49 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss ... Read More
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss the work/workers we encountered as that goes with the territory and all items I noticed during the cruise were fixed/finished/installed/etc by the time we left.*** My husband and I did this 5 day cruise from Venice to Civitavecchia with additional days in Italy before and after as well as some time in Amsterdam and Rotterdam following the cruise. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Modern yet still keeps a lot of the Holland America Line "feel" that the other ships have, minus the bright colors and over-emphasis of red color palettes and brass. Public spaces still have a feeling of intimacy for the most part. Yes they are larger to hold more people but compared to other ships of similar size the ship does still keep a "coziness" to it. Not ever single room is designed to hold hundreds and hundreds of people and that's a really good thing. I've posted a massive photo post on the HAL forums of the ship here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347682 and our room here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347714 so those will likely help with a lot of understanding of how the ship and the room look. As far as dining goes, here's where we ate: **Lido Market - Had one breakfast here and the omelet was a little undercooked. We brought it to his attention, he made another one and it was great. **Dive In - Great burgers and fries as always. Cannonball is the BEST! **New York Pizza - Had the pizza that Elizabeth Faulkner won an award for a pizza contect in Italy with called "Finnocchio" if I remember right. Cream sauce, onion, fennel, sausage... YUM! **Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center - Incredible experience. They encourage you to socialize with each other and the chefs as they prepare everything. Farm to table, very fresh food and ingredients. Unlimited red and white wine they've selected as well (we had organic wines from Columbia Winery, not sure if they vary) **Tamarind - One of our favorites and for good reason. Everything is flavorful and cooked to perfection here. The venue is even more gorgeous than on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. They've really outdone themselves. (Get a cold sake, the presentation is really neat!) **Sel de Mer - Seafood at it's finest. Yes it's a la carte and as our group of 4 wanted to try a lot the bill came to $205 (ack!) but had we not been on a mission to try so many different things the bill could easily be within just a few dollars of the Pinnacle Grill. Unless you're allergic to seafood, this is a must do! **Room service - Got it a couple times late at night. Menu is limited that late, but the food was the right temperatures and tasty **Grand Dutch Cafe - Tasty coffees and amazing split pea soup, Koningsbol and bitterballen. This needs to be retro'd onto all HAL ships YESTERDAY!! The Music Walk area is genius with Billboard Onboard, Queens Lounge (with BB King Blues) and Lincoln Center Stage all within steps of each other and alternating performances all throughout the evening. There were A LOT of us that closed the bars down every night, and while I was skeptical, the Queen's Lounge actually makes for a great nightclub space too. World Stage is a game changer. Simple as that. The screens add so much, are not "gimmicky" and on several occasions, a transition on the screens between or during performances got oohs and ahhs from the crowd. This is some of the best entertainment of ANY ship we've ever been on (and we've been on 30+ cruises, multiple brands). The ship is definitely in the right direction for the future of HAL, and while we've done the majority of our cruises on HAL we were also starting to branch out more and more for variety. This has brought us right back "home" and given us lots of motivation to stay there. Well done HAL! Can't wait for K2 (Koningsdam #2 due out in 2018) Read Less
55 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Empty Nesters... It is finally our time to travel where & when we want! We just returned from our 7 night cruise sharing HAL'S premier voyage on the ms Koningsdam. (Our very first premier voyage!) We headed to Italy a few days ... Read More
Empty Nesters... It is finally our time to travel where & when we want! We just returned from our 7 night cruise sharing HAL'S premier voyage on the ms Koningsdam. (Our very first premier voyage!) We headed to Italy a few days early and stayed 5 nights at "The Bocelli Farmhouse & Winery”- in Lajatico & explored Tuscany with lot's of other special options Maurizio Lucci (Bocelli FarmHouse tour Manager) arranged for us! It is expensive... and priced as a package, so I am not exactly sure how individual days and expenses were charged- but for us... WORTH IT. We were treated like royalty. They planned our days, tours, & meals... we slept on the farm where Bocelli grew up and the grapes grow. Toured all day with our driver & returned to farm for chef prepared meals and wine tastings. We even had a cooking lesson one evening and winery tour with Alberto & Cinzia Bocelli. They customized everything & we feel like we made new friends. We were on the premier voyage of the ms Koningsdam! Our ports included Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kerkira (Corfu) & Olympia (Kakolon) in Greece, Sarande, Albania. Naples & back to Rome in Italy. Our Neptune Suite (7071) was lovely, spacious, and inviting. Its veranda had 2 loungers with a small table between, and a table for 4 with 4 chairs and was quite large. We spent lots of time relaxing on it enjoying the sail. The room had far more storage space and outlets/USBs than any of our previous ship suites. The sofa was placed against the wall with a flat screen tv above it across from the bed. there were 2 chairs and a coffee table as well in front of them. The bathroom had both a shower stall & tub... & a separate double doored toilet area that opened to room or bathroom. My favorite suite perk is The Neptune Lounge & its concierge service. It allowed me to iron out all the quirks I failed to take care of in advance... as well as snacks & beverages & seating areas. I was especially partial to the hydro pool and thermal suite- both are superb on K and well worth the cost. On this voyage it was $200pp for week. The large hydro pool has a "rainfall curtain" around the edges and I loved the sound it made. The say they sell only 30 passes? The windows in the saunas allowed sea views & there were all sorts of different steamers & showers. But my favorites are the ceramic thermal loungers & new horizontal shower. In main dining room we had early seating, (5:30) at a lovely table for 2 near the window sharing sunsets while we dined. I thought all the food was very good both in main dining room, and varied shipped venues. Previously called "Formal"- There were 2 Gala Nights. Individual interpretations of “Gala Night” created an all over the whole ship festive celebration with men wearing everything from blazers to tuxes... and ladies in pantsuits to cocktail dresses. We dined twice at the Pinnacle Grill & once at Tamarind. Meals are slow, relaxed, elegant & tasted delicious. We never made it to Sel de Mer, Canaletto, Blend or the Culinary Arts Center. With so many options now available on K… a seven night cruise simply doesn’t allow the time to try “it all”. We also never ate in the Lido... or tried the gelato bar. We never had a chance to use take advantage of Culinary Arts Center cooking classes, or wine tastings. We had no children with us in need of club hal... but I looked in and was quite impressed with the facilities! ms Koningsdam has a music theme and entertainment very good! The World Stage is definitely a game changer in entertainment for HAL. Comfortable viewing from all angles with lots of special effects. A comic, magician, vocalist & 2 HAL shows. They added chairs on stage for one show to help create a total "theatre in the round". We had so much fun- I was even pulled up for a dance! So much talent aboard this ship! The Queens Lounge & Billboard Onboard were our evening favourites and hard to choose between. So we bounced back and forth between evening sing along's with the 2 piano players and jazzy BB King Blues music & dancing. I was happy to see a new incarnation of Adagio Strings with 5 performers on the Lincoln Center Stage. The new Queens Lounge may very well be the most elegant and appealing venue I have ever seen on a cruise ship! Loved the movie nights poolside and seeing families & friends stretched out on loungers- laughing and floating... enjoying the popcorn & munchies from Dive-in. I did not miss the dedicated theatre from previous ships at all. The new culinary arts center filled class needs & its absence allowed more space for the music walk. The cabins have plenty of movie & TV options. We had spectacular weather all week- so most days the "dome" covering the pool could remain open. Among other places to eat... we enjoyed morning bagels at the "New York Deli & Pizza" sitting on deck. Oddly, the only pizza we ever had in Italy was on board... and it's made to order generously sized personal pizzas were very good. I loved the new option of daily info available on my iPhone/ipad. There will still be paper schedules available, but since most of us now carry our phones for texts and selfies- it is a great paper saver. Eventually, they plan to have loaners for anyone who wants one & even more info available with this free app. The ship, though larger and more populated- never felt crowded. There were always places to sit, or lounge about... walk... and explore. I believe she has been created to appeal to a wider graphic of guests- but retained, or perhaps even raised HALs standards for classic cruising at a time when cruise lines have no choice but to catch up... or be passed over. SO MUCH TO DO... SO LITTLE TIME! Before I knew it- it was over. Disembarkation for us was very easy, we put luggage outside cabin door night before... and picked it up in port. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay the ms Konigsdam & her Crew... We already booked our next cruise on her for 2017! Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We're long time HAL customers, with many days aboard HAL ships under our belts, so we had very high expectations for the maiden voyage of the Koningsdam. DESIGN Much has been made of the musical instrument-inspired architecture ... Read More
We're long time HAL customers, with many days aboard HAL ships under our belts, so we had very high expectations for the maiden voyage of the Koningsdam. DESIGN Much has been made of the musical instrument-inspired architecture onboard, and it's true that public spaces aboard this ship are large and spacious. But this extra public space seems to have come at the expense of space in rooms (which are decidedly smaller than on other HAL ships) and on the Promenade (which is too narrow, with all views of the sea blocked by the rows of lifeboats). Friends were in the Neptune Suites, which struck as as much smaller than on other ships and perhaps not worth the uncharge on this vessel. We were in a Verandah cabin, but felt we "bumped into each other" more in this room than in similar rooms on other vessels. We did have a wide balcony, but with an odd design that had us looking almost directly out on the balconies of our neighbors -- so no privacy there! While the pool area is glorious, the Dining Room suffers much under this new design. Despite the bright colors and sweeping architectural touches, the fact that windows are few and far between made this ship's Dining Room feel darker and more claustrophobic than on other vessels. FOOD If you've enjoyed HAL fare on other ships, you'll find very much the same food in this Dining Room -- perhaps served at a more leisurely pace than you'd expect. We did enjoy the new New York Deli, which serves up respectable made-to-order pies, which we'll miss on other ships. The best new touch is the Grand Dutch Cafe, positioned in a public space and always packed with chatty diners. We also gave the new seafood restaurant a try, but thought the quality and ambiance there were just average, and likely not worth the uncharge. The Pinnacle Grill was reliable and consistent, with a good staff and good service. The gelato shop at the pool is also a nice touch. SPA We bought (and, eventually asked for a partial refund for) the Thermal Suite package. On half the days of our trip, the thermal spa water was chilly; on several days, the jets didn't work. On one day, there was a massive leak, and the entire area was shut down. Access control is also an issue. This is supposed to be a private area on the ship, but doors to the pool area were not locked, so anyone and everyone who wanted to could wander in, gawk, and consider whether or not they wanted to use the facilities. We reported the unlocked doors more than once; they were never attended to. The staff in the spa were apologetic and sweet, noting that this was a new ship with many kinks to be worked out. That's understandable -- but if your thermal suite has kinks in it, don't sell it to travelers at full price! ENTERTAINMENT The World Stage is a jaw-dropping space with a 270-degree wall of high-definition screens surrounding a circular performance space. There is nothing else like it on the planet, and virtually every performance we saw was overshadowed to some extent by the stage itself! There were some very talented singers, dancers, and band members on board, and why HAL wants to ruin their performances with pre-recorded tracks (instead of using purely live music) is a mystery to me. SERVICE We found service was hit-or-miss on this trip. Laundry service was fast enough, but cabins were often not serviced until very late in the day. Since we rarely saw our cabin steward or his partner, we wondered if HAL has assigned the stewards too many rooms to service efficiently. OVERALL We had a good time on this trip, and enjoyed exploring the new spaces and seeing HAL's new ideas. That said: we think some of the changes (smaller rooms, fewer windows in the dining room, the ruining of the Promenade deck) are not for the better. Many of the food and service issues we faced on this voyage will doubtless be amended with time, but the design choices will linger for the life of the vessel. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The ship was very disappointing. It was the official maiden voyage.The online photos and videos are very misleading as they show show open, bright airy spaces but the ship is dark, cramped and crowded. There is lifted carpeting throughout ... Read More
