1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Picked this cruise for my husband and I to explore more of the west Mediterranean. It's the biggest ship we've been on so far, and had some reservations, as we preferred the smaller but more classic Rotterdam before. There was ... Read More
Picked this cruise for my husband and I to explore more of the west Mediterranean. It's the biggest ship we've been on so far, and had some reservations, as we preferred the smaller but more classic Rotterdam before. There was about 2900 passengers and it was most noticeable in the Main Dining Room during Anytime Dining as service was slow during peak hours. We even saw a family bring in cards to play while waiting for their food. After a few times, we opted to have dinner in the specialty restaurants or eat casually in the convenience of the Lido Buffet, which made for more pleasant experience in terms of ambience and getting to know the waiters. We had lunch at Pinnacle Grill, with tasty bread service, very attentive wait staff and deliciously moist Alaska Salmon and Cod sandwich - I'd go back given the choice. Dinner at Tamarind was pretty good: overlooks the adult swimming pool and has great sunset views, the wait staff was so congenial and attentive with tea and cloths. Appetizers were smaller than expected but very tasty. Mains veered on the larger side but were decent interpretations for asian cuisine. I'd give the fried crab rice a pass though (cold crab meat on top of regular soy fried rice) and do the regular steam rice with the curries. Rudy's Sel De Mer restaurant portions are significantly larger than either Pinnacle or Tamarind, so we definitely overate and over-ordered, as their complimentary surprise food items made it hard to finish the meal. The service was great though and I would definitely only order 1 of each course, since each portion was huge compared to other restaurants. Canaletto was alright, but a little exposed to the rest of the lido deck for my taste. Turns out they have custom order pasta at the Lido deck anyways so your pick in the end. Otherwise we thoroughly enjoyed the spa's water therapy pools everynight and enjoyed the dance shows on Centre Stage. Excursion talks seemed better than other lines - teaching you more about the cities, not just trying to sell you the excursion, sad I missed out on them till the end. Their in-room entertainment service is awesome, lots of new on-demand movies. The Kitchen Tour was neat but you could definitely find areas to lounge and relax in by the Explorer's Lounge, upstairs of Lido Deck and in the Dutch cafe. As for ports best ones were Cartagena (ambled around DT district), Malaga (did Mijas Village tour), Marseille (amble around DT - take cruise's bus to get direct into town, don't fart around with local transit, not worth the hassle), Livorno (tour to Florence), and Monte Carlo (took 40 min bus to Nice) and Civitavecchia. Worst ones were Gibraltar (duty free shops and overrun 1.5hr cable car ride), and Barcelona (too hot and constantly looking out for pickpockets). Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Overall we had a great cruise in the Mediterranean on board the Koningsdam. It's a newer ship and very pretty inside and out. The public spaces, music walk bars, pool areas, lido deck buffets were are all well organized and staffed. ... Read More
Overall we had a great cruise in the Mediterranean on board the Koningsdam. It's a newer ship and very pretty inside and out. The public spaces, music walk bars, pool areas, lido deck buffets were are all well organized and staffed. The Crow's Nest lounge was one of our favorite places on the ship. The outdoor exercise track was the best place for taking pictures when coming into port or passing a really interesting geographic feature. Cabin - We had a nice aft facing vista suite. Nothing to complain about except the toilet is mounted at a 45 deg angle that really leave no leg room when seated, so if you happen to have legs you be forced to sit at a very awkward angle to use this appliance for its intended purpose. (I can only image the arguments that happened in the design phase of this ship over this "compromise" solution. I'm sure there were some great exchanges! Maybe an interview by Cruise Critic? Would certainly be entertaining.) Food - The food was simply fantastic. Most people said it was the best on any cruise they've had. Chocolate desserts were varied and outstanding. MDR was run efficiently and other than the sommeliers being stretched a bit too thin, things went fine there for us. Pinnacle grill was a very nice meal for us, too. If you like espresso drinks, the Dutch Cafe and Explorer's cafe in the crow's nest are great too. Entertainment - This was probably their weakest suit but this was really an excursion cruise so not a big deal to us. The BB King blues band was the best thing on the boat featuring a great group of musicians. The Billboard lounge dueling piano players were second rate and the rock band was okay at best. There were some shows on the world stage, I did not see much of that but one act I caught was a cheesy singer putting on a show for an unenthusiastic audience. Plenty of opportunities to socialize and make friends and we enjoyed that greatly. Try trivia or some of the other ship activities. Whiskey tasting at the Notes bar is a great idea but needs to move to a quieter location where you can have a conversation. The casino was lightly attended. Two pools on lido are available, mid ship and an adult only pool aft. Most of the smokers hang out by the aft pool but it wasn't overwhelming as the smokers congregated mainly in one covered section and it was easily avoided. I swam there every day so I did not find it to be an issue. Service - I really cannot say enough about how good the service staff is. From servers to housekeeping these folks hustle and work hard, are polite, remember names and drinks you've ordered. I was impressed. Ports - Everywhere we went was pretty interesting and fun. Due to it being high season, we encountered some crowds at main attractions like the old town of Dubrovnik (truly over run with tourists, tacky tourist trip shops, but some side street cafe's were still bright spots and I would still recommend walking the walls of this city for the history and views.) Among the highlights were Kotor, Sicily and Malta. I cannot say enough about sailing into the ancient seaport of Velletta, Malta. Don't sleep in! I got my camera and took some amazing photos in the early morning light. You won't see a port like this anywhere else in the world, it's a time capsule. The last sea day was a cruise past the active volcano, Stromboli. Since it had just erupted 2 days earlier there was a lot to witness. The Italian Navy was present to be ready for an evacuation of the island and there were 2 firefighting sea plane dowsing out lava spawned fires that threatened the town at the foot of the volcano. Everyone on board was treated to front row seat to a fascinating operation and a string of small eruptions of lava that were plainly visible. Excursions are not our thing so I will not comment other than to say these folks were highly organized and will get you a good guide and tightly run tour if that is your thing. Wifi services were pricey and not that great but if you need to be online, you can be. Pick-ups and transfers were handled extremely well. The hallmark of this ship was that a great deal of professionalism and organization allowed guests to relax and enjoy the trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Pros: Ship rarely felt like it was near capacity, even though it was Generous amount of time ashore in ports Embarkation and disembarkation was the best/fastest/easiest I've seen; also very good for going ashore/coming back ... Read More
Pros: Ship rarely felt like it was near capacity, even though it was Generous amount of time ashore in ports Embarkation and disembarkation was the best/fastest/easiest I've seen; also very good for going ashore/coming back in ports Secondary Eateries (Grand Dutch Cafe, Dive In, Pizza) are quite good and very convenient Sanitation taken seriously Cons: MDR food quality has noticeably dropped since cruises 5 & 15 years ago Waitstaff/wine stewards in MDR and lounges are stretched too thin and cannot serve timely; they need more staff Specialty restaurants touted, but the expense and space should be devoted to the MDR This was a mid-June 25-day sailing combining two "legs"-- western Med and Adriatic. We (H&W + 2 teens) selected it for number and variety of ports; if you were more interested in life aboard the ship than ashore, you need a less port-intensive itinerary. The variety of ports was awesome, and we loved the itinerary with only minor quibbles. This was a great cruise, so please take the critical comments below as constructive criticism meant to be helpful for others considering this ship or a similar itinerary; overall, we would rate the cruise a solid A. It was nice being on a new ship--the more modern touches (LED lighting, better bathrooms) were great. Embarkation in Civitavecchia was a breeze; far easier than any previous onboarding regardless of cruise line or location. Very organized; we showed up around noon for our "suggested" 1pm boarding and were in our cabin not 15 minutes after dropping our bags. Luggage was delivered before we even had a chance to step out for lunch. Cabins (Vista + Inside) were nice, and the stewards were good at keeping up with what looked to be a heavy load. More below. We got the unlimited laundry for $225 and got our money's worth for sure! Note that although the service is nice in that clothes come back folded or hung, the washers are not always thorough and they surely don't pretreat for stains. Excursions: we booked our own for each port, as well as transfers for two reasons. First, on simple transfers and excursions, we saved both time and money. But more fundamentally, we'd done enough with HAL to know that in Europe we would be better off booking our own so we could go faster and do and see a better variety of things. The median passenger age seemed to be about 65. From what I heard, those who took EXC excursions were happy, and I do note that in one port (Livorno, I think) they held the ship for several buses of EXC tours that had been stuck in traffic. Comments on the ones we used: Spain--SpainDayTours and had good luck with those. Gibraltar--Carl at Inside-Out Rock tours, and he was excellent. Malta--Joan Sheridan, best guide of the trip. Split--tour via AirbNB, excellent (and particularly good value) Trieste--ToursByLocals to Slovenia: not good, requested partial refund (enervated guide) Naples--AmalfiCar: fiasco, do not use, ever Catania--cooking class at a local's house via Expedia: excellent. Cadiz (paragliding; canceled due to wind direction), Split (canyoning; canceled due to timing), Dubrovnik (sea