This was our third cruise with HAL. Previous cruises were on the Niew Amsterdam (upgraded to Neptune Suite) to the Mediterranean several years ago (originated out of Venice but once past Dubrovnik we ran into severe weather eliminating ... Read More
This was our third cruise with HAL. Previous cruises were on the Niew Amsterdam (upgraded to Neptune Suite) to the Mediterranean several years ago (originated out of Venice but once past Dubrovnik we ran into severe weather eliminating the ports of Corfu and Kotor and later, Florence). We had a great cruise, non-the-less, as the Niew Amsterdam was lovely, clean and the staff, wonderful!
Last September we cruised out of Vancouver sailing through the stunning "inside passage" and later traveling by train to Anchorage, Denali (3 nights) and finally Fairbanks. This cruise was WONDERFUL. The Noordam was a nice ship and we again, stayed in the Neptune Suite. We did miss the Tamarind restaurant, however everything else was fine!
This past month we sailed on the beautiful Koningsdam! I wasn't sure what to expect as I had read so many reveiws by those who were disappointed by the Koningsdam new 'look' and amenities.
I'm here to tell you.....My husband and I aren't spring chickens (I am in my mid-sixties and he is in his early 70's) but we're open to updates and changes. The Koningsdam is a gorgeous ship! The changes in decor are lovely with the MDR airy, light, and spacious!
The Lido has changed a bit with fewer access points from one side to the other, which isn't that big of a deal. The other change was that servers would, for the most part, serve each passenger's requested foods from behind the glass partitions. This eliminated passengers from handling the ladles or serving utensils which would encourage passing of germs, etc..
So, that was a good thing, we thought. And, it didn't seem to take any longer to get your food.
We signed up for the "Ultimate Dining Experience" which included a dinner in the "Sel De Mer", the Pinnacle Grill; the Tamarind, the Caneletto; and the Culinary Arts dinner/presentation. ALL of these meals were absolutely delicious and the service was second-to-none! We especially enjoyed our all-time favorite; the Tamarind. The atmosphere there is so relaxing; the decor, beautiful and the host is the same welcoming gentleman we encountered at the Tamarind while cruising on the Niew Amsterdam! This gentleman and the servers are top-drawer and aim to please! The food.......absolutely delicious! Our reservations for the Tamarind were on our last evening and we said several times that we should have begun our cruise with dinner there as we would made a point to schedule in more dinners there!
The Pinnacle Grill is always a sure-fire winner with their tender and juicy steaks! Once again, the host there was the same gentleman who was our host on the Niew Amsterdam (and congenial and welcoming) three years ago! Quite the coincidence to have two, former hosts now on the lovely Koningsdam!!!
The Sel de Mer was a new experience for us! The food was very good and we felt pampered with all the servers tending to our needs! The Canelleto has improved substantially! The restaurant is still attached to the Lido but the visual design of the restaurant has improved considerably. There is more of a division (somewhat of a see-through wine storage wall) between the walkway next to the Lido and the restaurant so you feel you are in a separate restaurant. The food served was wonderful and again, the service was outstanding!
We were pleasantly surprised by the Culinary Arts meal and I really hope more people take advantage of that offering! It was very interesting to watch the chef/assistants prepare the entire meal plus give us an idea of how to do the same at home. The food presented was so delicious and at the end we were given the recipes for the entire menu. It was a wonderful evening of great food; great service (it comes with many glasses of your choice of wine) and a chef who knows what he's doing!
The MDR meals were varied and quite tasty! If we hadn't of chosen to purchase the "Ultimate Dining Experience" package, we would have been content with the choices offered through the MDR menu. We always ask to be seated with other cruisers as we find this to be a chance to meet/ talk with others from other parts of our country and other parts of the world!
The ship itself is quite beautiful! And, as others have said, you don't feel that there are as many other cruisers on board that there actually are! Some have been quite vocal about the absence of the library and we were told by the captain (at a ship gathering early on in the cruise) that HAL is listening!! There will be changes to the Koningsdam and to the new ship being built. That being said, there are still plenty of quiet spots on this ship where one can curl up and read a book. A library is a nice touch, for sure!
Our room stewards were always smiling and willing to serve! "Paul" was our main steward and was always courteous, gracious and smiling! I am always amazed that these hard-working souls know our names by the end of the very first day! The ONLY negative comment I have about the Koningsdam (and I am VERY picky!!) is about the bed. Our beds on both the Niew Amsterdam and the Noordam were so comfortable and almost identical in comfort to our Tempurpedic at home. Both my husband and myself are sensitive to the comfort of a bed due to back issues and unfortunately, the bed on this ship was very uncomfortable. We could almost feel (what we thought to be) the springs through the top of the mattress. The ridge between the two twins were also very apparent. Watching the tv from the bed was out of the question due to the uncomfortable bed. Otherwise the room was fine with the bathroom shower nice and roomy and the water pressure/temperature great!
The room was located aft on the back end. We had NO problems in this location and enjoyed viewing the wake and surrounding sea and shore throughout our trip.
We used the treadmills almost every day. Never had any issues with not finding an open machine! I had my nails done on the first day and the lady there was super nice and did a great job on my nails! She even massaged my arms first with an apricot cleanser followed by a lotion-oh my! That was heavenly!! ;0)
One other thing (besides the bed) that HAL can improve upon are the two comedians that they hired for our cruise. I guess we are spoiled by the wonderful comedian we saw on our first cruise on the Niew Amsterdam. He was terrific and the two on this cruise just paled in comparison. :0(
All in all, however, I'd still give this ship/itinerary/accomodations/food/staff etc...a solid "A"! Read Less