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My wife and I celebrated our 30th Anniversary this year and to celebrate it, we spent time saving up for a trip that would be truly special, and above and beyond a standard cruising experience. We chose this ship because it was the Christening cruise and that was a unique opportunity, but also because of how the ship was marketed to us in terms of the experience that we would have on board. Even as we boarded the ship there was an image presented to us of high quality service and experience, but that image quickly disappeared as we left port. As I mentioned, the Christening celebration was a key part of choosing this particular cruise and this particular line for our celebration, but quite frankly we would have been better off to be one of the guests attending the ceremony than a passenger attending the ceremony. There was a lack of information in the lead up to the event, with much information being found online long before any official communication from the company. The ceremony itself was a major let down, where visitors to the ship and I mean visitors lots of them over the 2 days were given better access and vantage points for the ceremony over passengers on the cruise. There was poor and often incorrect information given to us on the day. For example, we were told that there would be only standing on the dockside or by the Lido pool, yet the company was able to provide reserved seating for a range of visitors to the ship both on the poolside and in the theatre. Another passenger who chose the dockside had told us that their experience was just as problematic with the crowd being kept well clear of ceremony for what they were told was security reasons, when in fact they were actually reserving the space for a large number of what was apparently staff, making it difficult to see the bottle breaking ceremony. In addition the Queen performed the ceremony from inside the theatre and not the dock as people had thought the Queen was going to do, with HAL instead opting for staff to release the cable on a cue from the theatre. So we didn’t even get to see either key component of the Christening in person, being that we weren’t able to see and hear the Queen in the theatre in person and we didn’t even know it was on in the theatre as it was kept very secret and passengers on the dock barely had any view of the bottle breaking ceremony. Basically it was ages of standing around to watch it on a screen when quite frankly the 2 minute replay on the tv in the cabin was better and more comfortable. Had we known this was the experience, it would have been a major cause to have reconsidered our choice to go on this cruise. But it wasn’t just the Christening celebration that was a massive disappointment. The customer service on the cruise was lacklustre in all areas. I will acknowledge that we came across two or three staff members who were very friendly, helpful and personable, but on the whole staff either seemed to want to avoid interacting with passengers or just ignored us outright. For example in all our previous sailings, the Cabin attendants have been quite a core part of that aspect of the cruise. They introduce the cabin, provide key information and enquire as to how they can assist. But their very welcoming and friendly approach also makes a difference. However, here we barely saw these people. It was like as if their job was to avoid passengers. In fact, I had to introduce myself to them and even after 20 days I cannot tell you their names. They made no effort to be helpful or friendly in anyway, and when we did ask about an issue we had relating to the cabin, they refused outright to help or look into it, and we had to go to guest services to get it sorted instead. But it wasn’t just in the cabins where the customer service was lacking. In many parts of the ship, it was easy to feel like being a passenger put you in a second class (unless you were in a Neptune Suite). The staff even away from the cabins were also often quite impolite. They would often simply not respond or talk to you if you tried to get their attention, even something as simple as saying 'hi' in response when passing in a walkway was something that didn’t happen. A steward at the towel folding demo did mention some of the small things that they apparently do for such special occasions such as a special arrangement of towel animals as an anniversary surprise which is two swans forming a love heart shape placed on the bed. Well that was how it was described. Never saw that. There was barely any acknowledgement of our anniversary milestone on the cruise which we were celebrating and was the primary reason for the cruise. We received a tiny little card in our cabin when we arrived and that was it. But even if it wasn’t some small things, it just wasn’t any acknowledgement by staff at any point despite them having asked for the information to put into their system that it was our anniversary, including the specific date of the anniversary. When it came to the food, it was more disappointment. They had heavily promoted their top quality dining experience but more time seemed to be spent queuing for food or trying to get a table than actually eating at the table. In the Lido, there were always crowds and with staff and crew also eating in there, much space would be taken up. It was hard to get attention of staff to get a table cleared when people did vacate their spots and so often it was a matter of trying to make space for your own plate until someone would finally come along and clear the stuff. I noticed that staff and crew had no issues like this and were in fact better waited on, as soon as they walked in getting offered drinks straight away, their tables cleaned and cleared rather quickly and this type of thing also went on in the lounge areas. Plus in Rotterdam this was made even more of a problem with all these visitors roaming around the ship eating in the already overcrowded Lido market and lounge areas. On port days the main dining room is closed, therefore a greater volume of people use the Lido dining, including many staff members and