kayaking; hard but excellent), Corfu (parasailing; excellent), Rijeka (rafting; nice but a bit slow), Kotor (paragliding; awesome): all but the last booked through Adrenaline Hunter. All but the last had some problem. Adrenaline Hunter is convenient, but I would use it as a research tool to see generally what adventure activities are available in an area, but then I would book directly with the outfitter so that you have better control of the communication and can be specific about times and locations. Specifically, we had issues with all of our excursions mostly related to communications/location/pick-up and timing (we had to cancel canyoning when we found out the night before that the transfer took 2 hours and thus would return us after all-aboard; the website disclosures were ambiguous at best (note further that the outfitter tried very hard to accommodate us, but we just didn't have enough time in port for this one). In general, the operators were all helpful, but AH didn't add anything, and my advice is to pin down every detail before you embark. Transfers: we booked various ones through KiwiTaxi (good/very good), MyDayTrip (mixed) and Taxis For Cruisers (very good). Main Dining (late seating) was a bit rough on the first leg as we had an awful table by the waitstation. Compounding matters, the service often had long gaps between courses (with no beverage/water service, either). This improved on the second leg of the cruise, but was still less consistent than expected and not what you could call "excellent service". Four or five nights we had to let the kids leave early to get dessert at the Lido because the meal dragged on past 10pm (we would be seated at 8:15). Making sure we were seated right as they opened helped some...usually. Sadly, the only way to get more than a garnish serving of vegetables was to go to the Lido. Allergies: daughter has an almost absurd array of food allergies. We had alerted HAL pre-cruise, but it was unclear who should know. Answer: if you have food allergies, see the MDR manager AND let your servers know as soon as the MDR opens. They took the allergies VERY seriously and took great care to ensure her safety. Wine service was poor. Stewards seemed to have gaps in training, and were required to serve far too many tables to be able to provide proper service. One steward we had seemed puzzled that we would have more than one wine open at a time (a white, a rose and a red), as though we should always finish what we had the night before regardless of that evening's meal choices. They also had a hard time managing wines brought aboard...which is pretty frustrating given the corkage fee and the fact we were cruising through great wine regions. (Bottles were "misplaced" for several days, and not stored at proper temperature.) Specialty dining: We ate at Pinnacle and Tamarind, both of which were excellent and nice as a treat...although if they are letting MDR decay as they have they should lower the price point on these. Other dining: I would have to say that I think the Lido food is better than on our last cruise, and generally good to very good. The Grand Dutch Cafe, Dive In, NY Pizza are even better and very convenient. Sanitation: I've read many reviews and heard grumblings from passengers about the Lido food being served by staff (rather than self serve) and that causing lines/crowds/delays. So be it. Indeed, if you are bothered by such things, I invite you to travel on a line that is less serious about sanitation so that you won't ever be in front of me. (One good example I witnessed was when I came up to a Lido station as meal service was winding down. The server was wiping down the service area, and when he noticed me, he didn't stop, but rather said "please wait a minute" [or some such], and then finished the wipe-down AND washed his hands (thoroughly) before serving me. Good training and discipline there.) Club HAL (kids club): we expected our kids to be bored recluses and that there would not be many teens aboard. Wrong. There was a good scrum of teens who mostly got along very well, and my kids had a lot of fun with their peers aboard. They often were the last back to the cabin...and hard to wake in the morning. They had a blast! Bars: meh. Service is average, some drinks better than others, but prices a tad higher than deserved...as usual. Entertainment: We really enjoyed Billboard (dueling pianos) and Rolling Stone (rock band). We wish they could have played a wider repertoire, but we assume they were making valid assumptions about their audience. The BB King and Lincoln Center Stage performances were also solid, although we saw fewer of those. Saw only a few World Stage acts; seemed fine, not great, but we're really not their audience. Fitness Center: Quite good IMHO. Good equipment and only a few were out of order. Enough equipment that few people waited (that I saw), and even then not for long. Happily, a courteous group of pax in there, too. Art: I'm far from an art snob, but I really liked the art on the Koningsdam! It was clever and different, and kept with the musical theme...in sharp contrast to the generic but garish and trying too hard art on every other cruise ship I've been on. Ports: All were good. Rijeka (swapped for Ravenna at the last minute) was a downgrade, but OK. Corfu was just OK. Malta was spectacular. Some of the smaller Spanish ports (Cadiz, Malaga) were a bit sleepy, but that was fine with us. Again, we chose the itinerary because of the variety, and we definitely got what we expected! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My husband and I have just returned from an 11-day cruise to the Mediterranean, our first cruise with Holland America. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, it covered pretty much all the places we wanted to see (except Venice). ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from an 11-day cruise to the Mediterranean, our first cruise with Holland America. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, it covered pretty much all the places we wanted to see (except Venice). We are not big drinkers or late night activity seekers, and we are easy to please with food. We are all about sightseeing. We spent 4 days in Rome first (on our own). We were very pleased. I had some concern with the entertainment based on other reviews however we were very pleased with what we saw. The ship was very clean and the staff was, we thought, happier than other cruises we have been to. Embarkation and disembarkation were very organized and quick. I saw many advantages of it being a newer ship. The bathroom had a real shower which we greatly appreciated, very roomy, for a nice shower after a sweaty day of sightseeing. The angle of the toilet was really not a problem. There are electrical outlets and USB ports all around the cabin. The balcony was roomy and the glass door was immaculately clean. There is ample storage. We purchased the unlimited laundry service and it was so worth it. Our stewards Christina and Agu were wonderful. We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants and had most of our dinners in the dining room. The quality of the food was a bit inconsistent, and presentation was generally better than flavor/texture. The Lido buffet was very varied and I liked the fact that most of the time you need to be served, which contributes to hygiene and illness prevention. They have these awesome hand washing stations. We would have liked to see food available at all times. One day we wanted to have a late lunch and all the stations were closed (we went to the grill instead, no big deal). There were no lines for the big theater as I had read. In the dining room, we did have a wait (approx 20 minutes) on both formal nights. We loved the Planet Earth show with the string quartet and the dueling pianos shows. The Knights (3 guys) were fabulous, so talented. We did not have any complaints about the service in general. This is a large operation and everyone seemed focused on service. Every time I cruise I think about these people, away from their families for months... We did all our excursions with Shore Excursions instead of the cruise line's, to save money. Now that I know that in Santorini the the passengers who bought the excursion with them are given priority into the tenders, I would have purchased that one with HAL. We ended up losing about an hour on land. Santorini is absolutely beautiful. We liked everything we saw (again, easy to please). I guess Athens was my least favorite one although the Acropolis was memorable. We saw a lot of decay and graffiti. Lastly, HAL offers Catholic masses and this was so wonderful (and convenient). Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We are not cruisers.One 4 day disaster to the Carribbean on another line was all we had to go on. We were looking for a five star floating hotel to cruise the Greek Islands and spend a few days in Athens, and we found it in spades with the ... Read More
We are not cruisers.One 4 day disaster to the Carribbean on another line was all we had to go on. We were looking for a five star floating hotel to cruise the Greek Islands and spend a few days in Athens, and we found it in spades with the HA Koningsdam! Flew into Rome, were met immediately by HA staff, and transported seamlessly to the port. Our boarding was easy, and our cabin everything I had envisioned. Now for the trip itself. We NEVER waited for anything on board.The longest line we ever had was 5 people in front of us for an omelet. The Lido deck is a thing of beauty, with all food served individually, plexi-glass covering every station (phew!), and too many choices to take in. Silverware wrapped in cloth napkins at every place, beverages served by wait staff, and, oh..desserts to die for with a killer view! For dinner, we opted for the open seating plan, and are so happy we did. We chose to sit with other couples each night (you CAN sit solo), and met so many fascinating people. The wait staff had just won a HA award for service, and were working to live up to it. The food was 4 star worthy, and no one ever rushed us or forgot we were there. A wine steward approached us each night, but there was no feeling of being "sold" anything. We paid extra for the Pinnacle Room one night and loved it. The Canneletto disappointed only because of the location.The entertainment was top notch every night, and our stop at the BB KIng lounge--a must if you love music and/or dancing--ended our nights on an up note every time. I even got to play Pickle Ball on our sea days. Deck 12 was the lounge and internet cafe with private rooms for meetings like our CruiseCritic meet and greet the first day. The fitness room is extensive with the usual forward view. Two pools and many hot tubs for relaxing. We booked tours thru Viator, and one with CruiseCritic buddies, and loved every one. Met right off the boat, on time, just as advertised, with incredible guides. Heard nothing but raves about Viator tours...not so much about those booked through the ship. And Hop-on, Hop off in Athens, Rome and Naples worked great, as usual. Do not miss Ephesus. No words to describe it accurately. MInd blowing is all I can think of. And our guide was phenomenal. If you are thinking of this HA tour-- DO IT! For adults 50 and over. Ave. age about 55-65 Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first Holland America cruise and we didn't know what to expect with the cruise line in general or our ship (Koningsdam). We have taken several cruises before with other lines (Princess, Celebrity, RC, and Carnival). ... Read More
