This was the third cruise my husband and I have been on, but first time with HAL. We chose this cruise to see the beautiful Norwegian Fjords, and because we liked the idea of being on a beautiful new ship. We booked it knowing that a new ship might have some kinks to work out, but seeing quite a few negative reviews before our sailing had me a little concerned.
However, we loved the ship, and the crew, and I really cannot understand some of the criticism. The decor is beautifully elegant and contemporary. The crew is very professional, friendly, and efficient. The food was delicious. We would love to sail on the Koningsdam again, and highly recommend it.
Stateroom: We booked a Verandah stateroom, as we personally love having a balcony on cruises. To us it adds so much to the experience, even when the weather isn't conducive to sitting out there for long periods of time. Just the fact that you can step outside to enjoy the fresh air and scenery, and take pictures from a balcony is worth the extra expense.
Food: The food in the main dining room was excellent. We tried all of the specialty restaurants (except for the Italian one) as well, and honestly I think I liked the main dining room the best. A few restaurants were disappointing: Sel de Mer is priced a la carte. So rather than paying just a small fee extra, you pay as if you were in a regular restaurant. I don't understand that at all. The food was fine (I wasn't very impressed), but since you can get excellent meals in the main dining room for no surcharge, or pay a small surcharge in the Pinnacle Grill for similar cuisine, it's not worth it in my opinion to go to Sel de Mer.
The Lido Market was fabulous. We ate there for breakfast and lunch most days. It does get crowded, but we never had much trouble finding a seat. I love the fact that if you are a healthy eater, you can find such great high quality options. But at the same time, there are plenty of treats to indulge in. There is a muesli station with just about every type of oat, grain, seed, nut, dried fruit and milk options you can think of. They also have roasted veggies for breakfast! It's so rare to find veggies on any breakfast menu (aside from veggies in an omelet). The salad station also was amazing. A regular salad bar is never up to par for me, because you can never toss the ingredients. But what they do at the Lido Market is they start with a large bowl and fill it with your choice of greens, protein, veggies, and dressing. Then they toss it for you so it comes out delicious.
Fitness Center: Absolutely gorgeous and equipped with top quality equipment. Beautiful separate studio for yoga/group fitness, as well as a second studio for indoor cycling. The cycling classes ($20) are with Schwinn bikes, and My Ride heart rate zone straps/computers. Shoes are provided, and they have plenty in a range of sizes.
Explorer Lounge: Many people have criticized the ship for not having a library. But the Explorer Lounge is stocked with lots of travel guides and beautiful coffee table travel books. What a great idea for a cruise ship!
Another thing that impressed me was the laundry/dry cleaning service. I used it 2 or 3 times, and each time it was super speedy. The first time my items were returned the same day, and I didn’t even opt to pay extra for rush service!
All in all, a great experience, and a terrific ship. We would absolutely sail Koningsdam again.
Very nice room. Next time I think we'll go one deck higher because deck 4 juts out farther than the ones above. So when you stand at the balcony on deck 5, you are right above the deck 4 balconies. Not a huge deal, but a little less private than I would like.