visitors and bigger cues at the food counters because of the extra people. Staff were not mingling with the guests but sitting in groups of their own, taking up valuable seating. We paid to be on the ship and should have seating priority over staff and visitors, instead of having to wander around with plates with nowhere to sit. For a 20 night cruise we only saw meringues on offer in the Lido dessert area on one occasion. My wife spoke to a chef asking if they were going to have more, to which the response was they rotate the menu. Day after day the desserts looked the same to me – uninteresting and unappetising, as did all the food in the Lido restaurant. Day after day the same thing from lunch to dinner. I expect this is done to get people to book at paying restaurants on board. We paid enough for this cruise to have much better food and food choices than what was offered. I also advised that same chef that the previous day I asked the kitchen staff member behind the dessert counter for some crackers to have with the cheese/fruit plate – he walked away I assumed to get some, but he never came back, and I was left standing there for ages. Again with the desserts, ice cream is available in the Lido during lunch and dinner, however the gentleman serving it always looked disgruntled and had what I would classify as a bad attitude towards patrons. Anyone would think he paid for the ice cream and it was coming out of his pocket the way it was being meagrely served. One day when I asked for sprinkles on the ice cream the gentleman picked up the entire container and upended it over his dish in what appeared to be annoyance for having asked. I also had a bad experience with the stir fry station as I do not eat seafood, however the person before me was having calamari and scallops in their pan and the man making my stir fry was using the same spatula to stir both. I asked him to stop and desist as some people are allergic to seafood. He continued to use the same spatula in both, then after he served the seafood stir fry he washed up the spatula under running water then wiped it with a towel and used it to scoop my stir fry into a dish. Unfortunately the damage was already done and my dinner was ruined as the noodles had absorbed all the seafood flavours and was unpalatable to me. I was unable to get anything else to eat because most of the stations closed before the closure time printed on the daily newsletter. They are lucky I don’t suffer anaphylaxis from seafood but someone else could have and you could have had a serious medical emergency on board!! The Main Dining Room experience was dismal. We were stuck with a 5:15pm seating which we did not request, as we never eat dinner that early. When we did go to the trouble of requesting a table by number, we were never seated at it. Those occasions when we booked a seating, our table was given to someone else and we were given a pager and had to wait. On two occasions we were stuck at a table so close to the wall that the chair had to be turned sideways to physically sit on it, then manoeuvre it back around to the table. One evening we were given a menu and about fifteen minutes later the waiter came and asked for my order. I said I would have the chicken then he turned and walked away without taking an order from my wife. Confused, I asked my wife if ‘perhaps that was the drink waiter???’ Much later the same gentleman returned and asked for my order. I was gobsmacked. I politely informed him I had already given him my order. He again asked for my order. Neither of us actually fancied anything on the menu after seeing what they were dishing up at the other tables, so instead of giving the waiter a fresh order I asked for the dessert menu. The waiter was shocked. So you don’t want an appetiser or main course? No. I told him I changed my mind about the main course. He said he had been waiting for an announcement by the captain. I asked him “what did waiting for an announcement have to do with you taking our order?” It was completely irrelevant and a lame excuse. I ordered the sorbet for dessert. My wife ordered a fruit plate with ice cream on the side, then my wife said to the waiter ‘could you make that sorbet instead of ice cream?’ The waiter returned with two plates of fruit and two glasses – one containing two scoops of vanilla ice cream and the other with two scoops of sorbet. Clearly he didn’t listen. I had to question the waiters regarding the menu for different items, such as the first formal occasion on both cruises, which appeared to have exactly the same menu with pineapple as an appetiser which was garnished with cilantro lemongrass. I don’t eat cilantro, and it was not an ingredient listed on the menu. On another occasion my wife and I were seated at a table for six people. We were given a menu, then about 15 minutes later another four people were seated and given a menu, then more time for them to look at and choose something to eat. My wife and I did not fancy any of the entrees on offer, only ordering a main then dessert. All up, it took an hour and a half to have two courses in the main dining room. That is ridiculous. The second time we attended a formal night in the main dining room was the first time for the second cruise and we sat with two passengers from another cabin that we had met on the cruise. The seating was 8:45pm. Yet again our table had been allocated to someone else yet we were all there before the allocated time, so again we were given a pager and had to wait. They were giving out pagers like lollies. Waiting around an hour to get a table when we had booked the table was ridiculous. Towards the end of our dinner a waitress carrying an ice bucket back to the kitchen area tripped beside our table resulting in one of our party wearing the bulk of the icy water, with most of the rest of the ice and icy water splashing beneath our table. My wife was wearing a long gown with velvet boots and socks which got wet causing the water on my socks to soak down inside my boots. Did any staff member ask if we needed towels? No. Not a single one. Our dinner companion who copped the brunt of the spill was