This was our first Holland America cruise and we didn't know what to expect with the cruise line in general or our ship (Koningsdam). We have taken several cruises before with other lines (Princess, Celebrity, RC, and Carnival). This was by far the best cruise of them all from the itinerary, to the condition of the ship, to the service of our room attendant and wait staff in the main dining room. I would agree with some other reviews that getting in to see a show in the main theatre is challenging unless you arrive very early. We didn't, so we chose not to attend any of the main theatre shows. Instead we took advantage of the Lincoln Center, BB King's blues, and the Rolling Stone Rock rooms which were all very good. Our room attendant for our cabin (6184) did a fantastic job of keeping our space clean and coming up with creative towel animals each night. Jo and his assistant got extra tips from us for their efforts. Jo and his assistant were the first to call us by name after just a few minutes on the ship. The room was a standard veranda and was quite comfortable for two people. I really liked the large screen TV and the features that it offered. There are some enhancements that could be done to improve this (like broadcasting the main theatre performances), but overall there were lots of movies to choose from or some live TV if you wanted to catch up on events. The only issue we had was that ESPN's signal was spotty on occasion. The room was ready for us when we boarded and we received our luggage quite quickly as well as some flowers my in-laws arranged to celebrate my wife's birthday. There is ample storage room in the closets and different cubbies in the room. The shower is very large for a cruise ship with great water pressure and temperature. The food in the main dining room was very good to excellent on a far majority of the evenings. The exception being the 2nd gala night when the filet mignon wasn't cooked to the asked temperature. They offered a replacement quickly and addressed the issue. Service was attentive and we were called by our names after the first evening. The food on the Lido deck and some of the other areas of the ship were very good. I really like how the staff serve the food rather than allowing everyone to touch everything. I appreciate this is to prevent any shipboard illnesses and fully agree with this approach. The condition of the ship is very good. I actually went looking for rust and only find a very small spot on the main passenger areas. Clearly maintenance is being enforced and it shows. Well done. Our cruise director, Nathan, was what we were looking for on our cruise. He wasn't an over the top party boat director like other lines and did a good job keeping us informed on what was going on during the morning update without being too intrusive. The captain was the same person as the recently released Mighty Ship episode on the Discovery channel. He was quite funny and you can tell that he enjoys his role as master of the ship. Due to weather issues we weren't able to get into Santorini, but the captain found an alternative port in Crete (Souda) that was very enjoyable. He greeted passengers upon arrival in Souda as a way to apologize for the change in our plans. It was the right decision even though I was really looking forward to our visit in Santorini. The safety of the ship and guests would not have allowed us to tender in port easily. Overall we really enjoyed our cruise and will be travelling with Holland America again in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have done several cruises with Holland America and we really like them. The ships are clean and classy and they have itineraries that we like. We always consider every availability but frequently choose Holland America for these ... Read More
We have done several cruises with Holland America and we really like them. The ships are clean and classy and they have itineraries that we like. We always consider every availability but frequently choose Holland America for these reasons. The ports were excellent and the amount of time allocated for each port we thought adequate. We don't use the cruise ship tours. We prefer to find travelers we like and share tours / transportation with them once we reach port. This has worked very well for us. I am a vegetarian and the main dining room always has excellent accommodations. The have a full vegetarian menu available on request and I order from that a day in advance for dinner. The food, and service were both very good. The only criticism we had of this trip was the entertainment. The Rolling Stone venue is by far the best. The BB King venue is a close second, but the BB King lineup we had on the last ship was far better. The dueling pianos venue is terrible. No one we spoke to liked it and the typical response when bringing it up was an eye roll. Holland American used to have the classic piano bar setup which was a lot better in our estimation. We had Barry from Boston on that cruise and he is hands-down the best ship performer I have ever seen. And I was a recording engineer for 20 years. Barry Rocklin. If you get the chance to see him on a cruise, say Hi for me. He's incredible. Meanwhile, Holland America? If you're listening... The dueling pianos thing needs to go away. The gym is very nicely arranged and outfitted. I would like to see 2 or so more recumbent bikes and it would be nice to have it open at 5 AM rather than 6 AM, but those are very minor points. Overall the gym is excellent and it has a great view of where you're going. I am working on the full travel blog which will be on my website warrenharris.net Also, my YouTube channel (look for Warren Paul Harris) has numerous videos of our adventures on this trip as well as video reviews of the ship itself. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise included the very high quality of onboard services and food quality. While not seeing the rationale of Holland America reworking some areas to provide private space for Club Orange, we did like other changes made during the late 2018 dry dock, including addition of the Rolling Stone Rock Room (good quality rock music performed several times most nights by an onboard cover band) and conversion of the space outside of the former Culinary Arts Center to nice tables for couples with great ocean views. We missed the early evening a-la-carte menu formerly offered in the Culinary Arts Center but tried and were impressed by the Nami Sushi area added to the Tamarind restaurant. The free onboard dining options, for the most part, offered very, very good food. The Lido Market was generally good but was overcrowded at times, some of the staff there were a bit aggressive, and I did get a reheated and overcooked steak there one evening. While the quality of espresso drinks at Explorations Café and the Grand Dutch Café remained very good, it was disappointing that the extra cost of standard tall drinks had increased by about 40% in just over a year. We noticed that the crowd seemed to be younger this year, than last, which is probably good news for the future of Holland America. This was particularly true on the second part of this back-to-back cruise which included younger families and a number of kids. The room stewards were absolutely incredible, consistently delivering superior quality service with a smile and friendly comments. We were a bit disappointed with the evening shows at times as there were no Broadway/ Los Vegas style shows (or onboard dance/singing troupe) as in the past. We found it strange that during the second part of the cruise, EXC port presentations were offered instead of evening shows and on days with late evening departure times, there were no shows at all. This may in part be the price of a music walk with 4 different acts. Overall, Koningsdam is a lovely ship and delivered a consistently high quality cruise experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Husband and I chose this transatlantic because of sailing dates and we had a future cruise deposit with HAL. Everything went smoothly from embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale to disembarkation (Expedited Early Departure) in Civitevecchia. Ft. ... Read More
Husband and I chose this transatlantic because of sailing dates and we had a future cruise deposit with HAL. Everything went smoothly from embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale to disembarkation (Expedited Early Departure) in Civitevecchia. Ft. Lauderdale's terminal traffic is somewhat of a bottleneck but once in the bujilding we breezed onto the ship and found our stateroom ready and luggage there soon after. The weather was generally comfortable but somewhat overcast but the waters were smooth except for about 1 day in the Mediterranean where we had a little rocking. Ship is well maintained and appears as fresh as the brand-new Nieuw Statendam which we sailed Dec. 29, 2018-Jan, 2019. Only exception is some slightly worn furniture in the Crow's Nest. We were in verandah cabin 6219 (aft)- convenient, especially for most dining locales. Wonderful shower; not fond of the closet/storage/bathroom area-too many doors banging into each other. So much cabin storage we never have enough with us to fill everything up! Food was wonderful and some was better than we have had on other ships/lines. Service excellent throughout: unobtrusive and polite. Particularly enjoyed the superb quintet in the Lincoln Center Stage and a boogie-woogie pianist in the World Stage. Also enjoyed all of the enrichment talks with EXC. Very thorough. Also enjoyed the posted times to talk to the EXC experts about all ports. Weakness of this ship and the Nieuw Statendam is the quality of musicians/entertainers isn't top-tier (based on our 2 experiences) in venues, other than Lincoln Center, particularly the World Stage-subpar magicians, singers and BBC show. We had planned our port excursion activities in advance and booked one through the ship (Granada/Alhambra, Spain) from the port of Malaga. It was a pricey excursion but worth the money considering transportation, guides and lunch. Some Staff Kudos: John in the Microsoft Room and Nathan as Cruise Director (led a wonderful book club meeting-suggest posting the book titles for the sailings on the HAL website so they can be purchased/read in advance, as Princess does).-these 2 individuals are treasures the company should give raises to so they keep them with HAL. We have been on 20+ cruises/6 lines and they stood out. Our 7 days at sea before our first port flew by with so much going on aboard (and my husband was concerned he might be bored!!!). After 2 eastbound transatlantic cruises we are now hooked and want to do a westbound so I can experience 6 25-hour days instead of 6 23-hour days during the time changes. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This cruise left Ft Lauderdale March 27 2019 - April 7 Neptune Suite. There is no priority tender service for Neptune Suite passengers as has been stated in the summary on this site and in others. In 5 cruises on HAL ships I have ... Read More
