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I traveled with my mother (83) and daughter (13) on the 2016 holiday cruise. We were very excited to experience the new ship Koningsdam. We checked in at Port Everglades and all went quickly and smoothly. The lines were long, but moved steadily. Baggage drop was a breeze. We boarded the ship around 1:30 pm and were looking forward to the Mariner’s lunch, but we found out we were too late. They should keep it open longer, since they don’t even let you board much earlier than we did. We ate at the new deli instead. It was self-serve. Clean, bright and efficient, however, the tables were not cleaned or bussed enough. They have a limited menu of deli sandwiches and pizzas. The pizza was quite good. The view overlooking the pool is lovely. We went to our cabin and all our mouths dropped. We could not believe the size of it. It was sold to us as a triple verandah cabin, since there were 3 of us, but it was tinier than any cabin we have ever had on any cruise line before, including other HAL ships. The sofa bed was not long enough for my daughter, and her poor feet were dangling off the bed. She was very uncomfortable for 16 nights. Imagine if there were a taller 3rd adult using that bed. The bathroom is also unusually small. When you sit on the toilet, your knees knock into the shower door. You have nowhere to go. You basically must sit sideways to clear your knees. Again, I can’t imagine someone taller than us dealing with that. I don’t know what they were thinking. We didn’t like that the cabin was not pre-stocked for 3 people. If they know there will be 3, why don’t they supply enough towels, glasses, etc. for all of us, to make us feel welcome and noticed? We shouldn’t have to ask for the basics. The ice bucket, tray and glasses that were in the cabin, were all filthy. We asked they be changed out. We had to call for more towels too, and waited on hold for a very long time. Then they delivered one towel at a time. We had to send the guy back 3 more times, until we were brought enough towels. There wasn’t a day that everything in our cabin was perfect. Either there weren’t enough towels restocked, the mirrors were dirty, the bottled water was not replaced, pillows were not put back on the sofa, the sheets were not tucked in, the sofa bed was not pulled out at night, the Kleenex was not replaced, the wrong laundry was brought to our room, the fridge was dirty, etc., etc. My daughter’s friend lost a shoe in our cabin and you would think if the steward was cleaning properly, he would have come across it. He didn’t and we found it on the last day when they had already left. Also, one of my personal pet peeves; the sheets were never taut or smooth, and they always crumpled underneath you uncomfortably. We went to the main dining room for the first night dinner. We were brought to our table and I was immediately turned off to find the bread and butter, and sugars and creamers preset on the tables. You don’t do that in a fine restaurant, or even in a mediocre restaurant. So, you now have dried rolls, soft mushy butter, and a dirty creamer with old, warm cream and fingerprints from the last guest. Disgraceful. They did make a note in my file not to do that again, and quietly implied that they realize it is not proper service either. From that point forward, we were properly served those items fresh at the correct times during and after dinner. We also had to change tables because the tablecloth was filthy at the first table, and the napkin we opened was full of someone’s make-up, which was disgusting. There was also trash on the floor under our chairs. We did not like the look or feel of the new dining room at all. It is painted yellow, and is very drab. I feel like I’m in a cafeteria and the color makes it very depressing, with no warmth or ambiance at all. It also makes photographs have a dull yellow tone to them. All the professional photos taken in the dining room had the same unflattering tone. The dining room is very loud and there are no banquets or cozy spots anywhere. It’s just one big open space. There are only 5 service stations for all the waiters and it does not work as smoothly as on other ships. The waiters are on top of each other. The dining room menu is a complete downgrade from other ships we’ve experienced. The only upscale options are on gala (formal) nights. On regular nights, there are items like plaice, swai, brisket, pot roast, beef stroganoff, etc. There’s rarely a decent piece of quality meat. They are all cheap items and a complete let down. Pork roast and roast chicken are about the top of the line here now. There was even fried chicken on the menu one night. When do you ever see fried chicken in a quality restaurant? But worse yet, there was only dark meat. You could not get even white meat at all, no breast. The menu for Christmas Eve was, in my opinion, the worst. One pasta, one risotto, a goose dish, trout and porkbelly. The only upscale item was prime rib, but if you don’t eat beef, you’re out of luck. You can say this is all subjective I suppose, but nonetheless, compared to previous HAL menus, these items are very cheap and average, in comparison. Not the higher end items we’re used to. The food overall however, is mostly still good and tasty, though it all lacks salt. We did the open seating and we were lucky to find a great table with an amazing waiter on the second night, so we decided to keep that table and then reserved it for every night after that. Also, very disappointing were the chilled soups that HAL has become known for. They were very different and not as good as what I remember. They also don’t enforce their dress code at all. There were men coming into the dining room at night in shorts and flip flops. That’s supposed to be a no no. And we saw jeans on formal nights as well. Why have dress codes if you don’t enforce them? The lido buffet often had very long lines. Many of the staff weren’t too friendly either. They also never offered my elderly mother help to carry her tray, which they always do on their other ships. She also complained that there weren’t enough sugar free items available. You can no longer serve yourself in the buffet. They serve everything from the other side. While this is inconvenient and annoying to some, I can understand it being better from a health and sanitary perspective. It didn’t bother me, as I prefer not to have grubby people’s hands in my food, as you see at some buffets. The hours for breakfast in the main dining