sitting in soaked trousers for the remainder of the meal, and only had his own and his wife’s serviette to try to dry some of the moisture from his clothes. Not only that, ice was left to sit on the carpet and melt in the walkway between the tables, instead of being cleaned up properly. Other staff members who came along were more concerned about what had happened instead of concerning themselves with the passengers, apologising or cleaning up the mess. The final time we ate in the main dining room we asked for a table for four but were left to wait with a pager for nearly an hour and not called until about 8:45pm. One night I ordered an entrée which was a salad with mandarin. I was presented with a plate full of lettuce that had been cut across the stalk, so each piece of lettuce on the plate had a hard centre, and with no mandarin in sight. I called the waiter and drew his attention to the missing ingredient. He came back with a plate of segments, by which time I had pulled apart the salad on the plate to discover one single tiny piece of fruit. Why bother listing it as an ingredient when it clearly doesn’t form part of the dish. That same dinner I had lamb cutlets as a main which were clearly undercooked, but covered with a green topping to disguise the fact. The whole meat was clearly still red. I asked the waiter for the meat to be cooked properly and showed him the red meat and blood in the meat, telling him that if I was cooking this at home I would have been sticking it back in the oven. This is not the only time we came across food not properly cooked. When asking for well done, meat would often come back rare. I love banger sausages but could not eat them due to them being undercooked during breakfast, when I cut across the meat I could see it was not properly cooked with parts inside still appearing raw. Whoever is responsible for cooking pork on board doesn’t know how to cook this item as it was usually tough and overcooked. Given the length of the cruise and repetition of poor quality cooking, we do not believe the people working in the kitchens are passionate about food at all, and quite frankly couldn’t care less. On port days the main dining room is closed, therefore a greater volume of people use the Lido dining, including many staff members and visitors and bigger cues at the serveries because of the extra people. Staff were not mingling with the guests but sitting in groups of their own, taking up valuable seating. We paid to be on the ship and should have seating priority over staff and visitors, instead of having to wander around with plates with nowhere to sit. In the entire 20 nights there was only 1 barbeque – what is their problem with bbqs? The live Spanish guitar during the bbq – yes, yes, yes! Why wasn’t there more live performances on the pool deck such as this? The ship after 10pm becomes a retirement home as there was basically no entertainment only a movie that was showing on the outdoor screen. Another night we were at the poolside and asked the bar staff for some popcorn for the movie. Yes, they said, they would provide more. We sat at a table and waited and waited and waited. In the end we gave up in disgust and went back to our room where we could watch exactly the same movie out of the cold night air, and without the popcorn. Food was well below standard, even a 3 star cruise ship had way better quality and service, I would have expected better for a 5 star ship. As a side note, I couldn’t tell which things were included and what things were not. Even in cabin room service was hard to know what was included and what involved an extra charge. There was a spa pool on the Lido pool deck not the main pool but this one was closed off and enclosed by glass and it was very rarely used and I wasn’t sure if it was free and it turns out you had to pay. There were more paying stuff than free stuff on this ship The ship was quite a nice ship and being new meant it was obviously in really good shape barring some teething issues (such as the alarm that went off at 11:30pm on one occasion and the quite strong fumes from the painting that was still going on around the ship inside and outside) with The overall design was lovely but it did have a tendency to feel quite crowded including stairwells and lift lobbies. The theatre was hit and miss. Some shows were good. Others weren’t that enjoyable. The performance by the Australian Italian guitarist from Vegas really saved it in this category. I also think that the stage shows can make better use of the theatre space and in particular the wrap around screens. There is a lot of potential there just not being fully utilised. The on board activities ok but again quite hit and miss. As a cruise to celebrate our 30th Anniversary, Holland America certainly made it memorable. Memorable for how disappointing it was. Years ago Holland America had a reputation for its cruise ships that rivalled some of the top names in cruise liners but today it offers a premium 5 star experience but can’t even deliver service or quality at a level offered by even a 3 star ship. And this rating was from the Carnivals own line the P&O Pacific Jewel. Thinking carefully about it, I think that with some changes to service, food and some other changes here and there, this ship has the potential to truly offer a 5 star experience. My wife and I have sailed with other cruise lines that don’t market themselves so highly or even at the same price point but have been able to deliver enjoyable experiences that bring us back to their lines. Holland America needs to drastically improve the customer service and food on board and spend some time looking at what the other lines are doing and offering, and don’t lie or do things in secret like the ceremony in the theatre and then rethink what it thinks a premium experience is. The low star rating I gave this cruise was a 2 and half star at best for service and food and I didn’t just pull a star rating out of my hat I used a rating from another of Carnivals lines the P&O Pacific Jewel, Based on the experience I would not travel with the line again and I would also not recommend it to others.