This cruise left Ft Lauderdale March 27 2019 - April 7 Neptune Suite. There is no priority tender service for Neptune Suite passengers as has been stated in the summary on this site and in others. In 5 cruises on HAL ships I have never found a place to board or depart separate from other guests, except during home port embarkation. I have asked. They seem amazed that I would ask about it. The newly designed Koningsdam Neptune suites are less user friendly than on the other ships. Smaller, it seems, with fewer closets, less storage space and worst of all, the "water closet" is separated from the rest of the bathroom by a door. The area for the toilet measures 8 ft 5 inches by 46 inches. Once reduced by the sink and counter, I believe you are left with about 5 ft by 40 inches of space, minus the toilet itself. which is ok, except that TWO doors enter into this area. One opens inward and comes within 2 inches of front of the toilet seat. In an otherwise luxurious suite why have they designed the bathroom this way is beyond me. Those issues aside, it was a great trip. The bed is comfortable, the service perfect. We ate in the new Orange Dining Room (Neptune Suite, Pinnacle Suite passengers and 4 Star Mariners) every night except when in the Pinnacle Grill. We made use of the free laundry service for Neptune Suite passengers, room service for breakfast on days when we had an excursion planned and one night for a late night snack. All these services were wonderful. Entertainment on HAL still is not anything to write about, so I won't. The ship is only about 2 years old and is being well taken care for. The staff is welcoming and friendly. The Hotel Director seems to be everywhere making sure all runs smoothly. Even on the tender to Half Moon Cay. That stop, by the way, is a really nice way to enjoy a day at the beach. Be sure to reserve a "clam shell" which is a shaded spot for two beach lounges, before you leave on your trip. On a sunny day you will fry out there without one and things move much more quickly when you land if you already have your ticket in hand. We have enjoyed every single one of our voyages on HAL. This one was particularly fun because in two ports we berthed along side our sister ship, The Niew Statendam. We made friends with Niew Statendam travelers when we ended up on some the same excursions and spent the day at half Moon Cay. It was noisy and fun when The Konningsdam pulled out of port in St Thomas just a little ahead of the New Statendam. As they were side by side the ships signaled each other with those long blasts, and passengers stood on decks and waved and cheered. A good memory. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Everything was wonderful! The food was xlnt. The main dining room wasn’t as noisy as some previously stated. The portions were ample and presented well. All servers were friendly and courteous and we found this true throughout the ship. ... Read More
Everything was wonderful! The food was xlnt. The main dining room wasn’t as noisy as some previously stated. The portions were ample and presented well. All servers were friendly and courteous and we found this true throughout the ship. Our balcony stateroom on deck 5 was perfect size and always clean and fresh. The bathroom was fine with an excellent shower. The toilet is close to the shower, but it’s no big deal. The bed is very comfortable and the pillows aren’t “hard as rocks” as previously stated. The lido dining was very good and we thought that having the servers fill our plates rather than ourselves worked out very well. One might stand in a line for 2 minutes to get some fried eggs or an omelette but I never thought the lines were exceptionally long. We were always able to find a seat; either inside or out by the pool. Breakfast in the main dining room also was very nice without the lido hustle and bustle. Yes, the chair saving by the pool was evident; I don’t think that will ever change. Most of our time was spent at the aft pool. Half of this section is used by the smokers but surprisingly didn’t bother the other half. Plenty of drink servers and guys clearing tables. Can’t figure out why the pool water was green and the jacuzzis were blue. Loved the Blues and Rock venues. Saw a comedian and a mentalist both mediocre. Every time we went to the main theatre we walked right in at about 8:40 for a 9 pm show no problem. Embarkation and disembarkation we among the smoothest we’ve ever experienced. Maybe 45 minutes for each. My guess at the average age of cruisers would be late 60’s and above. LOTS of wheelchairs and scooters. Probably only about 15 kids total. We didn’t take any ship sponsored tours as we felt they were too expensive. The biggest disappointment of ports was Half Moon Cay in that there were 2 ships in port for a total of about 5000 people on the beach. Probably would have been pretty cool with half that as it is a very beautiful location. We thought some Caribbean music out by the pools in the afternoon would have been nice, but it never happened. We are looking forward to cruising with HAL again soon! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
this was our 5th cruise with HAL and 2nd on the Koningsdam in the Caribbean. We loved the 10 day cruise to the ABC islands. We go on cruises to explore new ports and relax and love the HAL experience complete with gala nights. That is ... Read More
this was our 5th cruise with HAL and 2nd on the Koningsdam in the Caribbean. We loved the 10 day cruise to the ABC islands. We go on cruises to explore new ports and relax and love the HAL experience complete with gala nights. That is one of the reasons we book with HAL. Early runs in the morning on deck are lovely after a long winter and the spa experience was great as well! The addition of the rolling stone band is a great entertainment venue after dinner. We feel overall the main dining room experience is going downhill a little in the past 7 years, so we booked a few more of the specialty restaurants. the pinnacle and tamarind are absolute favourites. Diving and snorkeling excursions were wonderful. Great staff that go above and beyond. Our cabin had an oversized veranda and we booked the unlimited laundry which is super to have as you can take a few less things. One thing we completely avoid is the LIDO market. Why stand in line when you can get everything much better in the dining room? We arrived early in the morning and check in and embarkation was seamless. We definitely will go again but may chose a smaller ship next time to see if we can experience again some of the reasons we like to go with HAL in the first place, which is excellent service, excellent dining and super friendly staff. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We had the pleasure of cruising on the Holland America Koningsdam for 10 days with six ports in the Southern Caribbean Sea that included the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Embarkation and ... Read More
We had the pleasure of cruising on the Holland America Koningsdam for 10 days with six ports in the Southern Caribbean Sea that included the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Embarkation and disembarkation went quickly and smoothly. We were pleasantly surprised with our 4th floor interior room. It was spacious, clean, and had ample of storage space. The beds were comfortable and we loved the roomy bathroom! The cabin exceeded our expectations. The Koningsdam is my favorite cruising ship so far. It exceeded all expectations! The wonderful staff and excellent food were over the top! There were few lines for food, plenty of seating for the shows, no screaming kids, nor intoxicated people. It was pleasant, peaceful, and restful. My favorite ship highlights were the Lincoln Center Stage performances, the Lido Market cuisine, the afternoon tea service, lounging poolside, and the EXC excursion talks. Don’t get me wrong. If you want live music or movies playing by the pool with a lot of dancing and drinking, this cruise isn’t for you. However, if you like it quiet enough to hold a conversation, read books, play cards, nap, or tune out with earbuds, HAL Koningsdam is the perfect choice! We enjoyed all of the ports and excursions, except Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We were looking for a cruise that could accommodate 6 of us at a reasonable cost. HAL Koningsdam fit the bill. The ship's art is wonderful. The ship's musical theme is throughout with interesting art that is worth walking all ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise that could accommodate 6 of us at a reasonable cost. HAL Koningsdam fit the bill. The ship's art is wonderful. The ship's musical theme is throughout with interesting art that is worth walking all the staircases to look at. We found the flow of the ship easy to get around. Typical of a Carnival Corp. ship the staff were friendly and always helpful. Cabins: The rooms were tight but very functional. Bathroom was a good size with a large shower stall. We had a veranda stateroom next to my Son and Father-in-law's room. We asked the steward if he could open the door between balconies which he was happy to do. This gave extra space and made our before dinner socializing easy, when my Daughter and Son-in-law would also come by. Only thing I wish was available was outdoor lighting. Although there are light fixtures on the balconies, these are controlled by the bridge. The first night I went on the verandah and banged up a shin on the chair. Dining: Our dining experiences were fantastic. We enjoyed any meals at the dining room we had. There was only 1 night that none of us were thrilled with what we ordered. The buffet was great for breakfast and lunch. I was impressed with the cleanliness and care there. There were new dishes to try every day. We also went to 3 specialty restaurants as well. Each were a unique and great experience. I would highly recommend De Liberje. Entertainment: The shows we're fine. My favourite was BBC Earth with