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Although I am a 4 Star Mariner, I had not sailed on a HAL ship since January 2014. I chose this cruise because I wanted to try the new ship and the itinerary included places to which I had not been. The Good: The service everywhere was superb. HAL has never been known for good wine stewards, but I had several of the best in all my cruising. My cabin stewards were excellent. The production singers and dancers did some of the best shows I have ever seen on or off a ship. They were very talented, had beautiful costumes, good arrangements and excellent choreography. In addition they did music that is not typical for cruises. The other music venues, Billboard Onboard, BB King, Lincoln Center Stage, had good musicians and interesting programs as well. The food in the Main Dining Room was exceptional; it was good quality, especially the beef, and prepared properly. They need to clone the kitchen on K'dam and send them to all the other ships. If they can do it serving 2800 people every night, they could surely do it on the smaller ships. The specialty restaurants, Sel De Mer, Tamarind, Farm to Table, had excellent food. The menus were innovative and the food was well prepared. I could not say the same for the Pinnacle, where the quality of the beef is just not as good as it should be for this type of restaurant; the MDR was better. And the other food items were not as well prepared. The informal eating places, Grand Dutch Café, Dive In and Lido Marketplace were also quite good. I liked that the Lido was not a buffet. Except for one or two, the shore excursions were well done. They have not raised the prices either. A comprehensive port guide was provided for the whole second portion of the cruise on the first day. It was just done very well. However, we did not receive one for the first portion of the cruise. Every ship on every cruise line should provide this for every cruise; it would be even more helpful to receive it at home before the cruise. They have added reading lights over the beds in the cabin. And the shower is great; no more slipping in those awful bathtubs. The Bad: The standard verandah cabin was smaller than any other HAL ship and definitely smaller than Celebrity. They had deleted one of the closets, had a smaller desk with less drawers, and smaller sofa, table and bedside tables, less shelving over the sink. I would consider this cabin to be adequate for one person but definitely not for two. Early fixed dining was at 5:15. This was just way too early and appeared to be done to accommodate all those who wanted at-will dining. Rather than have separate areas (or floors) of the dining room set aside for early/late fixed dining and for at-will diners, they mixed the two all over the place. It was chaotic and frenetic, was uncomfortable for those seated to have so much activity swirling around them all the time, kept the servers and the kitchen off a steady pace. There should be two separate dining and kitchen food prep areas for the two kinds of diners; these could be adjusted by cruise depending on demand. At-will diners, with and without reservations, blocked the MDR doors every night and fixed seating diners had no clear path to get to their assigned tables. They repeated the dinner menu from cruise to cruise instead of alternating. The evening dress 'code' was egregious. Shorts, peddle-pushers, jeans, flip flops (no matter how sparkly) and running shoes do not belong in any venue other than the Lido and the pool. This isn't Carnival or Norwegian. The casino was small and cramped; they allowed smoking without providing enough industrial ventilation to handle it. It became uncomfortable very quickly. The canned music on the outdoor decks and in the indoor public rooms was very loud. In addition, most of the music in the various venues was loud. There were no quiet places on the ship. There was no venue with a live ensemble playing ballroom type music with a dance floor around the dinner hours. This used to be the Crow's Nest, which now looks more like a beach bar. The Promenade Deck still exists but it is very narrow; in some places, two people could not pass each other. there was no directional signage. And, of course, no room for teak deck chairs. Those passengers who usually get an inside stateroom and use the promenade deck as their outdoor sitting area were really frustrated. As reported, they have no library and a very small book exchange. There were people on my trip who did not realize this and had not brought enough books to read; I knew it and actually took two suitcases, one with books. General Comments about HAL: HAL is missing its old Dutch efficiency. there were several miscommunications about transportation and Distinctive Voyages benefits to be provided by HAL. In addition, I had several paperwork screw-ups: things purchased online before the trip were incorrectly communicated to the ship; things not purchased appeared on my statement. I had to check my statement every few days. They are doing their best to push every customer to use their phone to access everything on the ship. No receipts were given for anything purchased in the bar. A 10% cancellation fee on shore excursions from the date of purchase has been instituted. I received three ship maintenance notices (balcony maintenance, balcony cleaning, carpet cleaning) for my cabin for one eleven-day portion of the cruise, two of them for the same day. Since they should be doing these when there are no customers onboard, one was unacceptable and three was outrageous. A special lunch for those who were on the Collector's Voyage was provided; it was a nice gesture although they needed to provide better food. The Mariner's lunch was much better than it has been on past ships. The Mariner perks were really good. Having alternating itineraries was a great idea. It encourages people to stay on longer. Many old-time HAL'ers will not feel comfortable on this ship. I wasn't. Would I go on the K'dam again? Only if 1)it had an itinerary that I could not get from some other cruise line at a reasonable price; 2)I could get a wider width cabin with more glass viewing area to the outside.

