I didn't encounter anyone that used e-cigs in their rooms and I'm fairly sensitive to smoke. I'm more than happy to share pictures of the food if you would like to see them. Just send me a message. 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
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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