Koningsdam Cruise Review by Chuck Dammeir
- Sail Date: June 2016
- Destination: Norwegian Fjords
- Cabin Type: Large Interior Spa Stateroom
The ship certainly did not disappoint nor did Holland America (except for one item, more on that later). This was our first cruise on Holland, but have cruised many times on both Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
The ship was fantastic, with the highlights being the solarium pool and large outside movie screen. Despite the June weather in Norway being cool, in the mid 60's, we were always comfortable on deck and poolside during days at sea. Design of the ship provided warm temperatures and no wind, which made lounging around the pool or reading very enjoyable. This is not always the case on other ships. It was awesome to lay by the pool when the pool roof was open and enjoy the beauty of the snow capped Fjords!
Drinks: We had the drink package, which was very convenient and a good deal (although i'm sure my wife and I never hit the $100 cabin limit on any day).
Casual Food: The casual food by the pool was the best of any previous cruise we have taken. We could choose from made-to order pizzas, burgers, and deli sandwiches from the Dive In and the Deli. Loved the pager system, where you place your order, and go relax until they buzz you! Great idea.
Main Restaurant Food: Quality and selection was very good for both breakfast and lunch. Variety was better than some cruises and service was adequate.
Dining Room Food: Dining experience, service, and presentation was upscale but certainly not memorable or outstanding. Menus were varied and for the most part tasty. It's pretty obvious that all the cruise lines have 'dummied down' the food to encourage guests to support the specialty restaurants on board. The only annoying issue is the lack of availability of mid-evening dinner reservations. We were told to at the start of the cruise to make dinner reservations two days in advance. So at 8:00 am each day, I would call for advance dinner reservations, and each day my choices were 5:00-5:30 or 8:00-8:30. That is the bad news, however the good news is that the staff was very good about giving us a table for two most nights so we didn't have to make idle small talk with strangers.
Specialty Restaurants: My wife and chose to eat at the Italian restaurant on our first night and the experience was amazing. The food was incredible, the presentation was great, and the service was outstanding. We had such a great experience at the Italian restaurant we couldn't wait to experience the Pinnacle Restaurant, which we already had midweek reservations for. This is where the one area where Holland really dropped the ball.
As a 'special' incentive for booking our cruise early, we were promised dinner for two at the Pinnacle Restaurant. Since this is touted as Holland's best specialty restaurant on the ship, we were really looking forward to an unbelievable dinning experience. Upon inquiring prior to the cruise we were informed that we could not choose the night but that details would be provided with our welcome packet in our cabin.
As promised, there was an envelope in our cabin informing us that our dinner was on Wednesday night, however that it was no longer booked for the Pinnacle, but was booked at the Culinary Arts Center. After finishing our wonderful dinner on our first night at the Italian restaurant, I asked the staff if a restaurant manger was on hand to answer some questions our upcoming dinner reservation. When I asked about the change of venue, the manager we talked to (don't remember his name), told me that the promotion was so popular that the Pinnacle was overbooked and it was necessary to book some people for the Culinary Arts Center instead. I asked if it was possible to choose another night and still enjoy the Pinnacle and was told that this was not possible and that since it was a promotion "you get what you are assigned." He added that I shouldn't worry because the menu would be the same as the Pinnacle, just the location was changed.
Well this was certainly not the case! The dinner at the Culinary Arts Center was horrible!. The menu was at best was very strange, at worst almost inedible. The menu was a set menu with no choice of appetizers, sides, or dessert. The entree choices were overcooked beef, a dried up fish filet, or a vegetarian option. This emphasis of the meal seemed to be the herbs grown on the ship and the ability to watch the staff prepare your food. I know that my wife and I were not the only disappointed guests. The couple we were seated with were not pleased nor was the table next to ours.
I noticed a comment card in our room that evening and I thought that the cruise line should be aware of our negative experience. In the card, I explained what happened and turned the card in at guest services on the following morning. I made sure that the girl knew that it should be forwarded to a food and beverage manager.
Since this was only day 4 of the cruise, I expected to hear something from someone with Holland. I was never contacted by anyone from Holland for the remainder of the cruise. My wife and I had planned to try at least 2 or 3 of the specialty restaurants during the cruise, but after the bad experience at the Culinary Arts Center and no contact from the management at Holland, we decided to just enjoy the dining room for the remainder of the cruise. My feeling is this regarding customer service; (1) Deliver what you promise with no excuses or fix it, and (2) Don't ask your customers for their opinion and provide comment cards if you are not going to respond to them.
Itinerary: The ports we visited were all interesting in their own unique way. However, the day at Geranger was the best. Taking the bus tour up the Eagle Road to see the glacier was breathtaking and was the highlight of the trip. The tram in Bergen was a 'must see' as well. Edjiford was scenic and quaint, if not very exciting.
Overall Cruise: The ship, the staff, the itinerary, and the food (except for the CAC experience) were very good. The onboard entertainment was average, with the exception being the B B King venue, which was consistently entertaining.
Embarking in Amsterdam was somewhat slow, however disembarking was much more efficient.
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