Worse Cruise Ever

Koningsdam Cruise Review by ccsclean21

18 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My wife and I celebrated our 30th Anniversary this year and to celebrate it, we spent time saving up for a trip that would be truly special, and above and beyond a standard cruising experience. We chose this ship because it was the Christening cruise and that was a unique opportunity, but also because of how the ship was marketed to us in terms of the experience that we would have on board. Even as we boarded the ship there was an image presented to us of high quality service and experience, but that image quickly disappeared as we left port.

As I mentioned, the Christening celebration was a key part of choosing this particular cruise and this particular line for our celebration, but quite frankly we would have been better off to be one of the guests attending the ceremony than a passenger attending the ceremony. There was a lack of information in the lead up to the event, with much information being found online long before any official communication from the company. The ceremony itself was a major let down, where visitors to the ship and I mean visitors lots of them over the 2 days were given better access and vantage points for the ceremony over passengers on the cruise. There was poor and often incorrect information given to us on the day. For example, we were told that there would be only standing on the dockside or by the Lido pool, yet the company was able to provide reserved seating for a range of visitors to the ship both on the poolside and in the theatre. Another passenger who chose the dockside had told us that their experience was just as problematic with the crowd being kept well clear of ceremony for what they were told was security reasons, when in fact they were actually reserving the space for a large number of what was apparently staff, making it difficult to see the bottle breaking ceremony. In addition the Queen performed the ceremony from inside the theatre and not the dock as people had thought the Queen was going to do, with HAL instead opting for staff to release the cable on a cue from the theatre. So we didn’t even get to see either key component of the Christening in person, being that we weren’t able to see and hear the Queen in the theatre in person and we didn’t even know it was on in the theatre as it was kept very secret and passengers on the dock barely had any view of the bottle breaking ceremony. Basically it was ages of standing around to watch it on a screen when quite frankly the 2 minute replay on the tv in the cabin was better and more comfortable. Had we known this was the experience, it would have been a major cause to have reconsidered our choice to go on this cruise.