room should be extended for those people that like to sleep in, especially on sea days. They are extended a bit, but in my opinion, not long enough. The crew overall were great, but this is the first time on a HAL ship that I encountered some staff that weren’t so great. Many of them had attitudes when you asked for something. Our room steward was the worst. I never had that happen before. They are usually so willing to please. Perhaps they are not happy either with the changes here. One day the housekeeping supervisor was in the hallway, and stopped us and asked us how our room steward was. We told him of our displeasure, and he said he would talk to him. The next day the room steward had the nerve to come up to ask and ask us why we complained about him. He never should have approached a guest like that. The absolute worst part of all, had to be the tea service. It was shortened from an hour I believe on other ships, to 30 minutes on this ship. How can you sit down and enjoy a cup of hot tea and relax, all in 30 minutes? Instead of coming around and serving the finger sandwiches and pastries and scones with silver trays and white gloves, they now have them preset on the tables. That’s right. They sit there and get soggy or dried out waiting for a guest to arrive. The scones are even precut, and already filled with cream and jam waiting for you. What are they thinking? Not only that, but the tea bag itself was already in the teapot preset on the table, where there is no guest seated yet. You get to your table and have preset food and a preset tea. Needless to say, the tea is already getting cold, or is too strong because it has been sitting too long. There is no longer a nice wooden tea box brought to you and no choice of tea. High tea should be enjoyed leisurely and comfortably, not shoved down your throat. On sea days, the tea time lasts for 45 minutes, so that helps a bit. The spa was rather nice and ran efficiently, though the treatment rooms are very small, but that is to be expected I suppose. On one of my scheduled massages, I had to walk out at the onset, because the sink in the room was gurgling all kinds of crazy, disruptive sounds. There was no way I could relax in that, so I couldn’t get my message in the end. She said they were all like that. I found a lot of things in general were diluted and watered down. The cranberry juice was nearly clear; it was so diluted. The horseradish sauce was mostly water and tasteless. Even the liquid bath soap was watered down and thin and runny. It barely made suds. The whole time you just feel they are cutting corners everywhere. We wound up buying jewelry on board, and boy, was that a mistake. They all con you to believe everything is tax and duty free, which makes you think (and they don’t say otherwise) that you don’t have to pay duty when you bring it into the States. Then, when we got off the ship, they immediately pulled us aside and escorted us directly to customs. We later found out that if you purchase anything over $2,000, they report you. It would be nice if they told us that beforehand and let us decide if we wanted to deal with that or not. It’s a very sneaky move on their part. Luckily we reported the item on our customs declaration, or we would have been in for a real shocker. Not only that, but they give you false information onboard, because the salesgirl told us that we are allowed to bring back $2000 worth of goods, tax and duty free, and we’d only pay 2% for anything over and above that. She even worked out how much we would owe. Total misinformation. The truth is you’re only allowed to bring back $800 per person and you pay 3% and then a sliding scale, of sorts, for anything over that. How can they outright lie to you? Shame on you Holland America. The entertainment was substandard. The HAL singers/dancers were really corny and there is not much going on otherwise. There were a few guest shows, with magicians, comedians, etc., but you know how those can be. A couple were quite good, others not so good. One night they showed a movie as the main show in the theater. That was really strange. The theater has no tables, like on their other ships, so if you order a drink, you are basically holding the freezing cold glass full of ice cubes all night during the show. Makes it very difficult to applaud. The theater seems really small for this ship too, yet it was never full at the late show. Speaking of movies, they no longer have a little movie theater in the ship, they now show the movies only on the pool deck outside at night. You will either love that or hate that. There is only one lounge that is upbeat and has dancing, and it’s the BB King All Star Band lounge. The band was very good, but they sang the same songs night after night. Other than that, many people were complaining that there was nowhere to dance later on. They also basically eliminated the library on the ship. I mean there’s a small area with a few magazines and 20 books or so, but that’s it. They claim everyone uses electronics, but I heard lots of people complaining to bring the library back. They also no longer offer mahjong sets and don’t help you to put together any group games. They now charge for some fitness classes too, that I don’t remember them doing before. It’s $12 for yoga and $20 for spin. And they charge $150 for a behind the scenes ship tour and another crazy charge for the galley tour. I remember taking those for free in the past. When did all that change? They just seem to nickel and dime you to death. Only it’s not nickels and dimes. It’s very many $10’s and $20’s. Half Moon Cay, their private island, is beautiful as always. They offer many activities and excursions or you can just hang out and sunbathe and swim. The local staff on the island are wonderful. My daughter loved the horseback riding in the ocean and on the beach. The buffet however, could definitely use improvement. My overall feel of the ship is that they went too large with this one and can’t handle it. They cut the size of the cabins, cheapened the food, and are trying to get people in and out as quickly as possible. It feels very commercialized and average, at best. Most of the regular HAL customers I spoke to, were displeased overall. What I have come to love about Holland America, no longer exists on this ship. Overall, it just seemed that everything is now made to maximize speed and minimize service and sell as many extras as they can. I won’t ever be back on Koningsdam and it will be a while if I return to HAL, if at all.

