Our 2019 Cruise, this will be our fifth cruise in our wish list of trying all the cruise lines with various star rating. Holland America Koningsdam was next on our list and our longest, 23 nights around the Mediterranean. Pure bliss. Best value....two cruised joined together for just a little more.
Many Pros about this stunning ship, but also a few extremely annoying unnecessary Cons.
Pros: This ship is immaculate, spotless and well maintained, even though it is only three years old, it still looks new and they never stop cleaning. HAL’s still is classical cruising, so If you prefer a party or ship for children, this is not for you. Very relaxing. The ship’s captain, Werner Timmers has a great sense of humour, especially during his addresses during the day.
The onboarding was fast, efficient and we even were allowed to board early and access our rooms, a first for us. The suites were spotless, excellent showers and shampoo, conditioner and body wash which were mounted on the shower wall, saving the waste of plastics bottles. Our balcony was huge and we just had a basic veranda suite. Bedding was also comfy with a large TV just in front of the bed on the wall, showing all the latest movies, for free! This was great when you just wanted to relax in bed at night.
The “fill your laundry bag” for $30 US was brilliant for cleaned and pressed laundry.
Another first for us, was the ability to chat with other cruisers via their cruise app. Brilliant, we were a group of eight and this made life so much easier.
Pool area is bright and colourful, but on sea days, staff must be more vigilant and remove towels placed on beds and lounges for hours, while passengers were off somewhere else. The movies at night on the big screen near the pool were lovely along with the movie’s snacks
The excursions were fairly priced and well organised and their daily talks with Andrea, one of their EXC were informative and more importantly, gave you many options to visit the ports on your own and how do via local transport, which was greatly appreciated, a true passionate travel gesture to the passengers.
The food was EXCELLENT and even though my husband wasn’t keen on the buffets, as there were many queues in the morning and not self-serve, especially on sea days, it kept the messy fingers of passengers out of the food keeping the health standards up. But they should increase their staff as the waiting time seemed long at times and some of the staff don’t seem to be in any rush.
******The CONS: the first main con for us was the relentless smoking odour outside our stateroom, it welcomed us and those in our group staterooms each and every morning, noon and night. Sometimes so bad, you had to cover your nose. We became passage envy at other corridors that smelt nice. I complained on average, twice a day, met with the management, but nothing could be done. WE later found out, that there was a staff smoking room at the end of our corridor behind a staff door. When staff used the door (which they were not supposed to) the smell followed them. Either stop smoking there, or put in extractor fans, it did ruin our experience and was such a shame.
The casino also allows smoking, which is ridiculous, as it is a contained area, we love the casino, but could only last 10mins, they do have non-smoking nights, but people still smoke, unless you report them.
To avoid this smell, don’t enter the casino and avoid staying on level 4, bow.
The second main con, is the constant over charging for drinks on your account. There were eight of us, all with different packages, four with only soft drink package as we don’t drink. At dinner, you would order all your drinks, all cards would be picked up and it was luck of the draw who got charged what. The quench packages ended up having wine or beer charges on their account as no care was given on who had what card. This happened daily. As soon as you checked your account on your app straight away to check, if you were over-charged, you would then show the waiter what had happened and they would ask you to see guest services, another battle at reception!! As they cannot reverse it. Reception would reply “but your card was swiped for that drink””, then the whole story has to be explained, right drink, wrong person, wrong card. This really needs to be addressed by the beverage team. Guest services were also unsure what drinks were included in each package, I had to actually correct then. We had over 18 charges that has to reversed on average.
Staff just seemed not to really care sometimes and some not as friendly as other cruise lines. The ones that were, were exceptional, best at sea, especially the barista on level 12, Paula, best at sea.
Dinner in the dining room was great, but disappointed that we could never get a window table, unless we booked dinner at 5.30pm which was too early or the same waiters. Tables were cramped in and it seemed there were a lot of new staff, as it was crazy on most nights.
The shows were ok, but repetitive and no real wow factor. We were looking forward to the much hyped 360 surround screens showing of blue planet 2, but only three screens were on. Which was a shame. Shopping was not really that exciting, which is good, as we spent less!
In all, a great relaxing cruise, we would go again, but re-think the drinks package and avoid level 4, or anywhere near smoking.
Excellent, clean, great shower, great attendants, laundry service and towel animals at night.