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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I have been on 9 cruises on a variety of cruise lines, including Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, and Holland America. This was my second time booking a Holland America Cruise. The last cruise I took was a 7-day holiday cruise ... Read More
I have been on 9 cruises on a variety of cruise lines, including Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, and Holland America. This was my second time booking a Holland America Cruise. The last cruise I took was a 7-day holiday cruise a few years ago. I booked the original cruise primarily on the recommendation of a family friend, who told me that while Holland America caters to a more mature crowd, the service, food, and entertainment was second to none, and well-suited for a more refined experience. My first experience on Holland America was positive, which is why I decided to book again. My boyfriend and I wanted to take a short cruise (this was his first cruise experience), and I thought that we would splurge a little and take the new Holland America 4-day Bahamas cruise, traveling to their private island and Nassau. Having booked cruises before, I was a little surprised at the amount of information (or lack thereof) given prior to the cruise. Shore excursions seemed very limited, and very few details were made available on the entertainment options to be available onboard. I figured, not a big deal, perhaps this is because this is the inaugural sailing? The embarkation process was fine, but nothing to write home about. I noticed less of the "VIP" treatment I had received on other cruises, such as refreshments upon arriving onboard, and quite a few less-than-friendly faces as we explored the ship. We had an outside stateroom on the 10th deck - the room was fine, although the veranda was cramped with chairs and footrests that didn't quite fit the balcony size. Now, let me get to the areas we were disappointed: 1) Food: The best food I've had on a cruise line was on Celebrity, closely followed by my last Holland America experience. Unfortunately, we were left sending our meals back on multiple occasions on this cruise. Food was served luke warm, and some side dishes seemed oddly paired with entrees. They over-cooked our steaks, and fish was bland. The only decent meal we had was when we decided to splurge on one of their specialty restaurants, so perhaps this is their way of getting cruisers to spend more money? Understanding the large amount of people they are serving, I have experience much better on nearly every other cruise I had been on. 2) Entertainment: Typically, a cruise itinerary is packed with activities throughout the day, where one is left to make choices between, say, a dance class or a trivia game. This was not the case on this ship. There were very few options for entertainment, and for half of the days, we were left in our stateroom with nothing to do. Perhaps part of the issue is that we are not the type to blow hundreds of dollars on over-priced spa experiences. But it seemed as though this cruise expected you to spend your time spending the money in the spa, or be left with the dullest of activities to choose form (nearly every hour, there was a "Microsoft" training class - on a ship - really???). Completely disappointed with entertainment quality in the evenings as well. Now, I realize that cruise lines are notorious for cheesy very-off-Broadway shows, but in some cases, I have been impressed with the variety and talent. This was not the case on this cruise. The "dance" performances were of the quality like something you'd see a Six Flags amusement park, and the live music, while offering variety, was poorly laid out on the ship (e.g. while in the classical music hall you could hear the music from the rock club, poorly placed directly next door). 3) Service/Friendliness: Usually I have no complaints with service or friendliness on a ship. Unfortunately, this crew seemed genuinely unhappy to be serving us. Again I am not sure if this is simply because this is a new crew, but instead of friendly smiles and personal greetings, many of the staff seemed uninterested in answering our questions, or unable to. Lots of dull faces, and not many personal greetings in hallways as one would usually see on a cruise. The service was equivalent to something I would expect in a 2-star restaurant or hotel, not a quality cruise line. 4) Value/Quality: Last but not least, I'll address cost. The cost for drinks on the ship was about average, although the very green crew was not generous at all with their pours, and most bar tenders were clearly not trained to make any drinks not on their menus. Shore excursions were also average priced, and of course the spa was outrageous. We opted for a massage on Nassau so about 1/4th the price of what we would have paid on the ship - a very good decision. I felt as though I had a much better bang for the buck on my last Celebrity cruise, where perks like an all-inclusive drink package were added to sweeten the deal. Altogether, unfortunately, Holland America has proven to be a disappointment. I do not recommend this ship, the ship design, the food, the drinks, the activities, the entertainment, the crew, or the value. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We had already been on the Koningsdam and we liked the NS. The RS Rock room and BB Kings gave new variety to the cruise. The Ship is beautiful and targets the younger boomers and gen xers imo. Embarkation was a mess as it was on ... Read More