The ship was very disappointing. It was the official maiden voyage.The online photos and videos are very misleading as they show show open, bright airy spaces but the ship is dark, cramped and crowded. There is lifted carpeting throughout the ship and broken windows. The Queens lounge was the biggest disappointment - the band knew only one tune and played it over and over until only the drunks remained, and when the band took a break they put on a recording of the same boring tune ( worst music I've heard on 32 cruises) The dinning hours are not at all workable - breakfast of any kind is not available to early risers. Early seating for dinner is at 5:30 so if you come back from an excursion and have a late lunch you are not ready for dinner and then when you are hungry later in the evening there is nothing open to get something to eat. The entire ship appears to have been designed entirely for serving drinks and anything else is just in the way. The cabin we had was at the stern & was great with a balcony. The entertainment on the world stage needs a lot of work, hopefully they will be able to improve with time but for now it is a miss. One confusing thing - there is a gelato bar were you can purchase gelato and not 50 steps away is a ice cream station were one can get all the ice cream, sundaes and soft serve one wants for free. This was our third trip with HAL ,previously on Van Oosterdam Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
I wanted to try the new ship to determine if it be worth brining my spouse back for a B-day celebration. The best the ship had to offer were the Lincoln Center performances, B-B Kings and the updated Lido deck look, and the outdoor deli ... Read More
I wanted to try the new ship to determine if it be worth brining my spouse back for a B-day celebration. The best the ship had to offer were the Lincoln Center performances, B-B Kings and the updated Lido deck look, and the outdoor deli and pizza station open until late hours. Nightly, my cousin and I had difficulty securing diner seating no matter what we did. The staff seemed not to know how to work the computer and the reservation program. Finally, we took a table for 4 since that was always available and twice someone else joined us. The first level "suite" cabins(6110) was a misnomer; it was smaller than the balcony cabins on the Statendam class ships. The tiny bathroom was so inefficient: barely any place to store wet face clothes and towels and toiletries, no shelves below the vanity, everything had to go on the vanity top. No place to store more than 4 pcs of luggage. In general, nice décor but the dinning room left a lot to be desired. It looked like it wasn't complete. Ship's excursions were extremely over-priced. Besides the Lincoln Center performances and the surround entertainment venue, I cannot imagine what would draw people to this ship again save for very, very interesting destinations and brand loyalty. Read Less
65 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
A little background before you read my review. I have cruised 7 times, 6 on newer NCL ships, and once on the Disney Dream. I booked this first cruise ever with the Koningsdam because of the itinerary - not because of the cruise line or ... Read More
A little background before you read my review. I have cruised 7 times, 6 on newer NCL ships, and once on the Disney Dream. I booked this first cruise ever with the Koningsdam because of the itinerary - not because of the cruise line or the fact that it was a new ship. As I learned the ship was new, and watched all the hype videos prior to my trip, I'll admit my expectations were set quite high for this first cruise not only with Holland America - but on the new Koningsdam. There is one major physical issue wrong with the ship - and I will address that later in my review. Embarking on the Koningsdam, and overlooking that everything was "new" - I have to admit that the ship wasn't any more impressive to me than say the Norwegian Gem or the Disney Dream. In fact, I was surprised at some of the more 'backwards' thinking that went into the design of the ship that other cruise ships, 10 years older, have better. 2 examples. To put the gangway out from "A" deck, the crew has to haul an old winch out and manually hang it from a davit then swing it out over the ship with cables and wires and straps, etc. This resulted in taking extra time putting the gangway out in ports we visited. How the designers missed looking at about 100 other cruise ship designs in the industry to do this better is beyond me. Also, while there is good wireless internet on the ship - the phone system is an older style and there is no option to be able to take a wireless phone with you to communicate easily with other guests on the ship as we could on the Disney Dream, nor do the onboard ship apps allow you to use your tablet or mobile device as a communicator with others on the ship as I have been able to do on older ships. Unless you bring walkie-talkies with you - you can't communicate with your friends or family unless you know where they are - or they are in the cabin. Very odd. There were several things that have had me reconsider sailing on a brand new ship again. For example, there were water leaks in the ceiling in the fitness center, lots of shipyard workers were still onboard working on electrical panels throughout the hallways, and the crew in general didn't know their own ship well yet. When we checked in to our cabin, the Boise radio was still in it's packaging and there was an odd electronic device. On the 5th days, the steward finally set it up and a note appeared telling us the odd electronic device was to be used in the fitness center. Going back to the lack of crew knowledge on the new ship - we were particularly upset that we booked a spa cabin, which came with it's own access to the spa - but the crew didn't know that and although they let us use it the first day, the spa staff told us not to use it after that. Then, on the last day of the cruise, a sign appeared on the door telling us that spa access was just for spa guests, which we were. Very confusing. Speaking of the spa - It was okay - but not as nice as spas on Norwegian's ships - the Gem or Jewell. It was smaller in fact. While there were 12 heated reclining tiled chairs and a few fancy showers - the steam room and saunas - the area is small. The spa pool isn't private - Guests can look in the windows to see the spa pool from the hall on Deck 9. The pool isn't heated very warm, and the jets for it aren't relaxing. There are two big blaster jets in the center of the pool - which whenever someone turns them on and uses them, they splash all the other people in the pool. Most frustrating - there is no jacuzzi in the spa - you have to go out onto the pool deck to use it. THE BIG PROBLEM with the ship, and the thing that was most unfortunate, is the ship has a bad vibration problem. I served in the US Coast Guard and have sailed on many large ships, including Navy ships - as well as sailed on many cruise ships. I have never felt a ship vibrate as much as Koningsdam. It was so bad, that on my 2nd morning, I thought someone was physically shaking me out of bed. I couldn't sleep anymore. Later at lunch - we felt the vibrations at the New York Pizza area - mid ship, Deck 10. Before I could mention it to someone else, some of the glasses were vibrating together and they commented to me about the bad vibration. I started expecting an announcement from the Captain that there were mechanical issues with the ship and we needed to head back to the shipyard. As the cruise went on - we spoke with other Guests in lower level cabins - decks 4, 5, and 6. They all said they hadn't noticed the vibrations. However, our neighbors on deck 10 and then many people I spoke to up on deck 12 in the Crows Nest, where the vibrations were often worse, agreed that something was wrong. Not sure if it is more noticeable higher up because the superstructure is made of lighter materials to keep weight down? Mark my words - something isn't right - the crew I spoke to noticed it too. So - as I said, this was our first cruise with Holland America. I am in my low 40's - so I was concerned about going on a cruise with lots of 60 plus cruisers. While yes, there were a lot of more mature people on the ship - I was happy that about 20% of the other passengers were in there 30's and 40's. This allowed us to have a lot of fun at things such as Mixology Classes and the Pub Crawl - which Holland America did an excellent job at. However, I did find that many passengers griped and complained more than I have ever heard other cruisers complain before. Many acted as if it was the worst cruise they had ever been on before. The "chap" from Great Britain that was lighting up the Customer Service Desk because the ship's weather forecast called for rain in Dubrovnak - but it was sunny instead and his wife got a sunburn was a classic example of over-the-top complaints I heard many times over - mostly from repeat Holland America cruisers. Still - many more thought the cruise was great and everyone constantly was saying how beautiful the ship was. And it was. I would say most of the people I saw onboard were very happy. In comparison to other cruise lines, Holland America had the best food I have ever had at sea. If I cruise again, I will cruise with Holland America just for the quality of the food. I didn't have anything bad at all - except a memorable 'bland' caesar salad in the Pinnacle. Fortunately, it accompanied the best steak I have ever had anywhere. One other thing I liked about the food and dining was that Holland America appears to encourage their crew to eat with the passengers. I never saw that on Disney or NCL - it was great to see Holland America allow that and nice to see the crew out and about enjoying the ship on their break or time off. The covered main swimming pool was nice - and the crew was good about opening and closing the retractable roof as needed. The ship in general is nice. It may be amazing for Holland America - I haven't been on other Holland America ships before - but for those that have only been on Holland America ships before - please know, Koningsdam is a nice ship - but not revolutionary and not as nice as other older ships that sail the 7 seas. The fitness center and programs were well run. I met some people who had kids in the childrens clubs and they said that was well run. Billboards and the dueling pianos were great. The round theater is interesting. Not sure I would call it better - but certainly not worse than more traditional cruise theaters. However, whoever designed the railings near the back of the theater should sit in one of the seats and see that the back 1/4th of the passengers can't see through it to the stage. That needs some adjustments. In summary, Holland America and Koningsdam gave us a nice vacation. We'll sail with Holland America again - however -we won't sleep on the upper decks and I hope they figure out what is causing all the vibration. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
My husband and I were on the maiden voyage of the Koningsdam in 2016, and we had the time of our lives (Dubrovnik, Croatia was our favorite port). This was our second HAL cruise (1st was on Zuiderdam for our honeymoon in 2006). We’ve ... Read More
My husband and I were on the maiden voyage of the Koningsdam in 2016, and we had the time of our lives (Dubrovnik, Croatia was our favorite port). This was our second HAL cruise (1st was on Zuiderdam for our honeymoon in 2006). We’ve cruised on Carnival (7 times) and Norwegian (1 time) as well, but Holland America is our favorite because the customer service is top-notch and the other guests are respectful. Our fellow passengers definitely knew how to have a good time, but they understood limits and boundaries, unlike what we’ve seen on other ships (mostly Carnival). The Koningsdam in particular was our favorite ship. In addition to fabulous staff, a relaxing atmosphere, and great food, the in-room TVs with free on-demand movies/TV shows and comfortable beds were worth the price of admission alone. Looking forward to cruising on Koningsdam’s sister ship Nieuw Statendam in February 2019 (Caribbean). Read Less
57 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
A 19-day cruise on HAL's new Pinnacle-class ship, Koningsdam, was an unique opportunity to enjoy another Holland America Lines vacation. On this trip my wife and I cruised with another couple and it is fair to say we'd all give ... Read More