New ship has its good points and bad points

Koningsdam Cruise Review by poinsettiaplate

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2017
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
Although I am a 4 Star Mariner, I had not sailed on a HAL ship since January 2014. I chose this cruise because I wanted to try the new ship and the itinerary included places to which I had not been.

The Good: The service everywhere was superb. HAL has never been known for good wine stewards, but I had several of the best in all my cruising. My cabin stewards were excellent. The production singers and dancers did some of the best shows I have ever seen on or off a ship. They were very talented, had beautiful costumes, good arrangements and excellent choreography. In addition they did music that is not typical for cruises. The other music venues, Billboard Onboard, BB King, Lincoln Center Stage, had good musicians and interesting programs as well.

The food in the Main Dining Room was exceptional; it was good quality, especially the beef, and prepared properly. They need to clone the kitchen on K'dam and send them to all the other ships. If they can do it serving 2800 people every night, they could surely do it on the smaller ships.

The specialty restaurants, Sel De Mer, Tamarind, Farm to Table, had excellent food. The menus were innovative and the food was well prepared. I could not say the same for the Pinnacle, where the quality of the beef is just not as good as it should be for this type of restaurant; the MDR was better. And the other food items were not as well prepared. The informal eating places, Grand Dutch Café, Dive In and Lido Marketplace were also quite good. I liked that the Lido was not a buffet.

Except for one or two, the shore excursions were well done. They have not raised the prices either. A comprehensive port guide was provided for the whole second portion of the cruise on the first day. It was just done very well. However, we did not receive one for the first portion of the cruise. Every ship on every cruise line should provide this for every cruise; it would be even more helpful to receive it at home before the cruise. They have added reading lights over the beds in the cabin. And the shower is great; no more slipping in those awful bathtubs.

The Bad: The standard verandah cabin was smaller than any other HAL ship and definitely smaller than Celebrity. They had deleted one of the closets, had a smaller desk with less drawers, and smaller sofa, table and bedside tables, less shelving over the sink. I would consider this cabin to be adequate for one person but definitely not for two. Early fixed dining was at 5:15. This was just way too early and appeared to be done to accommodate all those who wanted at-will dining. Rather than have separate areas (or floors) of the dining room set aside for early/late fixed dining and for at-will diners, they mixed the two all over the place. It was chaotic and frenetic, was uncomfortable for those seated to have so much activity swirling around them all the time, kept the servers and the kitchen off a steady pace. There should be two separate dining and kitchen food prep areas for the two kinds of diners; these could be adjusted by cruise depending on demand. At-will diners, with and without reservations, blocked the MDR doors every night and fixed seating diners had no clear path to get to their assigned tables. They repeated the dinner menu from cruise to cruise instead of alternating. The evening dress 'code' was egregious. Shorts, peddle-pushers, jeans, flip flops (no matter how sparkly) and running shoes do not belong in any venue other than the Lido and the pool. This isn't Carnival or Norwegian.

The casino was small and cramped; they allowed smoking without providing enough industrial ventilation to handle it. It became uncomfortable very quickly.

The canned music on the outdoor decks and in the indoor public rooms was very loud. In addition, most of the music in the various venues was loud. There were no quiet places on the ship.

There was no venue with a live ensemble playing ballroom type music with a dance floor around the dinner hours. This used to be the Crow's Nest, which now looks more like a beach bar.

The Promenade Deck still exists but it is very narrow; in some places, two people could not pass each other. there was no directional signage. And, of course, no room for teak deck chairs. Those passengers who usually get an inside stateroom and use the promenade deck as their outdoor sitting area were really frustrated.

As reported, they have no library and a very small book exchange. There were people on my trip who did not realize this and had not brought enough books to read; I knew it and actually took two suitcases, one with books.

General Comments about HAL: HAL is missing its old Dutch efficiency. there were several miscommunications about transportation and Distinctive Voyages benefits to be provided by HAL. In addition, I had several paperwork screw-ups: things purchased online before the trip were incorrectly communicated to the ship; things not purchased appeared on my statement. I had to check my statement every few days.

They are doing their best to push every customer to use their phone to access everything on the ship. No receipts were given for anything purchased in the bar. A 10% cancellation fee on shore excursions from the date of purchase has been instituted.

I received three ship maintenance notices (balcony maintenance, balcony cleaning, carpet cleaning) for my cabin for one eleven-day portion of the cruise, two of them for the same day. Since they should be doing these when there are no customers onboard, one was unacceptable and three was outrageous.

A special lunch for those who were on the Collector's Voyage was provided; it was a nice gesture although they needed to provide better food. The Mariner's lunch was much better than it has been on past ships. The Mariner perks were really good.

Having alternating itineraries was a great idea. It encourages people to stay on longer. Many old-time HAL'ers will not feel comfortable on this ship. I wasn't.

Would I go on the K'dam again? Only if 1)it had an itinerary that I could not get from some other cruise line at a reasonable price; 2)I could get a wider width cabin with more glass viewing area to the outside.
poinsettiaplate’s Full Rating Summary
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