musicians from the ship playing the background music. The dance show dazzles, the technology of the world stage is great. There was a comedian onboard named Cory Rodriguez. He was funny and then hung out with my kids at the Casino. It made for entertaining evenings. There is also trivia everyday and various other events. The Rolling Stone room had great music every night, the Lincoln Centre had classical music late in the day until early evening. This room would then change in the BB King blues club. The band was great but the music was more Motown then Blues. This was disappointing to me but it's all about finding the common denominator. Service: Absolutely no complaints. Whatever we needed was there for the asking. In Curacao, we arranged a dinner off the ship, we were in port until 11:00 pm. The front desk was fantastic in getting us a map to the restaurant, which was about a 20 minute walk from the port. Ports and Excursions: Although we didn't use HAL for excursions we arranged a lot of things for ourselves. The nicest beach was at Half Moon Cay which is their private island. It wasn't busy, only 2 ships there and was the only tender we had on the trip. Grand Turk was also a swim day with the beach right there when we got off the ship. Amber Cove was the weakest of all the ports. We went into Puerto Plata but there wasn't much there. Our favourite stop was Bonaire. Our kids arranged scuba diving (privately) and we rented a golf cart from Bonaire Cruisers. We traveled the island from top to bottom. It is the least commercial of the "ABC" islands. It was a great time. Willemstad in Curacao is very pretty. We hired a driver, went to a secluded beach and as mentioned above went for dinner in Willemstad. Aruba was a treat. We headed off to Eagle beach which was empty that day. It happened to be the last day of Carnival and there was a 7 hour parade. The colours and sights were great. The ship delayed leaving by 2 hours so we could catch the parade. Bottom line was although this ship has an older clientele my kids in there 20s had no problem with the Koningsdam. We filled our time on sea days playing shuffleboard, table tennis, basketball and cards. I would definitely go on a HAL cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We choose this cruise to escape winter and actually did back to back cruises as they were to different ports, so we spent 3 weeks on this ship. It's bright and fairly new and has the best food we ever had on any cruise ship ... Read More
We choose this cruise to escape winter and actually did back to back cruises as they were to different ports, so we spent 3 weeks on this ship. It's bright and fairly new and has the best food we ever had on any cruise ship (we've been on 35 cruises). Soups were wonderful and the lobster the best ever. Wonderful restaurant choices without additional fees, like New York Deli, The Dive In and the Dutch Café plus the huge Lido Buffet. The rooms are spacious and everything is super clean and gorgeous fresh flowers everywhere. The crew was wonderful and so friendly. There is music everywhere. Most of one floor is devoted to music venues from dual pianos to rock and classical and is called the Music Walk. The only disappointment was the World Stage (their main theater). It's a weird stage and has poor lighting on the performers. When they do do a nice production show like the dancers did in Humanity, it was awesome, but in 3 weeks of cruising there was only that one really well done show. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have cruised around 13 times, usually loyal to Royal, so I was nervous to try Holland America because I felt the vibe would be too low key for me. While the energy on the outdoor decks was too low key for me, the energy at the various ... Read More
I have cruised around 13 times, usually loyal to Royal, so I was nervous to try Holland America because I felt the vibe would be too low key for me. While the energy on the outdoor decks was too low key for me, the energy at the various music venues and main stage was just perfect. All other aspects of the cruise and ship were also perfect, so this was pretty darn close to a perfect cruise. We added this cruise to our winter itinerary only about 3 weeks before departure because we were scheduled to be out of the country. We chose this particular cruise because the dates were perfect and 11 day itinerary took us to some islands never visited. First, the condition of this 2 year old ship was sparkling clean and new. The attention to every detail in terms of design, cleanliness, and maintenance has been meticulous. I was surprised to learn that our last minute upgrade to a balcony room landed us on the 4th deck and an extra large balcony. Our room was very clean and our bathroom seemed larger than usual (but not suite size by any means). Secondly, the service and hospitality were outstanding. Every staff member greeted us with a smile and a hello. The cruise director was consistently professional and upbeat. The captain was outstanding. Great mix of professionalism and humor. The food was the best cruise food I have experienced in a long time. The buffet stations were staffed and each meal was quickly crafted with fresh and healthy ingredients. We made it to the main dining room only twice because of our love for the various food stations. We also enjoyed two dinners in the specialty Italian restaurant. Our itinerary included stops at St Thomas, Bonnaire, Martinique, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Marteen, and HA’s private island. All good stops but our faves were St Kitts and Barbados. The only aspect of this cruise that I would want to be different is the lack of love music on the pool deck, especially during our sea days. Given the theme of the ship and all venues is music, I remain baffled why live music from any of the numerous bands on board was not provided by the pool deck, if even for a couple of hours around lunch time or during the sail away. Some reggae on a Caribbean Cruise is a must for me but there was NO reggae at all. Despite this, the various headliner and regular shows below deck were exceptional. The lack of outdoor music is nearly a deal breaker for me; however, given the exceptional levels in service, food, ship appearance, and indoor entertainment, I will strongly consider Holland America for all future cruising. (As a side note, we cruised on RCCL a few days after this cruise on a long planned cruise, and I have to say RCCL was out performed by HA in every aspect, except for the pool deck vibe and music which I really look forward to any cruise). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
best cruise of more that 25 beautiful ship music thruout main auditorium awesome not a bad seat entertainment was good 10s for the cabin stewards and 10s for the waiter staff excellent fresh omlettes and eggs for ... Read More
best cruise of more that 25 beautiful ship music thruout main auditorium awesome not a bad seat entertainment was good 10s for the cabin stewards and 10s for the waiter staff excellent fresh omlettes and eggs for breakfast tea time was super and not a supplement fee ate one time at specialty and it was same time one and half hours as MDR the music was good if you like rock and roll in one part of the ship chamber music on another part of the ship dueling pianos in the middle of the ship and they take "requests" late night the room service each morning was right on time and everything came as ordered the Dive in had specialty dogs and burgers. the NY deli did a great breakfast sandwich and later in the day they had build your own pizza which was awesome. we chose antime dining and made a reservation each night in MDR. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to try the newest HAL ships and find out how they stacked up compared to the last 'new' versions (Eurodam, etc.) which we thought were pretty fantastic. HAL outdid themselves with this class of ships and they are our ... Read More
We wanted to try the newest HAL ships and find out how they stacked up compared to the last 'new' versions (Eurodam, etc.) which we thought were pretty fantastic. HAL outdid themselves with this class of ships and they are our new favorite; well, our favorite is any "dam" ship we are sailing on actually. Because of three things; 1. The CREW - You just can't say enough good about the wonderful crews that staff Holland American's ships. The service they provide is just beyond most accolades reach. Because not only is the service fantastic but they are so friendly, so helpful, you feel by day two you've known them a long time, & they are making you welcome more like family, than just passengers. 2. The CABINS are perfected. HAL moved the refrigerator into one wardrobe and got it out of the way of the desk. Replaced it with three HUGE drawer. Added two overhead cabinets above the love seat. Added a triangular cabinet to the end of the closet 'stack' as you enter.Which has the 'stuff' off the desk; Ice bucket, glasses, fruit basket, and more storage. Enlarged the bed side tables, added enough outlets for us to have extras, which is really different (!) along with USB charging ports all over. One special thing they did; that night time visit to the bath when you don't want to wake up your companion? When your foot hits the floor, a light bar on the bottom of the triangle cabinet lights, with light JUST on the floor! GREAT thought went into that! 3. We are both Celiacs; a gluten free diet is deadly serious for us as Celiac is an autoimmune disease. HAL's gluten free offerings get better and better and on this cruise we even had pizza, burgers, fries, and all the other pool side offerings normal people take for granted. And the specialty restaurants really outdid themselves. Can't say enough good about this FOOD on this ship. OUTSTANDING doesn't do it credit. Music: We love the music walk; the classical players, the jumping jive of BB Kings, and the great music in the rock area to 'get down' and wiggle on the floor. The Piano Bar area is different, but we came to like it. And the Scotch Tasting Bar is outstanding if you like a wee dram. Old favorite small dance floor and combo in the Ocean Bar is still there for a romantic ballad and dance. There is so much to do it is hard to do everything any one night. We missed the DJ in the Crow's Nest totally. We also missed (its not there any more) the library; hate it when they take them off ships. Sitting on your balcony or on the promenade deck (not very wide on this ship; about only thing we are not happy about that change) reading a good book is a special treat on a day at sea. Ports are ports; we enjoyed some, we didn't others, we cruise for the ship and the KONINGSDAM is a GREAT ship. Would we sail on her again? Yes, upcoming very soon we'll be on board being WOWed again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I've always wanted to try the ABC islands and the Koningsdam rates were good so I thought I'd give Holland America a try. Check in was fine, the lines moved fairly quickly. We brought in a case of water which was fine and ... Read More