A 19-day cruise on HAL's new Pinnacle-class ship, Koningsdam, was an unique opportunity to enjoy another Holland America Lines vacation. On this trip my wife and I cruised with another couple and it is fair to say we'd all give the experience our highest accolades on most though not all counts, as noted below. My wife and I have cruised on HAL ships twice before, and also on Regent, Seabourn, SeaDream, Silversea and other upscale ships. Koningsdam, though larger than any of the ships in those cruise lines mentioned, provides an equally wonderful experience, at least as good as those others. The ship itself is wonderful, architecturally spectacular and beautiful. Interior decor is colorful in an attractive way, upbeat and in good taste. Flower arrangements in public spaces are magnificent. Everywhere one turns floor to ceiling windows are framing ocean/sea/island/fishing boat views. Our perfect weather added to the magic. Koningsdam features two swimming pools on the Lido (9th level) deck, with the main one covered at night, allowing for full-length movies shown at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Guests lounge in the plentiful deck furniture and munch on complimentary pizza, sandwiches, nachos and popcorn, watching movies either made in or related to the countries we visited on this cruise--Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Albania. Ship and decor are A+, reflective of HAL's goal of producing a top-of-the line experience with this new ship. Just one small negative: one must sit almost side-saddle on the commode. Trying to sit in a normal, straightforward way leads to one's knees banging (literally) into the glass shower wall, even if a person has short legs. TMI? Onboard activities are more than plentiful, and for all ages. The spa offers full exercise amenities, saunas, a large jacuzzi, and a wide range of personal services at relatively reasonable prices, with discounts on different services offered each day. The casino, like the entire ship interior, is smoke-free and nicely done...though not busy even at night as best I have observed. The library has interesting books and quite a few word games, puzzles, etc., with tables available nearby. For those enjoying cocktail time there are lots of bars. One positive for me, as a non-drinker, is that the cruise fare does not include free liquor or even soft drinks or bottled water, so non-drinkers are not paying to subsidize drinkers. Water, coffee and hot or iced tea are free with meals and the serving staff has been wholly accommodating in brewing caffeine-free tea, then adding ice, to serve us and the couple with whom we are traveling. I would give onboard activities an A. Onshore activity options are plentiful too, though the HAL-offered onshore excursions seem quite pricey. The excursions are well done and the professional local guides have been superb, so maybe it's worth the cost after all. We arranged for our own mini-van for four once, negotiating for the excursion at the cruise terminal. Our cost was much less than the HAL tours, our guide was great and we had a fine time. The HAL-offered excursion along the Amalfi coast unfortunately included lunch, which was tasteless and colorless Fortunately, it was also odorless. Excursion guides earned grades of A on the Amalfi tour. The tour lunch in Amalfi was lucky to get an F rather than an F-.. Our highlights tour of Rome did not include lunch, which turned out to be a good thing in that it led to my wife and I enjoying a wonderful meal at front-row seating in one of Rome's countless public plazas. Dining options on the Koningsdam are terrific, including many no-cost venues plus several upcharge restaurants that were smaller, quieter and yet still reasonably priced. Our favorites were Tamarind (Asian, we dined there twice and the service was exceptional) followed by Canaletto (wide ranging choices, also superb service). Food presentation was excellent, as was the taste. Both are worth the upcharges. Pinnacle, said to be equally as good as Canaletto, is more of a steak house and was not our favorite restaurant though it was considered outstanding by our traveling companions. The main dining room, on levels three and four aft, is adequate for fine dining but does not blow you away,food or service-wise, as did Tamarind and Canaletto. Moreover, the system for getting reservations for dinner in the main dining room is much too complex, including both open seating as well as seating reserved by guests for the same time (and sadly for open seating folks like us) and the same tables each evening. As a result, those willing to commit to eating only in the main dining room each night, at the same time each night, also get the best sea-view tables for the entire cruise. We like variety both in terms of eating venues and time of evening, so trying to get a table for four (virtually impossible0 in a view location (wholly impossible) in the main dining room is frustrating and unfair for open-seating guests. In addition to room service, which works well and delivers good, hot food, the Lido deck offers an open market set of food stations with a wide range of healthy as well as hearty options made-to-order. This market serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and provides very good selections at each meal. Lines never get long because there are duplicate sets of each food station and the cooks work fast, and pleasantly. Give Tamarind an A+, Canaletto an A, and the main dining room a B+. The Lido options also would be in the B+ range. The pizza kitchen on deck ten overlooking the main swimming pool offered flavorful pizzas made to order and served quickly, along with other snack-type foods. I must admit to having three pizzas during this 19 day cruise! Like everything else, the onboard entertainment options provide something good for every taste. We particularly enjoyed two singer/pianists, Rachel and Anderson, whose talents and song selections were excellent. They played in the Billboard on Board area. Crowds gathered for each of their two or three performances daily. We also enjoyed greatly the three violinists, pianist and bass player in the Lincoln Center venue. While my description sounds as if they would be stiff and formal they were anything but. Wonderful performers who appreciated their audience, which grew larger each day. There also is a B.B. King venue with two shows nightly--not our cup of tea but extremely popular each performance held nightly. Every performer on the main stage also was excellent. Entertainment on an overall basis earns my second A+. Opportunities for improvement do exist for any large new ship, and Koningsdam is no exception. Examples: 1. The two groups of entertainers we liked most performed in areas (not separate rooms) adjacent to walkways, with constant talking and distractions from ship guests walking by and oblivious to their negative impact on the enjoyment of those trying to hear the performers. While this "open" arrangement space-wise contributes to the light, airy, wonderful view orientation of the ship's architecture it does so at the disadvantage of too much noise for performers and guests. 2. The system for processing guests disembarking for excursions was convoluted and frustrating, much more so than necessary. On a maiden voyage I guess it was excusable, but it was still a pain. 3. The main dining room reservation system, as already described, needs a major overhaul to be fair to all guests. 4. There was no Captain's reception for guests to meet him and his key staff, apparently a new policy imposed by HAL corporate but not one the ship's officers or guests seemed to like. 5. Service in the upcharge dining options was excellent, less so in the other public restaurants. 6. The serving staff in restaurants and throughout the ship were unfailingly friendly and their smiles seemed genuine and wide. Follow-through on requests was spotty, mainly fine but not as consistently as it should and most likely will be after a few more cruises. 7. Our cabin steward and his assistant were disappointing, relative to service provided most other places on the ship. Not terrible but not up to ship standards. 8. The HAL-sponsored company handling our transfer from the airport in Rome to a "centrally located" (not) hotel that was offered as an optional part of the package (Visconti Palace), and transfers from the hotel to the ship, were terrible. It was an awful start to what turned out to be a fantastic vacation. Visconti Palace might be a three-star, but no more than that, and it might be centrally located on a geographic basis but not with respect to any major points of interest. The transfer company personnel were unpleasant, communicated poorly, and their performance was poor throughout. Their excuses were many. Transfer folks all flunked the course. We, their victims, virtually revolted and refused to follow their requests regarding boarding buses taking us to the ship. The hotel skated by with a C-. 9 Our upgrade from a stateroom to an A-level Vista Suite ($1349) was marginally worthwhile, yielding a small bit of extra space and a few meaningless amenities. 10. Not having been introduced to the officers and key staff due to the elimination of the Captain's welcome aboard reception we were hoping to learn names from the name badges worn by all employees--not so. Badges were too small to read from a normal distance, and were worn on everyone's left side such that if we shook hands the person's badge moved away from us rather than toward us. Badges should be worn on a person's right side. A rookie mistake on their part. 11. HAL should offer decaffeinated ice tea as a regular part of their menu rather than force guests to have to make special requests and even then, on at least one occasion receiving caffeinated tea instead. At 2 a.m., still wide awake, my wife and I knew we had been served the wrong stuff even though we double-checked that it was caffeine-free (no way!). 12. On Deck 9 smoking was allowed on the bow of the ship as well as aft. Consequently, when doors were open on 9, which was most of the time, cigarette smoke wafted through the entire ship whenever we were underway. Smoking should be banned entirely or relegated solely to the back of the ship and on a deck level away from those most constantly used by non-smoking passengers. 13. Lastly, whereas we had signed up for a 19 day cruise as it had been advertised, HAL had separated it into two cruises, the first one being seven days and the second 12.. Every trade-off in terms of us being on a one week versus 19 day cruise worked out, financially, in favor of HAL, whether or not it made sense or seemed fair to us. For example, we signed up for what was said to be a cruise-long spa package for $350, which seemed reasonable, only to learn later that "cruise-long" referred to the first seven day cruise ("yours was one booking but two separate cruises"). But the discount for not canceling when the cruise was shifted from February to April, as noted earlier, was applied to just our one "booking" for a 19 day cruise rather than the two cruises they referred to in every other instance. Similar unfair trade-offs occurred in trying to make restaurant table reservations and other instances. Trade-offs never worked in our favor, always in HAL's. These were corporate policies, it seemed, not ones made up onboard by the staff, so there was no room for negotiation. My wife and traveling companions insisted that I identify three local guides, each of whom provided exceptional service, charged what we all considered bargain fares, spoke English articulately and were truly personable. I have no connection with any of them other than enjoying their service for the one partial day we spent with each of them. Cruise Critic might remove this paragraph but if they do it is a travesty. In Olympia, Greece, Nicolas Theodorakopoulos (info@olympiataxi.gr). In In Dubrovnik, Croatia, Tihan Milko (tihan.milko@gmail.com) and in Istanbul, Turkey Sebnem Kececi of SebnemTrvel@yahoo.com. Because international travel, including cruises, has been cut back significantly in the last couple of years, even highly talented professional guides like Nick, Tihan and Sebnem are frustrated at the slowdown in business. Four of us recommend these three guides as all-around professionals providing A+ service, the best among a crop of wonderful guides we had throughout the trip. Read Less
55 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Lots to love about this pretty new ship: cheerful, organized, competent staff, extra nice cabins with real walk-in showers, excellent food overall (even for things like room service omelettes), and fun new areas like the Grand Dutch Cafe ... Read More