Very Disappointing

Koningsdam Cruise Review by peoplewhoneedpeople

24 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2016
  • Destination: Caribbean
I traveled with my mother (83) and daughter (13) on the 2016 holiday cruise. We were very excited to experience the new ship Koningsdam.

We checked in at Port Everglades and all went quickly and smoothly. The lines were long, but moved steadily. Baggage drop was a breeze.

We boarded the ship around 1:30 pm and were looking forward to the Mariner’s lunch, but we found out we were too late. They should keep it open longer, since they don’t even let you board much earlier than we did. We ate at the new deli instead. It was self-serve. Clean, bright and efficient, however, the tables were not cleaned or bussed enough. They have a limited menu of deli sandwiches and pizzas. The pizza was quite good. The view overlooking the pool is lovely.

We went to our cabin and all our mouths dropped. We could not believe the size of it. It was sold to us as a triple verandah cabin, since there were 3 of us, but it was tinier than any cabin we have ever had on any cruise line before, including other HAL ships. The sofa bed was not long enough for my daughter, and her poor feet were dangling off the bed. She was very uncomfortable for 16 nights. Imagine if there were a taller 3rd adult using that bed.

The bathroom is also unusually small. When you sit on the toilet, your knees knock into the shower door. You have nowhere to go. You basically must sit sideways to clear your knees. Again, I can’t imagine someone taller than us dealing with that. I don’t know what they were thinking.

We didn’t like that the cabin was not pre-stocked for 3 people. If they know there will be 3, why don’t they supply enough towels, glasses, etc. for all of us, to make us feel welcome and noticed? We shouldn’t have to ask for the basics.

The ice bucket, tray and glasses that were in the cabin, were all filthy. We asked they be changed out.

We had to call for more towels too, and waited on hold for a very long time. Then they delivered one towel at a time. We had to send the guy back 3 more times, until we were brought enough towels.

There wasn’t a day that everything in our cabin was perfect. Either there weren’t enough towels restocked, the mirrors were dirty, the bottled water was not replaced, pillows were not put back on the sofa, the sheets were not tucked in, the sofa bed was not pulled out at night, the Kleenex was not replaced, the wrong laundry was brought to our room, the fridge was dirty, etc., etc. My daughter’s friend lost a shoe in our cabin and you would think if the steward was cleaning properly, he would have come across it. He didn’t and we found it on the last day when they had already left. Also, one of my personal pet peeves; the sheets were never taut or smooth, and they always crumpled underneath you uncomfortably.