But it wasn’t just the Christening celebration that was a massive disappointment. The customer service on the cruise was lacklustre in all areas. I will acknowledge that we came across two or three staff members who were very friendly, helpful and personable, but on the whole staff either seemed to want to avoid interacting with passengers or just ignored us outright.

For example in all our previous sailings, the Cabin attendants have been quite a core part of that aspect of the cruise. They introduce the cabin, provide key information and enquire as to how they can assist. But their very welcoming and friendly approach also makes a difference. However, here we barely saw these people. It was like as if their job was to avoid passengers. In fact, I had to introduce myself to them and even after 20 days I cannot tell you their names. They made no effort to be helpful or friendly in anyway, and when we did ask about an issue we had relating to the cabin, they refused outright to help or look into it, and we had to go to guest services to get it sorted instead.

But it wasn’t just in the cabins where the customer service was lacking. In many parts of the ship, it was easy to feel like being a passenger put you in a second class (unless you were in a Neptune Suite). The staff even away from the cabins were also often quite impolite. They would often simply not respond or talk to you if you tried to get their attention, even something as simple as saying 'hi' in response when passing in a walkway was something that didn’t happen.

A steward at the towel folding demo did mention some of the small things that they apparently do for such special occasions such as a special arrangement of towel animals as an anniversary surprise which is two swans forming a love heart shape placed on the bed. Well that was how it was described. Never saw that. There was barely any acknowledgement of our anniversary milestone on the cruise which we were celebrating and was the primary reason for the cruise. We received a tiny little card in our cabin when we arrived and that was it. But even if it wasn’t some small things, it just wasn’t any acknowledgement by staff at any point despite them having asked for the information to put into their system that it was our anniversary, including the specific date of the anniversary.

When it came to the food, it was more disappointment. They had heavily promoted their top quality dining experience but more time seemed to be spent queuing for food or trying to get a table than actually eating at the table. In the Lido, there were always crowds and with staff and crew also eating in there, much space would be taken up. It was hard to get attention of staff to get a table cleared when people did vacate their spots and so often it was a matter of trying to make space for your own plate until someone would finally come along and clear the stuff. I noticed that staff and crew had no issues like this and were in fact better waited on, as soon as they walked in getting offered drinks straight away, their tables cleaned and cleared rather quickly and this type of thing also went on in the lounge areas. Plus in Rotterdam this was made even more of a problem with all these visitors roaming around the ship eating in the already overcrowded Lido market and lounge areas.

On port days the main dining room is closed, therefore a greater volume of people use the Lido dining, including many staff members and visitors and bigger cues at the food counters because of the extra people. Staff were not mingling with the guests but sitting in groups of their own, taking up valuable seating. We paid to be on the ship and should have seating priority over staff and visitors, instead of having to wander around with plates with nowhere to sit.

For a 20 night cruise we only saw meringues on offer in the Lido dessert area on one occasion. My wife spoke to a chef asking if they were going to have more, to which the response was they rotate the menu. Day after day the desserts looked the same to me – uninteresting and unappetising, as did all the food in the Lido restaurant. Day after day the same thing from lunch to dinner. I expect this is done to get people to book at paying restaurants on board. We paid enough for this cruise to have much better food and food choices than what was offered. I also advised that same chef that the previous day I asked the kitchen staff member behind the dessert counter for some crackers to have with the cheese/fruit plate – he walked away I assumed to get some, but he never came back, and I was left standing there for ages. Again with the desserts, ice cream is available in the Lido during lunch and dinner, however the gentleman serving it always looked disgruntled and had what I would classify as a bad attitude towards patrons. Anyone would think he paid for the ice cream and it was coming out of his pocket the way it was being meagrely served. One day when I asked for sprinkles on the ice cream the gentleman picked up the entire container and upended it over his dish in what appeared to be annoyance for having asked.