Lots to love about this pretty new ship: cheerful, organized, competent staff, extra nice cabins with real walk-in showers, excellent food overall (even for things like room service omelettes), and fun new areas like the Grand Dutch Cafe where you pay for your specialty coffee but then have access to some of the most interesting and tasty light meals and treates on the ship at no extra cost. We appreciated that the full 3rd deck was retained as open for walking. Entertainment was hit and miss: gorgeous modern near round theater with terrific sound and image/affect capacity and introduction of fab Lincon Center classical daily concerts. The 2 full cast shows were very good but, about 50% of the overall entertainment was B category at best. Our Pinnacle specialty dining evening was also not a success but maybe they are still tuning up. Conversely, dinner at their Asian restaurant was terrific and less expensive than all the other options. On the down side, we choose HAL because in the past they have had excellent lecturers on board. There were zero this trip. Even the guy doing the 30 min port lectures was weak on anything about the place beyond shopping and hop on hop off buses. Further, if you were not taking a cruise excursion, the service desk staff offered little in terms of basic info, such as how to get into Athens by metro. On the positive side the cruise excursions we did take were worth the $$ with good guides and fine lunch spots. Again on the negative side though, ALL ship activities and lectures, especially on Sea days, are now totally focused on getting you to buy something. This became exhausting and more than annoying. Perhaps this reflects their being part of the Carnival group now - sell/buy pressure is relentless. We had not previously experienced this to such an extreme on HAL. They have also nixed the specialty coffee card in favour of a non alcoholic drinks card at $17.50 a day focused on a "pour your own" Coke machine. I drink lattes not Coke so I was not interested in paying this much daily to mainly pay for Coke from their new machine. So while we liked the new ship a lot, we were less thrilled by the direction HAL is apparently being pushed - perhaps they are being Carnivalized Read Less
77 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We booked this cruise because we have had good experiences cruising with HAL before, we liked the itinerary (Eastern Mediterranean, then Western Mediterranean), and the fact that it was a new ship. The ship had many issues, which I ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we have had good experiences cruising with HAL before, we liked the itinerary (Eastern Mediterranean, then Western Mediterranean), and the fact that it was a new ship. The ship had many issues, which I mention below. It is also in many ways different from other HAL ships we've been on, so I'm posting this mainly for other HAL cruisers, who may want to know what has/hasn't changed. Internet: HAL's onboard internet access is still expensive and dreadful. Simply trying to connect and retrieve email can take 10 minutes or more of your paid minutes, even at odd hours like very early in the morning. Access this terrible should at least be free. This will probably be a deal breaker for me when considering other lengthy cruises. Staterooms: We had a vista suite, comprised of a sleeping area, a sitting area (with a small couch, a desk and a chair), the bathroom, and a verandah. There was ample closet and cupboard space. Some of the stateroom floor plans (interiors and ocean views) have no sitting area. Those rooms are basically a bed in a box. Our bathroom had a very nice glassed-in shower--certainly the best we've ever had in a stateroom. However, to make room to be able to stand at the sink, the toilet is installed at an angle, so the front of the toilet bowl is angled toward the glass shower wall. A small person can fit, but a large person has to sit diagonally across the toilet seat. The ship was plagued with plumbing problems during our cruise: stateroom toilets that randomly overfilled and overflowed, no hot water (or, occasionally, no water at all) in the showers in the spa changing area, out of order toilets in public areas. Movies: there is no movie theater onboard. However, there is a big screen in the Lido pool area, and movies are shown there at night. There is also a selection of movies and TV shows available on demand on the television in your stateroom. No more DVD library. Library: There isn't a library to speak of. The Explorations Cafe coffee bar is next to the Crow's Nest on deck 12. The Cafe is open to the Crow's Nest, so piped-in music, entertainment, and activities taking place in the bar are also in the Cafe. No quiet reading area. The Cafe has a small alcove with a small selection of travel books, coffee table books, and some board games. There is no collection of books to check out, as there is on other HAL ships. There are only a few book shelves, housing the travel books, so it appears there will never be much of a book collection onboard. There are some Internet computer stations in the Cafe, but no librarian, and only very limited hours that a staff member is available for computer issues. You must seek help at Guest Services on deck 3. We saw guests asking bartenders for Internet help, because no one else is available. Fitness center: The fitness area is divided into three separate rooms. A large gym with treadmills and other equipment, a separate room with the bikes for spinning/cycling classes, and another room used as a studio for yoga and other classes. A big improvement over the one big open space fitness centers. Thermal Suite: We bought the thermal suite access, which we have had on other HAL ships. The thermal suite area is larger and has additional features in terms of showers, saunas, and steam rooms in the coed area, as well as the loungers and large hydro pool. During our cruise, there were daily problems with the thermal suite features: no steam, no heat on the loungers, showers not working, hydro pool not warm or not bubbly. Oddly, there are very few places to hang robes and towels, so guests tend to "save" the thermal suite loungers for themselves while they use the steam and sauna rooms. Although there are more thermal suite loungers than we have seen on other HAL ships, getting a lounger at all can be challenging at popular times. Another oddity is the access system. When you check in at the spa desk, you exchange your room keycard for a wrist bracelet with a locker number on it. The wrist bracelet contains a transponder that opens a locker in the changing room. The locker contains a robe and shower slippers. There is no keyed access to the thermal suite area. It is just an unlocked door at the end of a hallway in the spa area. Guests who have not paid for the thermal suite can nonetheless access it, at least theoretically, unless those who have paid complain to the spa desk, so that a spa employee must confront the guests without the telltale wristbands in the thermal suite area. An awkward situation all around. A spa employee told us that a keyed access is going to be implemented, eventually. Spa Changing Areas: The locker rooms in the spa changing areas have a strange locker arrangement. Some lockers are fairly large, some are quite small, some are so high they are unreachable for most women, and some are situated so close to entry door that you get clobbered by the door if you happen to be accessing the locker when someone else enters the room. The women's changing room (and I believe the men's is the same) has only one toilet (which was out of order several times during our cruise), one changing "closet", where you can have privacy, and two showers, which do not have doors or shower curtains. In other words, the changing areas are not very hospitable if you would like some privacy. Spa services: The usual assortment of massage/therapy services. And, of course, some silly services. Foot print analysis (with a corresponding sale of some kind of orthotic) seems to have replaced teeth whitening. I never understood who would have a dental procedure done by a spa employee on a cruise ship. Ditto for an orthopedic analysis. The Promenade deck: The outside deck on deck 3 is narrower than on other HAL ships. There are no deck chairs. Nice for walking, but not for sitting. The online Navigator and online account: A paper Daily Navigator is still delivered to your room each evening, but it looks like that will eventually be phased out. There is an online Navigator (free access) that shows daily onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options. The online Navigator also allows you to view your account, so you can keep track of your onboard spending. The online Navigator is a great idea, but it's not yet fully functional. For example, you can see what dining options are available, but you can't yet view daily menus. Staff now use iPads for drink and dinner orders, so charges to your account appear immediately. The software does not yet seem to be fully functional. We had the Signature Beverage Package as part of the Explore4 promotion when we booked. In some venues, the system recognized our account as having the beverage package. In others, we were charged for beverages and had to visit Guest Services (repeatedly) to have the beverage charges reversed. The Lido Market: This is the Lido buffet, with a new name. There are individual stations for different types of food. A bit of a confusing arrangement. There is no indication of where lines are supposed to start and not enough labeling of items. There is also less self-service than we have had on other HAL ships. For example, your made to order salad is made for you, rather than by you. Probably a good idea to avoid spreading illnesses. Hand washing: The Lido Market has automatic hand washing stations. There are still hand sanitizer stations around the ship, but not as many as we have seen on other HAL ships. However, since the anti-bacterial hand sanitizer is not very effective against norovirus, the most common cruise ship plague, it is probably better to limit self-service and stress hand washing, rather than slathering the passengers with Purell. New casual dining venues: The Lido pool area has a Dive In, featuring hamburgers and hot dogs, and there is now a NY Pizza and Deli, with made to order pizzas, sandwiches, salads and some desserts. The food in both venues is included in your cruise price. There is also a G Gelato Bar, for which you pay extra. The Explorations Cafe, with specialty coffee drinks, for which you pay extra, is on deck 12, and there is a new concept cafe, the Grand Dutch Cafe on deck 3. There is an extra charge for the drinks there (coffee drinks and beer), but not for the food. New specialty dining venues: Canaletto, the Pinnacle Grill, and Tamarind still all offer dinner at an extra charge. The Tamarind does not offer a complimentary dim sum lunch, as we have had on other HAL ships. The Culinary Arts Center is now its own fancy foodie venue, offering dinner for an extra charge. Demonstrations/tasting events in the Culinary Arts Center seemed to mostly involve an extra charge as well. The new Sel de Mer restaurant offers fine dining with al a carte pricing. A dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and a dinner at Canaletto were included in the cruise package when we booked. We found them both to be underwhelming and preferred the regular dining room. Consequently, we did not try Sel de Mer, Tamarind, or the Culinary Arts Center. Entertainment: The Koningsdam singers and dancers are excellent. Rather than the usual trite two couples, the singers are two young men and one young woman. The World Stage is a smaller venue than on other HAL ships, which makes for a nicer, more intimate show. The stage is also in the round, and there are screens above the stage for multimedia elements in the shows. The choreography seemed more contemporary, and better, than we've seen on other HAL ships. Music: The ship has the new Music Walk concept, with three separate music venues on deck 2. B.B. King's Blues Club (which has been on other HAL ships for a few years), Billboard Onboard (two singer/piano players playing popular music), and Lincoln Center Stage (five classical musicians playing masterworks and pops). All three venues were very good and very popular. Performance days and times are staggered, so they are not all performing at once. B.B. King's is located in the Queens Lounge, with the stage on deck 2, and seating on both deck 2 and deck 3. Beware getting a stateroom on deck 4 above the Queens Lounge. The music can be heard in that area of deck 4 late into the evening, Cruise director: The cruise director, Jonathan, was almost invisible. Each morning he announced our arrival in port over the PA and said good morning in the language of the country. He was not very engaged with the passengers and did not usually even introduce the performers at the World Stage venue. We were not sure if this was his particular personality or a new protocol for HAL cruise directors. We heard many passengers wondering what, exactly, his job was supposed to entail. Location guide: We had encountered Ian, the location guide, on the Eurodam a few years ago, where we found him to be very helpful and engaged with the passengers. Not so anymore. We don't know whether he has just had too many cruises, or if he is acting under a new corporate directive. We heard other passengers complaining about his lack of helpfulness--unless you wanted to book a HAL shore excursion. We did not book any shore excursions through HAL. If you are going to explore the port stops on your own, do your research ahead of time. Don't expect much information on the ship and Internet access is too poor to do any research while onboard. Read Less
49 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The ship was very disappointing. The online photos and videos are very misleading as they show show open, bright airy spaces but the ship is dark, cramped and crowded. There is lifted carpeting throughout the ship and broken windows. The ... Read More