I've always wanted to try the ABC islands and the Koningsdam rates were good so I thought I'd give Holland America a try. Check in was fine, the lines moved fairly quickly. We brought in a case of water which was fine and compliant to their policy if you carry it in. Cabin space was fairly generous. The deck outside was a fair size as well. Cabins were clean, bed was nice, the washroom was a little tight on space however due to the diagonal positioning of the toilet. Definitely easier with 1 person in the washroom at a time. Our cabin stewards were great, very friendly and accommodating. Dining, well I had written a big blurb on dining on and off the ship, but I didn't write the last few days because I was too busy enjoying the cruise with my wife. I think in the future I'm just going to buy a go pro and video review all the meals instead of writing and taking photos. During the Cruise I had submitted a portion of my review of the meals on the Koningsdam writing the review while I waited for shows to start and other events and activities to start. I didn't mean to cause a lot of trouble with my review and tried to be as truthful and objective as possible. However, after my submission of the review I received a small letter from the foods and restaurants Manager, and he as well as the Executive Chef met with me to talk to me about my experiences. They really took care to make sure my dining experience on the Koningsdam was as good as possible within their policies and procedures and ingredients and I was thoroughly impressed by the attention paid by all levels of the staff from wait staff, to cooking, and management. Below is the portion of my review on the dining pretty much unaltered from what I had submitted to HAL during the cruise, keep in mind we probably have different tastes in food as to level of seasoning and what flavors are expected but I tried to be as objective as possible so the reviews would actually be useful to someone out there. It's also a little difficult to read because I typed this all up on my phone while waiting: Day 1 Lunch random cooked food from Lido, roasted pork leg, fried fish, were pretty tasty, berries black and raspberry were very good and fresh. I'm impressed at the sourcing of their ingredients, produce tasted very fresh. Dinner at Pinnacle grill, steak was not cooked to order, ordered medium, got well done on one side, medium rare on the other. Lobster bisque was excellent, I believe same one as the one in de librije(later found out that it's not the same and that the lobster bisque in pinnacle was more to my taste than the one offered by de librije). Baked Alaska wasn't very good, Amuse bouche of mushroom cappuccino with truffle foam was fairly good. Aside from the overall mediocre food and terrible execution, our waiter was absent for the entire service only to come back to walk the wrong desserts to us (this waiter wanted to apologize for the service so he served us during our de librije reservation and that service was very good!). We were a 7:30 table. It wasn't even busy that night far less than half the tables were filled and they still made all those mistakes. I wouldn't recommend Pinnacle grill to anyone except for the bisque but it's hard to justify paying the fixed fee just for the bisque. Day 2 Breakfast new York deli, breakfast bagel sandwich on toasted sesame seed bagel. Excellent. Dinner, gala night, iberico ham was not bad, the combinations of the ham sauce and greens worked. Salad very overwhelming strength of sherry vinegrette, fruits helped balance the acidity funnily enough, seeds were there but earthiness was overwhelmed by the sherry. Mushroom truffle risotto fell flat. No truffle fragrance or flavor. Mushroom flavor of the risotto was underwhelming. Risotto was a little undercooked. Dessert no sugar black Forest cake was inedible. This is mostly my fault as I assumed no sugar meant it would be a predominantly bitter chocolate dessert which would've been interesting, instead I believe they used Splenda or another artificial sweetener. Aside from the terrible taste of that, the cake was drenched and syrup logged, Cherry flavor was pretty nonexistent. Pizza from New York deli was not very good unfortunately. Asked for Margherita, cheese used was the wrong cheese completely changing the flavor profile of the pizza. Expected a napolitan style pizza dough, or a modified version like Joe's pizza from New York as it's called New York deli, got neither. Pan pizza like dough without the grease. Day 3 Breakfast in main dining room, good Swedish muesli, Texan French toast, never had this style before but I thought the other flavor profiles should be emphasized more to differentiate against normal French toast. The cinnamon didn't come through very well. Hash browns weren't proper, pre packaged. Lunch dive in burger, great except they forgot all the components other than the patty, and sauces. Went back, asked for them on a seperate plate and assembled myself. Beef used for the burger is good and flavorful. Overall burger is a good burger. Skinny fries were normal. Chocolate cupcake and raspberry cream puff were neither good not memorable. Afternoon tea, raisin scone and fruit tart. Both were ok. Dinner at MDR. Starter seafood deviled eggs. Tasted like normal deviled eggs. Nothing too special but not bad. Caribbean jerked chicken. Jerk was non existent. Tasted a little like the flavor profile of Vietnamese cooked pork. Rice was overly salted, broccoli was inedible, too salty. Probably soaked in brine for too long. Dessert mango cream cone, cream flavored well, fruits cut the richness but could've used fruits piped into the cream cone. Sugar crust did not add anything to the dessert. Was unnecessary calories from sugar without adding anything to flavor. Day 4 Breakfast Lido Omelette from the omelette station with pico de Gallo was tasty topped with salsa. Lunch I had on a non HAL excursion. It was passable. Not too memorable. Dinner at Canaletto Amuse bouche of pumpkin and tomato crostini, pumpkin one was very well balanced, good bite, neither were soggy. Appetizer of Zucchini and saffron risotto. Much better than the mushroom one in the MDR on gala night in terms of both flavor and doneness. Appetizer of bufala mozzarella salad was alright. Zuppa Di pesce was heavy in seafood flavor, very appropriate but too strong for my taste ordered by my wife. Pasta course of gnocchi with braised beef short rib was excellent, doneness was good, red wine reduction sauce was well balanced by the cream. Beef was flavorful and tender. Main course of chicken cacciatore Al forno was executed. Chicken meat was tender and falling off bone, sauce was appropriate though not too complex, polenta was flavorful and combined nicely with the sauce. Dessert appears to be not the specialty of dining on Holland America. Tiramisu was pretty terrible. Overly drenched ladyfingers, mascarpone what seems to have been a mousse, cocoa powder didn't come though. Pistachio ice cream from the gelato bar outside. Overall much better food quality, cooking execution, and much better service than Pinnacle grill. You are getting value here for I believe 15/person. Day 5 Lunch at dive in and grand Dutch. Got a bunless gainer with cheese and a side of guacamole. Delicious like last time. Got a ham and honey mustard sandwich from Grand Dutch, great flavors, bun was crisp and fresh. Apple pie pastry however was soggy, though apples in the pie were good. Snack at cafe next to library in crow's nest. Strawberry tarts were good. Non soggy, slightly acidic strawberries cut the slight richness of the cream. I wish I had discovered these sooner and not halfway through the cruise as they only appear to come out once a day at a specific time. Brownie was average. Dinner at sel de mer. Trio of seafood salad. I like my salads with a little acidity. All three salads lacked acidity tuna needed some Lemon which I had asked for to bring out the flavor. King crab was passable as is. Crab itself was nice and fresh. Shrimp salad was far too heavy. Perhaps it was meant to be eaten together and combined but I had no instructions to do so. Crudo was good, fish was very fresh. Main of the salt crusted branzino was delicious, I had expected them to break the salt crust tableside however it was broken and already served in portions. Service was excellent overall. Dessert was tarte tatin. Good balance of the bitterness from caramel. I was afraid it would be overly sweet but it wasn't. Flavors combined well together with that slight hint of cinnamon from the gelato, textures was a little more difficult as puff pastry absorbs the moisture easily. Overall it was a good dessert, first decent dessert I've had on koningsdam. Overall, sel de mer was a great experience with great food and service. Our meal came to the same price as Pinnacle grill with our 2 sides. I would recommend Sel de Mer over Pinnacle Grill. Day 6 Breakfast at New York deli, ordered the breakfast bagel with tomato on sesame. Had that with a fruit cup, blackberries were over ripe but they're back. Watched a documentary before about the ripening of fruit on cruises so it's understandable if they mistimed them or maybe pulled the wrong ones in store. raspberries are still great. Had lunch at dive in again with the gainer again bunless with cheese, and 2 sides of guacamole, quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Good as usual. Fries were a little hard and over fried. Since they are crunchier than the fries in the new York deli, Lido and Pinnacle, I think the dive in fries are double fried.. maybe triple fried? Dinner was at the tamarind. the amuse bouche was house made giant prawn crackers with dips. That's definitely a step up from the cheap dried wasabi peas we got from our experience in Celebrity Equinox Asian specialty dining. Appetizer course was a fig tempura with an arugula salad. The dish was very well balanced. Never tried this flavor combination before but it was surprisingly very good. Mild subtle sweetness of the fig brought out further by the tempura fry. Together with light dressing of the Apple vinegar and the peppery arugula it was balanced extremely well. The main course of the crispy duck with the ginger chili glaze was a hit and a miss. The duck was fried to achieve the crispiness. The fry is very similar in flavor to the fry of the Chinese fried chicken and was fried well. (coincidentally that's traditionally served with prawn crackers/chips which we had as a amuse bouche) however the miss was the bed of udon "drunken" on what seemed to be teriyaki sauce and boy was it drunk. I found what I think to be the teriyaki sauce overpowered the savory elements on the dish. Adding