I also had a bad experience with the stir fry station as I do not eat seafood, however the person before me was having calamari and scallops in their pan and the man making my stir fry was using the same spatula to stir both. I asked him to stop and desist as some people are allergic to seafood. He continued to use the same spatula in both, then after he served the seafood stir fry he washed up the spatula under running water then wiped it with a towel and used it to scoop my stir fry into a dish. Unfortunately the damage was already done and my dinner was ruined as the noodles had absorbed all the seafood flavours and was unpalatable to me. I was unable to get anything else to eat because most of the stations closed before the closure time printed on the daily newsletter. They are lucky I don’t suffer anaphylaxis from seafood but someone else could have and you could have had a serious medical emergency on board!!

The Main Dining Room experience was dismal. We were stuck with a 5:15pm seating which we did not request, as we never eat dinner that early. When we did go to the trouble of requesting a table by number, we were never seated at it. Those occasions when we booked a seating, our table was given to someone else and we were given a pager and had to wait. On two occasions we were stuck at a table so close to the wall that the chair had to be turned sideways to physically sit on it, then manoeuvre it back around to the table. One evening we were given a menu and about fifteen minutes later the waiter came and asked for my order. I said I would have the chicken then he turned and walked away without taking an order from my wife. Confused, I asked my wife if ‘perhaps that was the drink waiter???’ Much later the same gentleman returned and asked for my order. I was gobsmacked. I politely informed him I had already given him my order. He again asked for my order. Neither of us actually fancied anything on the menu after seeing what they were dishing up at the other tables, so instead of giving the waiter a fresh order I asked for the dessert menu. The waiter was shocked. So you don’t want an appetiser or main course? No. I told him I changed my mind about the main course. He said he had been waiting for an announcement by the captain. I asked him “what did waiting for an announcement have to do with you taking our order?” It was completely irrelevant and a lame excuse. I ordered the sorbet for dessert. My wife ordered a fruit plate with ice cream on the side, then my wife said to the waiter ‘could you make that sorbet instead of ice cream?’ The waiter returned with two plates of fruit and two glasses – one containing two scoops of vanilla ice cream and the other with two scoops of sorbet. Clearly he didn’t listen.

I had to question the waiters regarding the menu for different items, such as the first formal occasion on both cruises, which appeared to have exactly the same menu with pineapple as an appetiser which was garnished with cilantro lemongrass. I don’t eat cilantro, and it was not an ingredient listed on the menu.

On another occasion my wife and I were seated at a table for six people. We were given a menu, then about 15 minutes later another four people were seated and given a menu, then more time for them to look at and choose something to eat. My wife and I did not fancy any of the entrees on offer, only ordering a main then dessert. All up, it took an hour and a half to have two courses in the main dining room. That is ridiculous.

The second time we attended a formal night in the main dining room was the first time for the second cruise and we sat with two passengers from another cabin that we had met on the cruise. The seating was 8:45pm. Yet again our table had been allocated to someone else yet we were all there before the allocated time, so again we were given a pager and had to wait. They were giving out pagers like lollies. Waiting around an hour to get a table when we had booked the table was ridiculous.

Towards the end of our dinner a waitress carrying an ice bucket back to the kitchen area tripped beside our table resulting in one of our party wearing the bulk of the icy water, with most of the rest of the ice and icy water splashing beneath our table. My wife was wearing a long gown with velvet boots and socks which got wet causing the water on my socks to soak down inside my boots. Did any staff member ask if we needed towels? No. Not a single one. Our dinner companion who copped the brunt of the spill was sitting in soaked trousers for the remainder of the meal, and only had his own and his wife’s serviette to try to dry some of the moisture from his clothes. Not only that, ice was left to sit on the carpet and melt in the walkway between the tables, instead of being cleaned up properly. Other staff members who came along were more concerned about what had happened instead of concerning themselves with the passengers, apologising or cleaning up the mess.

The final time we ate in the main dining room we asked for a table for four but were left to wait with a pager for nearly an hour and not called until about 8:45pm.

