Sail Date: January 2019
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting ... Read More
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting the islands, St. Lucia, St. Marteen, Barbados, Martinique, Antiqua, St. Tomas and HAL's Half Moon Cay was outstanding. The selection of TV shows and Movies in our room, did get very thin after 11 days. But we understand there were many outstanding things to do outside of our room. Having said all that, I want to give you the negatives, so you are not surprised. Do not misunderstand, we loved the cruise and feel very positive about it, but want to tell you what we did not like. The food was great. Loved the Lido buffet for both breakfast and dinner. All the eggs Benedict, omlets, waffles and pancakes you can eat for breakfast, who could not like that? After 11 days some of the sameness did wear just a little old. The hamburgers and hotdogs at the Dive were fine snacks. The Pizza, nachos and deli sandwiches were fine too. We ate at one specialty restaurant, the Tamarind and it was very good. We felt the dining room tried to be too fancy and gourmet and failed. Also the process in the dining room took too long...2 hours. I was shocked that the Crème Bule was almost liquid, not custardly. And, if you do not mesh with the people you are seated with, the 2 hour dinner can seem really long. Paying $50 per person for the Pinnacle Room seemed a little extreme, when our cruise fee already included food. As far as the reviews I have read about bad pillows, dirty rooms, too loud if you are mid-ship over the entertainment, they are hogwash. We did not experience anything like that. We were disappointed to learn that you had to come nearly an hour early for the one hour show in the main room, the World Stage, in order to get a seat!. There needs to be a better system for reserving seats or similar. We very much enjoyed the entertainment in the BB King Room and the Rolling Stone Room. Be prepared for Holland America to try to find many ways every day to separate you from your money. They present many "opportunities". They price gouge you in some ways that I believe were over the top. Internet service is $24.95 a day! But worse of all was the wine. To buy 4 bottles of wine for us to have in our room I paid over $170...and this was for Estancia wine which I pay about $12.00 for in the grocery store!. Over $40 for a $12 bottle of wine! Paying double, like in a restaurant, would be understandable, but FOUR times the cost is simply uncalled for. And there is an $18 corkage fee for bringing on your own wine purchased at a port. So I ended up paying $25.50 for a $7.50 bottle of wine. Come on Holland America, I was already paying thousands for the cruise! I found calling guest services with a problem, like when I screwed up the combination to the safe in my room, was fruitless. They put you on hold for the longest time. When I did reach a human, they said someone would be up in 10 minutes...after over an hour they had not appeared. I learned going to the Service desk in person worked well. The were competent and timely, In the case of re-setting my room safe, the person, said I will come and fix it right now, and she did. Getting off the ship and finding your excursion in ports was no problem at all and the excursions were fine. We did the 2 snorkel catamarans (one with a lobster lunch) and a tour that included 2 hours at a beach and shopping. Staff was fine and everything was fun. Holland America's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas was wonderful. Do not listen to the review that said getting your claim shell (basically an umbrella and 2 beach chairs) was a hassle. It was fine. So there you have it. A fine cruise on a fine ship that was not without some down sides. And I am 70, a young 70. Be aware that HAL seems to cater to seniors, I would say 70 was about the average age and less than 1/4 of the people were under 50. It is what it is. Holland America, you really can do better on those wine and internet charges. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I sailed on the ms Koningsdam last August on a cruise to Norway. Apparently the ship went into drydock for some updates and new officers, not long after that cruise. I’ll describe some of the updates in my review, many of ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the ms Koningsdam last August on a cruise to Norway. Apparently the ship went into drydock for some updates and new officers, not long after that cruise. I’ll describe some of the updates in my review, many of which enhance your cruising experience. I provided a lot of details and tips about cruising on the Koningsdam in my review last October for Cruise Critic; I will not repeat that information here; please read my earlier review to learn more. We only did the 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruise. Here are some of the changes. The Lincoln Center Stage area has been combined with