7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My partner and I just took our 27th cruise (second on HAL) and had a good time, however, we expected so much more, and the line under-delivered. Our first experience with HAL was about 12 years ago and we had a great time then. This time ... Read More
My partner and I just took our 27th cruise (second on HAL) and had a good time, however, we expected so much more, and the line under-delivered. Our first experience with HAL was about 12 years ago and we had a great time then. This time we expected just as a good service like before but were left just wanting it. The good: Great cabin (4158) with an extended balcony (that we paid for). Comfortable bedding, great bathroom with a very roomy shower stall; Great cabin room stewards, friendly and very attentive; Food quality in the main Dining Room is very good; The ship is very pretty and quiet; Few announcements and sales; The cons: The same extended balcony we paid for was always dirty due to the discharges of soot from the ship stacks. Our cabin was in the AFT portion. Likely not in problem if we were mid ship or forward; Service in the dining room was lacking, slow and disconnected. We complained and promised that they would serve "faster" on the following nights. They didn't. Servers were friendly and very polite, but somehow things were not working as they should on almost every night of the 12 nights onboard. Too much time between courses and several mistakes, like attempting to take an order without bringing the menus, skipping a course, dessert without the ordered coffee, coffee without cream (even after a week with same servers), etc etc. Maitre D would apologize but the service quality would stay the same: low; Desserts are lacking quality and choices. Offerings are boring, repetitive and did not quite taste good. Dessert is like an afterthought on the ship; Buffet: They do have a different service philosophy on this ship (don't know if this is a system-wide thing) but one needs the help of a server to get any food, and that means standing in line all the time, from station to station. One can't get a whole meal on one station, so one needs to stand in line again at the next, and then the next. When there was no line, the server would hide in the kitchen, so one needs to wait there till he/she comes back out. The food offerings have no signs showing/explaining what they are, so when it is your turn, one needs to ask "what is this" and "what is that" every time. Portions are usually given on a small plate, and then on the next station they will try to give you another plate... We actually hated this system, and avoided the buffet every chance we could; Ship eateries and restaurant times are very restricted. At some obvious lunch or early evening times, one can find most of the venues closed. Off course they have several other venues, if you want to pay extra; Alternative eating venues (at no extra charge), like the Dutch Café and the Explorations Cafe, offer not a single choice of a free drink. No water, no coffee, no ice tea at these locations. So if you come here, you either have to go several decks up or down to get a glass of water, or you have to buy a drink; A lot of nickel and dimming on the ship; Alcoholic drink prices are way too high; with the required 15% gratuity, the least expensive beer onboard costs $8, the wine by the glass $10.50; HAL is not going to give you a single free cocktail, even on events we all expect to get one. On the captain's welcome night you will get a glass of pro-secco here (they might refill it) and the "party" to welcome and thank repeat guests has been replaced with a lunch, where you will be given ONE glass of pro-secco. Yes, not a choice to get a cocktail, not a chance to get your pro-secco glass refilled; Top decks are difficult to navigate. One can not go for a walk on a top deck from AFT to FWD, anywhere; Theater entertainment is very limited and boring; Music on BB King's Club is very good (they have great singers and musicians on board) but the music is too loud (and I am not 80y.o.); Ship does not offer shuttle services to bring passengers out of ports or into city centers. In Dubrovnik a Shuttle was offered for $16pP, when the city bus that stops right outside the port and brings passengers to the same final stop of shuttle in the old town costs $4.50 for an unlimited day ticket; In 3 Port Stops we were left in alternative docking locations, which meant longer walks to required shuttles only to get us to the normal docking areas, very upsetting; Overall a good trip with some great ports of call. But HAL could do a lot better. Please stop nickel and diming passengers, and deliver the experience we all expect. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a great time on our first cruise on Koningsdam, cruising the Adriatic in late July/early August. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The service on board was excellent. The ports of call were plentiful on this 12 day ... Read More
We had a great time on our first cruise on Koningsdam, cruising the Adriatic in late July/early August. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The service on board was excellent. The ports of call were plentiful on this 12 day itinerary and although most ports were too crowded due to the dates we were traveling, we appreciated that this itinerary included ports like Koper and Korcula which are a little less popular and hence much more inviting. The entertainment was much better than expected with the music venues available on board offering a wide variety of live performances. Even some of the shows at the main theater were good which was a pleasant surprise compared to our prior cruise experiences. Due to the time of year, the demographics of the passengers included passengers of all ages and from all over the world but was heavy on big multi-generation family groups. The food on board was very good. We dined a number of times in Club Orange because we booked a suite and thought they did a terrific job there. We especially enjoyed the specialty dining at Rudi’s and Tamarind (which remains our favorite cruise ship restaurant on any line). We also tried the special Indonesian night at Tamarind but didn’t care for it as much as the regular Tamarind menu. We did not enjoy the Pinnacle Grill as much as we did on another HAL ship in the past. We ordered room service once and they sent us the wrong food so we didn’t try it again. We purchased the couples spa pass and enjoyed using the hydrotherapy pool and steam room there. The only negatives which I think are worth sharing as they may be helpful to others to know in advance: The main dining room, Lido buffet, and the main theater are too small for the number of passengers when the ship is at capacity. It seemed that anytime dining often included very long waits, the buffet was generally an unpleasant experience unless you visited at off peak times, and the better theater shows often had no seats available at all by the time the show was about to start. The family pool and loungers were too crowded on the two sea days and since staff did not appear to remove any towels/personal belongings from loungers left unattended for hours, there were rarely loungers available. The adult pool usually had space available but the area was full of people smoking. I anticipate that if you sail at off peak times of the year, your experiences would vary considerably on these specific issues but I think they are worth noting so that one can go in with realistic expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the stops in Greece did not disappoint they were amazing. This is our 17th cruise and have been on all the major lines. Getting on the ship was very easy and very quick. The ship itself is ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the stops in Greece did not disappoint they were amazing. This is our 17th cruise and have been on all the major lines. Getting on the ship was very easy and very quick. The ship itself is still fairly new and is in great shape. The main pool is very nice, one of the nicest I have seen in a while there is plenty of room and you don't feel sandwiched in. There are many spots to sit including areas by the outside glass that have curtains that partition off areas. The level above the pool also has lovely seating sofas which are very stylish and an eatery that not many people go to, they serve salads and pizzas and snacks. All this being said this ship is not designed for kids as there is no kids pool so the 500 or so kids on this ship made the main pool their home and at times the area was really noisy. The pool on the back of the ship is just plain, really did not like hanging out there. I was shocked that there was no sail away party, with music and dancing like they have on most ships. The food on this ship was good, we did anytime dining and hardly ever had to wait for a table, this includes the main dining room. All of the public washrooms on this ship were always clean and working, they were in pristine shape. They were also centrally located. In the buffet they dish out of the food for you and I thought this was a plus, it minimized people touching food that they shouldn't. The band that played in the BBKing lounge was amazing, we listened and danced to them many nights. They also had dueling pianos which were good. There was a hard rock band which was not very good and we listened for a couple of songs and never went back. This ship did not have any major shows, with singers and dancers. They had three male singers from the UK who all came from Broadway shows, they were very good and we saw their three shows. They also had a comedian for one night, but then he did not have anymore shows anywhere during our sailing. One night they had a local group come in and sing and dance we walked in and did not even sit down. One night they had a documentary in the main theatre and they called this one of their main shows.... In the pool area at night they had films, one night the film was not starting and there was no one around to ask so after 20 minutes or so we went up to one of the staff and they said they had technical difficulties but failed to let anyone know. We like a lot of entertainment and thought that this ship came up short in that regard. We did however like the chat with the captain that they held in the main theatre, it was very informative. We also attended one of the Americas test kitchen shows in the day time and the flower arranging demonstrations. We did the kitchen tour, it was fairly quick but interesting to see. There was no live music by either pool during the day. This ship was one of the smoothest that we have been on, the weather on this specific cruise was also very good. Getting off the ship was also very easy and quick. Katakolon-We did the winery and the beach with the tourist train, very easy and fun. Athens-We bought a two day pass for the Red hop on hop off bus,it picks you up at the port and went to the Acropolis the first day and did other sites. Had lunch at Gods restaurant in the Plaka, we ordered calamari and salad. The calamari was so huge and very tender, probably the best I have ever tasted. The second day we took the beach line and went to a beach club. You can ride the bus all the way down to the end, it then turns around and heads the other way, very pretty views. Mykonos-walked around the port area,very pretty and had lunch at one of the restaurants. We walked to the windmills and continued past them to two beaches. Kuadasi-went to Ladies beach , which was crazy busy. Had lunch at Ladies Beach restaurant which was amazing. Rhodes-went to the Palace of the grandmasters it is open from 8 to 20:00 and costs 6 euro to get in, what an amazing castle.Then we went to Ellie beach restaurant beach club. Very nice chairs 16 euro for 2 loungers and an umbrella Santorini- We took the boat to Oia, spent the morning there, it was crazy busy. Very scenic. Then took the bus back to Fira in the afternoon, had lunch at Salt & Pepper which was very good. Took the cable car down to the port. Chania- I knew very little about this port, it turned out to be my favourite stop. We took the bus from the port into town. It drops you off across the street from the market. We went to the waterfront which looks like Venice, very scenic. We walked to the lighthouse and stopped to put our feet in the water in a mini beach. We walked around that whole area and the many streets behind the waterfront that have restaurants and shops. We also walked down to the beach, but only stayed for a short while. Then went to the market. Naples-We took the hydrofoil to Sorrento. It was very pretty. If you have never been to this area of Italy before my recommendations would be to go either to the Amalfi coast or to Capri, which we did last year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We're a family of four--mom, dad, daughter 17, son 16. We've sailed Disney, Viking, and NCL in the past and travel frequently in and out of the states for business and pleasure. We selected this cruise based on the ... Read More