One night I ordered an entrée which was a salad with mandarin. I was presented with a plate full of lettuce that had been cut across the stalk, so each piece of lettuce on the plate had a hard centre, and with no mandarin in sight. I called the waiter and drew his attention to the missing ingredient. He came back with a plate of segments, by which time I had pulled apart the salad on the plate to discover one single tiny piece of fruit. Why bother listing it as an ingredient when it clearly doesn’t form part of the dish. That same dinner I had lamb cutlets as a main which were clearly undercooked, but covered with a green topping to disguise the fact. The whole meat was clearly still red. I asked the waiter for the meat to be cooked properly and showed him the red meat and blood in the meat, telling him that if I was cooking this at home I would have been sticking it back in the oven.

This is not the only time we came across food not properly cooked. When asking for well done, meat would often come back rare. I love banger sausages but could not eat them due to them being undercooked during breakfast, when I cut across the meat I could see it was not properly cooked with parts inside still appearing raw.

Whoever is responsible for cooking pork on board doesn’t know how to cook this item as it was usually tough and overcooked. Given the length of the cruise and repetition of poor quality cooking, we do not believe the people working in the kitchens are passionate about food at all, and quite frankly couldn’t care less.

On port days the main dining room is closed, therefore a greater volume of people use the Lido dining, including many staff members and visitors and bigger cues at the serveries because of the extra people. Staff were not mingling with the guests but sitting in groups of their own, taking up valuable seating. We paid to be on the ship and should have seating priority over staff and visitors, instead of having to wander around with plates with nowhere to sit.

In the entire 20 nights there was only 1 barbeque – what is their problem with bbqs? The live Spanish guitar during the bbq – yes, yes, yes! Why wasn’t there more live performances on the pool deck such as this? The ship after 10pm becomes a retirement home as there was basically no entertainment only a movie that was showing on the outdoor screen.

Another night we were at the poolside and asked the bar staff for some popcorn for the movie. Yes, they said, they would provide more. We sat at a table and waited and waited and waited. In the end we gave up in disgust and went back to our room where we could watch exactly the same movie out of the cold night air, and without the popcorn. Food was well below standard, even a 3 star cruise ship had way better quality and service, I would have expected better for a 5 star ship.

As a side note, I couldn’t tell which things were included and what things were not. Even in cabin room service was hard to know what was included and what involved an extra charge. There was a spa pool on the Lido pool deck not the main pool but this one was closed off and enclosed by glass and it was very rarely used and I wasn’t sure if it was free and it turns out you had to pay. There were more paying stuff than free stuff on this ship

The ship was quite a nice ship and being new meant it was obviously in really good shape barring some teething issues (such as the alarm that went off at 11:30pm on one occasion and the quite strong fumes from the painting that was still going on around the ship inside and outside) with The overall design was lovely but it did have a tendency to feel quite crowded including stairwells and lift lobbies.

The theatre was hit and miss. Some shows were good. Others weren’t that enjoyable. The performance by the Australian Italian guitarist from Vegas really saved it in this category. I also think that the stage shows can make better use of the theatre space and in particular the wrap around screens. There is a lot of potential there just not being fully utilised. The on board activities ok but again quite hit and miss.

As a cruise to celebrate our 30th Anniversary, Holland America certainly made it memorable. Memorable for how disappointing it was. Years ago Holland America had a reputation for its cruise ships that rivalled some of the top names in cruise liners but today it offers a premium 5 star experience but can’t even deliver service or quality at a level offered by even a 3 star ship. And this rating was from the Carnivals own line the P&O Pacific Jewel. Thinking carefully about it, I think that with some changes to service, food and some other changes here and there, this ship has the potential to truly offer a 5 star experience. My wife and I have sailed with other cruise lines that don’t market themselves so highly or even at the same price point but have been able to deliver enjoyable experiences that bring us back to their lines. Holland America needs to drastically improve the customer service and food on board and spend some time looking at what the other lines are doing and offering, and don’t lie or do things in secret like the ceremony in the theatre and then rethink what it thinks a premium experience is. The low star rating I gave this cruise was a 2 and half star at best for service and food and I didn’t just pull a star rating out of my hat I used a rating from another of Carnivals lines the P&O Pacific Jewel,

Based on the experience I would not travel with the line again and I would also not recommend it to others.
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