Koningsdam Cruise Review by Nashna
- Sail Date: January 2019
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
Embarkation and Disembarkation were flawless. We arrived at the pier around 10:40am and were onboard at 11:30am. We were pleasantly surprised to be informed upon entering the Koningsdam that all staterooms were ready. Our stateroom was 8197, an aft facing verandah with a very large deck. It was a shame to have one tiny table, two upright chairs and just one foot rest. Our room stewardess, who was amazing, found us an extra table to allow us some more room to put our feet up.
We knew the Lido would be jammed at lunch, so we opted to have lunch in the Main Dining Room (MDR). Lunch was lovely. The service was prompt and the food was delicious. One huge negative for me was that we were seated in a corner and all I had to look at was a solid white panel. Those panels should be replaced with art as they block the window views. The MDR décor was rather plain. The yellow wall color did not add to the room and the white panels were boring. After lunch, we spent the rest of the day exploring the ship. We thought the ship décor overall was very relaxing.
We had pre-paid our three specialty dinner reservations which was helpful as the HAL assigned times did not work for us. We stopped at the dining reservation center on Deck 2, across from the Pinnacle Grill to change our reservations. At the end of the cruise, our pre-paid dining was credited to our account. If you are concerned about specialty dining at certain dates and times, I recommend pre booking online. At the same desk, we were able to reserve the next two nights at 7:45pm in the MDR. We would have preferred 7:00pm or 7:30pm, but 7:45 is the earliest time we were able to reserve with Anytime Dining. The first night in the MDR was great. We arrived and were immediately seated. The service and food were perfect. We were happy campers! However, the first Gala Night was a disaster. We arrived at 7:45pm and were shocked to see the "reservation" line was almost around the corner. However, the line for walk in was light. I went up and asked how long the wait was without reservations and was told 15 minutes. We stood in the reservation line for over 20 minutes. When we finally got to the front of the line, I mentioned to the officer who was just standing there, why we had the wait and walk ins were seated before us and he just shrugged his shoulders. No apology. No explanation. We were seated in the middle of the room in a very poor location. The din from the fully packed MDR made it almost impossible to hear each other. Tables who had arrived five and ten minutes after us had their orders taken first. Our waiter threw the menus on our plates and did not greet us. Obviously, he was frantic to get orders in and food served. I've had warmer service in a cafeteria. My soup arrived cold. My tenderloin was that side piece that chefs typically do not serve as tenderloin as it has a large fatty center. Neither the waiter or his assistant inquired about our meal. The head waiter, stopped by at the end of the meal and was quite gracious. He informed us that they had been having large issues with the MDR on the first Gala night. He offered to make reservations for the next few nights at 7:00pm. We found the 7:00pm time to be perfect as it appeared that most reservations were for 7:45pm and we never had to wait again. We opted to dine in the Pinnacle on the second gala night and it was a great option.
We had breakfast most mornings in the MDR. The service was prompt and friendly and the food was always served hot. We had breakfast twice in the Lido and while the omlets were fantastic, the hectic atmosphere was just not for us.
Our sea days were spent either in the main or aft pool. We preferred the aft pool location. However, the smokers take up ¼ of the space. The smoking area was never as crowded as the non-smoking side. We decided that we would be looking for non-smoking ships in the future. The towel game is played in the main pool. After 7:45am, most chairs were taken. The Aft pool still had chairs available until around 8:30am. Of course, they were by the smoking section. I truly feel that a better option should be available to prevent chair hogs. We like to read early in the day and witnessed chairs that sat empty until mid-day.
We danced most nights in BBKings or in Rock & Roll. We enjoyed the Billboard as well. We only went to one show and enjoyed the entertainment provided by the comic pianist. We saw the cruise director, Tom, for the first time at that show and did not see him again until we passed him on disembarkation day. We visited the Crows Nest a few times. This venue is totally underused. It would have been so nice to have had a small combo playing in the evenings when we were too tired to dance and just wanted some background music. We looked forward to the Lincoln Center performances, but they were at very odd times and we missed them. We had four sea days and very few daytime activities were scheduled.
This was the first time we have sailed in an aft facing verandah. We loved the shower and the large verandah. Our room was just under the Lido deck aft pool and we did hear some chair scraping each morning about 7:00am. We are early risers so the noise did not bother us. We were more effected by the noise of the propellers as they were loud when we were cruising at higher speeds. We decided to go back to mid-ship staterooms in the future.
What do we know now that we wished we had known before our cruise? We would have scheduled main dining at 7:45pm. Folks in assigned dining seemed to be much happier with their dining experience. The upper dining room appeared to be quieter and more organized. We took way too many clothes. My husband did not need his dark suit. A navy blue blazer and nice shirt would have been fine. On the final night, several men were in shorts in the MDR.
Will we cruise HAL again? The jury is still out for us. While we enjoyed our cruise; we were not wowed. The Koningsdam lacked sizzle. Boarding the ship was underwhelming. There were no smiling officers welcoming us or waiters bearing champagne. We were herded into elevators and told our rooms were ready. We couldn’t help compare HAL to Princess. We tend to choose cruises based on the itinerary. In the future, If we have a choice between a HAL and Princess cruise; we would choose Princess.
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