We're a family of four--mom, dad, daughter 17, son 16. We've sailed Disney, Viking, and NCL in the past and travel frequently in and out of the states for business and pleasure. We selected this cruise based on the itinerary--focused on the Greek Isles with few sea days. We view the ship as a floating hotel and booked two inside guarantee cabins. They were spacious with comfortable beds, roomy bathrooms, tons of storage, and great service by the stewards. The Koningsdam itself is a great ship, big enough to never feel overly crowded with lots of nooks and crannies to find privacy and areas to meet new people and mingle--and well designed, appointed, and decorated. The main pool area is especially well-designed with private lounge areas that make it feel like an upscale resort. The crew and service personnel were friendly and gracious. On ship, we had challenges with the MDR handling our daughter's food allergies, so we avoided it. (HAL addressed these concerns to our satisfaction but we did not wish to eat at the MDR after the issues experienced.) We found the food at the Lido buffet and poolside restaurants to be good, with lots of options. The Tamarind and Pinnacle were outstanding. The band at the BB King lounge and the Lincoln Center musicians were excellent. The itinerary was what sold us on the cruise and it did not disappoint. All ports were wonderful. We booked our own excursions and each went off without a hitch. From the boat to the crew, we'd give this cruise a very positive review. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and I had a future cruise credit I wanted to use. I had been on the Koningsdam before and knew what I liked and didn't like. Nothing has changed with the ship - If you don't like ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and I had a future cruise credit I wanted to use. I had been on the Koningsdam before and knew what I liked and didn't like. Nothing has changed with the ship - If you don't like overwhelming amounts of cigarette and cigar smoke don't try to use the back pool. If you want really slow service and medicore food then the dining room is not for you. But if you want some of the best cabins at sea, good choice of movies on the tv and the roomiest shower than maybe you will like this ship. Embarkation was easy as I took their transfer from the Rome airport and luggage was delivered quickly. I had been upgraded to a solo ocean view cabin and while small it had everything I had no air conditioning for the first 2.5 days and it was a bit of a nightmare to get them to fix it even with the help of guest services. Holland America is great unless you experience an issue then you realize they aren't so great. For my suffering they sent flowers???? Oh well. Last time I did not like the MDR so this time I ate many meals in the buffet and over time I got the sense that a lot of others had the same idea. The food in the buffet was always hot and varied. Given I went for the itinerary, all ports were good and the ship on time in all ports. I only took one excursion which I would recommend. Its the boat, bus transfer to OIA and Fira. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 13th cruise and the 2nd on HAL. We sailed the Baltic on the Zuiderdam last year and it was so wonderful that we tried to re-create it with a different itinerary. The Baltic definitely wins the weather contest, as this time we ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise and the 2nd on HAL. We sailed the Baltic on the Zuiderdam last year and it was so wonderful that we tried to re-create it with a different itinerary. The Baltic definitely wins the weather contest, as this time we were in the Mediterranean during a heat wave, but we still had a very good cruise. The Koningsdam is beautiful and service on HAL continues to be a high point. Most of the staff seemed to go out of their way to demonstrate genuine warmth. Our cabin stewards, Edi and Rangga, and our dining staff, Sang and Eka, were top notch. We loved that this ship has a full promenade deck for us to stroll every evening, although the view is somewhat blocked by life boats. The activities on HAL suit us; we don’t need a rock climbing wall! We especially enjoyed the America’s Test Kitchen demonstrations, since we are fans of the show at home. I have seen reviews in which people were disappointed in the entertainment, but we were not. We did not go to everything, but some highlights were the fabulous pianist Tian Jiang, the local Croatian singers and dancers, and the BBC Earth movie set to live music. The Lincoln Center performers were stellar, and the “music walk” bars are a fun and creative feature. Food in the main dining room ranged from good to great, and our meal in the Pinnacle Grill was excellent. We found some good things in the Lido buffet, but it seemed that there were less choices than on the Zuiderdam and one side was often closed even at busy times. I notice that some reviewers did not like that the Lido staff serves the items rather than self-service, but I appreciate the attempt to control the spread of germs. In fact there were a few side dishes that were self-serve this time and I didn’t like it. I don’t remember that from the Zuiderdam. A few complaints: Smoking is allowed in the casino. I think it’s only supposed to be in a certain part but the smoke doesn’t know that. I respect people’s right to smoke, but in a closed area it affects non-smokers too. The casino usually was not crowded so it wasn’t too bad, but one night I had to leave my favorite slot machine when someone beside me lit up. I like the way HAL does happy hour. You buy a drink and the second one is only $2, plus they have some pretty good snacks. However, our dinner time was at 5:30 and happy hour was from 5:00 to 6:00! No fair! There was another one at 10:00 but we enjoy drinks before dinner. This was the first time I have ever used the ship salon but the humidity in the Mediterranean was not my friend. I was impressed both visits, first with Jalena and then with the young man from Bosnia. Disembarkation was the best we’ve ever experienced. Embarkation could have been better. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. and were met by lovely staff who showed us where to sit and wait. It was a rather long wait, because they had to get the ship ready after the previous cruise. When the buses finally arrived, however, a lady with a HAL sign led a group of new arrivals to the bus first, while motioning impatiently for our group, who had been waiting the longest, to sit back down and wait some more. It was another half hour before the next bus came. Once we were at the cruise terminal, we waited another hour or so but it was a pleasant place to wait. My suggestion would be for the airport welcome staff to keep a list of arrivals and call them in that order when the buses come. We enjoyed all of our ports, although there were a few mishaps. DUBROVNIK - We need a do-over here. We walked the city walls but unfortunately it was 91 degrees with extreme humidity, and I felt ill after climbing the many steps. I exercise and believe myself to be in good shape, but this was hard for me. My husband did not have difficulty, however, so maybe it was just me. Anyway, it affected the rest of our time there. I would love to try again at a cooler time. Dubrovnik is beautiful. HAL charges about 16 euro per person for their shuttle to town. KOTOR - One of the most beautiful places we have ever seen! We strolled the old city and had lunch. There is a wall to climb but we didn’t because of my previous experience. When we arrived in the tender, lots of young men tried to sell us boat tours. They offered a 1.5 hour tour at a reasonable price to Perast and Lady of the Rock that I might try next time. SPLIT - We visited Diocletian’s Palace and Saint Domnius Cathedral, where we climbed the bell tower for beautiful views. Then we strolled the waterfront. This is an easy port to do on your own. RIJEKA - We were originally scheduled to visit Ravenna, Italy but our itinerary was changed. We had rather low expectations for this port but ended up enjoying it. Go to the friendly tourist office at Korso 14 and they will tell you everything you need to know. We bought city bus tickets across the street from their office and visited Trsat Castle, a lovely place to walk and take in the views. Rijeka does not seem as touristy as some ports and the people there were especially nice. TRIESTE - In retrospect, we should have done an excursion here. We went to see the Roman ruins and San Giusto castle and they were fine but nothing spectacular. HAL offered excursions to Slovenia and to Venice that were tempting but expensive, as well as some shorter tours. But they sold out fast! CORFU - Lovely, fun, friendly town to stroll and have lunch. There were 5 ships in town, however, and the crowd for security at the cruise terminal was a disorganized madhouse. There has got to be a better way. CATANIA - The HAL excursion to beautiful Taormina was great. It would have been easy to walk back into town from the ship afterwards but our tour guide took us through on our way back and we felt like we had seen it. VALLETTA - We could easily have spent two days here. If you like military history, you will love it. We visited the Malta at War Museum and Fort St. Elmo, but there’s lots more to see and it’s easy to do on your own. NAPLES - We went with HAL to Pompeii. Great tour. Overall, we loved our cruise and we look forward to sailing with HAL again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We are 4-star Mariners on HAL, but we are also frequent users of other cruise lines, so it had been two years since we sailed on HAL. The Koningsdam was our first time on one of the line's newer, larger ships. We like smaller ships, ... Read More
We are 4-star Mariners on HAL, but we are also frequent users of other cruise lines, so it had been two years since we sailed on HAL. The Koningsdam was our first time on one of the line's newer, larger ships. We like smaller ships, but we were looking for an Adriatic cruise, and we liked the ports of call on this cruise. In the end, we did not find the Koningsdam too big for our taste, but we did have a mixed reaction to what seems to be Holland America's new direction, though we found the crew among the friendliest we have have experienced in many years of cruising. Getting There: We took advantage of Holland America's great prices on business class air and of their rather pricey hotel package and flew in the day before. I like the idea of having the airport to hotel to ship transfers taken care of for me--it reduces the stress of travel. Our hotel was the Savoy. The room was large and well-furnished, the staff was friendly, and the location was within walking distance of some sights--though we were too tired to take full advantage of that. Embarkation was smooth and fast. Dining: For dinner, we prefer a table for two, though we enjoy sharing a table at other meals. We had a window table (169) for the early seating. We had wonderful service from Kelana and Arisman--when my wife developed a cough, Kelana insisted on bringing her hot tea with honey and lemon and generally fussed over her. The wine steward, Olga, was far more part of the team than usual, though our only order was Diet Coke for me. All three of them recognized and greeted us when we saw them elsewhere around the ship. They really enhanced our dining experience. We liked both the main dining room food and the Lido breakfast and lunch buffets. I would not rate it among the best food we have experienced, but they we certainly a step up from the food on the Princess ship we took earlier this year. The specialty restaurants seemed a bit over-priced based on our previous experience of them, so we did not use them at all this cruise. Drink: I drink only soft drinks, since all of my pills seem to come with