the BB King's Blues Club; they perform at different times. The area formerly used by Lincoln Center Stage is now the Rolling Stone Rock Room. The rock & roll band there was excellent; it seems like every performance had overflow crowds with standing in the hallway. It was a big hit with the passengers. The band members were enthusiastic and put on great shows. The Assignments restaurant near the 2nd floor Main Dining Room entrance is now part of Club Orange, and serves “private” lunch and dinners for club members. My wife and I got an offer to join Club Orange prior to the cruise for about $50 a day per person; you get the private dining venue, priority boarding and tenders, and some other benefits. This is an alternative to the pricier Neptune Club. Another change since our last cruise is that hot dogs, burgers, and other food at the Dive-In by the Lido Pool are now free (as they used to be on Caribbean cruises; Norway was probably an anomaly). There was an Elvis impersonator on the ship with his girlfriend and an entourage of fans who travel with him. I think he was trying to get Holland America Line (HAL) interested in hiring him for a future cruise. I attended one of his impromptu performances, when a couple at dinner (open dining) told me about the upcoming event in the Hudson Room. He sang Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty songs. He should be hired; he is good enough to be a performer for a nightly World Stage show. Another change is that the Tamarind Restaurant—with excellent Asian cuisine, one of our favorite specialty restaurants—has been split into Tamarind and the Nami Sushi bar. You pay a la carte for the sushi (about $6-8 for a long sushi roll) at the bar; you can order sushi if you dine at Tamarind, but you pay the a la carte price in addition to the $25 per person surcharge for the Tamarind. Other changes: the handy Navigator app now lists events until they finish. There is a motion-sensor-activated night light in the room under one of the closets. And there are kiosks by the Guest Services desk where you can print out your room charges (statement) without having to wait in line. People seemed to stay healthy on the ship. We had no issues with norovirus or the like. I still wish more guests could be encouraged to use the hand washing stations before entering the Lido Market to eat. We did arrive about 4 hours early back to Fort Lauderdale, because a passenger needed medical assistance. Even though there were about 3000 passengers on the ship, it didn’t feel that big. And the size of the ship does allow for all the entertainment venues and restaurants on the ship. The only time the size was somewhat apparent was in Grand Turk. Ship personnel only opened one gangway. In the afternoon, 2 hours before departure, there was a long line to get back on the ship, about a 15-minute wait. At other ports, there were 2 gangways available and hardly any lines. There was a mix of ages on this cruise from young children to teenagers to older senior citizens. I think the average age was late 50s to early 60s for the approximately 3000 passengers. Someone told me that about 40% of the passengers were Canadians, who were escaping from the very cold temperatures back home (well below freezing). Unlike with the Norway cruise, there were hardly any active excursions (e.g., hiking, kayaking), known as EXC [Exploration Central] Tours, except for snorkeling. Some people did their own tours (e.g., mentioned on Cruise Critic’s helpful resource, the “Roll Call” for the Koningsdam cruise in the months prior to sailing). My wife and I did a couple of active excursions through a company recommended by my travel agent, Shore Excursions Group. They were small group excursions, which I liked. One of the reasons my wife and I selected this cruise was the itinerary which included Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and, of course Holland America’s private island, Half Moon Cay. The port at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, was apparently built by Carnival. It is very nice. There is a free pool area with loungers and hammocks to the right of the duty-free building. I was told that Carnival also built the port used at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos. There is a free swimming pool area behind the Margaritaville bar/café at the port in Grand Turk. We met many people who were doing back-to-back cruises in the warm, sunny Caribbean. We heard, though, that either US Customs or the TSA requires those passengers to get off the ship and wait in the cruise terminal at Fort Lauderdale before they can reboard on the transition day between cruises. My wife and I did a back-to-back in Amsterdam for the Norway cruises, and we got to stay on the ship there. Some procedures don’t seem to make sense. My wife and I did open dining again. We would typically go to the Main Dining Room about 7:30 pm and get seated almost immediately at a table for 