We had already been on the Koningsdam and we liked the NS. The RS Rock room and BB Kings gave new variety to the cruise. The Ship is beautiful and targets the younger boomers and gen xers imo. Embarkation was a mess as it was on Oosterdam last month. They packed everyone in the lounge gave boarding cards by number. We were on by 1pm. Pinnacle was very good this trip after having been there several times now. They have some new menu items and we made sure to try them. The service led by the big boss Denise was 5 star! Our server handled a table of 12 plus the two of us with great ease. I kept thinking in the States this would have bombed. Very impressive! MDR was decent enough but service was very slow at lunch on embarkation day but was much better at dinner. Lido service was not up to the speed on the Oosterdam last month. HAL I guess has abandoned the staff serving food on the first day. We used to really respect they did that but we see it has been cut. They just have one maybe two people at each station and it is help yourself the entire cruise. There was nobody from HAL doing the hand sanitizer so many guests I would imagine would just walk in. HAL used to enforce this for the safety of the guests. This is a mistake to abandon this imo. Disembarkation had the longest Customs lines I have seen on the 20 cruises we have been on. I have no idea why but when we exited the ship we got in a line of 300 people long. For that many people they moved it the best they could. The Pinnacle class ships are a big change for HAL but they seem to be pulling it off. The overall staff at some times seemed to be learning about their new home as well. I was told for food the NS is intended to have enough for a 7 day cruise so on the previous TA they were stuffed with minimal space to accommodate everything for that long of a voyage. We had some rough seas so they did not go to the private island but I was very impressed at how smooth the ship handled itself. I could look out a window or look out from my balcony and see how rough the seas were but felt nothing on the ship! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The window for this cruise fell just right and the duration could be worked in to office schedules. This was my first cruise in a long time and on a much larger ship than I was used to. The layout of the ship made it seem much less ... Read More
The window for this cruise fell just right and the duration could be worked in to office schedules. This was my first cruise in a long time and on a much larger ship than I was used to. The layout of the ship made it seem much less crowded than I thought it might have been. The ship personnel and atmosphere contributed to a great time. The dining room staff made us feel particularly welcome. Shore excursions were arranged beforehand and everything clicked just the way we expected them to be. Stateroom (Signature Suite) was very nice. I had planned to have some meals served on the veranda, but the Manhattan dining room was just too good to pass up. We ate one night in the Tamarind Restaurant (Pan Asian cuisine) and that should be part of your bucket list items. Super food, accommodations were first rate, and I booked another cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam already. Looking forward to returning! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Good Holliday cruise. The Eurodam is a very nice with small ship feel. The staff was friendly, and very attentive to our needs. The food was amazing with a nice variety on the menus. We missed one of our ports due to wheather which was ... Read More
Good Holliday cruise. The Eurodam is a very nice with small ship feel. The staff was friendly, and very attentive to our needs. The food was amazing with a nice variety on the menus. We missed one of our ports due to wheather which was disappointing. Nice adults only pool area. The spa was great. The sea day activities were ok. Cabin was typical. Very nice steward. First time on HAL. Would go again. Would not go with children. While family friendly there did seem much to do on sea days. Our excursions were also typical and fun. The ease of embarking and disembarking was really nice. No heard lines. No shoving. The shows and evening activities were nice. Good music selections. Would recommended for adults with no children. Good and older crowd friendly. Ship was very well maintained. Had unique ports of call. Good value for thanksgiving week cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise to experience the new, beautiful Koningsdam! The ship was beautiful with lots of open seating and excellent music venues! The theme of the ship is music since all of the decks had a name associated with music. I have ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience the new, beautiful Koningsdam! The ship was beautiful with lots of open seating and excellent music venues! The theme of the ship is music since all of the decks had a name associated with music. I have taken over 20 cruises, but never on HA. The age was varied and a little younger, probably because it was a short cruise. The staff was very nice, but the Captain had no presence other than the mid day update. No captain party or night, no champagne toast to celebrate the maiden US voyage. We had anytime dining and we're seated within 5 minutes every night. The service and food went downhill after that. The first night we waited 20 minutes before we ever saw our waiter. The soup was tempid at best. After 1 hour the entree arrived COLD. the maitre D apologized and advised us to order our food hot! Really? That's crazy. The next night I ordered my food hot and it was fine. The next night I didn't order it hot and I had to send it back. On the positive side, breakfast in the dining room was outstanding with the BEST and most varied menu! Great experience with room service too! We chose an inside cabin because I like it dark for sleeping. I must admit I didn't pay a lot of attention to the sq footage, but the room was VERY small. Looking back HA provided a range for the sq ft and ours was microscopic! There was no chair in the room, so room service was a bit challenging! No dreaded shower curtain to wrap around you! Nice modern bathroom! Hopefully, HA will get their act together with hot food. If you sail on the Koningsdam, be sure to enjoy an ocean view or balcony cabin! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