The ship was very disappointing. The online photos and videos are very misleading as they show show open, bright airy spaces but the ship is dark, cramped and crowded. There is lifted carpeting throughout the ship and broken windows. The Queens lounge was the biggest disappointment - the band knew only one tune and played it over and over until only the drunks remained, and when the band took a break they put on a recording of the same boring tune ( worst music I've heard on 32 cruises) The dinning hours are not at all workable - breakfast of any kind is not available to early risers. Early seating for dinner is at 5:30 so if you come back from an excursion and have a late lunch you are not ready for dinner and then when you are hungry later in the evening there is nothing open to get something to eat. The entire ship appears to have been designed entirely for serving drinks and anything else is just in the way. The cabin we had was tiny - we could not open the drawers without moving the bed and there was no chair ( or room for one) to sit in while waiting for ones travel companion to get ready. The entertainment on the world stage needs a lot of work, hopefully they will be able to improve with time but for now it is a miss. One confusing thing - there is a gelato bar were you can purchase gelato and not 50 steps away is a ice cream station were one can get all the ice cream, sundaes and soft serve one wants for free?? Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Lincoln center Stage venues were musical delight during the entire cruise. The quality of the programme is worthy of mention as well as a pianist who loved to amuse guests. Real musical voyage across the world's cultures. ... Read More
Lincoln center Stage venues were musical delight during the entire cruise. The quality of the programme is worthy of mention as well as a pianist who loved to amuse guests. Real musical voyage across the world's cultures. Afternoon tea tradition is a must. Complementary High Tea every six days at 3 p.m. with live music and dancing orchestra at Queen's Lounge, otherwise every day at the same time complementary afternoon tea accompanied by delicious pastry and sendwiches and lovely service. Beautiful flower arrangement in public areas made this ship unique. I have really enjoyed Homestead specialty station at Lido market. I have booked some HAL's shore excursions between 50 to 60 USD pp in Kusadasi and Neapel and there were quite good. It is a pity that pinnacle ships have no nice promenade as many other HAL's ships do. Service in some zones of MDR on deck 2 could be better. Most probably it will be much better in a few weeks. Read Less
38 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We are 4 star mariners on HAL so we wanted to experience the newest ship; this cruise also stopped at some places we had not been, like Gibralter and Sardinia. Food, as usual, was great. Avenues of entertainment (BB King, Bilboard, ... Read More
We are 4 star mariners on HAL so we wanted to experience the newest ship; this cruise also stopped at some places we had not been, like Gibralter and Sardinia. Food, as usual, was great. Avenues of entertainment (BB King, Bilboard, Lincoln Center, world stage, etc) all had excellent value. The new style of showers is excellent; the overall ambience and décor are stunning. BAD news: there is NO library on this ship, unlike all the other ships for HAL. What a bummer. If we had only known we could have brought some books with us - so hope this information will help others who are planning to sail on the Koningdam. And, from my point of view, the value of the wines, for the money charged, is somewhat poor - somehow it seems that HAL should be able to get wines that are more appealing to the taste buds in those price ranges, i.e, 89-93 points instead of the ones they have which were, in my opinion, in the mid 80's. Read Less
55 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Boarded in Rome and went right to the cabin to unpack- ( see Cabin Review). Note avoid connecting cabins. This was literally the only thing that really that wasn't great about this trip. You can hear pretty much everything that ... Read More
Boarded in Rome and went right to the cabin to unpack- ( see Cabin Review). Note avoid connecting cabins. This was literally the only thing that really that wasn't great about this trip. You can hear pretty much everything that goes on in the other cabin if you get one with a connecting door. HAL has to figure out how to fix this. Otherwise we loved the cabin. Steward seemed rushed and I noticed he had a huge section. We only saw him 3 times in 12 days. TV was filled with Movies and TV shows on demand - all free - Nice! The Marketplace was their Lido deck dining option and it did not disappoint. Was impressed that the staff served you as opposed to letting guests serve themselves. I have to believe this cuts down on illness and waster. We had "anytime dining and tried most all the alternative restaurants. Tamarind was off the charts good and the servers were so polished considering the ship had been in service 2 and a half weeks when we boarded. Sel De Mer was pretty good, a bit expensive as everything is a la cart. We racked up a $90 bill for just food for the two of us. Pinnacle was good as well. Lovely restaurant. The only one we did not care for was Canaletto. You feel like you are eating in the Marketplace. They need to add walls to that area so it's a bit more secluded. Also, everytime the door to the dishwashing station opened, hot humid air blew into the restaurant. Meanwhile people in swimsuits and flip flops were walking by. Food and especially the service was amazing, just not the venue. The main dining room was amazing and while we ate at a different table everytime we ate there, we had great servers and I thought for the MDR the food was FANTASTIC. You can tell that food is a focal point on this ship. Bar staff were fantastic ( Hi Rose and Bald one and two). Mixed drinks in the $6.50 to $7.50 range . Loved that HAL has Happy Hours where you buy one drink and get another for $1.00 - That was nice. the crows nest on this ship is just gorgeous and I love how they've turned one side into a smallish Starbucks kind of cafe. Very cool! Loved BB Kings review band. My goodness were they fun! The crowd on our cruise was a bit older and I heard a lot of people saying they were loud but we loved them! Such Talent!! The shows overall were pretty good with the Chart toppers show at the end of the cruise being by far the best. the three principal singers were amazing. LET THEM DO CABARET, we'd love to see them utilized more. dueling Pianos is awesome - they knew so many songs! Front desk helped us twice and were just lovely. This was my first HAL cruise and I WILL BE BACK! Mainly because of the crew. Now just a couple of suggestions for HAL: Play the ships announcements on a channel on the TV- Opening the door and leaning out in the hall everytime the cruise director came on the PA got a little old. Lower the cost of blend. It's just too expensive for what you get. Stop pushing staff to get people to sign up for revenue producing experiences. I don't need a lecture on why we should go on the Bar crawl or do a blend experience, everytime I order a drink from a server. It makes both crew and guests uncomfortable. What happened to Bingo? Was offered once on the cruise. Photos: $19.95 for a pic now- Dear God - how did it get so high. Noticed it was not a popular place on the ship. Internet 250 minutes for $100.00 WOW. However I will say it was pretty fast unless you were sending a picture. those are all minor to the enjoyment we had overall on the cruise. Just a great experience. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Wanted to try HAL and chose this ship as it was brand new. Let me say that the ship itself is impressive and very stable..in 20 days I did not feel the ship moving at all. The atrium though is a joke ie there is nothing except a steel ... Read More
Wanted to try HAL and chose this ship as it was brand new. Let me say that the ship itself is impressive and very stable..in 20 days I did not feel the ship moving at all. The atrium though is a joke ie there is nothing except a steel structure. No heart, nocentral meeting place like other ships. The whole ship feels like an office ie a lot of stark metal, but no warmth at all. Even the verandah stateroom looks like something from IKEA. Very disappointing. Lido dining is like a works canteen although the serving areas are well placed. General feel of a lack of staff though. Dutch coffee shop is a joke. Twice I went and twice, after waiting in a long queue, was told that there is no hot milk si must wait 15 minutes or more (hence the long queues). The equipment is totally useless for a ship that size. Understaffed also. Considering that HAL prices are higher than most other cruise lines, the value for money was well below expectations. But my biggest criticism is for the senior staff. We were left in Rotterdam on day two with no transport to the city. Hundreds of people were left waiting in a bitter cold wind as we were told transport would be provided. This was after the senior staff of HAL were congratulating themselves during the official naming of the ship by the Queen of the Netherlands. It told me clearly how they do not put pax first, just put profit as number one. There are other examples of incompetence including locking out pax from a theatre despite being past the showtime, complete chaos at every port disembarkation, etc etc. Never again HAL. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We (a family of three adults) chose this cruise because of the itinerary, the attraction of a new mid-sized ship and the time of the trip. This was our fourth cruise across three different companies so we are not loyal to one brand. ... Read More
We (a family of three adults) chose this cruise because of the itinerary, the attraction of a new mid-sized ship and the time of the trip. This was our fourth cruise across three different companies so we are not loyal to one brand. Embarkation at Civitavecchia was very organised & we were on board earlier than we expected. Our cabin, a Vista Suite on Floor 4 was extremely handy to everything & we thought this was a bonus. After a previous cruise on a larger ship, we prefer this size & at no times did it seem to disadvantage us. The décor is modern & different & will appeal to some & perhaps not to others. Many of the public rooms have dark colours which are not my preference. Main thoroughfares are lined with selling points, photo sales or poker machines which are not appealing. To be able to walk around deck 3 is also welcomed. We did not frequent the pool area much due to the weather or shore excursions. Our cabin was probably a little smaller that previous cruises but was equipped with all one would want & expect. The main bed was huge & comfortable. The air-con was quiet & adjustable which made the temperature very comfortable. The additional power points & charging points were great. Storage was adequate for 3 adults. The bathroom was compact with a good shower but, as others have stated, the toilet is angled in a way that makes it uncomfortable for tall people. They are all the pluses but there is a big minus if you are in a triple suite. There is a major design problem with the fold out sofa bed as when it is out, there is very little room between the end of the bed & the desk. In fact, one has to crab walk sideways & because the frame is steel, you need to be very careful not to bump your legs. Also because the bed is between the main bed & the bathroom, imagine this manoeuvre at night in the dark. Even with a small torch, the person in this bed is often woken. I could not believe that in a new ship, this was the situation, There are other designs for a third sofa bed which would have been much more efficient & comfortable. For this reason, we would not consider travelling (with a third person) on the Koningsdam again. There are also vibrations on this ship that we have never experienced before. They were not constant & appeared intermittently but never to the extent they greatly concerned us. We appreciated all the food options on the ship & never were we kept waiting. Breakfast areas could be busy but we always found a table & if you knew where to go, waiting was minimal. There was also a huge array of options. Most nights we dined in the MDR & shared a table. Service was generally good but on some occasions OK. Because we shifted tables most nights we experienced different staff. Main courses were a bit light on with few vegetables. The Pizza & Burger bars near the pool were also good options for a late lunch. The overall standard of food was very good without being outstanding. We did not visit the speciality restaurants. Whenever possible, we attended a show & enjoyed them all. Some of the musicians were great entertainers. The World Stage was spectacular when the wrap around visuals were used. After dinner, we would often sit & enjoy the music on offer either at the Lincoln Centre Stage or the Billboard. The band at BB Kings was enjoyable at first, even if a bit loud, but by the end of the cruise, we found them a little boring. Our experiences with the crew were very positive. Our cabin stewards were low key, friendly & efficient, always making our room up (preparing the third bed) when we at breakfast & dinner. The laundry was very prompt. I experienced a incident ashore & the front office staff were extremely helpful. Most wait staff were eager to assist. With shore excursions, we often take a mix of privately arranged tours (much better value) & ship organised tours. The places visited were all interesting although Cherbourg was not the greatest town to spend two days. We had booked two tours with the ship, one of which had to be rescheduled due to the cancelation of the visit to Le Harve. The reorganisation of these were done very efficiently. Both tours organised by the ship, I considered to be too rushed for no apparent reason. We could have spent an extra hour on each of these & visited attractions on offer. Would we book another cruise on the Koningsdam? Maybe, as parts of the ship are appealing but definitely not as a triple. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife and I celebrated our 30th Anniversary this year and to celebrate it, we spent time saving up for a trip that would be truly special, and above and beyond a standard cruising experience. We chose this ship because it was the ... Read More
