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This was our 5th HAL cruise and we had a great time. Yes, HAL has some growing pains with their new ship, especially when it comes to dealing with a much larger group of passengers. The ship: No complaints. Every ship is different and we always fine the good in each one. However, I do wish they would put a directional arrow sign on the promenade so folks will know which way to walk when doing laps. The main reason is that the promenade narrows to about 6 foot wide in some places around the bow and stern and you would have to stop if you met someone walking in the other direction. Quite annoying I must say since directional signs strategically placed would solve the issue. (New ship growing pain. My hope is they're currently on order and will be put into service once they arrive). Our room: We upgraded our back-of-the-boat vista suite to a corner-of-the-boat Neptune suite and were quite pleased. There, of course, was plenty of room and having fresh fruit to eat throughout the cruise was great. However, the biggest perk was being able to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle restaurant every morning and avoid the crowds up on the Lido deck. Talk about being spoiled!! In addition having access to the Neptune Lounge concierge service when we had an issue with anything was also a big plus!! However, was it worth the upgrade cost, even if it was 50% off from the original price. Probably not, but sometimes it's just fun to spoil yourself if you can afford it. Dining: We initially chose open seating but after reading all the negative CC reviews before we went, we decided to change to fixed seating. As it turns out since we like to eat around 5:30, we would have had no problem with open seating, especially since we enjoy sitting at larger tables and meeting new people. However, between 6-8 pm, it was a total different story. As far as food quality goes, we had a different menu every night and it was all great! Now, I must say, I go for the fish entrees because I'd rather come back 4 lbs heavier rather than 10-15 lbs. Entertainment: The 3 production shows were great, but would recommend going early. We would take a deck of cards and arrive about 30 minutes early and get great seats!! As far as the individual acts went, some were very good (like the magician) while others were not so good. However, that's usually typical on most cruises we go on. As far as game shows go, there were only 3, "Majority Rules" (done twice) and the Newlywed Game. My DW loves these kind of shows and she wished there were more. As far as the night life around the ship goes, we usually bypass it and go back to the room to watch a movie. However, the different club areas seemed to be very popular. Service: No complaints. The room stewards and the MDR/Specialty Dining/Lido servers and waiters were all great!! Yes, they were busy, but they always had a smile on their face and were always there if you needed them. Ports and Shore Excursions: We booked all of our 8 excursions through HAL and had a great time on all of them. However, they need some improvement on the excursion-related disembarkation procedures. Simply put, they need to have everyone with an excursion meet in the World Stage to get their tour stickers, especially with a ship of this size. On at least 3 or 4 occasions, 2 of which involved tendering, you were required to get your tour stickers on the pier. Let's just say they need to do a little tweeking in this area. But, I think this is another growing pain of having a new, much larger ship and I'm sure they will eventually get it right. Wish List: We wish HAL would have hired a guest lecturer to speak during the cruise rather than have the Excursion Director do it. It would have been so rewarding to have a knowledgable lecturer speak on sea days about the history of the area. They did on the Panama Canal cruise on the Veendam this past January and the theater was packed every time. Bottom Line: We had a great trip and would do it again. However, next time will be in a Vista Suite rather than a Neptune.

Cruising Norway to the North Cape

Koningsdam Cruise Review by Ken the cruiser

20 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2016
  • Destination: Norwegian Fjords
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Suite with Verandah
This was our 5th HAL cruise and we had a great time. Yes, HAL has some growing pains with their new ship, especially when it comes to dealing with a much larger group of passengers.

The ship: No complaints. Every ship is different and we always fine the good in each one. However, I do wish they would put a directional arrow sign on the promenade so folks will know which way to walk when doing laps. The main reason is that the promenade narrows to about 6 foot wide in some places around the bow and stern and you would have to stop if you met someone walking in the other direction. Quite annoying I must say since directional signs strategically placed would solve the issue. (New ship growing pain. My hope is they're currently on order and will be put into service once they arrive).

Our room: We upgraded our back-of-the-boat vista suite to a corner-of-the-boat Neptune suite and were quite pleased. There, of course, was plenty of room and having fresh fruit to eat throughout the cruise was great. However, the biggest perk was being able to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle restaurant every morning and avoid the crowds up on the Lido deck. Talk about being spoiled!! In addition having access to the Neptune Lounge concierge service when we had an issue with anything was also a big plus!! However, was it worth the upgrade cost, even if it was 50% off from the original price. Probably not, but sometimes it's just fun to spoil yourself if you can afford it.

Dining: We initially chose open seating but after reading all the negative CC reviews before we went, we decided to change to fixed seating. As it turns out since we like to eat around 5:30, we would have had no problem with open seating, especially since we enjoy sitting at larger tables and meeting new people. However, between 6-8 pm, it was a total different story. As far as food quality goes, we had a different menu every night and it was all great! Now, I must say, I go for the fish entrees because I'd rather come back 4 lbs heavier rather than 10-15 lbs.

Entertainment: The 3 production shows were great, but would recommend going early. We would take a deck of cards and arrive about 30 minutes early and get great seats!! As far as the individual acts went, some were very good (like the magician) while others were not so good. However, that's usually typical on most cruises we go on. As far as game shows go, there were only 3, "Majority Rules" (done twice) and the Newlywed Game. My DW loves these kind of shows and she wished there were more. As far as the night life around the ship goes, we usually bypass it and go back to the room to watch a movie. However, the different club areas seemed to be very popular.

Service: No complaints. The room stewards and the MDR/Specialty Dining/Lido servers and waiters were all great!! Yes, they were busy, but they always had a smile on their face and were always there if you needed them.

Ports and Shore Excursions: We booked all of our 8 excursions through HAL and had a great time on all of them. However, they need some improvement on the excursion-related disembarkation procedures. Simply put, they need to have everyone with an excursion meet in the World Stage to get their tour stickers, especially with a ship of this size. On at least 3 or 4 occasions, 2 of which involved tendering, you were required to get your tour stickers on the pier. Let's just say they need to do a little tweeking in this area. But, I think this is another growing pain of having a new, much larger ship and I'm sure they will eventually get it right.

Wish List: We wish HAL would have hired a guest lecturer to speak during the cruise rather than have the Excursion Director do it. It would have been so rewarding to have a knowledgable lecturer speak on sea days about the history of the area. They did on the Panama Canal cruise on the Veendam this past January and the theater was packed every time.

Bottom Line: We had a great trip and would do it again. However, next time will be in a Vista Suite rather than a Neptune.
Ken the cruiser’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Neptune Suite with Verandah
Cabin SB
Great AFT-facing corner room and loved the fresh fruit everyday!
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