6 or 8 people. We had interesting dinner companions each night. Be prepared for a wait on some nights. On the first Gala Night (of two), the Main Dining Room was not able to handle the number of guests for open seating. There was a wait of 30-45 minutes or longer by 7:30 pm. It was nice of the Dining Room to hand out vouchers for a glass of champagne in the Ocean Bar, along with a beeper. There was a minimal wait for the second Gala Night. When you get to your stateroom, you should find a “Plan Your Voyage” brochure. It lists key events for each day, including World Stage entertainers. It lists the first Gala Night, but not the second. You have to ask when that will be, if you don’t want it to conflict with going to one of the specialty restaurants. It’s easy to lose track of the days on the cruise. Helpfully, the staff puts rugs in the elevators showing you the current day of the week. One of the highlights of the cruise was watching the total lunar eclipse as the ship sailed from Aruba. The overhead lights on the deck could not be turned off. (I asked and was told that would be a Security issue, although Princess Cruises has done that on its ships for preplanned stargazing, with no apparent security problem.) Fortunately, you could still see the eclipse well enough. A change for this cruise is that HAL offered dining packages which provided a discount for eating at several of the specialty restaurants on the ship (e.g., Signature Dining Package, $44 per person for the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto, a savings of $6). All of the packages included Canaletto which suggests that it is underutilized by passengers. The entertainment was mostly very good on this cruise. Kudos go to solo pianist Indre, the Lincoln Center Stage performers (classical music), the Billboard Onboard performers (2 guys this cruise), the BB King's Blues Club (soulful voices), and the Rolling Stone Rock Room (rock ’n roll energy). We saw the first performance by the onboard dance troupe, Stage One; the second performance was cancelled when one of the dancers sustained an injury. The dancing still lacks the “wow” factor of cruises years ago. We enjoyed comedian Derrick Cameron, but not Nikki Carr. We missed the performance by Tom Franek. The juggling and comedy of Hilby was entertaining. With a company like HAL, you would not think that entertainment would still be hit or miss on a cruise. One thing I was more aware of this cruise was the noise level for the entertainers and the need for hearing protection. I have an app for my smartphone called SoundPrint that can measure the ambient noise in decibels (dB). One night it was 94 dB (average) for Billboard Online. On several nights, the reading was 96-97 dB for BB King's sitting away from the stage, and 108 dB on the dance floor. For the Rock Room, the reading was 96-98 dB, and 106 dB on the dance floor. At 106 dB, hearing loss can occur after 3-3/4 minutes; songs last longer than that. At 97 dB, permissible exposure is 30 minutes; performers played at least 45-minute sets with a pause between lyrics. Bring your own ear plugs if you want to be close to the music. I feel sorry for the small child who was held by his mother on the dance floor one night; he is likely to suffer some permanent hearing loss. If you’re a Mariner member, when you check in, be sure to ask when and where the Mariner Welcome Onboard Lunch and Mariner Welcome Onboard Reception will be held. The Check-in Desk was supposed to tell us, but they didn’t, and we missed both events. While you’re waiting to board the ship, go ahead and sign into the Navigator app (really just a website). Select the Koningsdam Guest website for Wi-Fi. Open a browser on your phone and type in “login.com”. You are taken to the website “navigator.hollandamerica.com”. Then register for an account (provide your stateroom number and last name). It’s a handy app for finding out about activities on the ship and seeing your shipboard account. This is free to use on the ship. You can pay for Internet access to the “outside world” and access it through the Navigator. There are many other features for the app; see my previous review for more info. If you’re buying a new smartphone to bring on the cruise, be sure to activate it and download any software updates before you get on the ship. You need a working smartphone to use the Wi-Fi and Navigator app. As a general rule, there was not free Wi-Fi at the ports. You’d have to go into a bar or restaurant and buy something to get Wi-Fi access: e.g., Froots or Margaritaville bar/café in Grand Turk; the Café at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. I think Curacao was the only port with free Wi-Fi (over by the fort). In the past, when my wife and I would sign up for wine tastings, we would get reminders delivered to our room the day before the event. That was not happening this cruise, until we called up Guest Services and asked to specifically get