My wife and I celebrated our 30th Anniversary this year and to celebrate it, we spent time saving up for a trip that would be truly special, and above and beyond a standard cruising experience. We chose this ship because it was the Christening cruise and that was a unique opportunity, but also because of how the ship was marketed to us in terms of the experience that we would have on board. Even as we boarded the ship there was an image presented to us of high quality service and experience, but that image quickly disappeared as we left port. As I mentioned, the Christening celebration was a key part of choosing this particular cruise and this particular line for our celebration, but quite frankly we would have been better off to be one of the guests attending the ceremony than a passenger attending the ceremony. There was a lack of information in the lead up to the event, with much information being found online long before any official communication from the company. The ceremony itself was a major let down, where visitors to the ship and I mean visitors lots of them over the 2 days were given better access and vantage points for the ceremony over passengers on the cruise. There was poor and often incorrect information given to us on the day. For example, we were told that there would be only standing on the dockside or by the Lido pool, yet the company was able to provide reserved seating for a range of visitors to the ship both on the poolside and in the theatre. Another passenger who chose the dockside had told us that their experience was just as problematic with the crowd being kept well clear of ceremony for what they were told was security reasons, when in fact they were actually reserving the space for a large number of what was apparently staff, making it difficult to see the bottle breaking ceremony. In addition the Queen performed the ceremony from inside the theatre and not the dock as people had thought the Queen was going to do, with HAL instead opting for staff to release the cable on a cue from the theatre. So we didn’t even get to see either key component of the Christening in person, being that we weren’t able to see and hear the Queen in the theatre in person and we didn’t even know it was on in the theatre as it was kept very secret and passengers on the dock barely had any view of the bottle breaking ceremony. Basically it was ages of standing around to watch it on a screen when quite frankly the 2 minute replay on the tv in the cabin was better and more comfortable. Had we known this was the experience, it would have been a major cause to have reconsidered our choice to go on this cruise. But it wasn’t just the Christening celebration that was a massive disappointment. The customer service on the cruise was lacklustre in all areas. I will acknowledge that we came across two or three staff members who were very friendly, helpful and personable, but on the whole staff either seemed to want to avoid interacting with passengers or just ignored us outright. For example in all our previous sailings, the Cabin attendants have been quite a core part of that aspect of the cruise. They introduce the cabin, provide key information and enquire as to how they can assist. But their very welcoming and friendly approach also makes a difference. However, here we barely saw these people. It was like as if their job was to avoid passengers. In fact, I had to introduce myself to them and even after 20 days I cannot tell you their names. They made no effort to be helpful or friendly in anyway, and when we did ask about an issue we had relating to the cabin, they refused outright to help or look into it, and we had to go to guest services to get it sorted instead. But it wasn’t just in the cabins where the customer service was lacking. In many parts of the ship, it was easy to feel like being a passenger put you in a second class (unless you were in a Neptune Suite). The staff even away from the cabins were also often quite impolite. They would often simply not respond or talk to you if you tried to get their attention, even something as simple as saying 'hi' in response when passing in a walkway was something that didn’t happen. A steward at the towel folding demo did mention some of the small things that they apparently do for such special occasions such as a special arrangement of towel animals as an anniversary surprise which is two swans forming a love heart shape placed on the bed. Well that was how it was described. Never saw that. There was barely any acknowledgement of our anniversary milestone on the cruise which we were celebrating and was the primary reason for the cruise. We received a tiny little card in our cabin when we arrived and that was it. But even if it wasn’t some small things, it just wasn’t any acknowledgement by staff at any point despite them having asked for the information to put into their system that it was our anniversary, including the specific date of the anniversary. When it came to the food, it was more disappointment. They had heavily promoted their top quality dining experience but more time seemed to be spent queuing for food or trying to get a table than actually eating at the table. In the Lido, there were always crowds and with staff and crew also eating in there, much space would be taken up. It was hard to get attention of staff to get a table cleared when people did vacate their spots and so often it was a matter of trying to make space for your own plate until someone would finally come along and clear the stuff. I noticed that staff and crew had no issues like this and were in fact better waited on, as soon as they walked in getting offered drinks straight away, their tables cleaned and cleared rather quickly and this type of thing also went on in the lounge areas. Plus in Rotterdam this was made even more of a problem with all these visitors roaming around the ship eating in the already overcrowded Lido market and lounge areas. On port days the main dining room is closed, therefore a greater volume of people use the Lido dining, including many staff members and visitors and bigger cues at the food counters because of the extra people. Staff were not mingling with the guests but sitting in groups of their own, taking up valuable seating. We paid to be on the ship and should have seating priority over staff and visitors, instead of having to wander around with plates with nowhere to sit. For a 20 night cruise we only saw meringues on offer in the Lido dessert area on one occasion. My wife spoke to a chef asking if they were going to have more, to which the response was they rotate the menu. Day after day the desserts looked the same to me – uninteresting and unappetising, as did all the food in the Lido restaurant. Day after day the same thing from lunch to dinner. I expect this is done to get people to book at paying restaurants on board. We paid enough for this cruise to have much better food and food choices than what was offered. I also advised that same chef that the previous day I asked the kitchen staff member behind the dessert counter for some crackers to have with the cheese/fruit plate – he walked away I assumed to get some, but he never came back, and I was left standing there for ages. Again with the desserts, ice cream is available in the Lido during lunch and dinner, however the gentleman serving it always looked disgruntled and had what I would classify as a bad attitude towards patrons. Anyone would think he paid for the ice cream and it was coming out of his pocket the way it was being meagrely served. One day when I asked for sprinkles on the ice cream the gentleman picked up the entire container and upended it over his dish in what appeared to be annoyance for having asked. I also had a bad experience with the stir fry station as I do not eat seafood, however the person before me was having calamari and scallops in their pan and the man making my stir fry was using the same spatula to stir both. I asked him to stop and desist as some people are allergic to seafood. He continued to use the same spatula in both, then after he served the seafood stir fry he washed up the spatula under running water then wiped it with a towel and used it to scoop my stir fry into a dish. Unfortunately the damage was already done and my dinner was ruined as the noodles had absorbed all the seafood flavours and was unpalatable to me. I was unable to get anything else to eat because most of the stations closed before the closure time printed on the daily newsletter. They are lucky I don’t suffer anaphylaxis from seafood but someone else could have and you could have had a serious medical emergency on board!! The Main Dining Room experience was dismal. We were stuck with a 5:15pm seating which we did not request, as we never eat dinner that early. When we did go to the trouble of requesting a table by number, we were never seated at it. Those occasions when we booked a seating, our table was given to someone else and we were given a pager and had to wait. On two occasions we were stuck at a table so close to the wall that the chair had to be turned sideways to physically sit on it, then manoeuvre it back around to the table. One evening we were given a menu and about fifteen minutes later the waiter came and asked for my order. I said I would have the chicken then he turned and walked away without taking an order from my wife. Confused, I asked my wife if ‘perhaps that was the drink waiter???’ Much later the same gentleman returned and asked for my order. I was gobsmacked. I politely informed him I had already given him my order. He again asked for my order. Neither of us actually fancied anything on the menu after seeing what they were dishing up at the other tables, so instead of giving the waiter a fresh order I asked for the dessert menu. The waiter was shocked. So you don’t want an appetiser or main course? No. I told him I changed my mind about the main course. He said he had been waiting for an announcement by the captain. I asked him “what did waiting for an announcement have to do with you taking our order?” It was completely irrelevant and a lame excuse. I ordered the sorbet for dessert. My wife ordered a fruit plate with ice cream on the side, then my wife said to the waiter ‘could you make that sorbet instead of ice cream?’ The waiter returned with two plates of fruit and two glasses – one containing two scoops of vanilla ice cream and the other with two scoops of sorbet. Clearly he didn’t listen. I had to question the waiters regarding the menu for different items, such as the first formal occasion on both cruises, which appeared to have exactly the same menu with pineapple as an appetiser which was garnished with cilantro lemongrass. I don’t eat cilantro, and it was not an ingredient listed on the menu. On another occasion my wife and I were seated at a table for six people. We were given a menu, then about 15 minutes later another four people were seated and given a menu, then more time for them to look at and choose something to eat. My wife and I did not fancy any of the entrees on offer, only ordering a main then dessert. All up, it took an hour and a half to have two courses in the main dining room. That is ridiculous. The second time we attended a formal night in the main dining room was the first time for the second cruise and we sat with two passengers from another cabin that we had met on the cruise. The seating was 8:45pm. Yet again our table had been allocated to someone else yet we were all there before the allocated time, so again we were given a pager and had to wait. They were giving out pagers like lollies. Waiting around an hour to get a table when we had booked the table was ridiculous. Towards the end of our dinner a waitress carrying an ice bucket back to the kitchen area tripped beside our table resulting in one of our party wearing the bulk of the icy water, with most of the rest of the ice and icy water splashing beneath our table. My wife was wearing a long gown with velvet boots and socks which got wet causing the water on my socks to soak down inside my boots. Did any staff member ask if we needed towels? No. Not a single one. Our dinner companion who copped the brunt of the spill was sitting in soaked trousers for the remainder of the meal, and only had his own and his wife’s serviette to try to dry some of the moisture from his clothes. Not only that, ice was left to sit on the carpet and melt in the walkway between the tables, instead of being cleaned up properly. Other staff members who came along were more concerned about what had happened instead of concerning themselves with the passengers, apologising or cleaning up the mess. The final time we ate in the main dining room we asked for a table for four but were left to wait with a pager for nearly an hour and not called until about 8:45pm. One night I ordered an entrée which was a salad with mandarin. I was presented with a plate full of lettuce that had been cut across the stalk, so each piece of lettuce on the plate had a hard centre, and with no