1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Koningsdam
We sailed on the Koningsdam from Amsterdam for 3 weeks through the Baltic and Norway (a back to back cruise). We chose this cruise based primarily on itinerary, liked the fact the cruise started in Amsterdam (spent 3 nights beforehand) but also liked the thought it was a new ship. We are a couple in our early 40's and have been on only one other large ship cruise which was a Celebrity cruise. Overall we had a fun time but don't think HAL would be our first choice in the future due to liberal smoking policy, poor management/officer performance, terrible bar service. Embarkation was strange, we breezed through check in and baggage drop off in minutes but then had to wait almost 2 hours to board the ship after being told approx 20 minutes When I enquired if it would be much longer (as would prefer to explore Amsterdam longer) I was yelled at and told it would be only 20 minutes (it was a further 45mins from that point). Celebrity was faster in this dept and also used the waiting time to sell/advertise/explain dining, dining, excursions etc which is at least more interesting then staring at one another. The cabins were immediately available which is something X doesn't do (but given the choice I would rather get on ship quicker). Disembarkation - was changed from Amsterdam to Rotterdam but HAL provided free shuttles but it was disorganised - rather than fill one bus and move them on they would partially fill several so we waited almost an hour to leave. No farewell at all from ship. The ship was large, very similar to the solstice class X ship. I loved the art and general decor. Liked the aft pool compared to other ship. The music walk was terrific, loved duelling piano's; BB King and the lincoln stage. Lack of shaded sitting areas. Retreat -Cabana area is shaded but miles away from the pools so why would you want to sit there. Upper levels wasted, upper bar never open. Confusing to walk around upper decks. Missed the large atrium from solstice class. Lower level feels wasted. Public area walkways felt narrow. Big ship but feels like crowds don't get dispersed. Our cabin was almost identical to our previous X cruise, the ceilings (like entire ship) felt low. Our verandah was bigger than the standard (not as big as next door but I think better as felt more open. Good storage space. Huge shower. Toilet was on angle which was strange as legs hit the shower screen. Bed was big and comfortable. TV had a lot of movies, information about ship. Improvement would be to have account on tv. Problems were the room had interconnecting door and could hear neighbours (who were not being loud), they tried to add insulation but didn't work and they admitted it was a big problem that had to be dealt with in drydock. The other problem was the temperature in the shower oscillated sometimes. Plumber came but did not receive any report on it and continued to happen. The front desk rep did call regularly and offered to change rooms on 2nd cruise (we didn't as didn't want to repack). Dining - a lot of options on this ship both included and fee extra. Food in main dining room was up and down but overall quite good. Service was generally friendly, the wine stewards were nice but often very slow. We were always happy to wait for a good table and they always accommodated. Only went to breakfast once as closed early and other times queues were crazy. Lido - a bit of a shambles, no one knew which way too queue at the stations. Food was reasonable quality but it was chronically understaffed both in servers and service staff. Tables took a long time to clean Why carpet in Lido, a complete stained mess already on a new ship. Dutch cafe was excellent - staff were fun, food was different and generally good (best fries on the ship; apple pie sensational) and good beers. NY deli - excellent pizza, fresh. Dive in - burgers and fries good. Explorations cafe - don't like the location, coffee ok, staff ordinary. Special restaurants: Tamarind - excellent food, solid service, good value; Canneletto - great food, fun service, amazing value; PG - food inconsistent - excellent to average; service poor; CAC - fun concept, fresh food, superb service, needs to be repriced though; De Lebrije - note you can purchase onboard minus wine for $49, food amazing, service a disaster - 3.5 hour dinner and didn't finish, table next to us started an hour later and finished an hour earlier on a fixed set menu!? Meal was comped which was fair but disappointing as could have been an amazing evening. Entertainment - loved the piano's and bb king (but could be repetitive). Main theatre shows very mixed, loved the frozen planet show. Loved the sail away and location presentations by Ian. Cruise director was invisible and lack of management and activity staff in general. Some trivia but average and some groups admitted had heard questions before on earlier cruise (they still took the prize !?!!). Needs to be somewhere to go and listen to music and have a drink after entertainment finishes, maybe the crows nest. Loved the sail away presentations but Crows Nest needs to be re-designed. Room should be tiered; seating is actually tiered wrong way. High sofas prevent cross viewing. Room is trying to be too much - bar, cafe, library, games, computers, private rooms .. too much - needs simplifying. Fitness and spa - we tried to book the spa for 6 months before hand but website didn't work. Emailed HAL and they said no we had to call them - so saved my money and didn't book anything. Gym - latest equipment but no staff to show you how to use it. Often couldn't use equipment because all entertainment staff using it. Promenade - something not on X, loved walking it. Narrow in places but usually ok - loved walking it at night. SBP - we had the drinks package. Good was embedded into room card, could order 3 at a time, could order for room partner. Bad - poor selection of wine by glass especially after a lot were removed from menu on 2nd cruise. 15 drink limit but nobody could tell you how many you had. Service - room attendants 10/10, could teach rest of crew. Bar staff - terrible, refusing to make drinks, sighing on requests, little wait staff. An absolute joke. Biggest problem is there is no visible management or officers on this ship. On X saw officers and captain almost daily. This is a new ship and no management to help staff and passengers learn there way. One thing I noticed was that the crew on X was very diverse from a multitude of countries on HAL almost exclusively from Philippines and Indonesia which I think led to a more casual and clique type of crew. Ship needs more crew. Ports - good itinerary. No tenders. Free shuttles in Rostock and Gothenburg. Didn't use excursions as more expensive. Others reported bad experiences in St Petersburg. The 2 cruises were quite different, the 14 day Baltic was an older crowd (average probably in 70's). As port intensive often quiet at night. Large no. of Americans, Australians and Dutch (more than 600 of each). Norway 7 day cruise much younger, a lot more families and more diverse from nationalities, noticeably a lot of Europeans. Public areas were much more crowded as were bars at night. Smoking - again saved money because never went to the casino because of smoking; 2nd cruise neighbours smoked on balcony so couldn't use ours; smoking at aft pool on port side but on 2nd cruise people ignored and smoked around loungers as well. Saw smokers on upper decks and promenade. No policing at all. Announcements - can't hear in your cabin and no option to listen thru tv or recordings Overall we had a great time - hard not to on holidays and on a cruise but really it was DESPITE hal. We could see improvements were happening, outside cameras added to tv, suggestions being followed on 2nd cruise (more management presence, more announcements). It seems to be a work in progress so might become a better product but that doesn't help us. Most fellow passengers liked the ship but said service levels were much lower than normal for HAL. A lot of celebrity passengers were testing the new ship and all agreed the service and "feel" was much less. It will get better but don't think HAL would be our first choice on a future cruise.

