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We take a spring and fall trans-Atlantic crossing every year and selected this sailing to try the new Pinnacle class ship. Summary: We found the Koningsdam to be too large. The ship is indeed beautiful, cabins are well appointed and public areas are spacious and modern. The Dutch Cafe is a nice addition. The downside is there are lines of everything on board, as well as for disembarking and embarking at ports of call. Sadly, the sophisticated and classic signature features of Holland America have been lost in the Pinnacle Class design. The Koningsdam is comparable to any Celebrity, Princess or Royal Caribbean ship - nice, but no longer "special" or brand-differentiated. Service - we encountered delays and decline in service in dining venues and bars. The ratio between servers and passengers seemed to be insufficient and staff appeared to be overwhelmed. We complained on the second day of the journey via "Share your Thoughts" program and were assigned a head waiter throughout our 31-day voyage who treated us with "white-gloves". While we appreciated the remedy, the commentary amongfellow passengers of poor service persisted during duration of voyage. Health & Safety Concerns: We identified several and reported during voyage. The most critical was Breakfast Bread Basket in MDR: there is no longer a waiter tasked solely with the distribution of pastries/bread from a tray. The position has been eliminated and a replaced with a basket on the table. This basket remains on the table from one seating to the next and is touched/handled by guests as they rummage thru the contents, looking for the coveted chocolate croissant or muffin usually on the bottom. We never saw the baskets replaced. Several mornings, we found "half" pastries in our basket. This is a germ Petri dish which partially explains the flu outbreak on during our voyage. There was no "mandatory" use of antibacterial gel entering the MDR or Lido either. Previously, a staff member was "stationed" by the dispensers to "encourage" use. Overall comments: 1) The Pinnacle Class is a radical design departure from the cherished hallmark features of Holland America's fleet that have attracted and retained a faithful following: intimate ships, elegant and classic designs, excellence in service and cozy venues. 2) The "Music Walk" in theory was probably a brilliant idea. In practice, it was a disaster. Our preference is for classical music and the Lincoln Center Stage is a welcome addition - yet it is impossible to enjoy the performances because of the location: noise and smoke descending casino staircase; pass-thru traffic to/from theater and forward elevators; noise/chatter from adjacent Billboard Bar and the proximity to BB Kings Lounge. 3) BB Kings Lounge is no longer "enclosed" and the noise is too loud and far reaching. They are a great group, but not to be heard from bars located further away from the Queens Lounge. 4) A new feature on this voyage was a "Pub Crawl" - one would expect to see this on a Carnival FUN ship, not on Holland America. A loud, obnoxious, intoxicated group going from bar to bar has no place on a Holland America ship. 5) In striving to "up the ante" and create a WOW entertainment factor, the options and quality fall short compared to Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean: a) the piano and happy hour has been eliminated from the Crows Nest; b) overlapping days off in music venues: there were several days on the 31-day voyage when there as no live music anywhere on board until 8:15p, and only in one venue. Several days, two performer groups were off on the same day. Not having live entertainment in the "Music Walk" on sail away from both Rotterdam and Civitavecchia was anti-climatic and very depressing. Second seating dinner guests had no music before dinner on these days. c) the HAL singers and dancers performed the same shows on each of the back-to-back (B2B) segments. Other HAL sailings and cruise lines rarely repeat a show on B2B segments. d) Guest performers and shows were mediocre and pale in comparison to options available on competitor lines, namely Celebrit, Princess y and Royal Cari e) Since the acquisition by Carnival Corporation, we've noticed a steady trend in cutbacks, as evidenced by the elimination of: Black & White Officer Gala, Librarian and library with vast selection of books, Neptune Split Pea Soup event on bow on trans-Atlantic crossings, Explorer's lounge evening chocolate truffle treats, Filipino and Indonesian Crew Shows and cruise logs at end of each voyage, to name a few.

Disappointment on the Koningsdam

Koningsdam Cruise Review by EVNKEEL

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We take a spring and fall trans-Atlantic crossing every year and selected this sailing to try the new Pinnacle class ship.

