Koningsdam Cruise Review by Lscruiser
- Sail Date: August 2016
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
- Cabin Type: Single Oceanview Stateroom
The design of this ship is large, open venues. There are no more winding hallways with charming bars and music venues. The "Billboard" is a large venue connected by an open corridor to the equally large "Lincoln Center Stage" so that one cannot be used when there is entertainment in the other. The casino is at the top of an open stairway in the corridor and noise and announcements there can easily be heard in both. "BB Kings" is an even larger area, also open to the corridor, and separated from the others only by a glass door. The net effect is that what guests see when walking through the ship are huge, sad, empty spaces, like walking through an unused auditorium.
Holland has chosen to offer only one entertainment group in each of these venues: a classical string and piano group in Lincoln Center; a piano duo in Billboard; and an R&B group in BB Kings. That might be fine for a 5 day cruise, but seeing the same entertainers night after night on a 14 night cruise was boring, to say the least.
The offerings in the reduced size "World Stage" were really sub-par. They ranged from a ballroom dancing couple to a flute player. No more do Las Vegas style production numbers grace this ship. Even though there was a reasonably funny comedian, the design of the venue did its best to lessen the ability of the audience to enjoy him - not to mention the ever present fog machines belching from the ceiling.
This ship has one indoor swimming pool for adults and children. The adults-only pool is a small outdoor pool on the back of the ship - seldom used during this Northern voyage.
There is a lovely adults-only serenity pool attached to the spa but the cost was so prohibitive at $40 per day that it was generally empty.
The biggest failing, in my estimation, was the lack of any activities aboard ship other than those designed to make a profit for the ship. There was an abundance of spa talks and jewelry demonstrations and art auctions and very little else, even on sea days. The usually popular Crow's Nest was often taken over by private functions and art auctions and the library has been replaced by a single divider holding travel books. There was an on-board "local guide" but she tended to talk only about the Holland sponsored shore excursions and had such a heavy accent that she was difficult to understand even then.
Even the in-room entertainment was poor. The television offerings consisted of 3 news channels or ESPN for live television and a very few recorded shows. By the end of week one I was relegated to Downton Abbey re-runs, reading, knitting, or roaming those awful, empty public areas.
My initial selection of this ship, besides being new, was the single occupancy cabins. As a frequent solo traveler, I was delighted that Holland has added them. There are a few on this ship, all located far forward on the Main deck. They are well appointed and perfect for the solo traveler with a full sized glass-walled shower, large bed and plenty of storage. The problem is their location just below the World Stage and just above the mechanical areas of the ship. Though generally quiet late at night and at sea, I found the cabin quite noisy otherwise.
On the positive side, the food was excellent, the cellar master was delightful, and I enjoyed the Culinary Arts Center cooking demonstrations and classes. I skipped the new "Blend" feature where guests can blend their own red wine simply because of the $129 cost. Even though it included dinner at the Culinary Arts Center ($39 separately), the charge for this activity seemed excessive.
The newly designed Lido "World Market" is appealing at first with numerous individual areas offering different types of cuisine. In practice, the lack of signage just makes it confusing and difficult to use. There are no trays, leaving the solo diner challenged to balance food, find a table and keep vigilant staff from clearing it when I went to get something missed on the first round.
My favorite place on the ship turned out to be the Ocean bar on Deck 2, even though I was often the only person there and teased the charming bartender, Ryan, mercilessly about dying from boredom. Perhaps it was the itinerary; perhaps it was the passenger group; perhaps it was just poor choice on my part. Whatever the reason, for the first time in my 30+ cruises, I was happy to disembark.
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