Work in progress. Looks pretty but design flaws and poor bar service.

Koningsdam Cruise Review by teamflames

17 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2016
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
We sailed on the Koningsdam from Amsterdam for 3 weeks through the Baltic and Norway (a back to back cruise). We chose this cruise based primarily on itinerary, liked the fact the cruise started in Amsterdam (spent 3 nights beforehand) but also liked the thought it was a new ship. We are a couple in our early 40's and have been on only one other large ship cruise which was a Celebrity cruise. Overall we had a fun time but don't think HAL would be our first choice in the future due to liberal smoking policy, poor management/officer performance, terrible bar service.

Embarkation was strange, we breezed through check in and baggage drop off in minutes but then had to wait almost 2 hours to board the ship after being told approx 20 minutes When I enquired if it would be much longer (as would prefer to explore Amsterdam longer) I was yelled at and told it would be only 20 minutes (it was a further 45mins from that point). Celebrity was faster in this dept and also used the waiting time to sell/advertise/explain dining, dining, excursions etc which is at least more interesting then staring at one another. The cabins were immediately available which is something X doesn't do (but given the choice I would rather get on ship quicker).

Disembarkation - was changed from Amsterdam to Rotterdam but HAL provided free shuttles but it was disorganised - rather than fill one bus and move them on they would partially fill several so we waited almost an hour to leave. No farewell at all from ship.

The ship was large, very similar to the solstice class X ship. I loved the art and general decor. Liked the aft pool compared to other ship. The music walk was terrific, loved duelling piano's; BB King and the lincoln stage. Lack of shaded sitting areas. Retreat -Cabana area is shaded but miles away from the pools so why would you want to sit there. Upper levels wasted, upper bar never open. Confusing to walk around upper decks. Missed the large atrium from solstice class. Lower level feels wasted. Public area walkways felt narrow. Big ship but feels like crowds don't get dispersed.

Our cabin was almost identical to our previous X cruise, the ceilings (like entire ship) felt low. Our verandah was bigger than the standard (not as big as next door but I think better as felt more open. Good storage space. Huge shower. Toilet was on angle which was strange as legs hit the shower screen. Bed was big and comfortable. TV had a lot of movies, information about ship. Improvement would be to have account on tv. Problems were the room had interconnecting door and could hear neighbours (who were not being loud), they tried to add insulation but didn't work and they admitted it was a big problem that had to be dealt with in drydock. The other problem was the temperature in the shower oscillated sometimes. Plumber came but did not receive any report on it and continued to happen. The front desk rep did call regularly and offered to change rooms on 2nd cruise (we didn't as didn't want to repack).