such reminders. Until changes are made to the ship, avoid booking stateroom 4068 and nearby rooms. We met the couple staying in that room. They said they could hear the BB King band in their room when the band practiced in the afternoon (so no napping) and when it played at night. The Hotel Manager was able to find a different, quieter room which they could use for sleeping. There was an ugly altercation among passengers, and between one passenger and the Assistant Cruise Director, in the Billboard lounge one afternoon. This occurred when the second US football (quarterfinal) game ran late and afternoon Trivia was scheduled in the lounge at the same time. Words were exchanged, Security was called (but did not show up for about 10 minutes), and Trivia was cancelled. The cruise staff should have better anticipated the situation and come up with an alternative location (like right across the hall in the Rolling Stone Rock Room). The situation was aggravated by bar staff apparently serving alcohol to footfall fans for 3+ hours. If you plan to disembark yourself, expect a long line. It seems to be very popular to take your own luggage off the ship. You do get to leave the ship first. Just be patient with the line. And, if you have Global Entry membership, follow the signs in the cruise building to get expedited passport control back into the USA. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 3rd HA cruise. The most recent was last year on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal and it was an amazing trip. We expected the Koningsdam as one of the newer ships to be even better, but it was not. The ship is beautiful and ... Read More
This was our 3rd HA cruise. The most recent was last year on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal and it was an amazing trip. We expected the Koningsdam as one of the newer ships to be even better, but it was not. The ship is beautiful and clean. All of the public rest rooms were kept very nicely. The weather was probably the worst of any Caribbean cruise we have ever been on—blame climate change! It rained much of the first sea day, the whole day in St Lucia, and part of most other days. The ship has so many nice, quiet places to hang out, we never minded. On sea days there is plenty to do. My favorite activity is Microsoft On Board. I have learned so much about Windows 10 on 2 HA cruises! The evening entertainment was varied and quite good. The major issue for us on this ship was the food. Several of the fish dishes were dry and not very good. The lobster was awful, and one shrimp cocktail had waterlogged, thawed shrimp. The kitchen seemed more focused on presentation, rather than taste. The soups were so salty I couldn’t eat them. We had the best waiter for dinner— Raymond! The buffet for breakfast and lunch was good with a huge variety. It was usually very crowded but the lines seemed to move fairly well. Between 3 and 5:30 finding something to eat other than waiting 20 minutes for burgers or a whole pizza was difficult. No ice cream after 3 unless you paid for gelato. We really missed a pizza station to get a slice or a soft ice cream machine after coming back from the beach. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We had a beautiful holiday with the Koningsdam. Our overall rating is average. The ship is good, but not perfect. And that is the reason why it is average rated by us. We had better cruises, like with NCL, Princess and Celebrity. We ... Read More
We had a beautiful holiday with the Koningsdam. Our overall rating is average. The ship is good, but not perfect. And that is the reason why it is average rated by us. We had better cruises, like with NCL, Princess and Celebrity. We expected already that the average age of the cruising people is more than 50 years. But I think that we were with 48/47 years one of the youngest on the ship. Not a real problem, but it was almost every day "excuse me, we will continue our walk, but can we pass you? You are blocking the way". Sometimes very irritating. But ok, if we want younger people, we have to cruise on NCL or Carnival etc. Our embarkation was really perfect. In 15 minutes we were already on board (with some help of a very nice man from HAL ;-) ). Our first impression of the ship was good, but it was not glamerous. It is not the "WOW"-effect. There is no attrium with a creature, lightning or other things that gives the WOW. It is standard. This is also in the corridor to the rooms. It is standard. No beatiful paintings or prints. The stairs to the different floors are nice with beautiful paintings or art. When we entered the room (6010), we were suprised. There is a lot of space in the room. Beautiful bathroom, very good bed, a lot of storage, nice balcony. But not really clean. We saw spots on the door, mirrors etc. And the worst thing, the climate-control. The first days it looked that the temperature of the room was not cool, but the display of the control was marked with "cool". We went to the reception and they promised to help this. But after one day nothing was changed. The temperature in the room was too high, worser in the night. Went again back to the reception, they promised again to help. But nothing, even no reaction from them. And surprise, surprise, last evening the temperature of the room was finally COLD! We think that there was a problem with the climate-controle in our place of the ship, but why didnt the reception mention this? By the way, we have send now a complaint to the HAL as we were not happy with this situation! The evening-program was very linked to the people of the USA. Rock and Roll, Blues, pop music. Suprising as the average of people was high! I didnt know that people of 80/90 years like rock and roll....we didnt hahahaha...it was much to loud! And the shows in the theather....really BAD!!! The dance-show, what was this? The BBC-film with live music is ok, but live??? No no, it is some musicians playing with the music-tape from the BBC. Also the other shows we visited were bad (we have very good experiences with the NCL and Celebrity). Food in restaurant was good. Our waiter was ok, the wine-sommelier was slow sometimes. The second glass of wine was mostly after our diner! Meat was very good, but the fish was sometimes fat (looked like it was cooked in oil?). And also here, it was not really clean. The chairs were dirty, the walls were dirty of red wine?? Variaty of food was ok, but we had better experiences with other cruises. Our package of drink was EXCELLENT! 15 drinks a day with a limit of 9 dollar each drink. But most drinks were less than 9 dollar (cocktails, coffees, refreshments etc). Only the choiche of wine was very low with the limit of 9 dollar. We dont like to eat in the buffet-restaurant. So we did this only 2 times in our cruise. Food was ok, but difficult to see which food you could choose. There are no good signs explaining what is for example on the sandwich. Buffet restaurant was mostly very busy. Swimmingpool is nice. And as it was mostly good weather the roof was open. Otherwise it was too hot to stay there. But to sun on the decks it was difficult. You had to pick up your own sun bed, mostly they were blocked with a belt. And places to sun on the decks are not really nice. This can be improved for sure! We did some excursions organized by HAL and some organized by other company. The HAL experience with excursions was good. And most surprising, you could immediately go outside (not waiting for half our in the theather). And also the start-time of excursions, very good. Not 8 o clock, but mostly after 9 (mmmm longer sleep). We had a very bad experience with the border of the Virgin Islands. On every visit we had ever done on a island, with all our cruised, we never had to show our ID. But yes, it is USA, TRUMP-country. We had to show our ID to enter the ship. Our ship-card was not enough. It looked like that we were criminals, unbelievable! Unpolite people of this border-people! Yes we forgot to bring our ID, but to be rude to us. With help of some HAL people we could go back to the ship, to take our ID's and to show this to this rude border-people I hope if these 2 guys ever visit Netherlands they never will accepted by our border!!!! And now the best of our trip. The DUTCH CAFE!!! Many thanks for Pim, Jehan and Andre. What a trio! Always a smile, from 7am till 9pm! And lovely Dutch food, snacks, beer etc. Normally we dont like to go to Dutch cafe's outside the Netherlands, we want to have the experience of the country that we visit. But this was so excellent! It was a pleasure to meet these 3 guys and to visit the cafe every day to eat perfect food and lovely beers! Thanks, thanks, thanks!!! The disembarkation went very good. And again, thanks for the 3 guys of the Dutch Cafe. We enjoyed in the morning the coffee, water and waited till we could disembark in the Dutch Cafe. And before this, it was even possible to have breakfast in the restaurant. WOW! It went so fast, it was so good organized! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
my sister-in-law and i 85 & 73 years old respectively) did an 11-night Caribbean cruise, both of us experienced cruises on 5 different lines, mostly HAL for her, Celebrity for me. The good: excellent crew, HAL does a terrific job in ... Read More
my sister-in-law and i 85 & 73 years old respectively) did an 11-night Caribbean cruise, both of us experienced cruises on 5 different lines, mostly HAL for her, Celebrity for me. The good: excellent crew, HAL does a terrific job in choosing and training employees from the captain to the people who clean & maintain. The ship is spotless. I was actually on the ship last May in Europe for 12 nights so could see some of the changes. Club Orange, I think they need to rethink that one. I counted people every time we went by, most I ever saw was 18 on the last night. My suggestion, at least put a sheer curtain so people walking by aren't staring at you and your meal. Lincoln Center Stage was wonderful, likewise BIllboard. Jason & Michael at the piano was just the best. Rolling Stone & BB King's was loud, very loud, and energetic. I'm a little bit of a foodie, I thought the food was pretty good. Beef dishes excellent. But maybe more vegetables would be nice. Now the not-so-good. The theatre in concept is great, but you should not have to get there an hour early to get a seat. They either need to go back to 3 shows a night or hand out tickets. We stood for one show we got to 20 minutes before curtain, could not get near the so-called production show even though we were there 40 minutes before curtain tine. The shows themselves, pretty poor comedian, didn't care for singers. "Big" production show was a laser light show, 6 dancers, canned music. come on, HAL, you can do better. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Entertainment was the worst ever nothing to do on this ship . They just added Rolling Stone room two 45 min sets most days the only good entertainment on the cruise . Everything shuts down at 10:30 pm you cant find a cup of coffee or a ... Read More
Entertainment was the worst ever nothing to do on this ship . They just added Rolling Stone room two 45 min sets most days the only good entertainment on the cruise . Everything shuts down at 10:30 pm you cant find a cup of coffee or a snack anywhere . The days we stoped at a port of call the casino was closed and there was no entertainment on the ship not even the rock & roll room had a show everyone was walking around with nothing to do . The pools are very small one holds 40 people the othe holds 17 not great for a caribean cruise . The food in the dining room was good & also in the speciality dining rooms the service was good . They seem to focus on a older crowd that dosnt care about doing anything on the ship Im 60 years old . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for the Southern Caribbean ports, which are warm in January, newer ship, and ease of getting to fort lauderdale. The positives...very very well run ship, very good service in all areas, some of the best food in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Southern Caribbean ports, which are warm in January, newer ship, and ease of getting to fort lauderdale. The positives...very very well run ship, very good service in all areas, some of the best food in the buffet and the MDR of any cruise that we ve taken, the ship is kept very clean and well maintained in all regards. Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth and relatively quick. There was music going on all night every night. A rock group, the BB King Blues and jazz, dueling piano's and few others. The movies on the big screen by the pool and the in room movies were great opttions also. The only negatives for us, and its hard to find many. The inside rooms are workable but a tad small for us as we had packed 4 bags as we were traveling for a month. Go for a larger room. The entertainment had its ups and downs. One stage show cancelled, the rock band was down one night due to software crash and one comedian did a late night show at 7 am, which bombed. The fun factor was somewhat lacking for us...especially on sea days. Both pools are fairly quiet areas to lounge around, we d prefer to see the rear pool be more lively with some great music, maybe some games, contests, or anything lively at all. How about an evening deck party when in a warm climate like the caribbean? There is a rather overly generous smoking area near the rear pool, which made it unpleasant to lay back there with the smoke drift. The ship seems to be making a transition towards the next generation of cruisers, and there is some progress, but it still a work in progress in my book. I d give the cruise 5 stars, but that's where things still need some fresh ideas and some work imho. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
First the high points. The ship is beautiful. The exercise facility is the best I’ve seen on any ship. The Lido is large with high quality food and extensive selection. The Dutch cafe is a nice touch as are the deli and pizza place. ... Read More
First the high points. The ship is beautiful. The exercise facility is the best I’ve seen on any ship. The Lido is large with high quality food and extensive selection. The Dutch cafe is a nice touch as are the deli and pizza place. There is a lot of outdoor seating of. The two level pool lido deck is a nice touch. The bad points are that the cabins seemed cramped compared to other Holland America ships. The changing room at the exercise facility was totally inadequate if you want to shower and shave there. The enrichment seemed to be sponsored by Microsoft and was poorer than on other Holland America ships. But worst of all the entertainment venues were totally inadequate and overcrowded. If you go to the main venue you have to get there at least 45 minutes early to even look for a seat. All the others were over crowded also. All in it is a disappointment for their new flagship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 44th cruise. We had previously sailed on the Maasdam 18 years ago. The Koningsdam's emphasis on music is what caused us to choose this sailing. We felt that Hal's new emphasis on entertainment that appeals to a ... Read More