warnings not to take with alcohol, and my wife drinks mainly cappuccino and lattes, so I can't speak to the quality of the alcoholic drinks. As with dining, I was particularly impresse with how friendly and accomodating the staff were. Frits at the Grand Dutch Cafe particularly stood out. On the other hand, I never did figure out the arcane coverage of the various beverage packages--cans vs. draft sodas, which specialty drinks were covered, and especially how the package including the new multi-drink soda machine (Lido Bar only) works. The information on the web site is too vague; guest services seemed unclear about things; and different bars seemed to give different incomplete answers, though doing their best to be helpful. I found this very annoying. Shore Excursions: At 80 years old, we try to avoid strenuous excursions, and that was a particular concern on this trip because I managed to develop tendonitis in my right foot just the week before we left. It was particularly irritating to find that the web site information we had used in pre-booking did not match the notes on the tickets we got when we boarded. The latter evidently reflect the experience of the ship's own shore excursion staff, and they did seem more reliable. The staff at the desk was very accomodating when we had to exchange tickets and did their best to recommend excursions we could handle. They probably over-estimated our ability to do walking tours during a historic heat wave, but I don't blame them for that. Other Services: We paid for unlimited surfiing (without streaming) and were generally satisfied with internet reception--partly because our expectations for ship internet are pretty low. The Internet Manager, Danilo, solved a couple of IPhone problems for us, neither of which had much to do with the internet, so we were particularly impressed by him. We checked our my wife's cough with the Medical Center, and again we thought well of the nurses and doctor there. On the other hand, we really deplored the lack of a library. Having sailed just last year on Cunard's QM2 made for a painful contrast. I can understand that e-books have reduced the need for ship libraries, and I came myself with a bunch of e-books stored on my tablet, but my wife is among the many who still prefer real books. Even I miss the serendipity of finding something new while browsing a library--I've first met a couple of my favorite authors that way. Entertainment: They seem to have really cut back on main stage entertainment. It's not just the loss of onboard singers and dancers. The ship's band seemed a bit smaller. And having variety entertainers perform two full shows on a 12-night cruise seemed a bit much. On the other hand, we liked Vox Fortuna very much, and the local kappa group they brought aboard at Dubrovnik was wonderful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Very comfortable cruise overall. it's a fair size ship so it can be crowded so if you prefer a more intimate experience this is not for you. Having said that, we were able to find our own space and keep our privacy when we chose. Dine ... Read More
Very comfortable cruise overall. it's a fair size ship so it can be crowded so if you prefer a more intimate experience this is not for you. Having said that, we were able to find our own space and keep our privacy when we chose. Dine as you wish worked a treat! We did room service breakfast alot and it was great. We work out and the gym more than satisfied our needs. plenty of food and dining options, specialty restaurants if you want spend a little more. My only negative critique would be that drinks and wine expensive together with bev packages. 26 days cruise would be steep if we indulged. We would prefer that gratuities be included in the price but you can have them removed at the start of the cruise if you so wish be registering it with guest relations. We prefer to be more personal with our gratuity and know where and who it is going to. All up, a more than pleasant experience with awsome destinations. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We have cruised with celebrity 5 times and chose this for the itinerary. I was a little worried to change lines but we were very impressed with the Koningsdam in most areas. The ship is very modern and light, kept beautiful by staff ... Read More
We have cruised with celebrity 5 times and chose this for the itinerary. I was a little worried to change lines but we were very impressed with the Koningsdam in most areas. The ship is very modern and light, kept beautiful by staff who are always cleaning. Fellow passengers mostly American,Canadian and Australian. The public areas - lovely lounges, 2 small pools with hot tubs ( one adult only) The main pool area had a retractable roof and cinema screen. We had a balcony and used this a lot as there were not many private places to enjoy the sun. The food in lido cafe and main dining room was excellent. as was the inclusive burger bar and pizza place .The grand Dutch Cafe has excellent food and tea/ coffee are chargeable. We did not feel the need to use the speciality restaurants. The Crows nest on deck 12 had lovely views, served breakfast and had books and games available. The entertainment was not for us. BB Kings Blues club was excellent but far too loud Rolling stone and billboard on board also very loud Lincoln Centre Stage classical were very professional. The theatre could have been spectacular , only acts worth seeing- a magician and planet earth. The drinks were really overpriced but there are 2 happy hours a day ( announced on ships newsletter ) , buy a drink, get same second drink for $2. The shore excursions were overpriced, for example, Taormina in Sicily - ship tour $89 pp, we got a return taxi at the port for 4 people €120 . Most of the places to explore could be done on foot, no need for expensive excursions Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Embarkation: There were many HAL employees at Rome Airport waiting for arriving passengers. For the most part, things were well-organized. In Civitavecchia, check-in was smooth. Cabin: Well appointed, decent (not overwhelming) ... Read More
Embarkation: There were many HAL employees at Rome Airport waiting for arriving passengers. For the most part, things were well-organized. In Civitavecchia, check-in was smooth. Cabin: Well appointed, decent (not overwhelming) amount of storage space. One of the best showers I’ve had in a long time. Toilet did face an odd way, forcing some “repositioning”. Bed was very comfortable, though we had to ask several times for feather pillows. Oversized balcony (compared to Princess and Celebrity). Only downside was little space to walk between bathroom, cabin door, and closet. We were always bumping into each other or bumping doors into each other. Cabin steward was attentive. One issue was noise. We constantly heard people in next cabin talking (at a normal volume). Also, we were forward on the ship on Deck 4. If you’re mid-ship on Deck 4, you’re going to hear a lot of noise from the music lounges. Food: HAL did a fine job with the buffets for all 3 meals. The only issue we had was that they seemed to close down early for lunch (even on embarkation day). Dinners were, for the most part, excellent, I don’t eat meat and did find some very good fish. Service was never rushed in the MDR. I would have liked it I the Dutch Café were opened after 830pm Once nice touch was that if you got a pager because your table wasn’t ready (it happened each night to us—on anytime dining), that pager got you a 2nd drink for $2.00 in the nearest bar. Kudos to maître’d for not allowing someone in the MDR wearing shorts. High tea didn’t impress; they merely put a tray of sweets on the table, no serving scones, sandwiches, etc. in courses. Public Rooms/Shows: The main theatre shows were nothing to write home about. They spent all of their money on LED lights, not on the dancers and singers. Excellent R+B band in the BB King lounge and quality classical music concerts in the Lincoln Center Stage. They didn’t pander to the audience; they played full-length chamber pieces. Casino was always empty. We never used the pools, but there always seemed to be available chair. (however, this was a port-intensive cruise, not one for sun bathers). Gym: Excellent cardio equipment, but needs more weight training machines. There is a dedicated running track, so you won't get in the way of deck chairs. Other -the entire ship was very clean and ship personnel consistently polite and helpful. I had to pay $199 for a week’s internet. Expensive. I also paid $108 for 12 days of unlimited laundry. Expensive, but worth it. The ship has no laundry room or even a place to press clothes. Enjoyed trivia, but same team won each time! The median age on the ship was lower than I expected. We’re very active 60-ites and did not feel we were alone. Nice to be on a ship with full wrap-around promenade deck. However, much of the seaview is blocked by lifeboats and there are no seats. Ports of Call: (note: we normally do not take the ship’s shore excursions. We study local train and bus schedules in advance and prefer to use mass transit, so use the following as ideas on how see and save more!) Cartegena: Easy off the ship. Quick walk into town. We took the hop-on-hop-of bus around town and then walked the pedestrian-only streets. Cute town, but no major sites Cadiz: Took the shuttle into town. We had every intention of taking the train to Jerez, but we ran late. Instead we walked around town, through the old city, visiting churches, the beautiful park, and then the murillo (wall around the city). Lots of walking. Gibralter: We walked all the way from ship into center of town, then to Cable Car. Waiting a long time on line, but view from the top (which you cannot get with a cab ride) was excellent. Stopped at English pub for beer on way back and bought several bottles of duty-free booze in town. Malaga: Again, a very long walk from the ship to centro (downtown), so we paid for a shuttle bus. Walked downtown in morning, then at 11, we took a free walking tour with Explora Malaga. 5 star! You pay tips. Guide was excellent. After the tour, we visited the Alcazaba. Barcelona: We took a city bus which stops at the ship into town. Walked up the Rambla to the Metro, then took a local train to Montserrat (well worth it), though we were accidentally in the line for the Black Madonna when all we wanted to see was the cathedral. After train ride back, stopped for beer on Placa Reial, where we booked a free walking tour with Runner Bean. Also excellent. The tour was of the Gaudi sites and the Eixample. Exhausted, we found a local restaurant off the Ramblas. The next morning, we started with a walk up the Ramblas to the Boqueria Marquia, followed by another 2.5 hour walking tour, also with Runner Bean, this time of the Old City (Barri Gotic). We then went back to the Ramblas for a tour of the Liceu Opera House. Marseille: We didn’t have much desire to see this city and paid for the ship’s shuttle (the ship docks 5 miles away). However, there was a local bus, we should have taken. I complained to Shore Excursions, but they didn’t offer me a refund. Once in Marseille, we walked to the Metro, then to the Bus Station (right next to the train station) and took a bus to Aix-en-Provence. Well worth it. Very cute. Monte Carlo: Again, we weren’t interested in the port. We took a local bus (2 Euros) just to get near the casino to change to another bus to Eze (the one in the mountains). For 1.50 Euros we got to Eze, then used the same ticket to continue to Nice. For me, Eze was the highlight of the cruise. In fact, The Obama family, along with Bono from U2, were there the day before! In Nice, we walked through the old city, then down to the Promenade des Anglais. From there another several mile walk back around the harbor to catch a bus to Villefrance sue Mer. We stopped there, walked the old walls, and had gelato (glace!). Continuing on our 1.50 Euro we went back to Monte Carlo. A very tiring day, but we did 3 cities besides Monte Carlo on less than $10 USD. Livorno: We took the ship shuttle downtown, then connected to a local bus to the train station. Since we had been to Firenze before, we visited Lucca. There, we rented bikes from a guy we read about in the Rick Steves’ book. Another coincidence: Steves was there the week before and we saw a newspaper article with him and the bike shop owner. We rode around the walled city and visited the Puccini Museum (we’re opera lovers). On the way back, we stopped at Pisa for a quick view of the Tower and (another!) beer. The train tickets cost us about $8.00 US for both stops. Disembarkation: HAL allows passengers to linger in cabin longer than other ships. Luggage was waiting. We took ship shuttle to connect to local bus to train station. We took the train to Rome and stayed one night, just to visit Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel. I’m glad we got our tickets in advance. WAY too crowded and hot…and when you get to Sistine Chapel at the end, you can’t take pictures! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My wife chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Nineteen ports in 25 days was the determining factor. The interior of the ship is a different design than most ships we have cruised. The music theme throughout puts a music alley on ... Read More