We went to the main dining room for the first night dinner. We were brought to our table and I was immediately turned off to find the bread and butter, and sugars and creamers preset on the tables. You don’t do that in a fine restaurant, or even in a mediocre restaurant. So, you now have dried rolls, soft mushy butter, and a dirty creamer with old, warm cream and fingerprints from the last guest. Disgraceful. They did make a note in my file not to do that again, and quietly implied that they realize it is not proper service either. From that point forward, we were properly served those items fresh at the correct times during and after dinner.

We also had to change tables because the tablecloth was filthy at the first table, and the napkin we opened was full of someone’s make-up, which was disgusting. There was also trash on the floor under our chairs.

We did not like the look or feel of the new dining room at all. It is painted yellow, and is very drab. I feel like I’m in a cafeteria and the color makes it very depressing, with no warmth or ambiance at all. It also makes photographs have a dull yellow tone to them. All the professional photos taken in the dining room had the same unflattering tone. The dining room is very loud and there are no banquets or cozy spots anywhere. It’s just one big open space. There are only 5 service stations for all the waiters and it does not work as smoothly as on other ships. The waiters are on top of each other.

The dining room menu is a complete downgrade from other ships we’ve experienced. The only upscale options are on gala (formal) nights. On regular nights, there are items like plaice, swai, brisket, pot roast, beef stroganoff, etc. There’s rarely a decent piece of quality meat. They are all cheap items and a complete let down. Pork roast and roast chicken are about the top of the line here now. There was even fried chicken on the menu one night. When do you ever see fried chicken in a quality restaurant? But worse yet, there was only dark meat. You could not get even white meat at all, no breast.

The menu for Christmas Eve was, in my opinion, the worst. One pasta, one risotto, a goose dish, trout and porkbelly. The only upscale item was prime rib, but if you don’t eat beef, you’re out of luck. You can say this is all subjective I suppose, but nonetheless, compared to previous HAL menus, these items are very cheap and average, in comparison. Not the higher end items we’re used to. The food overall however, is mostly still good and tasty, though it all lacks salt. We did the open seating and we were lucky to find a great table with an amazing waiter on the second night, so we decided to keep that table and then reserved it for every night after that.

Also, very disappointing were the chilled soups that HAL has become known for. They were very different and not as good as what I remember.

They also don’t enforce their dress code at all. There were men coming into the dining room at night in shorts and flip flops. That’s supposed to be a no no. And we saw jeans on formal nights as well. Why have dress codes if you don’t enforce them?

The lido buffet often had very long lines. Many of the staff weren’t too friendly either. They also never offered my elderly mother help to carry her tray, which they always do on their other ships. She also complained that there weren’t enough sugar free items available. You can no longer serve yourself in the buffet. They serve everything from the other side. While this is inconvenient and annoying to some, I can understand it being better from a health and sanitary perspective. It didn’t bother me, as I prefer not to have grubby people’s hands in my food, as you see at some buffets.

The hours for breakfast in the main dining room should be extended for those people that like to sleep in, especially on sea days. They are extended a bit, but in my opinion, not long enough.

The crew overall were great, but this is the first time on a HAL ship that I encountered some staff that weren’t so great. Many of them had attitudes when you asked for something. Our room steward was the worst. I never had that happen before. They are usually so willing to please. Perhaps they are not happy either with the changes here.

One day the housekeeping supervisor was in the hallway, and stopped us and asked us how our room steward was. We told him of our displeasure, and he said he would talk to him. The next day the room steward had the nerve to come up to ask and ask us why we complained about him. He never should have approached a guest like that.