mandarin in sight. I called the waiter and drew his attention to the missing ingredient. He came back with a plate of segments, by which time I had pulled apart the salad on the plate to discover one single tiny piece of fruit. Why bother listing it as an ingredient when it clearly doesn’t form part of the dish. That same dinner I had lamb cutlets as a main which were clearly undercooked, but covered with a green topping to disguise the fact. The whole meat was clearly still red. I asked the waiter for the meat to be cooked properly and showed him the red meat and blood in the meat, telling him that if I was cooking this at home I would have been sticking it back in the oven. This is not the only time we came across food not properly cooked. When asking for well done, meat would often come back rare. I love banger sausages but could not eat them due to them being undercooked during breakfast, when I cut across the meat I could see it was not properly cooked with parts inside still appearing raw. Whoever is responsible for cooking pork on board doesn’t know how to cook this item as it was usually tough and overcooked. Given the length of the cruise and repetition of poor quality cooking, we do not believe the people working in the kitchens are passionate about food at all, and quite frankly couldn’t care less. On port days the main dining room is closed, therefore a greater volume of people use the Lido dining, including many staff members and visitors and bigger cues at the serveries because of the extra people. Staff were not mingling with the guests but sitting in groups of their own, taking up valuable seating. We paid to be on the ship and should have seating priority over staff and visitors, instead of having to wander around with plates with nowhere to sit. In the entire 20 nights there was only 1 barbeque – what is their problem with bbqs? The live Spanish guitar during the bbq – yes, yes, yes! Why wasn’t there more live performances on the pool deck such as this? The ship after 10pm becomes a retirement home as there was basically no entertainment only a movie that was showing on the outdoor screen. Another night we were at the poolside and asked the bar staff for some popcorn for the movie. Yes, they said, they would provide more. We sat at a table and waited and waited and waited. In the end we gave up in disgust and went back to our room where we could watch exactly the same movie out of the cold night air, and without the popcorn. Food was well below standard, even a 3 star cruise ship had way better quality and service, I would have expected better for a 5 star ship. As a side note, I couldn’t tell which things were included and what things were not. Even in cabin room service was hard to know what was included and what involved an extra charge. There was a spa pool on the Lido pool deck not the main pool but this one was closed off and enclosed by glass and it was very rarely used and I wasn’t sure if it was free and it turns out you had to pay. There were more paying stuff than free stuff on this ship The ship was quite a nice ship and being new meant it was obviously in really good shape barring some teething issues (such as the alarm that went off at 11:30pm on one occasion and the quite strong fumes from the painting that was still going on around the ship inside and outside) with The overall design was lovely but it did have a tendency to feel quite crowded including stairwells and lift lobbies. The theatre was hit and miss. Some shows were good. Others weren’t that enjoyable. The performance by the Australian Italian guitarist from Vegas really saved it in this category. I also think that the stage shows can make better use of the theatre space and in particular the wrap around screens. There is a lot of potential there just not being fully utilised. The on board activities ok but again quite hit and miss. As a cruise to celebrate our 30th Anniversary, Holland America certainly made it memorable. Memorable for how disappointing it was. Years ago Holland America had a reputation for its cruise ships that rivalled some of the top names in cruise liners but today it offers a premium 5 star experience but can’t even deliver service or quality at a level offered by even a 3 star ship. And this rating was from the Carnivals own line the P&O Pacific Jewel. Thinking carefully about it, I think that with some changes to service, food and some other changes here and there, this ship has the potential to truly offer a 5 star experience. My wife and I have sailed with other cruise lines that don’t market themselves so highly or even at the same price point but have been able to deliver enjoyable experiences that bring us back to their lines. Holland America needs to drastically improve the customer service and food on board and spend some time looking at what the other lines are doing and offering, and don’t lie or do things in secret like the ceremony in the theatre and then rethink what it thinks a premium experience is. The low star rating I gave this cruise was a 2 and half star at best for service and food and I didn’t just pull a star rating out of my hat I used a rating from another of Carnivals lines the P&O Pacific Jewel, Based on the experience I would not travel with the line again and I would also not recommend it to others. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Service was par for the course for HAL; gracious and sincere. This is a ship of a new and different kind for HAL. I missed the promenade with chairs and open, friendly walkways, my wife doesn't spend much time out on the promenade, ... Read More
Service was par for the course for HAL; gracious and sincere. This is a ship of a new and different kind for HAL. I missed the promenade with chairs and open, friendly walkways, my wife doesn't spend much time out on the promenade, so she didn't feel deprived. The fitness center is first-rate with lots of treadmill machines (maybe too many) and perhaps a bit shy on weight machines. We loved, loved, loved the new New York Deli with its pizza and sandwiches all cheerfully prepared for you at order time. Never had much of a wait here. Dive In was as expected, making the best in hamburgers and hotdogs. Sometimes a wait but always worth it. The Grand Dutch Cafe was also a surprising hit with us. Have the split pea soup but be careful not to over order with it; it is indeed a meal in itself. Sandwiches were also made at order time and were excellent. Our first time on a ship with Tamarind and again, lovely service and excellent food along with a very nice view at the top of the ship. While we found the main dining room to be very lovely and elegant I also found myself feeling like Jonah in the whale with the large "ribcage" like appearance. It was also very noisy in this venue as if there where no sound absorbent material used in the room. Food was good here but service needed some polish. We found a home at the bar in Billboard Onboard. Not for the entertainment; we found that to be amateurish at best but for the service we received from the bar staff. They were first-rate. Also, we loved going to the Queen's Lounge in the evening for a round or two of BB King's Blues Band. What a show! See my cabin review below. We never felt lost or crowded, even in the much maligned Lido. Those chairs there are heavy though! Just pick your times carefully. I never had a problem finding the same seat each morning at roughly 7:30am. And, there's always room out the back outside. We will be back on board this lovely ship soon! Read Less
35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our 16th cruise, second on Hal. We chose because of the new ship of the MS Koningsdam and the christening cruise, plus we liked several of the ports as well. It was one of the most fabulous trips we have ever taken. The ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise, second on Hal. We chose because of the new ship of the MS Koningsdam and the christening cruise, plus we liked several of the ports as well. It was one of the most fabulous trips we have ever taken. The Koningsdam ship is stunning and well-designed (I am an Interior Designer) so I was more critical than the average person and it was an entire time of eye-candy in the way the ship was designed. So many stunning areas of details and beauty every where you looked. Each public area was unique and it seemed like no dollars were skimped at all. Beautiful art everywhere, high-end fabrics and seating in each room. Dining Room was stunning and comfortable. So many options from the Culinary Center, The Pinnacle Grill, The Crow's Nest (our very favorite place), so many interesting bars and food areas. Food once again was fantastic and plentiful. The Pinnacle Grill was a beautiful experience with a fabulous menu and presentation. We LOVED the New York Pizza area at the Pool area for not such predictable food and a fun area for casual dining. Service on this ship was nothing less than outstanding every single place we went. They are doing something right as all their employees seem relaxed and happy and always always concerned that they pleased you at every turn. We have experienced this consistent high-level of service on very few ships, and it made our experience just fabulous! We honestly can't say enough about that. Areas we felt needed some more attention is the entertainment seemed to be hit or miss in the World Theatre. We were dissappointed many nights at the quality of shows both with HAL and those they brought on. We would have liked some live entertainment on the pool deck during the day, but that was never offered. They do a movie on the pool deck that is Amazing. They re-fit the chairs for a more comfortable experience, complete with great blankets and popcorn, pretzels and other food goodies. It is extremely well done and fun!!!! We were on the Christening Cruise and treated like royalty and they really outdid themselves on the whole experience. We felt like we were invited to a royal wedding which included a Gala in Amsterdaam, Fireworks leaving Rotterdam, invites to all the on-board activities with the Queen and other dignitaries, ringing of the bell and truly so much more. Way beyond what we ever expected. There were a few items we felt needed improving but there it is a reach in most cases. All we both can say is that this will be a life-long memory we will hold dear in our hearts and we felt it was worth every penny! As long-time cruisers and more discriminating as we get older, HAl, met those expectations and more. Simply...it was FANTASTIC!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
We were very fortunate to sail on the m.s. Koningsdam's Christening Cruise. She's the largest ship Holland America Line currently has (sister ship, Nieuw Statendam, is being built.) Décor is delightful, as she is ... Read More
We were very fortunate to sail on the m.s. Koningsdam's Christening Cruise. She's the largest ship Holland America Line currently has (sister ship, Nieuw Statendam, is being built.) Décor is delightful, as she is "brightened" with much lighter colors than existing and past HAL ships. Service was in a class by itself....the HAL class. We return to this line mostly because of the outstanding service level. The Koningsdam is a "music ship." That means music venues are everywhere. While we enjoyed every venue, there is one common complaint we feel we need to make. For goodness sake...turn the volume down!!! For example, in the BBKing lounge (a 2-story, smallish lounge), the volume was loud on deck 2, but up on deck 3, it was intolerable! On Deck 3, passengers have to walk by the lounge to travel from forward to aft of the ship...it is the only inside walkway. People were walking by the BBKing lounge holding their hands against their ears! Many people started to go outside to walk the outer deck rather than pass by the BBKing at that volume! HAL...get a clue! The open concept of the ship makes it feel spacious...which it is. What they did not engineer correctly was the noise flow-through from one place to another. You could not hold a conversation in the shop on the 3rd level when the group was playing (and they were very good!) because of the noise. Sure hope HAL puts some better engineering on this topic of noise into the Nieuw Statendam. Read Less
53 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
BACKGROUND: We are frequent, experienced travelers and have taken over 25 cruises on at least nine different lines. We booked the 20 day Christening Cruise of the Koningsdam (actually 13 day Christening and 7 day Norway) for the ... Read More