My wife chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Nineteen ports in 25 days was the determining factor. The interior of the ship is a different design than most ships we have cruised. The music theme throughout puts a music alley on the second level. Four entertainment rooms each with a different musical genre encompass this level. Then main stage too is different. It is theater in the round with screens as a backdrop which could digitally do anything. Here is the failure of this entire concept. One night only there was a performance called Humanity that utilized the technology of this stage. This show was five star. Most of the other nights a solo artists performed such as a flautist or singer. Even worse was the nights Folkloric shows were staged. Mediocre at best was the theme of the main stage. Activities included bingo, twice during the 25 days Majority Rules was played. Otherwise there was a list eg. ping players meet, bridge players meet, etc. the bottom line is this was a a really substandard performance by whomever was in charge. The service staff was outstanding. The ship was super clean. Dining room staff was great. The buffet servers, waiters etc were five star. Food, yes there was variety and it was well prepared. We only took one shore excursion with Holland. I book most tours before I leave home because Holland America tours are pricey and the groups are large. Rijeka, Croatia was a poor choice for a port. Originally the port was to be Ravenna, Italy but got changed to Rijeka. Google Rijeka.....nothing to see or do there. All of the other ports were quite good. I was unsure of going with Holland America because if it’s reputation of serving the 80+ cruiser. Thus cruise had every age group represented. Summertime is family vacation time. We would have given the rating of a ten if the entertainment was up to par with other cruise lines. Instead we gave it an eight. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Embarkation and disembarkation went as smoothly as we could have ever dreamed. No problem until you are at the Civitavecchia port trying to get anywhere, but that is not the cruise company's fault. The ship is classic and elegant, ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation went as smoothly as we could have ever dreamed. No problem until you are at the Civitavecchia port trying to get anywhere, but that is not the cruise company's fault. The ship is classic and elegant, and not too big. It was easy and quick to get everywhere from anywhere on the ship. The cabins are well appointed, nicely decorated, spacious, with lots of storage space. There was fine dining in the very attractive dining room, and lots of choices in the Lido Buffet. However, it closes early, and although some sections are open longer, it really limits the choices and it gets crowded. Service was excellent everywhere. Entertainment was very poor. You can read a more extensive review in Trip Advisor. We didn't take any ship shore excursions which are outrageously priced, so we booked three on our own, in Katakolon (Olympia), Kusadasi (Ephesus), and the Amalfi Coast with Pompeii. The only disappointment was in Olympia, not with the places we visited, but with our "guide". We hired Manoussis Tours, with a total of 7 people in our group. Adriana wasn't really a guide but a driver who would pick us up at the port, take us to the different places, and return us to the ship. She was not were she was supposed to be and we were expected to find her. Then she gave us instructions to meet her at a parking lot in Olympia which resulted in two of us getting lost and making everyone late because there were two possible ways to go and we forgot which was the right one. It would have been much more professional to meet us all right outside the museum and walk us together to her van. Then she kept us waiting after lunch to pick us up which didn't matter much because we were all having a really good time. We then drove by and got out to see a beach, more to please her than anything else. None of us really cared to go to a beach. Mr Manoussis really tried to accommodate our wishes, and I don't know that it is his fault that things didn't work out very well with our driver. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We are experienced cruisers (a group of 4) but have not tried Holland America before. The cruise was chosen because we wanted to go to three specific ports, Kusadsi (Ephesus), Mykonos and Santorini. The itinerary turned out to be ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers (a group of 4) but have not tried Holland America before. The cruise was chosen because we wanted to go to three specific ports, Kusadsi (Ephesus), Mykonos and Santorini. The itinerary turned out to be everything we wanted and more, and the holiday was really lovely due to the places we went to. The ship was something of a mixed bag and the four of us we all have slightly different views so I will try and present a balanced picture. Cabins - probably one of the best we've had. A balcony stateroom on Deck 5, good size, nice touches (a fully stocked mini-bar, bathrobes, beach towels, umbrella, blankets for the balcony etc). What made the cabin though was the bathroom, slightly bigger than normal and with the best double shower to be found on any ship, it had a proper door (no nasty shower curtain here) and Elemis products. Comfortable bed, lots of electrical sockets and USB ports by the bed - which was a great touch. Cabin stewards were wonderful, attentive and very friendly. Food - Holland America prides itself on its food and other reviews on here often cite the great quality and variety. We did not find this was the case. The food was average to good but never excellent and on a couple of occasions, poor. The first two nights our food in the dining room was cold so I had a word with the Maitre d' who then personally served us every meal from then on, and there was a very big improvement. However, there was one night when he was very busy and unable to see to us personally and we were back on cold food! The wine waiters seemed absolutely incapable of bringing four drinks at the same time - in fact every single time we ordered throughout the whole holiday our drinks never arrived together. The single biggest fault with this ship was the food and beverage service throughout the ship - it left a lot to be desired. Entertainment - it was pretty much standard cruise fare - nothing awful, nothing wonderful. Pleasant would be the best word to describe it. Excursions - we arranged all our excursions ourselves before we sailed and saved a fortune in doing so. For Santorini we would highly recommend Black Pearl Tours run by Panos and Cristos. Great service at a fraction of the price. Embarkation/Disembarkation - have to hand it to Holland America here, the best experience we've ever had. Very smooth, no long lines, very well organised, top marks, couldn't be faulted. Fitness & Recreation - the gym was pretty good, not the best equipped I've seen but not the worst either. Public rooms/spaces - this ship, although quite new, lacked a certain wow factor. Personally we like a grand staircase and an atrium - a bit of glitz on a cruise ship is no bad thing but this ship doesn't have this and we thought it was slightly the worse for it. VfM - cruising with Holland America is going to cost a bit more and that's ok when one can feel the difference, I'm just not sure we did. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
First time with HAL and our longest cruise to date, we did back to back cruises covering ports in Italy, the Adriatic and Greece. We selected the cruise for the itinerary as it visited some bucket list places such as Dubrovnik, Malta and ... Read More
First time with HAL and our longest cruise to date, we did back to back cruises covering ports in Italy, the Adriatic and Greece. We selected the cruise for the itinerary as it visited some bucket list places such as Dubrovnik, Malta and Santorini. As first timers on HAL we were very impressed with the ship. Loved the public rooms and decor particularly around the pool areas, the Crows Nest and the cafe. We were also happy with the entertainment but don't expect spectacular shows as the focus was more on the music walk. We found the standard of entertainers on board much better than on other lines (Princess and NCL). We ate mainly in the Lido and the main dining room. There is a huge choice of food on offer in the Lido but you have to wait at busy times as at most stations you cannot serve yourself. This is great for hygiene but some impatient people still try to reach under the glass to grab food! Food in the dining room was generally good but service was lacking on many occasions. Also the menu on the second leg of the cruise was the same as the first. The few times we ate breakfast in the dining room the service was very amateur - slow then food arriving all at once. The crew were wonderful, always ready with a smile and greeting, and we loved the Captain and his amusing announcements every day! On the whole it is the best cruise we have been on and there were only a couple of gripes. We were not happy with the response from Guest Services when we had issues in the cabin. These were the TV not working - eventually fixed by cabin steward - and a lack of hot water. Also regarding the EXC team we felt we were mislead about the number of ships in port in Katakolon and the likelihood of getting transport to Olympia so we booked a ship's tour at the last minute. When we arrived we were the only ship in port and felt this was a ploy to get more people on tours. Having said that, the tour was very good and we learned a lot more than if we had gone independently. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Our 2019 Cruise, this will be our fifth cruise in our wish list of trying all the cruise lines with various star rating. Holland America Koningsdam was next on our list and our longest, 23 nights around the Mediterranean. Pure bliss. Best ... Read More
