Koningsdam Cruise Review by Icebrekker
- Sail Date: October 2017
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Standard Interior Stateroom
Cruise: HAL Koningsdam, Civitavecchia-Fort Lauderdale 10/3/2017, Cabin 8182
Up front—I’m not a typical cruise passenger, sorry to disappoint in my reporting: Mine was a solo trip; I’m not a “fine-dining foodie” so I only ate in Lido and Dutch Café; I drank no alcohol; not a “dresser-upper” so I can’t comment on “gala” nights. Not a socialite so I can’t comment on games or group activities and such. Still, fwiw, here goes:
Entertainment: The best thing for me was the chamber music ensemble performing three sets on the Lincoln Center Stage most nights, a very competent and likeable group of five youngish musicians (string quartet and pianist) that added a lot of class to the ship with demanding classical repertoire. The only other entertainment I caught was the excellent classical pianist Mori (one night only), and—in passing—I heard the R&B band on the B.B.King stage providing predictable nostalgia to appreciative pax. There was plenty more popular entertainment going on that I didn’t attend.
Ship layout: Well done on the whole, only a very few bottlenecks inside, enough outdoor spaces on various decks to find quiet if needed.
Exercise: I liked the walking loop around deck 3 as well as the walking/jogging track on deck 11 (with a longer option available); the net-enclosed sports court (basket ball and net games and more) was rarely occupied, I had it to myself daily during breakfast and dinner hours. The brief and free morning stretch and evening body toning sessions in the fitness area were well attended, a bigger space (or outside?) would be welcome. There is free use of treadmills, weights and machines!
Food: I only ever ate in the Lido Market (buffet on deck 9) and Dutch Café (deck 3). I liked the Lido Market food offerings for quality, huge variety, and superb desserts; the only dishes I kept eating at the Dutch café, the pea soup, the herring, and the apple pie, were excellent. They have more good-looking items.
Staff: Well trained in efficiency and friendliness. Mercifully few PA announcements, and only sounding in hallways and public areas, not intrusively on cabins’ interior speakers.
WiFi: I purchased 500 minutes of internet access ($175) and found it to be reliable and mostly acceptably fast. Heavy streaming and big downloads are discouraged or even blocked, but even far from land the satellite connection worked remarkably well, better than in many a hotel in my travels.
Lido Market provides no trays, pax have to shuttle back and forth to and from a table to food stations for each item, from soup to dessert, often losing the table to overly zealous cleaner-uppers. There should be a way of carrying several items to a table, and to mark a seat as “I shall return” (sure, you can bring a jacket, but who wants to have to remember to run to the cabin just for that?).
For someone who is used to eating a healthy dinner around 9PM but doesn’t like a waiter-service formal dining room (open til 9:30 PM) this was a bit tricky—Lido closes at 8:30, and only one station reopens at 10:30 for an hour. The Dutch Café serves no meals after 8PM. The New York Deli stays open til midnight but serves no pizza slices, only whole pizzas (and burgers if you can stomach that).
Background music in public areas: While not nearly as bad as on recent Celebrity cruises, I nevertheless was bothered occasionally by stupid tunes playing too loud (who needs dozens of insistent “Help me Ronda, help help me Ronda” in your ear to accompany an otherwise perfectly good meal?). Luckily those instances were the exception, overall the volume was kept lower than on the blasted Celebrity Millenium (never again...) for example, and the music that I did hear was not as repetitive.
Ship layout: The concert audience in the Lincoln Center Stage area was almost constantly bothered, often severely, by noises from loud pax (who sometimes may not have realized that the concert was going on beyond the big staircase that would have blocked their view), and from the nearby casino (especially slot machines with loud electronic quasi-musical sounds). Also the smoke from the casino was a bother (how can they even allow that indoors—anytime?). Luckily, as per the cruise director’s announcement, the Lincoln Stage may be relocated when Koningsdam will be in dry dock in December 2018.
In summary: This cruise was a very positive experience with very few negatives. I had read about the “teething troubles” from when the ship was brand new, but except for the learning curve about the Lincoln Center stage’s location (promised to be rectified), I think they got it mostly right, and with the admittedly limited use I made of all that’s on offer it seems to be working just fine now.
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I liked it a lot (except for a couple of items listed under Dislikes)—clean, bright, non-fussy, with a problem-free bathroom and good lighting. Plenty of outlets, five US 3-prong, two continental European (the countersunk 3-prong version), and three USB that stay on when the keycard is removed and the main lights go out (the bedside wall light and the bathroom light stay on). Plenty of storage spaces, ten drawers and two hanging closets and other shelves. Generous desk allowing real work to get done if, as I did, you bring your computer and an additional monitor and more—you really can be productive.
The thermostat actually works and is very responsive.
Cabin (pardon me, “state room”...): A solo traveler doesn’t need the two beds pushed together to form one huge bed. I’d rather have one bed removed and stored elsewhere, or at least tilted up and secured against the wall, to make room for an armchair. But that’s not an option on Koningsdam for inside cabins. Sitting on the bed to watch TV or on the little stool at the desk were the only options. Hardly any space in the fridge for a pax’s items—it’s a minibar, like it or not...
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