We picked this cruise because 1. we are loyal HAL cruisers, 2. we liked the itinerary and 3. the dates worked for us. We sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale on Dec 10 and returned Dec 21. The ports we visited were St. Maarten, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, and Dominica. We were scheduled to stop at Half Moon Cay but didn't due to strong currents.
Embarkation & Disembarkation went smoothly enough. We were delayed about an hour for disembarkation but that was due to high winds moving the gangway.
We had late dining at 7:45 in MDR. Food was absolutely delish every night. The waitstaff were incredibly kind and helpful. First two courses always came out quickly, but the main course always took a while. In order to make it to the 9pm show we really had to rush it and most times we went past nine, so dinner really took about 90 minutes. We had breakfast at the Lido and it was never a disappointment.
I thought the entertainment on board was top notch. There were two great comedians (one of which my husband is still quoting) and a fantastic singer. I heard the others shows were great too. We did pay $400 for both of us to use the thermal suite (hydrotherapy pool, heated loungers, sauna, etc. I though it was a good price for 11 days for 2.
Overall, service on board was great. The staff is always so friendly and helpful--especially our cabin stewards. The only thing I found lacking was bar service. Getting a Coke at lunch took so long--it was much easier to get up and get your own.
Koningsdam is a beautiful ship but very different from the rest of HAL's fleet. We liked the ship but don't love it. There is just something about Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam that we like more. This ship had just come out of dry dock, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it did seem that the ship was 100% ready. Most of the shops were not open the first two days. The signature shops that I like had much of their inventory in boxes scattered about. In fact, most of the boxes weren't fully unpacked for the first week. As we disembarked we noticed that they had already rearranged the shops. So, hopefully moving forward the shops will have more inventory and a better variety.
We enjoyed all of the ports that we visited. My only complaints was that many of the ports we used were the "industrial" ports not the "cruise port". For that reason, there wasn't much to do around the port areas.
We would absolutely sail this itinerary again and with HAL. We would sail Koningsdam again but this ship would not be our first choice.
This was our second time on Koningsdam and we had a vista suite on Deck 4. Our cabin was spacious, light, and tastefully decorated. Included in the vista suite is the mini-bar area, refrigerator (contents of which are not free), binoculars, and umbrella. I love the bathroom in the Koningsdam--very modern but the toilet does sit at an awkward angle. The balcony is a good size and has small table, chair, and lounger. The cabin is midship.
Did an excursion that was "Northern Highlights" and beach escape. The "Northern Highlights" was just driving around for about an hour. We finally get to the beach and we have 1 hour and have to pay additional $$ for lounge chair and umbrella. I would have much rather taken a taxi straight to the beach. Would have been cheaper and we would have more time at beach.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Took shuttle ($5 per person one way) to nearby Carlisle Bay--about 10 minute drive. Had pre-booked and pre-paid for umbrella and chairs at Harbour Lights. Excellent venue for a nice, quiet beach escape. Rental for umbrella/chair was about $20 for as long as we wanted. Water is stunning and calm. Great time! Free wifi too!
Mini bus drive up into the mountains. About a 45 minute drive to Hibiscus Falls. Beautiful! You must go down several steps to reach the bottom of the falls. This is NOT an easily accessible excursion. Once at the bottom, you have a great, close up view of the falls and can swim too. But then you have to walk back up. After that, we went to a beach for 2 hours. Beach was nice but shade was very limited.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Traveled to Magen's beach. Drive to the beach was great. Our driver was funny and informative. He made 2 stops for us to take photos before we got there. Magen's beach is a public beach and nicely kept. It has bathroom facilities, a small cafe and you can rent chairs/umbrella. It is a beautiful beach but it is crowded. We were there and I could count 3 other cruise line (from the beach towels)--Holland America, Norwegian, Princess and Carnival. This made it super crowded but the water is lovely. Clear and not too deep. It is an ideal beach for families. Get there early to avoid the crowds.View All 269 Beach Reviews
Port was cancelled due to high winds.
We took the water taxi across to the center of town. Rented an umbrella and chairs for $25--that included six beers at Holland House and spend the day at the beach. Great time!
Two snorkeling sites--one at the bat cave, the other closer to the beach. Great time! Would book it again.