Our 2019 Cruise, this will be our fifth cruise in our wish list of trying all the cruise lines with various star rating. Holland America Koningsdam was next on our list and our longest, 23 nights around the Mediterranean. Pure bliss. Best value....two cruised joined together for just a little more. Many Pros about this stunning ship, but also a few extremely annoying unnecessary Cons. Pros: This ship is immaculate, spotless and well maintained, even though it is only three years old, it still looks new and they never stop cleaning. HAL’s still is classical cruising, so If you prefer a party or ship for children, this is not for you. Very relaxing. The ship’s captain, Werner Timmers has a great sense of humour, especially during his addresses during the day. The onboarding was fast, efficient and we even were allowed to board early and access our rooms, a first for us. The suites were spotless, excellent showers and shampoo, conditioner and body wash which were mounted on the shower wall, saving the waste of plastics bottles. Our balcony was huge and we just had a basic veranda suite. Bedding was also comfy with a large TV just in front of the bed on the wall, showing all the latest movies, for free! This was great when you just wanted to relax in bed at night. The “fill your laundry bag” for $30 US was brilliant for cleaned and pressed laundry. Another first for us, was the ability to chat with other cruisers via their cruise app. Brilliant, we were a group of eight and this made life so much easier. Pool area is bright and colourful, but on sea days, staff must be more vigilant and remove towels placed on beds and lounges for hours, while passengers were off somewhere else. The movies at night on the big screen near the pool were lovely along with the movie’s snacks The excursions were fairly priced and well organised and their daily talks with Andrea, one of their EXC were informative and more importantly, gave you many options to visit the ports on your own and how do via local transport, which was greatly appreciated, a true passionate travel gesture to the passengers. The food was EXCELLENT and even though my husband wasn’t keen on the buffets, as there were many queues in the morning and not self-serve, especially on sea days, it kept the messy fingers of passengers out of the food keeping the health standards up. But they should increase their staff as the waiting time seemed long at times and some of the staff don’t seem to be in any rush. ******The CONS: the first main con for us was the relentless smoking odour outside our stateroom, it welcomed us and those in our group staterooms each and every morning, noon and night. Sometimes so bad, you had to cover your nose. We became passage envy at other corridors that smelt nice. I complained on average, twice a day, met with the management, but nothing could be done. WE later found out, that there was a staff smoking room at the end of our corridor behind a staff door. When staff used the door (which they were not supposed to) the smell followed them. Either stop smoking there, or put in extractor fans, it did ruin our experience and was such a shame. The casino also allows smoking, which is ridiculous, as it is a contained area, we love the casino, but could only last 10mins, they do have non-smoking nights, but people still smoke, unless you report them. To avoid this smell, don’t enter the casino and avoid staying on level 4, bow. The second main con, is the constant over charging for drinks on your account. There were eight of us, all with different packages, four with only soft drink package as we don’t drink. At dinner, you would order all your drinks, all cards would be picked up and it was luck of the draw who got charged what. The quench packages ended up having wine or beer charges on their account as no care was given on who had what card. This happened daily. As soon as you checked your account on your app straight away to check, if you were over-charged, you would then show the waiter what had happened and they would ask you to see guest services, another battle at reception!! As they cannot reverse it. Reception would reply “but your card was swiped for that drink””, then the whole story has to be explained, right drink, wrong person, wrong card. This really needs to be addressed by the beverage team. Guest services were also unsure what drinks were included in each package, I had to actually correct then. We had over 18 charges that has to reversed on average. Staff just seemed not to really care sometimes and some not as friendly as other cruise lines. The ones that were, were exceptional, best at sea, especially the barista on level 12, Paula, best at sea. Dinner in the dining room was great, but disappointed that we could never get a window table, unless we booked dinner at 5.30pm which was too early or the same waiters. Tables were cramped in and it seemed there were a lot of new staff, as it was crazy on most nights. The shows were ok, but repetitive and no real wow factor. We were looking forward to the much hyped 360 surround screens showing of blue planet 2, but only three screens were on. Which was a shame. Shopping was not really that exciting, which is good, as we spent less! In all, a great relaxing cruise, we would go again, but re-think the drinks package and avoid level 4, or anywhere near smoking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and HAL's reputation for food and service. We love all the ports: Argostolian, Kefalonia Greece; Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Split and Korcula, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Catania, Sicily; ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and HAL's reputation for food and service. We love all the ports: Argostolian, Kefalonia Greece; Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Split and Korcula, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Catania, Sicily; Valletta, Malta; and Naples, Italy. The schedule was port intensive and we could have used a couple more sea days. The ship itself is nicely decorated, with beautiful flower arrangements. Food in the MDR was very good and though we had anytime dining, we loved the team at table 336 (Sumardi, Yusi and Carlos) and made regular reservations to ensure we got them. We ate in the Pinnacle Grille twice, once for the De Librije specialty dinner. That menu was fabulous and the food interesting and delicious. Service for the standard Pinnacle menu was significantly better than service for the De Librije dinner. Entertainment in the theater was limited but the music made up for it. We enjoyed the quality of the performers in both the Rolling Stone Rock Room and BB King Blues club. The Lincoln Center stage was very good, but times did not always fit our schedule. We booked only private company excursions all of which were fabulous. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Sail Dates: March 27, 2019 – April 7, 2019 Cabin: 6177, Verandah Stateroom Ports: Leaving out of Fort Lauderdale; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia with a Cruise of Soufriere Bay; Bridgetown Barbados; ... Read More
Sail Dates: March 27, 2019 – April 7, 2019 Cabin: 6177, Verandah Stateroom Ports: Leaving out of Fort Lauderdale; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia with a Cruise of Soufriere Bay; Bridgetown Barbados; Fort-De-France, Martinique with a Daylight Cruise Passed Mount Pelee; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Captain: Darin Bowland Cruise Director: Nathan Hinojosa Hotel Director: Mustafa Galbahar Our Cruise Experience: First with HAL; 40 total Pre Cruise Stay: We decided to stay in Fort Lauderdale the night before so we booked a room at the Rodeway Inn Airport. They provided a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the cruise terminal, which you have to reserve when you check in. We arrived around 4:00 and found the waiting area for shuttles, called the hotel and the shuttle arrived within about 20-30 minutes. After we got into our room, it was close to dinner time so we decided to try Marina84, the hotel’s restaurant & bar. We’d read some reviews on it and they were mostly good. Since we didn’t have a car to go anywhere else, this was as good as any place. It was already doing a pretty good business when we went in and sat down. My husband ordered a hamburger and I ordered the French Dip…wish I’d ordered the hamburger! He said it was good and it looked good. My French Dip, however, was pretty bad. After dinner, we walked around checking out the hotel. It has a business center, which consists of two computers and I think a printer, located around the corner from the lobby. It has a shop in case you forgot something or want to buy other items. A pool of course, and the restaurant. Our room was nice with two full beds, TV, fridge, and a coffee maker. After we settled in for the night and were watching TV, the power went out. Once I found our flashlight, it came back on. Apparently lightening from the storm had struck a substation and caught the lines on fire causing the outage. It wasn’t out very long, but the next morning when I was getting ready for breakfast, it went out for a few hours. I was just getting out of the shower when it went out, and I had to put my makeup on with the trusty flashlight and couldn’t dry my hair. When the power finally came back on, we went for breakfast. I was not in a good mood, and breakfast took forever because everyone was so slow getting what they wanted. It’s one of those typical hotel breakfasts that has cereals, fruits, pastries, make your own waffles and pancakes, etc. As I said, I was not in a good mood with the power being out and this man walks in dressed as a yacht captain making jokes like this… “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking”. “That’s it, just your captain speaking.” Well some people thought it was funny, I, however, did not. He walked around the room making jokes with people and fortunately for him, he did not stop at our table. Shuttle time…we had reserved seats on the first shuttle to the terminal which left a little after 9:30. It was supposed to be 10:00, but we were ready and actually glad it was leaving earlier. I hope no one missed it! Embarkation: We really didn’t have to wait very long before they began boarding and we were on board around 11:30. We had read on Cruise Critic that the main dining room was open for lunch on embarkation day so we threw our carry-on in the cabin and headed there for lunch. I’m glad we did, it was so much nicer than trying to fight the crowds in the buffet. It was a nice relaxing wonderful lunch. My husband had a steak sandwich that he liked and I had the fluke shrimp butter; not sure why it was called that, and my husband had the peanut butter silk pie. The dining room is pretty with everything in white with red and white lights. The waiters’ stations are in rooms along the outsides of the dining room so no tables are by the stations. I liked that. Our Cabin: We liked the fact that our luggage had already been delivered to our cabin when we boarded and we were able to go to our cabins right away instead of waiting until 1:00. That was a good thing! We had cabin 6177 with a verandah. The verandah was a nice size with two adjustable semi-lounge chairs, one with a foot stool, and a small round table. We spent quite a bit of time on the verandah. Another good thing. The layout of the cabin was good. As you walk in, the the bathroom is on your right with closets adjacent on your left. The bathroom shower has glass doors and was a good size, but it didn’t drain well at all. The toilet is squeezed into a corner facing the shower, so if you have long legs, be prepared to sit sideways…a bad thing. There is plenty of closet space with shelving and the safe is inside another closet-like space. You will program in a four-digit number to lock and unlock it. The beds were pushed together to make a king size bed and it was very comfortable; you couldn’t tell where the crack was! A good thing! We had four pillows, two small ones, and two queen size ones. It took a couple of nights to find the ones we each liked. There is a sofa with two cabinets above it, and a small table that can easily be moved around – a good thing – since you had to move it to use the desk that was across from it. The desk had three drawers for storage. There seemed to be plenty of lighting over the desk, but for applying make-up, it cast a shadow so it was hard to really see. A bad thing. One thing I loved was on the wall under the TV is an area that seemed to be recessed into the wall with wire cables. It was great for storing books and my pocket folder with all of our cruise info. I have a folder for cruise docs, airline info, each port with confirmations, etc. in it, and that was a really handy place for it. A good thing. There are plenty of outlets, both European and U.S., along with a USB port for charging your cell phone at the desk, and one at each night stand along with U.S. outlets. A good thing! To keep your lights on and the A/C running while you are out, keep a card of some type in the holder at the door. I used an old Blockbuster card. We always turned the lights off, but want the A/C to stay on. The temp in our room usually stayed around 68, but some nights it did get up to 72 or 73. I had ordered a fan for my asthma for sleeping and that helped as well. After lunch, we went back to the room so I could get everything hung up to minimize any wrinkling, and get everything in its place. I brought magnetic clips to put up our itinerary and any invitations or anything else important that we didn’t want to lose. I also brought strong magnetic hooks for hanging pants, pool bag, etc. Food: Food options were plenty around the ship, but we ate most of our breakfasts and lunches, and all of our dinners in the main dining room. No complaints on the food here except for the red snapper at dinner one evening. It was pretty bad and I couldn’t eat it and didn’t want anything else from the menu. The MDR’s menu selections were good, I suppose, but we are