Koningsdam Cruise Review by drtravel47
- Sail Date: June 2019
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
There were many HAL employees at Rome Airport waiting for arriving passengers. For the most part, things were well-organized. In Civitavecchia, check-in was smooth.
Well appointed, decent (not overwhelming) amount of storage space. One of the best showers I’ve had in a long time. Toilet did face an odd way, forcing some “repositioning”. Bed was very comfortable, though we had to ask several times for feather pillows. Oversized balcony (compared to Princess and Celebrity). Only downside was little space to walk between bathroom, cabin door, and closet. We were always bumping into each other or bumping doors into each other. Cabin steward was attentive. One issue was noise. We constantly heard people in next cabin talking (at a normal volume). Also, we were forward on the ship on Deck 4. If you’re mid-ship on Deck 4, you’re going to hear a lot of noise from the music lounges.
HAL did a fine job with the buffets for all 3 meals. The only issue we had was that they seemed to close down early for lunch (even on embarkation day). Dinners were, for the most part, excellent, I don’t eat meat and did find some very good fish. Service was never rushed in the MDR. I would have liked it I the Dutch Café were opened after 830pm Once nice touch was that if you got a pager because your table wasn’t ready (it happened each night to us—on anytime dining), that pager got you a 2nd drink for $2.00 in the nearest bar. Kudos to maître’d for not allowing someone in the MDR wearing shorts. High tea didn’t impress; they merely put a tray of sweets on the table, no serving scones, sandwiches, etc. in courses.
The main theatre shows were nothing to write home about. They spent all of their money on LED lights, not on the dancers and singers. Excellent R+B band in the BB King lounge and quality classical music concerts in the Lincoln Center Stage. They didn’t pander to the audience; they played full-length chamber pieces. Casino was always empty. We never used the pools, but there always seemed to be available chair. (however, this was a port-intensive cruise, not one for sun bathers).
Gym: Excellent cardio equipment, but needs more weight training machines. There is a dedicated running track, so you won't get in the way of deck chairs.
Other -the entire ship was very clean and ship personnel consistently polite and helpful. I had to pay $199 for a week’s internet. Expensive. I also paid $108 for 12 days of unlimited laundry. Expensive, but worth it. The ship has no laundry room or even a place to press clothes. Enjoyed trivia, but same team won each time! The median age on the ship was lower than I expected. We’re very active 60-ites and did not feel we were alone. Nice to be on a ship with full wrap-around promenade deck. However, much of the seaview is blocked by lifeboats and there are no seats.
Ports of Call: (note: we normally do not take the ship’s shore excursions. We study local train and bus schedules in advance and prefer to use mass transit, so use the following as ideas on how see and save more!)
Cartegena: Easy off the ship. Quick walk into town. We took the hop-on-hop-of bus around town and then walked the pedestrian-only streets. Cute town, but no major sites
Cadiz: Took the shuttle into town. We had every intention of taking the train to Jerez, but we ran late. Instead we walked around town, through the old city, visiting churches, the beautiful park, and then the murillo (wall around the city). Lots of walking.
Gibralter: We walked all the way from ship into center of town, then to Cable Car. Waiting a long time on line, but view from the top (which you cannot get with a cab ride) was excellent. Stopped at English pub for beer on way back and bought several bottles of duty-free booze in town.
Malaga: Again, a very long walk from the ship to centro (downtown), so we paid for a shuttle bus. Walked downtown in morning, then at 11, we took a free walking tour with Explora Malaga. 5 star! You pay tips. Guide was excellent. After the tour, we visited the Alcazaba.
Barcelona: We took a city bus which stops at the ship into town. Walked up the Rambla to the Metro, then took a local train to Montserrat (well worth it), though we were accidentally in the line for the Black Madonna when all we wanted to see was the cathedral. After train ride back, stopped for beer on Placa Reial, where we booked a free walking tour with Runner Bean. Also excellent. The tour was of the Gaudi sites and the Eixample. Exhausted, we found a local restaurant off the Ramblas. The next morning, we started with a walk up the Ramblas to the Boqueria Marquia, followed by another 2.5 hour walking tour, also with Runner Bean, this time of the Old City (Barri Gotic). We then went back to the Ramblas for a tour of the Liceu Opera House.
Marseille: We didn’t have much desire to see this city and paid for the ship’s shuttle (the ship docks 5 miles away). However, there was a local bus, we should have taken. I complained to Shore Excursions, but they didn’t offer me a refund. Once in Marseille, we walked to the Metro, then to the Bus Station (right next to the train station) and took a bus to Aix-en-Provence. Well worth it. Very cute.
Monte Carlo: Again, we weren’t interested in the port. We took a local bus (2 Euros) just to get near the casino to change to another bus to Eze (the one in the mountains). For 1.50 Euros we got to Eze, then used the same ticket to continue to Nice. For me, Eze was the highlight of the cruise. In fact, The Obama family, along with Bono from U2, were there the day before! In Nice, we walked through the old city, then down to the Promenade des Anglais. From there another several mile walk back around the harbor to catch a bus to Villefrance sue Mer. We stopped there, walked the old walls, and had gelato (glace!). Continuing on our 1.50 Euro we went back to Monte Carlo. A very tiring day, but we did 3 cities besides Monte Carlo on less than $10 USD.
Livorno: We took the ship shuttle downtown, then connected to a local bus to the train station. Since we had been to Firenze before, we visited Lucca. There, we rented bikes from a guy we read about in the Rick Steves’ book. Another coincidence: Steves was there the week before and we saw a newspaper article with him and the bike shop owner. We rode around the walled city and visited the Puccini Museum (we’re opera lovers). On the way back, we stopped at Pisa for a quick view of the Tower and (another!) beer. The train tickets cost us about $8.00 US for both stops.
Disembarkation: HAL allows passengers to linger in cabin longer than other ships. Luggage was waiting. We took ship shuttle to connect to local bus to train station. We took the train to Rome and stayed one night, just to visit Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel. I’m glad we got our tickets in advance. WAY too crowded and hot…and when you get to Sistine Chapel at the end, you can’t take pictures!
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