The absolute worst part of all, had to be the tea service. It was shortened from an hour I believe on other ships, to 30 minutes on this ship. How can you sit down and enjoy a cup of hot tea and relax, all in 30 minutes? Instead of coming around and serving the finger sandwiches and pastries and scones with silver trays and white gloves, they now have them preset on the tables. That’s right. They sit there and get soggy or dried out waiting for a guest to arrive. The scones are even precut, and already filled with cream and jam waiting for you. What are they thinking? Not only that, but the tea bag itself was already in the teapot preset on the table, where there is no guest seated yet. You get to your table and have preset food and a preset tea. Needless to say, the tea is already getting cold, or is too strong because it has been sitting too long. There is no longer a nice wooden tea box brought to you and no choice of tea. High tea should be enjoyed leisurely and comfortably, not shoved down your throat. On sea days, the tea time lasts for 45 minutes, so that helps a bit.

The spa was rather nice and ran efficiently, though the treatment rooms are very small, but that is to be expected I suppose. On one of my scheduled massages, I had to walk out at the onset, because the sink in the room was gurgling all kinds of crazy, disruptive sounds. There was no way I could relax in that, so I couldn’t get my message in the end. She said they were all like that.

I found a lot of things in general were diluted and watered down. The cranberry juice was nearly clear; it was so diluted. The horseradish sauce was mostly water and tasteless. Even the liquid bath soap was watered down and thin and runny. It barely made suds. The whole time you just feel they are cutting corners everywhere.

We wound up buying jewelry on board, and boy, was that a mistake. They all con you to believe everything is tax and duty free, which makes you think (and they don’t say otherwise) that you don’t have to pay duty when you bring it into the States. Then, when we got off the ship, they immediately pulled us aside and escorted us directly to customs. We later found out that if you purchase anything over $2,000, they report you. It would be nice if they told us that beforehand and let us decide if we wanted to deal with that or not. It’s a very sneaky move on their part. Luckily we reported the item on our customs declaration, or we would have been in for a real shocker. Not only that, but they give you false information onboard, because the salesgirl told us that we are allowed to bring back $2000 worth of goods, tax and duty free, and we’d only pay 2% for anything over and above that. She even worked out how much we would owe. Total misinformation. The truth is you’re only allowed to bring back $800 per person and you pay 3% and then a sliding scale, of sorts, for anything over that. How can they outright lie to you? Shame on you Holland America.

The entertainment was substandard. The HAL singers/dancers were really corny and there is not much going on otherwise. There were a few guest shows, with magicians, comedians, etc., but you know how those can be. A couple were quite good, others not so good. One night they showed a movie as the main show in the theater. That was really strange. The theater has no tables, like on their other ships, so if you order a drink, you are basically holding the freezing cold glass full of ice cubes all night during the show. Makes it very difficult to applaud. The theater seems really small for this ship too, yet it was never full at the late show. Speaking of movies, they no longer have a little movie theater in the ship, they now show the movies only on the pool deck outside at night. You will either love that or hate that.

There is only one lounge that is upbeat and has dancing, and it’s the BB King All Star Band lounge. The band was very good, but they sang the same songs night after night. Other than that, many people were complaining that there was nowhere to dance later on.

They also basically eliminated the library on the ship. I mean there’s a small area with a few magazines and 20 books or so, but that’s it. They claim everyone uses electronics, but I heard lots of people complaining to bring the library back. They also no longer offer mahjong sets and don’t help you to put together any group games.

They now charge for some fitness classes too, that I don’t remember them doing before. It’s $12 for yoga and $20 for spin. And they charge $150 for a behind the scenes ship tour and another crazy charge for the galley tour. I remember taking those for free in the past. When did all that change? They just seem to nickel and dime you to death. Only it’s not nickels and dimes. It’s very many $10’s and $20’s.

Half Moon Cay, their private island, is beautiful as always. They offer many activities and excursions or you can just hang out and sunbathe and swim. The local staff on the island are wonderful. My daughter loved the horseback riding in the ocean and on the beach. The buffet however, could definitely use improvement.

My overall feel of the ship is that they went too large with this one and can’t handle it. They cut the size of the cabins, cheapened the food, and are trying to get people in and out as quickly as possible. It feels very commercialized and average, at best. Most of the regular HAL customers I spoke to, were displeased overall. What I have come to love about Holland America, no longer exists on this ship. Overall, it just seemed that everything is now made to maximize speed and minimize service and sell as many extras as they can. I won’t ever be back on Koningsdam and it will be a while if I return to HAL, if at all.
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