Ship selected by a group for a birthday celebration. The ship was very nice--a new ship. The service was very good--friendly, helpful employees. The food was good--much better than I expected. I opted to travel on the cruise bus to and ... Read More
Ship selected by a group for a birthday celebration. The ship was very nice--a new ship. The service was very good--friendly, helpful employees. The food was good--much better than I expected. I opted to travel on the cruise bus to and from the airport. It was really good to go from the airport to the ship. My bag was picked up at the airport and delivered to my cabin. On the return, I waited for over an hour on the bus. I was told not to book a flight before 11am--we docked at 6am. I could have gotten a much earlier flight. Because of my 11:50am flight, It was almost 4pm by the time I got home. I booked 3 shore excursions with Holland America. The City Tour with visit to the Gardens was definitely NOT worth the time or the money. We were left at the garden for almost 2 hours. We only needed about 15 minutes to see everything. I had booked a snorkel activity. I got up at 6am, went by boat to Half Moon Cay. After I arrived there I was told my trip had been cancelled due to the weather--it was a calm, beautiful, sunny day. I was offered a substitute, but much later than my event, which meant I'd just sit and wait a couple of hours, which I did not do. My biggest criticism is the lack of internet service. It would have been very expensive to sign up for the ship internet. That is ridiculous in the day and age of instant communication. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
I will put this short review in the form of questions and answers. Why did we decide to take a cruise on the Koningsdam? We wanted to see a new ship. A short inaugural cruise was a good option. Despite the limited time we’ve had a ... Read More
I will put this short review in the form of questions and answers. Why did we decide to take a cruise on the Koningsdam? We wanted to see a new ship. A short inaugural cruise was a good option. Despite the limited time we’ve had a good insight of the new ship. Below are our impressions. What major things did we like about the new ship in comparison with the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam? What novelties were so-so? What didn’t we like at all? Part 1 Major Improvements 1. The most visible improvement (not only a “change” but improvement) is the Queen’s Lounge. It now spans two decks high, similar to the Queen’s Room on Cunard cruise ships. 2. Nasty cabanas have been removed from the pool area Lido deck. They are localized in the dedicated area (The Retreat). 3. We liked the new afternoon tea setting in the Queen’s Lounge. Top class. 4. We loved added “wings” in the aft pool area. 5. We loved the crew. 6. We appreciate an addition of the atrium café. 7. More “solid” entertainment program in general. Part 2 Changes that we did not considered as definite improvements. 1. The theater. It looks like a rotunda with a flat ceiling. We liked the new setting: a large proscenium, quite spectacular LED-generated “motion pictures” in the background walls, unobstructed views. We liked live music in the theater. However, the ceiling feels low (from distant seats), seating capacity has been reduced. The show room now lacks atmosphere. In fact, the final impression boils down to the quality of the performance (we did not like dance production actually – very generic). 2. The sliding roof over the Lido pool has moved one deck up. This area is now a 2 deck high space when the roof is closed. It looks much more impressive. However, this area is now a busy crowded place with a lot of noise from multiple junk food “poolside” eateries. It’s quite similar to the hell of central pool area you see on Carnival Dream class ships. From the other hand, as dust settles by the evening, the new movie screen appears as a good addition the ship’s entertainment facilities. 3. The new look of the Main Dining Room. Strangely, it’s accessible from elevator halls only. There is no more or less “impressive” entrance. Is it why MDR does not have a fancy name? It’s simply “Dining Room”. In my opinion, MDR layout and décor on the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam (despite excessive reds) provided more classy feel and look. 4. Most cabins got lighter color palette but “feel smaller” than they used to be. Part 3 Changes that we did not like at all. 1. First and foremost – the loss of proper promenade deck. This has been an iconic feature for Holland America ships for decades. This is a loss in class of the ship. This loss is dramatic and cannot be justified. 2. Our lovely spacious yet intimate sun deck above Tamarind restaurant has disappeared as Tamarind moved aft. The beautiful with spectacular views Silk Den lounge has been dwarfed and hidden in a corner of the new tamarind Restaurant. 