Summary:

We found the Koningsdam to be too large. The ship is indeed beautiful, cabins are well appointed and public areas are spacious and modern. The Dutch Cafe is a nice addition. The downside is there are lines of everything on board, as well as for disembarking and embarking at ports of call. Sadly, the sophisticated and classic signature features of Holland America have been lost in the Pinnacle Class design. The Koningsdam is comparable to any Celebrity, Princess or Royal Caribbean ship - nice, but no longer "special" or brand-differentiated.

Service - we encountered delays and decline in service in dining venues and bars. The ratio between servers and passengers seemed to be insufficient and staff appeared to be overwhelmed. We complained on the second day of the journey via "Share your Thoughts" program and were assigned a head waiter throughout our 31-day voyage who treated us with "white-gloves". While we appreciated the remedy, the commentary amongfellow passengers of poor service persisted during duration of voyage.

Health & Safety Concerns: We identified several and reported during voyage. The most critical was Breakfast Bread Basket in MDR: there is no longer a waiter tasked solely with the distribution of pastries/bread from a tray. The position has been eliminated and a replaced with a basket on the table. This basket remains on the table from one seating to the next and is touched/handled by guests as they rummage thru the contents, looking for the coveted chocolate croissant or muffin usually on the bottom. We never saw the baskets replaced. Several mornings, we found "half" pastries in our basket. This is a germ Petri dish which partially explains the flu outbreak on during our voyage. There was no "mandatory" use of antibacterial gel entering the MDR or Lido either. Previously, a staff member was "stationed" by the dispensers to "encourage" use.

Overall comments:

1) The Pinnacle Class is a radical design departure from the cherished hallmark features of Holland America's fleet that have attracted and retained a faithful following: intimate ships, elegant and classic designs, excellence in service and cozy venues.

2) The "Music Walk" in theory was probably a brilliant idea. In practice, it was a disaster. Our preference is for classical music and the Lincoln Center Stage is a welcome addition - yet it is impossible to enjoy the performances because of the location: noise and smoke descending casino staircase; pass-thru traffic to/from theater and forward elevators; noise/chatter from adjacent Billboard Bar and the proximity to BB Kings Lounge.

3) BB Kings Lounge is no longer "enclosed" and the noise is too loud and far reaching. They are a great group, but not to be heard from bars located further away from the Queens Lounge.

4) A new feature on this voyage was a "Pub Crawl" - one would expect to see this on a Carnival FUN ship, not on Holland America. A loud, obnoxious, intoxicated group going from bar to bar has no place on a Holland America ship.

5) In striving to "up the ante" and create a WOW entertainment factor, the options and quality fall short compared to Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean:

a) the piano and happy hour has been eliminated from the Crows Nest;

b) overlapping days off in music venues: there were several days on the 31-day voyage when there as no live music anywhere on board until 8:15p, and only in one venue. Several days, two performer groups were off on the same day. Not having live entertainment in the "Music Walk" on sail away from both Rotterdam and Civitavecchia was anti-climatic and very depressing. Second seating dinner guests had no music before dinner on these days.

c) the HAL singers and dancers performed the same shows on each of the back-to-back (B2B) segments. Other HAL sailings and cruise lines rarely repeat a show on B2B segments.

d) Guest performers and shows were mediocre and pale in comparison to options available on competitor lines, namely Celebrit, Princess y and Royal Cari

e) Since the acquisition by Carnival Corporation, we've noticed a steady trend in cutbacks, as evidenced by the elimination of: Black & White Officer Gala, Librarian and library with vast selection of books, Neptune Split Pea Soup event on bow on trans-Atlantic crossings, Explorer's lounge evening chocolate truffle treats, Filipino and Indonesian Crew Shows and cruise logs at end of each voyage, to name a few.
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Cabin 5175
Cabin was well-appointed with several USB ports and outlets in nightstands - great addition. The frameless shower doors are also a nice enhancement, and removing the tub allows better use of bathroom space. The walls between cabins must be thinner, as we could hear conversations, TV, toilet flushes, etc. in adjacent cabins,
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