Dining - a lot of options on this ship both included and fee extra. Food in main dining room was up and down but overall quite good. Service was generally friendly, the wine stewards were nice but often very slow. We were always happy to wait for a good table and they always accommodated. Only went to breakfast once as closed early and other times queues were crazy. Lido - a bit of a shambles, no one knew which way too queue at the stations. Food was reasonable quality but it was chronically understaffed both in servers and service staff. Tables took a long time to clean Why carpet in Lido, a complete stained mess already on a new ship. Dutch cafe was excellent - staff were fun, food was different and generally good (best fries on the ship; apple pie sensational) and good beers. NY deli - excellent pizza, fresh. Dive in - burgers and fries good. Explorations cafe - don't like the location, coffee ok, staff ordinary.

Special restaurants: Tamarind - excellent food, solid service, good value; Canneletto - great food, fun service, amazing value; PG - food inconsistent - excellent to average; service poor; CAC - fun concept, fresh food, superb service, needs to be repriced though; De Lebrije - note you can purchase onboard minus wine for $49, food amazing, service a disaster - 3.5 hour dinner and didn't finish, table next to us started an hour later and finished an hour earlier on a fixed set menu!? Meal was comped which was fair but disappointing as could have been an amazing evening.

Entertainment - loved the piano's and bb king (but could be repetitive). Main theatre shows very mixed, loved the frozen planet show. Loved the sail away and location presentations by Ian. Cruise director was invisible and lack of management and activity staff in general. Some trivia but average and some groups admitted had heard questions before on earlier cruise (they still took the prize !?!!). Needs to be somewhere to go and listen to music and have a drink after entertainment finishes, maybe the crows nest.

Loved the sail away presentations but Crows Nest needs to be re-designed. Room should be tiered; seating is actually tiered wrong way. High sofas prevent cross viewing. Room is trying to be too much - bar, cafe, library, games, computers, private rooms .. too much - needs simplifying.

Fitness and spa - we tried to book the spa for 6 months before hand but website didn't work. Emailed HAL and they said no we had to call them - so saved my money and didn't book anything. Gym - latest equipment but no staff to show you how to use it. Often couldn't use equipment because all entertainment staff using it.

Promenade - something not on X, loved walking it. Narrow in places but usually ok - loved walking it at night.

SBP - we had the drinks package. Good was embedded into room card, could order 3 at a time, could order for room partner. Bad - poor selection of wine by glass especially after a lot were removed from menu on 2nd cruise. 15 drink limit but nobody could tell you how many you had.

Service - room attendants 10/10, could teach rest of crew. Bar staff - terrible, refusing to make drinks, sighing on requests, little wait staff. An absolute joke.

Biggest problem is there is no visible management or officers on this ship. On X saw officers and captain almost daily. This is a new ship and no management to help staff and passengers learn there way. One thing I noticed was that the crew on X was very diverse from a multitude of countries on HAL almost exclusively from Philippines and Indonesia which I think led to a more casual and clique type of crew. Ship needs more crew.

Ports - good itinerary. No tenders. Free shuttles in Rostock and Gothenburg. Didn't use excursions as more expensive. Others reported bad experiences in St Petersburg.

The 2 cruises were quite different, the 14 day Baltic was an older crowd (average probably in 70's). As port intensive often quiet at night. Large no. of Americans, Australians and Dutch (more than 600 of each). Norway 7 day cruise much younger, a lot more families and more diverse from nationalities, noticeably a lot of Europeans. Public areas were much more crowded as were bars at night.

Smoking - again saved money because never went to the casino because of smoking; 2nd cruise neighbours smoked on balcony so couldn't use ours; smoking at aft pool on port side but on 2nd cruise people ignored and smoked around loungers as well. Saw smokers on upper decks and promenade. No policing at all.

Announcements - can't hear in your cabin and no option to listen thru tv or recordings

Overall we had a great time - hard not to on holidays and on a cruise but really it was DESPITE hal. We could see improvements were happening, outside cameras added to tv, suggestions being followed on 2nd cruise (more management presence, more announcements). It seems to be a work in progress so might become a better product but that doesn't help us.

Most fellow passengers liked the ship but said service levels were much lower than normal for HAL. A lot of celebrity passengers were testing the new ship and all agreed the service and "feel" was much less.

It will get better but don't think HAL would be our first choice on a future cruise.
teamflames’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Holland America Koningsdam price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom
Cabin V 5094
Interconnecting doors allows all noise to pass. Oscillating temperature in shower.
Great balcony. Great bed. Good storage. Huge shower and sink. Strange toilet angle.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews