A group of 5 of us flew to Amsterdam in early July for a 2 week cruise through the Norwegian fjords up into the Arctic Circle on the Koningsdam. Generally speaking, this was a pleasant voyage. Flights were on schedule. Transfers from ... Read More
A group of 5 of us flew to Amsterdam in early July for a 2 week cruise through the Norwegian fjords up into the Arctic Circle on the Koningsdam. Generally speaking, this was a pleasant voyage. Flights were on schedule. Transfers from the airport to the pier went smoothly. Representatives were clearly visible. The wait time in the pier was short. Check in was quick. We boarded around noon. We were not allowed to go to our rooms until 1:30ish. I carried my luggage onboard so I could unpack right away. I dropped the luggage off in the room and continued up to the Lido Market for lunch.
Available right away in the Lido Market was a dining room specialist with whom we booked specialty dining. We got that taken care of right off the bat. I like to eat in a specialty restaurant on formal nights so that I do not need the ‘appropriate clothing’ for the MDR. The offerings in which we ate were the Culinary Arts Center, the Pinnacle Grill Steak house, the Pan Asian restaurant, Tamarind, and the Italian restaurant, Canaletto.
The Culinary Arts Center offers farm to table dishes with herbs grown onboard. The chef is interested in talking to you while dishes are being prepared. This is all visible with dish preparation happening behind glass windows. One is encouraged to ask questions while dinner is being prepared. Nice pitch. However, the ¾ stools with raised tables are not comfortable. This restaurant bundles a welcome cocktail (think rhubarb, strawberry and vodka) and organic wine with the cost of the meal. This was a good meal, but was overpriced and the table height was uncomfortable. The Canaletto, without going into much detail, is just not worth the additional expense. First of all, it is part of the Lido Buffet. Second, the choices were lacking. Third the preparation was not really ‘Italian’. Next, we dined in the Pinnacle Grill. The steaks were significantly better than steaks by the same name (Sirloin Strip) served in the MDR. The Tamarind pan Asian restaurant was a pleasant surprise. We ate there two times. The second time, I had the lobster tail (dusted with ginger). The dessert was a pillbox hat sized fortune cookie sitting in two inches of chocolate ganache. You have to see it to believe it.
As for the Lido Market and the Billboard Onboard lounge, the furniture is so heavy, that trying to slide the chair to the table is almost impossible. In the Lido Market, the legs of the chairs are sharp, and I feel certain will quickly shred the carpeting.
My room, given a single occupancy cabin – and there are only 12 of them - was not smaller than cabins of double occupancy. These cabins are forward on the main deck (deck 1) and the savings for booking one of these is substantial. Book way early. They are gone almost immediately. My cabin lacked the sofa bed that other rooms had, but that did not mean the room was smaller. I was in cabin 1009. Also, in terms of air conditioning, the unit worked very effectively. If I lowered the temperature, I could hear the unit turn on. If it got too cool and I raised the thermostat, it would turn off immediately. I don’t ever recall having the air conditioning being so responsive.
The entertainment was mixed. This ship offers something called ‘Lincoln Stage Center’- these musicians, 2 violinists, a cellist, a violist and a pianist were incredibly in demand. They did a few concerts each day. I would highly recommend. Seats were gone 15 minutes prior to their performance. Other entertainment on the World Stage was meh, lack luster – a Russian singer and a flautist. Not so interesting. With that in mind, the Lincoln Center Stage isn’t big enough. Future versions of this ship need to expand seating capacity for this venue. Also, this room connects directly with Billboard Onboard. So, two different shows can not occur in these two different venues at the same time. Happy hour seemed to be offered each day from 4 to 5 pm in one of the lounges on deck 2.
I did have a problem with mold on this sailing. On deck 1 forward, there was a problem with mold as well as on deck 9 near the Lido Market. The smell was awful. On day 2, it was reported. On day 3, paint odors were reported. On day 4, I saw maintenance staff wearing masks as they were replacing filters in the ventilation ducts.
Shore excursions booked through Holland America were good but will be addressed later in this review. But let me add that they were a bit high, pricewise.
There were about 2700 people on board. The ship actually holds about 3100. So, the ship was not sold out. However, the service seemed spotty in the dining room and the lounges – especially on formal nights.
Trying to meet with a future cruise representative was tricky. Their hours of operation were limited. Also, their space is very small. In addition, I had to wait for one passenger to book with two future cruise reps at the same time. Not efficient, not good planning in this department.
The main pool space was somewhat limited. The lounge chairs were comfortable and padded. There wasn’t much space to accommodate many people. This was more of a family area that had the sliding glass roof overhead for cooler weather, which is what we had. Also, in this space is where you will find burgers and fries on one level and pizza up one floor. The pizza and the burger areas used an order system where you receive a pager to notify you when the order is ready. And generally, this took about 10 minutes in each venue. Also, near the burger area was a gelato station. Gelato was a pay area and was about $2.00 for 2 scoops.
I preferred the secondary pool – aft. This seated more people with an ample sized pool. Children were not readily seen at this pool the day I was able to use it.
I used the gym daily. It was nicely laid out and was just off the spa area. It was big enough to handle all guests that I would run into first thing in the morning.
As for the promenade deck, although it wraps all the way around, it is very narrow in parts. So, it is not a good deck for getting a brisk walk. Also, this deck was void of the traditional wooden deck chairs, which is what I grew up with.
Generally speaking, it was a nice cruise and I would sail on it again, given that this ship has single occupancy rate cabins. Read Less