on sweetness to balance the dish is fine, however I found that this dish went overboard in that direction. I guess they want to balance the strong savory flavors of the crispy duck and not make it too one dimensional in flavor profile but this combination did not work for me, the sprouts also didn't work for me. Dessert was the yuzu cheesecake and the matcha cake. The yuzu cheesecake was a deconstructed cheesecake with its cheese component as a yuzu cream cheese filling inside a white chocolate holder. It's cake component was crumbled across the dessert. All in all it worked well for me with the yuzu flavor coming through cleanly in the cream cheese filling. The matcha cake was delicious as a chocolate cake. I didn't taste any matcha in the cake component which made 2/3 of the dessert. Instead it tasted like a normal egg based cake with texture similar to cornbread due to use of the almond flour. It was a very good cake. I think I've stated this before but if I haven't, the chocolate used or made by Holland America koningsdam kitchens are quite good. At this point I was contacted by Holland America on how my dining experience was so far and I relayed to them that overall it was a great dining experience. Day 7 Breakfast at main dining room Was the pan Asia breakfast with the pan fried salmon Jasmine rice and miso soup. Salmon was fine. The problems were with the rice and the miso soup. The rice was cooked with oil of some sort to make it salty and more fragrant. I don't know about the other Asian cultures but for rice for breakfast in Japan and China, you don't add oil to flavor the rice. The rice is meant to be like a plain piece of bread and the entire meal is meant to be a relatively clean tasting meal. The main issue with the soup is the use of Nori for the miso soup instead of wakame. I'm actually surprised they used Nori instead. Wakame is not expensive and it's shelf life is extremely long. Lunch was at Grand Dutch cafe. I had the beenham sandwich again the pea soup and the quiche. The quiche was very flaky and the filling was not heavy. A proper quiche compared to the one served at Lido. Portion for the quiche is quite large though. We had Dinner off ship at Fort Nassau. Location is definitely one of a kind. Great view and atmosphere. Amuse bouche of a beef salad was not too great. Appetizers of pumpkin ravioli with truffle sauce was very light and good. I think the bacon is meant to season to the degree of saltiness each person likes. Adding bacon to the bite completely changes the flavor of the dish. Eats great both with and without. Also had the shrimp and sweet potato chowder. The soup was great. Fried bacon bits gave that pop in your mouth whenever you had a spoonful with them in it. Again adding the Cajun popcorn into the bite completely changes the flavor of the dish. To something close to a jambalaya. Very interesting appetizers. Had a bite of the tasting menu appetizers. The particularly good one to note of the 3 was the grilled lobster salad. Good combination of flavors. The main of the tame duck breast and liver was very good. It was served with a side of green plantain and ginger mash and topped with a plantain chip. The sauce of the curacao liqueur reduction was drizzled onto the well seared duck breast for a good balance of sweet and savory and topped with some slightly dehydrated cranberries. The main was also served with a second side of a very appetizing sweet and sour mango and cucumber salad. Between the seared breasts and the salad was a single side seared and caramelized duck liver. It was very good and tasted very fresh, if you enjoy foie gras you should enjoy this duck liver as well. All in all a very impressive dish. Overall experience was great. Aside from service which seemed like typical bar or pub type service, in my opinion this restaurant executes food on the level of lower level Michelin star restaurants. Day 8 Breakfast at the new York deli, breakfast bagel with tomato was fine. Lunch at Grand Dutch cafe I had the ham and Edam cheese sandwich. The Edam cheese is toasted on the top piece of bread on the sandwich on the outside and also between the ham and bottom piece of bread of the sandwich. Sandwich tasted good. Salad that accompanied it was a little over dressed. Dinner at Pinnacle grill converted into de librije. 5 course meal with an amuse bouche. Amuse bouche was alright, I think it's size was a little large for an amuse bouche the Golden egg was the main culprit there. Unfortunately this is where i stopped writing the review about 5 months ago and though I have pictures I can't recall exactly what I thought of each dish nor remember what they were called so unfortunately 2 of the next 3 restaurants (including this one) were good and I can only provide general descriptions. North Sea Scallop. The best course from de librije was the fish course I believe it was bass, they had accentuated by crisping the skin the texture and adding something along the skin I think it was celery or something. Taste and texture of the dish was impeccable. The other dishes presentations were great but the balance and complexity of the taste and texture was not at the same level. For example the scallops and the oysters (made of foie gras) on the beach. As previously mentioned I didn't enjoy the bisque as much as the one offered by pinnacle grill. The deconstructed I think apple pie was ok a little too scattered across the plate. The gin and tonic dessert I didn't enjoy, but then I don't drink gin and tonic so this may have been lost on me. Club Orange Kitchen: This replaced the area that was used for America's test kitchen. I'm sure you've read all about it by now, it's a premium service you could pay for to get many different perks including the privilege of eating at this restaurant. This restaurant has a dedicated head chef that will prepare your meal, the menu is almost essentially the same as the MDR menu except I think there are 2 items that are added on additionally. The food and restaurant manager decided to let me try it if I wanted to as I believe a way to make amends for the less than ideal pinnacle grill experience and other potentially negative experiences I had during the cruise related to the dining. Before I went on the cruise I thought paying the extra fee wouldn't be worth it but the execution of the head chef for every single course we had in the restaurant. I was thoroughly impressed by the execution of the dishes, and guess I had underestimated the effect of putting a head chef in a small space restaurant. The meal felt personal, the head chef came to greet us after the dinner, and if you go at certain times there are not that many people in there in our sailing anyways (only 2 other tables) so it's almost as if you had a highly skilled personal chef. I'm unsure if we had a special experience because the lack of seated tables in the restaurants but I believe this club orange kitchen is underrated and it's a shame more people can't try it out. The last day we had dinner at nami sushi. It was a joke. If you are used to eating authentic japanese food this place is not for you. Be warned. though I dislike wasting food I didn't finish half the food I ordered because it was so off, and I don't think there's anything they could've done to rectify the situation because it just wasn't authentic Japanese food. what you expect when you order and what you get are different. In summary for dining I would rate fee dining restaurants in the following order: 1. Sel de Mer - good plates and some high plates, one average plate - a la carte but worked to be same as pinnacle grill 2. Club Orange Restaurant - good plates all around 2. Tamarind - above average plates and some high plates 4. De Librije - few high plates mainly average plates 5. Canaletto - average plates 6. Pinnacle Grill - 1 high plate mostly low plates 7. Nami Sushi - all low plates Activities and entertainment: In general Koningsdam has about the same type of activities other mega ships have. However it's scheduled I think in a way that 2 or 3 run at the same time, so if you have similar interests as others, you will be bumping to others a lot, and this in my opinion creates the feel of a smaller ship where you know most of the people on the ship. I enjoyed the show on pirates, and pirate history, that was quite interesting. The headliners for entertainment on the mainstage were very amusing for the most part. the shows the comedians put on in particular resonated i believe with people of all ages on the ship. I didn't try out the music shows very much as I'm not an avid lover of contemporary rock and pop music, I listened to some performances from the string quartet they had, and most of the performances were medleys. Some of them would have pop music mixed in. Would've preferred to listen to full pieces. All in all there was plenty for me to do, and I was not bored. There was a lot of space in public areas however I found myself frequenting the crows nest the most. I liked how they had a little library and cafe on the side and plenty of seating area. Overall service was great, the staff were attentive and will assist if you require. I'm actually puzzled why Koningsdam can't sell more. It could possibly be the itinerary, maybe the rumors about smoke wafting to the music areas from the casino, but all in all if you avoid the casino and surrounding areas it's not bad at all. The Koningsdam is a great ship and I definitely would not mind booking it again. I didn't encounter anyone that used e-cigs in their rooms and I'm fairly sensitive to smoke. I'm more than happy to share pictures of the food if you would like to see them. Just send me a message. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our third sailing on the K'dam. We booked this cruise because of the itinerary, the new Rolling Stone Rock Room, many food venues, great staterooms and always awesome crew. Ports of call at Tortola, BVI, St. Maartin, ... Read More
This was our third sailing on the K'dam. We booked this cruise because of the itinerary, the new Rolling Stone Rock Room, many food venues, great staterooms and always awesome crew. Ports of call at Tortola, BVI, St. Maartin, Antingua, St Thomas and Half Moon Cay were great. Weather was very good and seas calm. Started with two sea days, which we like. Ate at most of the many dining venues. Spent a fair amount of time in the casino and every night at least one set in the Rock Room. This new venue was packed every set. The band was great, especially the female lead guitar and the drummer. They will be moving on to the Nieuw Statendam after three months on the K. The BB Kings weren't quite as good as other BB King groups we have heard on other HAL ships, but seemed to be well received. Overall, a fun cruise with plenty to keep us occupied. We will be back. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Just came back from this nine-day trip. First time on the Kiningsdam and we loved it. Ship in top notch shape with a very pleasant crew. Was in suite cabin 5217 in the aft corner which provided access to the Neptune Lounge. ... Read More