the meat and potatoes kind of people so we did have some challenges. Most everything we chose was good and all of the soups were very good. Main Dining Room: For dinner we had anytime dining, and eventually ended up with a wait team that we liked and had the rest of the cruise. They were Swedana and Al Rey. A very good team, always getting our food out right away and making sure we finished in time to get to the 7:00 show. The Maitre d’ actually assigned us to them after my husband spoke with him one morning about his eggs. They made sure everything was perfect with us from that day on. A good thing! Breakfast: I ordered egg white omelets with peppers, onion, and cheese every morning and it was always perfect. It comes with a little hash brown that is scrumptious, but I had to be careful with that. My husband would order his eggs over medium and they were always overcooked. We figured they continued to cook inside the cloche from the galley to the table. Once he began ordering them over easy, they were perfect. Dinner Apps & Soups: Shrimp and chicken croquette, crab & and daikon cakes, jumbo shrimp cocktail, hazelnut crusted brie, Caribbean island fritters, crab and shrimp Louis, wild mushroom with Thai red curry, spring rolls, shrimp cocktail with mustard sauce, scallops, and traditional shrimp cocktail. Wish I’d gotten two of all of these! The flavors were so good of each of these apps. Soups were all delicious and included French onion, cream of mushroom, Thai shrimp bisque, potato and leek soup, tomato and zucchini soup, corn and something soup, sun choke soup with toasted pumpkin seed, and butternut squash soup. Each soup was very flavorful with a rich creamy texture (except for the French onion) and left you wanting more. The French onion was the best I’ve had anywhere, except for one night when I had no onions, only the crouton and broth! A bad thing…but when it had the onions, this soup was excellent. The crouton was excellent and covered the entire bowl. It was only super hot a night or two, which was okay with me because French onion soup is usually so hot you can’t eat it. Again, all of the soups were delicious…another good thing! Dinner Entrees: Entrees included shrimp Diablo, prime rib, tenderloin and shrimp, spaghetti, pot roast, red snapper, red wine brisket, petite tenders, parmesan crusted chicken breast, surf & turf (filet mignon and lobster), and sweet and sour shrimp. We enjoyed the entrees we got with the exception of the red snapper. All dishes were beautiful and tasted wonderful! The waiter takes the lobster out of the shell for you – a good thing! We are hit or miss on that detail from cruise to cruise, as some do and some don’t. Desserts: All of the desserts were good. They were scrumptious, but I couldn’t eat too many being diabetic. Desserts we got are, peanut butter silk pie, cheese & fruit plate, chocolate soufflé, Nutella cheesecake, rum cake, cheese plate, almond & orange cake, warm flourless chocolate cake. I got sorbet a couple of nights, but I have to say the fruit and cheese plate was very good. NY Deli: Most days for lunch I would get the New Jersey Turkey Club Decker sandwich. It was very good and I would order it without lettuce and remove the middle piece of bread, you know, to cut down on calories – really, don’t laugh! The bread is buttered and toasted just the right amount and the turkey is shaved and piled on with a tomato and cheese, emmm…just thinking about it now makes my mouth water! They also have pizza here, but you can’t get it by the slice – a bad thing – so you do have to order the whole pizza. It’s about the size of a medium pizza. In the evening my husband would get wings here and I would get the sliders, nachos with cheese, or popcorn. The popcorn is not available until just before the movie starts. Dive-In: My husband got a hamburger from here at lunch one day along with some fries. He liked the food he got from here. I think the fries were double fried and looked scrumptious! Buffet: We didn’t eat from the buffet often because they serve you and it is slow getting through it. Another reason was that it wasn’t open when we wanted something. A bad thing. The hours are 6:00 a.m. – 9:00, 11:30 a.m. -- 3:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. -- 10:30 p.m. Every time we went there they were closing up. We are used to buffets being open later than 10:30 so we were forced to go to the NY Deli for snacks after 10:30. A bad thing. Items we did get from the buffet were shrimp stir fry from the Asian station, brisket, shrimp cocktails, but they don’t have cocktail sauce, and desserts. My husband went up after dinner and said they had lobster on lobster night and he was able to get three. The buffet pretty much had whatever the main dining room served at dinner, so that was a good thing! Star Mariner Lunch: We had an invitation to attend the Star Mariner Lunch on the first sea day; we started with one Mariner Star because we have many Carnival cruises under our belts. They did not take up invitations, so I kept ours. We were seated at a table for two that was beautifully decorated with glasses of champagne and beautiful exotic flowers. Lunch was a choice of chicken and Andouille gumbo, Caribbean Montego pepper steak, Cobia and grilled shrimp, and pasta pasta. My husband had the gumbo and liked it. I think he got the pepper steak, but can’t remember now. I got the Pasta Pasta and it was very good. It had a very smooth and flavorful consistency that almost melted on your tongue. We didn’t get dessert. On the next sea day, we headed to the MDR for lunch and when we got off the elevator a huge crowd was going into the dining room. We merged in and wondered why the Captain and ship’s officers were there. Once seated, we realized it was a second Star Mariner lunch, exactly like the one we had the day before! That’s what happens when they don’t take your invitation! Ports of Call: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten: Our first stop was St. Maarten. Since we have been here so many times, we stayed on board and enjoyed getting a chair by the Sea View pool and soaked up some rays while most everyone else was in port. If you have not been here before, I recommend a tour with Bernard’s. Castries, Saint Lucia: Again, we’d been here so many times we opted to stay on board. I think we did get off and walk around the terminal and got some great shots of the ship and the water. If you haven’t been here I recommend a tour with Cosol. We’ve taken his tour twice and you will see lots, eat lots, drink lots, and do lots! You can get a mud bath, you will see the Pitons, you will see a waterfall, botanical gardens, and eat a local lunch. As we were leaving St. Lucia, the ship took a slow tour around the bay and we were very close to the Pitons! You could see them so well; usually it’s cloudy and we can never see them, but we got some beautiful shots of them as we sailed through the bay. A good thing! Bridgetown, Barbados: Once again, been there done that so we decided to take a taxi to Rascal’s and enjoy the day at Brandon’s Beach. When we arrived, we checked in with Leigh and for $20 we got two chairs on the beach with umbrella, and a complimentary rum drink each. We got our chairs and walked along the beach. It was a beautiful, sunny day. After a nice walk along the beach, we headed back to our chairs to bask in the sun awhile. Since it was a week-day, it wasn’t crowded with locals, but by around 11:00 more and more people began showing up. We had told our taxi driver to pick us up around 1:00 so we packed up around 12:00 and went to the bar for those free drinks! Yes, they had plenty of rum in them! They were very tasty with nutmeg and other spices. My husband bought one more for the road and while we were sitting there relaxing, our taxi driver walked through looking for us around 12:30. It opens at 9:00 a.m. even though the signs reads 10:00. Brandon’s Beach is beautiful and this was a very nice, relaxing day for us. Leigh, Corey, Carson, and Michael will take very good care of you. Fort-de-France, Martinique: This port was the only one we had not been to and were excited about our visit. We had booked a tour with Krambole Tours, and Christelle, our guide, was excellent. Instructions were to meet her at the pier at 9:00. While we were waiting, it began to rain…oh, no! She arrived precisely at 9:00 and said that this was the first rain they’d had in months and they were glad to see it. Van loaded, we began our journey to the top of the mountain. First stop was a Catholic church that is magnificent. It’s an old beautiful church that has some rich history. There are also restrooms here that are the last ones for a while. We left the church and headed to the rain forest. We saw the Alma River, and while most walked down to the Saut Gendarme water fall, I and another lady opted to stay in the van since it was raining and the steps to the falls were steep. I didn’t want to chance slipping and breaking something -- like my pride! From here we visited the ruins of an old theater in St. Pierre, the DePaz Rum Distillery, and on to Grey Sand Beach, our last stop. We also saw Mt. Pelee. At each stop, Christelle would present us with tasty local treats that she had prepared for us. The trip takes extremely winding roads so if you have motion sickness, I would recommend you take whatever you use for that before the tour. Christelle has something she can give you, but I wished I had taken my Bonine! This tour costs 65 Euros pp and she prefers you pay with Euros. They are easy to order from your bank and have within a few days; otherwise it’s $85 pp. You may also pay with a credit card. We enjoyed this tour. As we were leaving, the ship sailed passed Mt. Pelee, but we were at dinner and couldn’t see it from the ship. Basseterre, Saint Kitts: Again, been there done all that. We had reserved chairs at Palms Court Gardens and Restaurant here. It is a short taxi ride there and you can walk it in about 15 minutes if you’re up to that. We arrived early and our chairs were waiting for us with our name on them! They were located at the edge of the pool overlooking the beautiful blue ocean with a wonderful view of the ship. They offer free Wi-Fi, but be aware that it doesn’t work for every phone and wouldn’t work with ours. The gardens are beautiful with a lot of gorgeous tropical plants and flowers. The pool is very nice, large enough and extremely clean. There is a hot tub there as well. There is no beach here, just the beautiful view of the ship and gardens around the resort. We did not eat lunch here, but my husband did order a Toilet Water drink. I tasted it, and it was very strong… The ships’ crews also like to visit here, so soon after lunch time they began arriving and the peacefulness and quietness of the pool and surrounding area became noisy and not as enjoyable, so be aware of this as well. Around 1:00 we decided we’d had enough of the sun and asked them to call us taxi so we could head back to the ship. I would recommend this place if you can get there early (it opens at 9:00), if you would like a quiet, beautiful day. The day pass is $12pp and if you take the taxi, that is $10. Be sure to use a good sunscreen because it is very hot and with the nice breezes, you don’t realize how much sun you are getting. If you prefer a tour, Grey’s does a good tour here. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas: Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but again, been there done it all. We stayed on the ship and enjoyed the peacefulness of the Sea View pool. Several years ago we took a snorkeling tour with Rumbaba and I think they are still in business with new owners. That a was a great day and I would recommend it. Island tours are always good as well. Half Moon Cay: Been here several times and it always has been our favorite day. Half Moon Cay is so pretty with its pristine beaches and beautiful views of the water and our ship. This day, however, was not so enjoyable. This was our first time visiting HMC on a HAL ship and HAL decided to add this port to its new ship, the Nieuw Statendam as well. This small private island is not big enough to handle two large ships on the same day, in my opinion. The Koningsdam arrived first which was good. We were able to get some good chairs in the sun near the pirate ship. After the Statendam arrived, it began to get quite crowded on the small island. Lunch was not good at all. Our other times here it has always been a good lunch. It was very crowded trying to get lunch and the hamburgers weren’t cooked enough and neither was my hot dog. The chicken was not that good either. Thank goodness for fruit! We left around 1:00 and the line for the tender was extremely long. People would cut in line by going under the ropes instead of snaking around and through the maze of rope. We sat on the tender for at least 30 minutes while they filled it up. Once full, the tender had a hard time trying to back away from the pier. After several tries we finally made it, turned around and headed for the ship. I quietly wondered if we would sink on the way to the ship... We were disappointed that they put two large ships here on the same day. I would call this day the ugly. Entertainment: We were disappointed in entertainment for an 11-day cruise. The ship has what it calls the Music Walk, consisting of a BB King’s Blues Club, Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard on Board, and RollingStone Rock Room. We enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage with its classical musicians, but the times they were on stage was when we were at dinner. We managed to catch the tail end of their performances a couple of nights and I really liked them. We went to BB King’s three nights and liked the band, they were really good, but after three or four nights, we got bored with it. The female singer was much better than the male singer, but I like listening to them both. The same thing with RollingStone Rock Room…we went there three nights and after a while got bored with that. The lead singer wasn’t that good, but the band itself was. We didn’t even listen to the Billboard on Board because just walking passed it was enough; we couldn’t take an hour of them. There was no entertainment the first night in the World Stage theater, but the second night we had a comedian, Kira Soltanovich. She was funny talking about her Russian mother. The second night on the World Stage was StepOne Dance Company presenting “Humanity”. That was the best in my opinion. The walls in the theater are millions of tiny LED lights. This performance was really professional and beautiful with the incorporation of the laser lights and the use of the walls. This should not be missed and they performed this show twice during the cruise. The theater is quite small for this size ship, but the Humanity show wouldn’t work well if the theater were larger. StepOne Dance Company’s performance, “Stages”, was the ugly in my opinion. It was about three couples and the different stages of their relationships (no talking)…not a good performance at all and some people did walk out during this performance. Other shows on World Stage included BBC Earth Presents: Blue Planet II; another ugly. We could have watched this in our stateroom. It is comparable to a National Geographic movie, only not as good; another comedian, Kelly McDonald; an illusionist, Ruben Vilagrand who was really good and shouldn’t be missed; a master mentalist, Jon Stetson who was very good; singer, Petrina Johnson, who was good; and one night they combined the mentalist and Petrina Johnson calling it a variety show. In the evening there was also Majority Rules Game Show, and music trivia, if you like those types games. The casino was another option. There were options during the day, but when not in port, we were at the pool. We would go the Crow’s Nest in the evening for happy hour and hang out there for a while. There is a little café outside the Crow’s Nest called Explorations Café, but it was only open one night we went there. Our When & Where paper says it’s open from 9:00 a.m—8:00 p.m.; guess we went early one night! Disembarkation: Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. We had a disembarkation time of 8:15, but they called us earlier. We found our luggage right away and getting through Customs was a breeze. We got a taxi right away and were at the airport in plenty of time for our flight, which happened to be an hour late! One thing they give you is a summary of the entertainment for the whole cruise so you can plan what you want to do at a glance. I noticed that they showed us in Half Moon Cay on March 16th. Problem was, the cruise didn’t begin until March 27th. Oops! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: 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
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew into Fort Lauderdale 2 nights early and took public transit to the Sawgrass Mills Mall as an interesting way to spend the spare day. It is great for shoppers and just people watching. Embarkation was well organized and the terminal had good WiFi while we waited. We were the only ship in port that days, which probably helped. The cabin was ready when we boarded and the Lido Market was open for an early afternoon bite. We didn't have set seating for dinner, so we made reservations for an early dinner for the first 3 evenings (limited by HAL, otherwise we would have done the whole cruise). We were unable to get reservations for tables for 2, but had the option on arrival. We mostly shared as we like the opportunity to meet new people (but there is the risk of monologists and political trolls). The Koningsdam is new and has a contemporary decor with clean lines and the neutral-earthy colors that seem to be the trend right now. The photographic and collage art in the stairwells aren't my taste, but to each their own... Our cabin was one of the best (if not the best) we have had (see cabin specific review) as they made very good use of the space. We ate in the main dining-room for dinner every evening. The service was good and the food was good. On gala nights, the service could be a bit slow and we had a couple of occasions with a shared table when we were unduly delayed because the waiter didn't know if the last 2 seats were going to be filled (they weren't, so communication with the front desk could be improved). I am always surprised that the desserts aren't sweeter on cruise ships and this was no exception. I have rarely had a dessert that wasn't toned down from what you would get in a shore-based restaurant. We had breakfast and lunch in the Lido Market except one pizza (not very good) from the deli. For the most part, everything is served by staff with only a few individually plated or packaged items that can be reached by passengers. On balance, we thought that this is good (having seen unhygienic behavior by passengers on other cruises), but it did result in lines to get some food items quite frequently. Waiters cleared tables and offered to serve water, coffee, orange juice (breakfast), iced tea (lunch) and lemonade (lunch). It would have been nice to have another choice (e.g. fruit punch), but that might be a bit to picky. Waiters weren't interrupting to remove plates as they do on some ships and were generally quite friendly if you gave them the opportunity (as were the food servers). Entertainment and activities were the low point of the cruise, but some people really liked the layout and offerings. Enrichment was quite limited with only a few talks that were repeats on consecutive cruises. However, they did do port orientation talks that were helpful and not totally focused on the ship's excursions. The were a few cooking shows and computer seminars (not very interesting to us), and a lot of promotional (shopping and health/spa) talks/demonstrations that we avoided. As far as entertainment went, we were very disappointed. First, the "World Stage" is not a conventional theater and doesn't have the capacity of the ones on other ships. People were consistently there 45 minutes before the show to get seats. It isn't a suitable venue for production shows with props, but then they don't have a production group of singers and dancers (or a live stage band or place for it). The multimedia, open stage has great potential for even more production shows (using virtual sets and props), but clearly that isn't what they are going for (and we missed the production shows). The performers (usual comedians, magicians, vocal, dance and musical performers) ranged from bad (people leaving in the middle of the show) to pretty good, but nothing outstanding. There were repeat performances within a cruise (even more for back-to-backers). The rest of the entertainment is very dependent on interests and cruising style. The venues for live music are basically unused until dinner time when there were some classical musicians in the Lincoln Center (which will later become BB King's). Unfortunately, for many passengers, they did VERY classical pieces rather than popular ones. The rest of the live entertainment had to wait until after 8pm (probably not a good decisions for the HAL demographic). The 3 venues (BB King's jazz/blues; Rolling Stone hard rock alternating with Billboard Onboard dueling pianos) are strung out along the promenade level. Capacity is limited and there wasn't much in the way of pleasant easy-listening. We were so disappointed that there was so little and it was so extreme in the genre that each played. It didn't affect us, but we also heard that some were too loud there wasn't good seating. The fitness area was well outfitted with a good number of aerobic and resistance machines as well as free weights (dumbbells). Live TV was available on the aerobic machines and they were mostly kept working properly. There were also rooms for spin classes and group classes (paid) that we didn't use. The onboard experience was not what we were hoping for, and we wondered why (other than reducing costs and improving revenue) the Koningsdam was built the way it was. Is HAL looking to the future when their well-known aged passengers aren't cruising anymore. If so, they are losing them faster by such a radical change in design and offerings. Of course there are older, slower people that sometimes are an obstruction, but that is expected on HAL. More power to them (and their scooters and oxygen supplies). On the positive side, there were few children and a mature cruise director that wasn't overpowering with unnecessary, forced enthusiasm. The captain was personable and understandable. The internet package gave us the access for email that we needed and didn't break the bank. We found that most of the serving and steward staff were quite friendly, but ran into a few that didn't seem to want to be there. Notably, the security staff (who should do their job AND be friendly and pleasant), the future cruise staff (who just didn't seem to care or like people), some of the photo staff (who weren't very helpful) and one of the fitness people who just seemed to have an attitude where ever he went. We had a pair of cabin stewards and liked that team approach. The excursions were okay. Not overpriced as some cruise lines tend to do (NCL can you hear me). As far as value for money, we were satisfied because we got to go to the destinations that we wanted to go to at a reasonable price with good food and accommodations. To us that was the most important thing. That being said, HAL could have done so much more and we don't understand this new direction in the design of the Koningsdam and her sister ship, the Nieuw Statendam. One final comment is about the HAL loyalty (mariner) program. It is the worst we have ever seen. You can cruise forever and get almost nothing in return (compared to NCL and Princess). HAL has some of the best destination-based itineraries, but doesn't reward its members at all... Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced ... Read More