BACKGROUND: We are frequent, experienced travelers and have taken over 25 cruises on at least nine different lines. We booked the 20 day Christening Cruise of the Koningsdam (actually 13 day Christening and 7 day Norway) for the off-the-beaten-path ports and the chance to sail on a new ship. We had previously taken one HAL cruise in 2005. SHIP LAYOUT: There are parts of the Koningsdam that are lovely and much of the music-related art is interesting and unique (even though art work depicting David Bowie and the Sex Pistol’s Sid Vicious seem ironic on a line whose passenger base averages in their 70s). All of the public space is on Decks 2 and 3 and Deck 9 and above so it is not a difficult ship to find your way around. For all its updated glittery spaces, the ship feels dark and a bit claustrophobic. Unfortunately, the Koningsdam does not hold crowds well and can feel quite crowded with numerous difficult traffic patterns. For example, on Deck 10 overlooking the pool, one must wind a narrow path (barely 2 feet clearance) past immovable hard-as-rocks white couches and deck chairs/beds with curtains dangling between. There are few places to really relax on this ship (especially if you want to be sheltered from sun or wind). The deck chairs around the pool are inexplicably jammed together (about 5 inches apart) and many of the chairs throughout the ship’s lounges are designed very low and with no or very low armrests. Even most of the chairs in the Crow’s Nest were uncomfortable, contrary to our one previous experience on HAL. One thing you will find aplenty are bars including one in the Lido Buffet; from one, from one you are always in sight of the next one. There are dedicated wine blending and whiskey tasting areas which appeared to be underutilized. FOOD & DINING OUTLETS: (See below for food outlet related service.) The majority of the food on the Koningsdam is mediocre and, as expected, tastes mass-market produced. It is exactly what you would expect when serving 2,500 people. The food in the Dining Room is usually a low-grade cut of meat or poultry with a starch and virtually no vegetables. Everything is extremely salty—you can feel your blood pressure rising with each spoon of soup. Desserts are dry—we stuck to the ice cream sundaes. Every night, we had to ask for an extra bowl of vegetables. The gala night offerings were better with a quality filet and lobster tail available. The Lido Buffet is an unequivocal disaster. Although the food is fine by mass-market standards, the atmosphere is chaos—there are no trays so one must run from station to station and stand in queues up to 10 deep trying to find a complete meal while juggling plates. The stations are illogically set up so all your food is cold by the time you find or return to a table with the added problem of so many tables being cleared and reset so slowly. The Dive-In pool grill is standard hot dogs and hamburgers with good crispy fries. The NY Deli and Pizza outlet by the pool is a good option for a quick breakfast but serving only two bagel sandwiches and cold cereal (still vastly preferable to the chaos of the Lido). The Deli also serves good sandwiches and OK pizza. We wanted to try the Dutch Café but the line was always really long or they were out of what we wanted. We experienced two up-charge specialty restaurants: the Pinnacle Grill and the Culinary Arts Center. The Pinnacle Grill filet was good quality and we liked the idea of numerous sides (starches and vegetables) to choose from; it is a shame that this food is considered ‘premium and extra cost’ when just a few years ago, this was the level of cruise ship food in the dining room. The Culinary Arts Center was our best food experience by far and the only one that met our standards for food and service on the Koningsdam. The top-notch food was freshly prepared in the open kitchen; if anything, there was a bit too much food served (a cocktail and wine were included in the upcharge). SERVICE: Based on our 30 years of traveling at all price points, the service and attitude of ALL the staff on the Koningsdam were the WORST we’ve ever experienced and an all time low! Multiple times a day for 20 days, we had experiences of appalling and unacceptable attitudes and service. HAL should be ASHAMED of the Koningsdam’s lack of customer service! The one exception was our room attendants who were always pleasant, efficient and responsive. The only good dining service we received was at the Culinary Arts Center. The laundry is prompt. However, the rest of the staff (and their processes) are inefficient, indifferent, unhygienic, unresponsive and especially RUDE--always quick to roll eyes at requests and argue. This includes Guest Services and especially the majority of staff associated with any food-related outlet. I left three messages to speak to the Hotel manager about our terrible experiences and never heard a word from him. Even the cruise director is rarely seen and just ignores passengers in passing. Obviously, this lack of customer service is an attitude set from the top down. Examples of poor service we experienced are extremely numerous but here are a few: --The public restrooms are woefully unattended; one evening I had to report to Guest Services the disgusting condition of a restroom with dirty tissues and towels all over the floor, no toilet paper and dirty sinks; --When asked a question about our 7 day Norway segment, a Guest Services employee raised her voice and kept arguing that the next segment was 14 days and I was wrong; after she finally checked and answered my question, where was no apology for her tone and behavior; --The Dining Room ‘Anytime’ seating was total chaos with waits well over an hour some evenings, even when large numbers of tables were empty; the Ocean Bar and nearby corridor where they send people to wait with beepers was standing room only; --Was served raw Crème Brule in the dining room (yes, burnt sugar on top of a raw egg); --Was offered a sandwich at the NY Deli that they said was “returned by a lady who didn’t want it;” --Had an over three-hour dinner in the Dining Room as the server would just disappear as we sat with dirty dishes in front of us for 45 minutes between each course; --Staff would consistently roll their eyes if we requested anything ‘extra’ like additional vegetables or more potato chips; --Requesting a table for four at Tea, the manager actually yelled at us that we needed to sit separately and when we insisted on sitting at an empty table for four, he punished us by not serving us for 15 minutes then came back in 5 minutes to snatch away the tea things while we were still eating; --I suggested to the Lido manager that it would be great to have ice cream and cookies available in the Lido in the afternoon; he very aggressively told me that I should go spend money at the gelato stand; --And on, and on and on… Yes, the staff was that rude. In fact, the abominable service was the talk of many passengers even ones we met on excursions; some HAL loyalists said they would never sail the line again. Obviously, this is a company that does NOT have a culture of customer service and does not know how to train and/or motivate staff. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES: The Koningsdam’s World Stage is a wonderful venue. Even with three shows a night, be aware that it fills up quickly. Unfortunately, in 20 days, it was used to good effect only a handful of times. Their ‘Frozen Planet’ production by the BBC with live music by the ship’s orchestra is excellent! Their production shows are good quality even if the choreography is a bit frantic and amateurish. The individual entertainers are pretty much standard mass-market cruise types. The exception was a magic act that was so bad, the audience was streaming out and those that remained offered a few pity claps. The Lincoln Center Chamber ensemble is excellent; as is the BB King group—but unfortunately they are so loud for the venue, it’s impossible to enjoy them for more than a song or two. In the dueling piano lounge, the pianists are good but their voices are weak and repertoire limited. The Casino is fairly large, allows smoking and appears to be underutilized. Second run movies are shown on a large screen on the pool deck on some evenings (there is no movie theater). Unfortunately, the timing isn't great; one show starts at 7 pm and interferes with dinner and a second show is at 10 pm which runs too late for early touring on a port intensive itinerary. The at-sea daytime activities were a huge disappointment, especially compared to other lines. There was daily trivia but were very few enrichment lectures; almost all of the activities were revenue generators like bingo, paid fitness classes, paid cooking demonstrations, etc. Overall, with virtually no comfortable places to relax and read, no daytime movies and no interesting activities, at-sea days were boring. ITINERARY & CHRISTENING: The 13 day Christening segment was a ‘one off’ itinerary that repositioned the ship from Italy where it was built to Amsterdam, which will be its homeport. Having traveled extensively in Europe, the ports on this segment allowed us to tour some interesting places we had not visited before such as Seville (from Cadiz) and Santiago Del Compestelo (from Vigo), Spain and Bayeux (from Cherbourg), France. We enjoyed returning to Oslo on the 7 day Norway segment and visiting Flam and Stavenger for the first time; however, the stop at Kristiansand was uninteresting. For exploring the ports, we toured several DIY, took a few private tours, and used a few of the ship’s excursions. It was interesting to witness a portion of the ship’s Christening ceremony by the Queen of the Netherlands (passengers had to choose which part of the ceremony they would attend). However, the whole occasion was incredibly elitist. It was obvious that the Carnival/HAL corporate representatives that came aboard for two days received vastly better service than the paying passengers. PASSENGERS: Perhaps because of the Christening, but the vast majority of the passengers on the Koningsdam appeared to be older seniors, age 70 and above. Many people we met were staunch HAL loyalists who rarely traveled any other way. During the 13 day Christening segment, there were passengers from America, Canada, Australia, UK and a large contingent from the Netherlands. On the 7 day Norway segment, the average age dropped a bit (we actually saw a few children) and the number of Dutch passengers increased and seemed to become the majority. SUMMARY: Based on our 35 years travel experience, after 20 days on the Koningsdam, we will never ail this ship or HAL again. In today’s competitive mass-market cruise industry, there are any number of better alternatives if value for your vacation dollar is a priority and you have standards for the service and food you will accept. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We’re surprised by the variation of these early Koningsdam reviews. We had a great time (this being our first HAL cruise), having recently cruised with Crystal. We wanted to try a new ship, and we loved this newest member of HAL. We were ... Read More
We’re surprised by the variation of these early Koningsdam reviews. We had a great time (this being our first HAL cruise), having recently cruised with Crystal. We wanted to try a new ship, and we loved this newest member of HAL. We were on the 7-day Norway cruise that started/ended in Amsterdam. Perhaps being in a Neptune suite (deck 7) spoiled us with the added amenities/services in the the Neptune Lounge, but all the staff we met … from the room stewards to the MDR dining staff … was faultless. We were always addressed by our names, and the politeness of the staff, especially in the Neptune Lounge, seemed natural and genuine. In fact, we heard that most of the staff were hand-picked from the other HAL ships, so in a sense, we got the ‘best of the best.’ We liked the mix of port/sea days, and spent sea days working out in the gym, relaxing in the sauna (gazing out picturesque windows … wow), taking computer classes (sadly on Windows, and not on MAC computers), and joining the excellent behind-the-scenes tour (spread across two afternoons). While we echo the disappointment over the lack of a library and the compromised promenade deck, these were not deal breakers for us. Meals in the MDR were surprisingly good, and the gala night menu, especially ... lobster tail and filet mignon … was impressive. Shellfish, particularly shrimp, was a high point. We also enjoyed the Culinary Arts Center and Tamarind, but found the MDR to be more than satisfactory. And particularly satisfying were the french fries by the pool, and cookies at the Dutch Cafe. Yum! Even breakfast in the LIDO was fine, with its wide assortment of foods (although tables were hard to find on the last morning). So, in the way of dining, we were certainly not lacking. The world stage on the Koningsdam was a wonder to behold. However, not all the performances were consistently good, so perhaps this is an area to improve upon (as well as the lack of lectures on sea days). The artwork throughout the ship was eye-catching, and areas like the Crow’s Nest were a delightful haven. On the Music Walk, we gravitated to the classical venue at the Lincoln Center Stage. HAL is heading in the right direction, and like many others, we look forward to coming back. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We have traveled HAL 8 times both Alaska and Europe. Other cruise lines about the same. One of the things we really liked about HAL was the library and movie theater. On cruise days we both enjoyed the library or going to an ... Read More
We have traveled HAL 8 times both Alaska and Europe. Other cruise lines about the same. One of the things we really liked about HAL was the library and movie theater. On cruise days we both enjoyed the library or going to an afternoon movie. No such luck on the their new ship. HAL has forgotten who their customer is and what we liked. After paying many thousands of dollars you are latterly overwhelmed with their hawking retail every where you go. A cruise is supposed to be relaxing not pushed to buy something 24/7. We are both huge Promanade walkers. On other HAL ships you can walk to get your exercise but not on this ship, it is very narrow with no outside deck chairs. Who designed this ship ? Retail should not be the number one focus. the customer should be the most important focus on a ship. It is simply not that way. We will never cruise on the Koningsdam again. 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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