Just came back from this nine-day trip. First time on the Kiningsdam and we loved it. Ship in top notch shape with a very pleasant crew. Was in suite cabin 5217 in the aft corner which provided access to the Neptune Lounge. Embarkation: no issues whatsoever. Got on board at 11:30 and our cabin was ready. Cabin: very comfortable with plenty of room. Cabin stewards very attentive. Food: very good. Did not dine in main dining room as our suite gave us access to Club Orange on deck 2. This was a great treat. You could have food that was offered in the main dining room plus specials. Service was prompt, personal and efficient. Dinner in less than an hour. Plus they were also open for breakfast. We also very much enjoyed the food in the Dutch Cafe. Never any lines with plenty of tables and room. Some excellent Dutch options. Tamarind was very good as always and we had a nice meal in the Pinnacle. We had a few breakfasts and lunches and they were fine for the most part. Never felt totally crowded which was a nice surprise. Dive-In burger stand was a disappointment for us. Overly tough and tasteless burger. Hot dog not much better. Fries ok. Entertainment: Loved BBKing band and and the Billboard and Rolling Stone venues were well done and popular. Was nice to finally have more music options to enjoy. Ports of call: all we’re fine. Typical Caribbean stuff. Disembarkation: seamless and smooth with no crazy crowds or lines. Excellent communication. Overall, an excellent cruise. Given the added features of this ship, I can’t see us ever going on a smaller HAL ship again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The Koningsdam surpassed our expectations in these areas: décor, layout of ship, specialty restaurants and lots of music! We have just surpassed 100 sea days on HA and this is the best ship we have been on. It's new and ... Read More
The Koningsdam surpassed our expectations in these areas: décor, layout of ship, specialty restaurants and lots of music! We have just surpassed 100 sea days on HA and this is the best ship we have been on. It's new and refreshing. The food in the MDR was some days ordinary and some days exceptional. With anytime dining, we were seated efficiently, but the dinner service was slower than we hoped. HA has taken the music off some of their ships, but the music on this ship was outstanding. The crowds gathered every night for dueling pianos, rock and roll and BB King, as well as the classical selections. HA is trying to appeal to younger travelers, so the dance production was geared in style and song to the 40ish crowd. Some of the music was good, but some was way too hip-hop for me. HA has replaced the dance productions(Broadway) with a BBC Earth movie. This was outstanding! For the last three cruises, the biggest complaint on HA has been the tours. They are always overpriced when compared to the private vendors. They are always of a lesser quality in terms of what is actually seen. I have complained to the tour desk about several really lame tours, but they have no recourse with the tour operators. Overall, I want to sail again on the new ships. TheKoningsdam and the Niew Statendam Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my very first cruise. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale took much longer than I expected. Other passengers in line commented that it was taking longer than they had experienced before. Disembarkation was pretty smooth. But once ... Read More
This was my very first cruise. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale took much longer than I expected. Other passengers in line commented that it was taking longer than they had experienced before. Disembarkation was pretty smooth. But once we were on board, it was smooth sailing! I LOVED this ship and this cruise! Entertainment: The newly added Rolling Stone Rock Room was hands down my favorite evening entertainment on the ship, in fact a highlight of the cruise as a whole! Relaxed environment, incredibly talented musicians in the Rock Room Band, and a diverse audience dancing and enjoying the shows. I was also very impressed with the BB King All Stars performances. Having those solid options to enjoy almost every night was great. The Billboard Pianos were not my cup of tea, but I saw others enjoying it regularly. The Crow's Nest was also a favorite hang-out spot for me - wish the coffee shop in there was open earlier, but it was a good place to play cribbage or other games available, or just watch the scenery on a comfy chair in a spacious area with a modern, peaceful vibe. Dining: I have only one minor complaint about the main dining room. One time we were seated with strangers without being asked our preference on that - our tablemates also weren't asked their preference, and the couple was surprised to have us join them when they were celebrating a momentous birthday! We all made the most of it and made friends -- but if it is important to you to dine alone I'd recommend specifying that if it's unclear. Otherwise our MDR experience was excellent throughout. We tried one specialty restaurant, Tamarind, which was very good. Get reservations right away, there were only a couple slots open when we called on I think night 3. Excursions: We did 3 excursions booked through HAL. The process was very easy. The prices were reasonable. Each tour had its hits and misses. The one I would definitely recommend is the Panoramic City Tour in Amber Cove (Puerto Plata, Dominican Rebpublic). Definitely do a tour that gets you out of the cruise ship center at that port - the cruise ship center is beautiful, but it is very insulated from the city and actual culture. Detailed cabin comments are below - loved the Sun Deck verandah room 11031. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We sailed the HAL Koningsdam on 12/28/18 for 7 nights on the Eastern Caribbean cruise and it was so refreshing, relaxing and enjoyable. We generally sail with Celebrity (have been on 7 Celebrity cruises in the last 3 years). We were on a ... Read More
We sailed the HAL Koningsdam on 12/28/18 for 7 nights on the Eastern Caribbean cruise and it was so refreshing, relaxing and enjoyable. We generally sail with Celebrity (have been on 7 Celebrity cruises in the last 3 years). We were on a wait list for the Celebrity Eclipse and Reflection but I wasn't feeling the possibility of getting on either of these ships very good so we branched out and booked a Neptune Suite on the Koningsdam. IT WAS A HEAVENLY ROOM, to say the least! Huge King size or larger bed, nice seating area, bar, balcony, large port window in the front of the ship, wonderful bathroom with jetted tub and shower, double vanity sinks and I could go on and on. We had 2 stateroom attendants that were top notch and we ate every breakfast and nightly meal in the Club Orange. It is a restaurant only for Neptune Suite holders (and above). It was a restaurant on the way to the larger dining room, which we only experienced once since the Club Orange isn't open for lunch everyday. The Club Orange is something new for HAL and it is only being utilized on the 2 new Pinnacle Class ships, the Koningsdam and the Nieuw Statendam. The food in Club Orange is wonderful, they cater to your every whim and wish. They have the normal dining menu with additional entrees added on for more selection. If you choose the additional entrees they are cooked right before your eyes in the Club Orange restaurant. Wonderful chef, hostess, manager and servers is all I can add. They leave absolutely nothing to be desired.The sommelier in Club Orange was wonderful. Celebrity YOU HAVE LOST A COUPLE OF CUSTOMERS BECAUSE THE KONINGSDAM PUT YOU TO SHAME! Entertainment was wonderful. Their theater is small so go early or you might not get a seat. We loved every show, some were over the top! Love the Piano bars and the orchestra as well.The CHOCOLATE NIGHT IS SUPERB ALSO! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We're a couple in our mid-30s, no kids, and chose this itinerary as our first cruise. We were not looking for a "party ship" and Koningsdam was the perfect option for us. Embarkation seemed slow, several other folks in ... Read More
We're a couple in our mid-30s, no kids, and chose this itinerary as our first cruise. We were not looking for a "party ship" and Koningsdam was the perfect option for us. Embarkation seemed slow, several other folks in the line with us complained the terminal at Port Everglades is not equipped to handle the HAL Pinnacle class ships. It took roughly an hour and 20 mins to get through all the lines and onto the ship. We arrived at the port at 1pm. Ship: Koningsdam is beautiful and we loved that it had recently been in dry dock for some improvements. It felt clean and shiny every day, aside from a few problems with a women's restroom near the Rolling Stone Rock Room one evening. Unfortunately, the pools both felt small and crowded at times, and the Sea View pool is not very pleasant to spend too much time at due to the smokers being out there. We loved spending time in the Crow's Nest reading our books, drinking cocktails, or doing crosswords or Sudoku. Dining: We only ate in the Lido market once and did not particularly enjoy it. We found the smell of dirty dishes/cleaning materials to be very strong and unpleasant if we walked through that area, so we just generally avoided it. We opted for in-room breakfast every day although those choices were quite boring. It would have been nice to see something simple like pancakes and fruit as an option. However, we had dinner at Tamarind, Rudi's Sel De Mer, and Pinnacle Grill over the course of the cruise and thought Sel De Mer was absolutely delicious food. All three of those were worth the extra cost and we enjoyed the good service too. Activities: I will say that we wished HAL had a few more options for activities during the day that are not specifically aimed at older folks. Even though we realize that group makes up a very large portion of the typical HAL passengers, it would be nice to see some variety. We enjoyed the "Ask The Captain" talk one afternoon, the facts and figures are very interesting. The evening entertainment was excellent, and the musicians in both BB King's Blues Lounge and the Rolling Stone Rock Room are exceptionally talented. Great live music every night was a highlight for us. Service: HAL definitely gets this right, and every single staff member is working very hard with a smile on their faces! Bari and Arto were our cabin stewards and they were wonderful. The wait staff in the restaurants were also lovely and friendly. 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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