3. Redesigned aft pool area: clustered, clustered, and clustered. Gone is the spaciousness and open feel. Cigarette smell is annoying. 4. The library has gone. 5. The hydropool is shallow. No comparison with what it used to be. A huge disappointment. 6. Large inside cabins on Deck 1 are gone. 7. Freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast in the buffet, once a luxury feature of HAL ships: gone. 8. The maritime theme in decor has gone. 9. Buffet: limited access to formerly self-service items (like juices), more chaotic, more time consuming (although nicely appointed). Inedible bread pudding (used to be “to die for”). 10. Afternoon tea (two days out of 3) lasted 30 minutes. Why not 15 minutes? 11. Did we (would we) feel the presence of additional 500 passengers? Definitely yes, although the ship was not full. Overall impression: despite several improvements the level of the new product overall has moved towards more mass-market formula. More people per square inch, more glitz and gloss, but cheaper as you scratch the surface. The ship is OK and is worth 3.5* (at least) or maybe 4* (at most). The ship has left a bitter taste. I ca explain why: considering how high the starting point was, the new ship could have been far better. We wish the Koningsdam every success, but are not planning cruises on this ship in the future. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was ms Koningsdam's first US cruise after sailing throughout the world on its 2016 inaugural season. This ship is a stunner from top to bottom, and it is difficult for us as frequent cruisers to imagine a more thoroughly ... Read More
This was ms Koningsdam's first US cruise after sailing throughout the world on its 2016 inaugural season. This ship is a stunner from top to bottom, and it is difficult for us as frequent cruisers to imagine a more thoroughly delightful experience than this short (four night) introductory voyage. Incidentally, Holland America may be regarded as a premium line, but there are a good number of excellent low fares available. As seems to be routine these days at Southeast Florida ports (both Port Everglades and Miami), embarkation and disembarkation procedures flow without any excessive delay. We did not travel with children, and while Holland America offers, I believe, very good facilities for young travelers, this was not a voyage noted for its youthful numbers. We opted out of shore excursions at both ports; while in Nassau walked to a nearby beach and loved the afternoon. On that subject, Half Moon Cay, HAL's private island, was one of the most memorable days we've had on a cruise. The cruise line seems to have thought of everything here as well, including a very good island barbecue. This is truly a spectacular ship, with brilliantly imagined transitions in design and atmosphere between public spaces, based upon a broad theme of music, both classical and popular. For instance, the Dining Room is intended to echo the inside of a violin! Artwork, sculptures, and photos amaze throughout, often in unexpected places. Fresh flowers and live trees are seemingly everywhere. The Dining Room was an unfailingly sublime event for us for every dinner. We were seated at three different tables over four nights and were at each one greeted warmly as well as served with unfailing courtesy and polish. The Lido Market (the buffet) was first rate. None of the self-service and empty chafing pans one occasionally encounters, but rather true hand service, including individual coffee and juice brought to the table and promptly refilled. When a buffet line was closed, it had been done so tastefully and it was immediate apparent from signs that service continued in other areas of the buffet. Tables in the Lido Market were set with the same order and elegance one encounters in formal dining rooms. The aft pool was a welcoming spot for us, but the main, multi-level pool in the ship's center, was fabulous with cushioned loungers and semi-private sofa and chaise lounges on the upper level. Poolside dining was available at the New York Deli and Pizza, and really excellent burgers, hot dogs and fries at Dive-In. No heat lamps here: you order and are given a pager to await your custom order. Also absent from this beautiful ship is the sense that one is on a vessel teeming with passengers. We found a quite a few areas on the open decks where lounge chairs were always available and where not a single sunbather was seen. The entertainment at the World Stage for remarkable. This is an 'in the round' theatre, with projection walls circling the stage. We were especially awed by Frozen Planet Live (you'll have to see it for yourself). Piano music at Billboard Onboard and B.B. King's Blues Club was consistently excellent. The classical pianist in the Ocean Bar was a lovely nod to tradition. Bar service was also excellent with reasonably priced cocktails and even a happy hour at several bars each evening, as well as cocktail and whisky tastings. The bars are to be complemented for their creativity and variety of mixed drinks on offer. Holland America Line doesn't overwhelm with ships line amusement parks, but concentrates on offering professional service in every respect, and it does not disappoint. If you are seeking a sophisticated, adult cruise adventure, this is the line for you. We believe ourselves to be reasonable discriminating travelers, and this was one of the best. Suffice it to say, we will happily sail on ms Koningsdam again (and again)! Read Less
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