This was our 44th cruise. We had previously sailed on the Maasdam 18 years ago. The Koningsdam's emphasis on music is what caused us to choose this sailing. We felt that Hal's new emphasis on entertainment that appeals to a younger crowd, plus a newer ship, would make this cruise a good choice for us. We are eclectic cruisers. Last year we sailed on Seabourn for 12-days in the Caribbean and 7-days on an NCL Bermuda cruise from Boston with friends. We were not impressed with Seabourn's food and service. Our expectations for the NCL were very low. We were shocked to find the dining service and food quality on NCL was up-to-par, if not better, than Seabourn. 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. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
DH and I were on the January 13th 10 day southern Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam. We have cruised several other times with HAL, but not on the bigger ships, and we were not sure whether we would like it. We did! We were supposed to be ... Read More
DH and I were on the January 13th 10 day southern Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam. We have cruised several other times with HAL, but not on the bigger ships, and we were not sure whether we would like it. We did! We were supposed to be cruising with my DB and DSIL, but they had to cancel due to family and job issues. This was a real problem, because they had a suite and we had an inside cabin. We planned on spending many evenings on their balcony! We were a little bummed, but an inside cabin is sure better than being home or at work. EMBARKATION We arrived at the cruise terminal right around 11 AM and were in group 6 to board. We were on the ship close to 11:45 and I have to say this was probably the smoothest embarkation we have ever had. We were directed to the Lido, but we took a chance that the main dining room was open and it was. After a lovely lunch, we discovered that our luggage had arrived so we unpacked and set out to explore the ship. DECOR The art is very different from what I’ve come to expect from Holland America – I really liked some of it (the cello ship on deck 12) but some of it I just did not get. I did see two of what I think were two of Captain Card’s paintings in the meeting rooms adjacent to the Crow’s Nest, which made me feel more at home. The decor overall is really lovely and understated compared to the ships we have sailed previously. The last time we sailed HAL was on the Veendam, and it was the old garish color combinations. POOLS One thing we really missed was any kind of music at the aft pool. We understand the limitations on live bands, but some kind of music would’ve made an incredible improvement to the environment. Drink service was very good in the area, and seating capacity was OK. Several afternoons there were no clean towels at the aft pool and occasionally under cover seating was slim pickings because one side was designated for smoking. Although it was not full, asthma made that side not an option for us. We did not spend any time at the Lido pool. It seemed crowded, and being mostly enclosed it was pretty warm. We had an informal meet and greet at the aft pool with our roll call, and it was very nice to put names and faces together with folks whose posts I have enjoyed in the past. A lot of great information was passed back-and-forth on our roll call, which was greatly appreciated. STATEROOM We were getting ready for gala dinner on Monday when we received a call from guest services. It seemed they have been trying to reach us since embarkation and wanted to upgrade us to a balcony room down the hall. At no charge!! I thought it was a joke, or that DH was not asking the right questions to verify the up charge! Gina from guest services came by to show us the cabin and make sure the cabin was satisfactory. What, I’m going to say “no, I’d rather be inside”??? Our wonderful cabin stewards Andry and Freddy came along to help us move and voilà! We were in a veranda cabin! Pour the champagne! That was a most wonderful moment! Note: The inside cabin was fine, but let’s be real! DINING We purchased the ultimate dining package, and would not do it again. We have loved the Pinnacle in the past and have heard such good things about Tamarind that we felt like it was a great deal. We went to the Pinnacle the first night, and I have to say we were disappointed. The food was good, but our server really gave us the impression that we were a bother. He took our order and was never seen