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced crowd and that did in fact be the case. At 60 years of age for the two of us, we felt 10 years more youthful than the average passenger. Be that as it may... it was all just fine. Embarkation: Boarded hotel shuttle to the cruise port at 11:00 AM and stepped into our cabin at 12:50 PM. Good process for checking in and greeted by friendly staff the entire way. Cabin: Not only our first HAL cruise but our first inside cabin experience. Cabin 6077. We entered our cabin and thankfully had read reviews about needing to insert the key card into the slot to activate the lights, otherwise we'd be fumbling in the dark. In retrospect, a good idea and it must save energy or something not to have lights on in cabins 24/7. The bigger issue we had with the cabin was that we entered and discovered a puddle of water on the foot of the bed where the luggage covers were placed. Interesting... We looked up and found that water was dripping out of what looked like a ceiling speaker. We called Guest Services and were assured the issue would be taken care of. As it was only 1:00 we left to go get some lunch and explore. After an hour an a half or so we returned and found the "fix" was a towel placed on the puddle to soak up the water, the ceiling still looked damp. This time we took pictures and visited Guest Services in person. Happily they did the right thing and moved us to a different cabin, 5071, a deck lower which was fine. This cabin was great, certainly an inside and we had to get used to it, we made great use of the fantastic TV and the bridge cam! Heard about toilet layout in the bathrooms was not so good, not an issue with the inside cabin and let me just say... the shower? OMG!!!! Where have you been all my life??!!! Ship: I'm of the opinion that all cruise ships are marvels to behold and Koningsdam was no exception! We did miss a grand central atrium area but the music walk made up for it. Decks 2 and 3: Shops, Guest Services, World Stage, main dining, photo area, art gallery, casino... you get the point. Well laid out IMO, the shops were unobtrusive, and it was amazing with the four different music venues that they never stepped on each other. Bars and side cafes were subtly located for enjoyment of guests. Blend was a bit more in the open than what I expected and what ever the Orange dining area was, well it was simply odd. I didn't get it, if for high rollers then at least make it so it appears that way. Frankly, the evenings we walked by there I felt sorry for the lonely souls dining in there. When shows were over in the Grand Stage (which was Grand!), there were some traffic issues but it added to the fun, sort of like walking the Strip in Las Vegas, okay, not that big but still fun! Lido Buffet area: There is an American Football axiom, "keep your head on a swivel". Could not be more apt than in the Lido Buffet. Having said that, if anyone gets irritated by the traffic or anything else in that buffet, you really have no one to blame but yourself. Figure out when the majority of people will go for breakfast, lunch or dinner and go at a different time. Simple really. Bless the staff as they had a lot on their plate (pun intended) when it came to serving so many people. They along with the servers of coffee, tea, etc, had the patience of Job times 100. Excellent job to them. Our Sea Days were spent mostly aft over looking the pool and the ocean behind us, not on the pool deck, we opted for, let's see, deck 10 I guess it would be... we were blocked from the majority of the breeze, had a great view all around us and had wonderful sun exposure (side note... we had 15 minutes of light rain the entire cruise, being from the PNW, this was a shock!), Smoke from smokers (well, that was redundant...) in this area had been brought up in reviews and frankly it was not an issue. Yes, aft pool was a gathering place in the evening for cards and smokes but.... guess what? You can avoid that! Do not miss time in the Crows Nest! Do not miss Apple Pie at the Dutch Cafe (not 100% sure of the name, but 100% sure of the pie!), look for the tapas bar at the Blues Club late afternoon. Spa: No report as we did not partake. The staff were up-selling around the Lido Pool but not overly aggressive. Bottlenecks: They are real. Be patient, be aware of your surroundings and don't be a contributor. People movement is a tad slower on this ship but there are physical boundaries that also make ease of mobility an issue. This is especially true around the Lido pool area both on deck 9 and deck 10. Walls that jut out into walk ways, loungers that jut out into walk ways, lack of multiple entrance and egress points...all of these things can make for slow going at times. Wait time at the lifts are par for the course. FOOD: Ah yes, the dining experience: 1. Tamarind was amazing! Highly recommend for all the right reasons, service, food, and the view. Bride had the stir fry lobster and shrimp, yum! I had the wasabi fillet, yum! 2. Pinnacle: What was not to like? Bride had halibut on cedar plank with scampi, amazing, I had the rib eye.... still drooling. 3. Main dining room: 4 nights dining here without a set time. We arrived almost every night around 7:15 an were promptly seated. 3 times in the lower area and once on the deck above. Service was fine and the food was very very good. (I've been banished of meat for at least of month after this trip! Well worth it!). We had zero issues with dining and making a 10:00 show at the World Stage, however don't doddle as the auditorium does fill up early. 4. New York Pizza: One time for dinner while watching a movie by the lido pool. I thought it was great, bride not so much, (that's what she gets for having a white sauce on a pizza, right? Right??) However, the Caesar salad and dessert there were great! 5. Dive In: Good burgers and fries, not great but good and turn around time is pretty quick even in the busy time. 6. Gellato: For $2.00, ah yeah, well worth it! 7. We did not opt for a drink package nor spend a great deal on drinks. We mostly filled our tumblers with iced tea, ice water and lemon aid. (please respect the signs requesting that you do not fill your tumbler or mug directly from the dispensers, it is for sanitary reasons.) 8. Lastly on dining, I mentioned how the Orange place on deck 2 was odd, so was the Italian restaurant in the Lido buffet. Just seemed awkward and to pay $13 PP for it, I dunno.... Entertainment World Stage: 1. Emperors of Soul: Excellent (fun to interact with them on the cruise as well) 2. Naomi, Virtuoso Pianist: Jaw Dropping 3. BBC Earth: Well done 4. Comedian Tim Kaminski: Very Good 5. Second Comedian: Can't recall his name - poor 6. Third Comedian: Can't recall his name either but better than the second - better than poor. 7. Superbowl: Never thought I'd see a Superbowl on a ship! Fun atmosphere to be sure! Available to see on the World Stage, in your cabin and at the Lido Pool screen. 8, 9 and 10? Hmmm.... where does the time go? Actually, the availability of things to watch on your in cabin TV are excellent and we did take advantage of this. Crew: 95% outstanding! Our only slight irritation came with the staff of the shops. A bit condescending and borderline rude. We are very patient people and they tested that patience. Cabin stewards were great, room service a couple of time for breakfast was great including a follow-up phone call to make sure we were happy with the service. Guest Services was also great. America's Test Kitchen demos were also well done and informative and the preview of the next day's ports were outstanding!! Do not miss these if possible! All in all a very quiet reserved atmosphere which was fine. We moored along side a Carnival ship at Grand Turk and I thanked Poseidon that we were NOT on board that maniacal brain blowing tub. (sorry, harsh). Also interesting to read about the Norwegian Epic and her issues as we were along side her in Jamaica. Hmmm... note to self! Ports: 1. Jamaica: Large cruise ship port with a Margaritaville on location. Lots of shops, lots of competition and lots of aggressive selling. We debated many nights about what to do here and decided not to do the Dunn's Falls or any of the other excursions (although later we found out the rafting down the river was amazing), we did end up doing a walking tour of Falmouth which was informative and fun. 2. Curacao: What a grand location! For us a wonderful day or wandering and exploring the city, both sides. Just fantastic! 3. Aruba: A bit of wandering and shopping and public transportation to Eagle and Palm Beach for some beach time! I could see a return trip to Aruba possible for a week or so? We'll see! Great adventure to the light house and to really take in the desert landscape. 4. Amber Cove: Delightful port, great shops and the pool area was better than advertised. Excursion to Puerto Plata was fun and interesting. The lushness of the island was beautiful and in stark contrast to the islands of Curacao and Aruba 5. Grand Turk: Not a lot on Grand Turk. There was a Carnival ship that was also in port and combined with our ship, made the beach impossible to enjoy. We took a cab to the town of Cockburn and explored there. Lovely beaches too. Port area also nice. 6. Half Moon Cay: Paradise... nuff said. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting ... Read More
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting the islands, St. Lucia, St. Marteen, Barbados, Martinique, Antiqua, St. Tomas and HAL's Half Moon Cay was outstanding. The selection of TV shows and Movies in our room, did get very thin after 11 days. But we understand there were many outstanding things to do outside of our room. Having said all that, I want to give you the negatives, so you are not surprised. Do not misunderstand, we loved the cruise and feel very positive about it, but want to tell you what we did not like. The food was great. Loved the Lido buffet for both breakfast and dinner. All the eggs Benedict, omlets, waffles and pancakes you can eat for breakfast, who could not like that? After 11 days some of the sameness did wear just a little old. The hamburgers and hotdogs at the Dive were fine snacks. The Pizza, nachos and deli sandwiches were fine too. We ate at one specialty restaurant, the Tamarind and it was very good. We felt the dining room tried to be too fancy and gourmet and failed. Also the process in the dining room took too long...2 hours. I was shocked that the Crème Bule was almost liquid, not custardly. And, if you do not mesh with the people you are seated with, the 2 hour dinner can seem really long. Paying $50 per person for the Pinnacle Room seemed a little extreme, when our cruise fee already included food. As far as the reviews I have read about bad pillows, dirty rooms, too loud if you are mid-ship over the entertainment, they are hogwash. We did not experience anything like that. We were disappointed to learn that you had to come nearly an hour early for the one hour show in the main room, the World Stage, in order to get a seat!. There needs to be a better system for reserving seats or similar. We very much enjoyed the entertainment in the BB King Room and the Rolling Stone Room. Be prepared for Holland America to try to find many ways every day to separate you from your money. They present many "opportunities". They price gouge you in some ways that I believe were over the top. Internet service is $24.95 a day! But worse of all was the wine. To buy 4 bottles of wine for us to have in our room I paid over $170...and this was for Estancia wine which I pay about $12.00 for in the grocery store!. Over $40 for a $12 bottle of wine! Paying double, like in a restaurant, would be understandable, but FOUR times the cost is simply uncalled for. And there is an $18 corkage fee for bringing on your own wine purchased at a port. So I ended up paying $25.50 for a $7.50 bottle of wine. Come on Holland America, I was already paying thousands for the cruise! I found calling guest services with a problem, like when I screwed up the combination to the safe in my room, was fruitless. They put you on hold for the longest time. When I did reach a human, they said someone would be up in 10 minutes...after over an hour they had not appeared. I learned going to the Service desk in person worked well. The were competent and timely, In the case of re-setting my room safe, the person, said I will come and fix it right now, and she did. Getting off the ship and finding your excursion in ports was no problem at all and the excursions were fine. We did the 2 snorkel catamarans (one with a lobster lunch) and a tour that included 2 hours at a beach and shopping. Staff was fine and everything was fun. Holland America's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas was wonderful. Do not listen to the review that said getting your claim shell (basically an umbrella and 2 beach chairs) was a hassle. It was fine. So there you have it. A fine cruise on a fine ship that was not without some down sides. And I am 70, a young 70. Be aware that HAL seems to cater to seniors, I would say 70 was about the average age and less than 1/4 of the people were under 50. It is what it is. Holland America, you really can do better on those wine and internet charges. Read Less
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
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
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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