or heard from again. In a complete contrast, Rozelle, our wine steward, was fast and friendly. I had thought to try a fellow cruise critic poster's suggestion about ordering all of our wine at once to avoid a wait, but we never had a delay. I will definitely keep it in mind for the future though. The Tamerind was excellent, service and food alike. We actually dined there twice because guest services gifted us with dinner there due to the terrible inconvenience of moving. We did not say no. We also participated in DiLibrije, and I was again disappointed in the service. We received our sparkling wine and the wine for the first course before we ever received the amuse bouche. The food was stellar, but we had the same server we had previously and he was inattentive in the extreme. Canaletto was fine, the food was good and the service was good as well, but nothing was awe inspiring. I was surprised that it did feel like a separate area; I was concerned that we would feel like we were still in the Lido. Dive In was good, and was much quicker than I expected based on previous comments. The Lido is the Lido – lots of choices, with a better layout than previously. The salad station was much appreciated as you could ask for and receive anything in your salad that was available, and DH loved the eggs Florentine for breakfast. The dutch café was terrific. We had lattes from there every morning, and the bitterballen was superb. Our best experience by far was in the main dining room. We were upstairs at a two top, and our waiters (Abu and Silmi) were attentive and friendly. Being on the third floor makes a big difference in the acoustics, and we never felt that it was too loud. The food was very good, and because we had the EBP, we didn’t feel that we had to coordinate our menu choices the way we do when we bring our own wine. I did feel that the selection of red wines by the glass was not great, but that also be my personal taste. Lester, our wine steward was fast, made good recommendations, and was really funny. We really felt like we had our own personal entertainment in the main dining room. One of the things that was fun was when we asked about the celebration song performed by the waiters for birthdays, they arranged to have a celebrated with our neighboring two top just because! DH was the one who had been interested, so I filmed it and took the video and cake to the poker table (have party, will travel). ENTERTAINMENT We very much enjoyed the Rolling Stone Rock Room, and the BB Kings Blues Club. The pianists were excellent also, as were the Lincoln Stage performers. All drew huge crowds, but we never really had a problem finding a seat although they may have been tucked in the back corner. We also enjoyed the casino. DH came out ahead, as did I (but barely). Sidebar: How can there only be 1 to 2 bottles of Makers Mark on the entire ship? I can’t see leaving the Crow’s Nest at 7 PM to go down to the aft pool to get myself a Makers Mark Manhattan. PORTS Half Moon Cay is a beautiful island, and we were fortunate in that the weather was flawless. Tendering was a breeze and the water was like glass. We did not have lunch on the island, too many options available on the ship and with no crowds! We didn’t do much on Grand Turk – we mostly wandered up and down the streets. They have some nice beaches, but we did not visit them. Bonaire has a very nice and close by downtown area. They had a farmers market going on, and many locals were getting lunch from the guy cooking barbecue. There was lots of really nice jewelry (not expensive), and miscellaneous handmade things to be had. Curaçao was our absolute favorite island. The buildings with the historic Dutch style, and the cafés along the waterway and the swinging pontoon bridge all made for a lovely day. We spent the afternoon wondering the streets, and ended with cocktails and beer at one of the waterside cafés. The weather was lovely, there was a live band performing nearby, and we were able to watch the pontoon bridge open and close several times. We left right at sunset, which was beautiful over the Koningsdam. The waterfront buildings and the bridge are lit up with multicolored lights which makes it so festive. I did not get off the ship in Aruba, but DH did. He took the path from port to town, and said it was enjoyable. I found it enjoyable that he found several little gifts to bring back to me! In summary, it was a wonderful cruise – one we would do again. Holland America has the service model down, and I sure hope they don’t fix what isn’t broken. The ship is lovely, the entertainment is great, but best of all we were on vacation! It’s hard to find fault with that. PS: I forgot to include that Elvis was on the ship! Read Less
Koningsdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.2
Dining 4.5 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 4.0 3.1
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.6

Find a Koningsdam Cruise