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Picked this cruise for my husband and I to explore more of the west Mediterranean. It's the biggest ship we've been on so far, and had some reservations, as we preferred the smaller but more classic Rotterdam before. There was about 2900 passengers and it was most noticeable in the Main Dining Room during Anytime Dining as service was slow during peak hours. We even saw a family bring in cards to play while waiting for their food. After a few times, we opted to have dinner in the specialty restaurants or eat casually in the convenience of the Lido Buffet, which made for more pleasant experience in terms of ambience and getting to know the waiters. We had lunch at Pinnacle Grill, with tasty bread service, very attentive wait staff and deliciously moist Alaska Salmon and Cod sandwich - I'd go back given the choice. Dinner at Tamarind was pretty good: overlooks the adult swimming pool and has great sunset views, the wait staff was so congenial and attentive with tea and cloths. Appetizers were smaller than expected but very tasty. Mains veered on the larger side but were decent interpretations for asian cuisine. I'd give the fried crab rice a pass though (cold crab meat on top of regular soy fried rice) and do the regular steam rice with the curries. Rudy's Sel De Mer restaurant portions are significantly larger than either Pinnacle or Tamarind, so we definitely overate and over-ordered, as their complimentary surprise food items made it hard to finish the meal. The service was great though and I would definitely only order 1 of each course, since each portion was huge compared to other restaurants. Canaletto was alright, but a little exposed to the rest of the lido deck for my taste. Turns out they have custom order pasta at the Lido deck anyways so your pick in the end. Otherwise we thoroughly enjoyed the spa's water therapy pools everynight and enjoyed the dance shows on Centre Stage. Excursion talks seemed better than other lines - teaching you more about the cities, not just trying to sell you the excursion, sad I missed out on them till the end. Their in-room entertainment service is awesome, lots of new on-demand movies. The Kitchen Tour was neat but you could definitely find areas to lounge and relax in by the Explorer's Lounge, upstairs of Lido Deck and in the Dutch cafe. As for ports best ones were Cartagena (ambled around DT district), Malaga (did Mijas Village tour), Marseille (amble around DT - take cruise's bus to get direct into town, don't fart around with local transit, not worth the hassle), Livorno (tour to Florence), and Monte Carlo (took 40 min bus to Nice) and Civitavecchia. Worst ones were Gibraltar (duty free shops and overrun 1.5hr cable car ride), and Barcelona (too hot and constantly looking out for pickpockets).

Fantastic, big and noisy but you can find reprieve

Koningsdam Cruise Review by madsab

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
Picked this cruise for my husband and I to explore more of the west Mediterranean. It's the biggest ship we've been on so far, and had some reservations, as we preferred the smaller but more classic Rotterdam before. There was about 2900 passengers and it was most noticeable in the Main Dining Room during Anytime Dining as service was slow during peak hours. We even saw a family bring in cards to play while waiting for their food. After a few times, we opted to have dinner in the specialty restaurants or eat casually in the convenience of the Lido Buffet, which made for more pleasant experience in terms of ambience and getting to know the waiters.

We had lunch at Pinnacle Grill, with tasty bread service, very attentive wait staff and deliciously moist Alaska Salmon and Cod sandwich - I'd go back given the choice. Dinner at Tamarind was pretty good: overlooks the adult swimming pool and has great sunset views, the wait staff was so congenial and attentive with tea and cloths. Appetizers were smaller than expected but very tasty. Mains veered on the larger side but were decent interpretations for asian cuisine. I'd give the fried crab rice a pass though (cold crab meat on top of regular soy fried rice) and do the regular steam rice with the curries. Rudy's Sel De Mer restaurant portions are significantly larger than either Pinnacle or Tamarind, so we definitely overate and over-ordered, as their complimentary surprise food items made it hard to finish the meal. The service was great though and I would definitely only order 1 of each course, since each portion was huge compared to other restaurants. Canaletto was alright, but a little exposed to the rest of the lido deck for my taste. Turns out they have custom order pasta at the Lido deck anyways so your pick in the end.

Otherwise we thoroughly enjoyed the spa's water therapy pools everynight and enjoyed the dance shows on Centre Stage. Excursion talks seemed better than other lines - teaching you more about the cities, not just trying to sell you the excursion, sad I missed out on them till the end. Their in-room entertainment service is awesome, lots of new on-demand movies. The Kitchen Tour was neat but you could definitely find areas to lounge and relax in by the Explorer's Lounge, upstairs of Lido Deck and in the Dutch cafe.

As for ports best ones were Cartagena (ambled around DT district), Malaga (did Mijas Village tour), Marseille (amble around DT - take cruise's bus to get direct into town, don't fart around with local transit, not worth the hassle), Livorno (tour to Florence), and Monte Carlo (took 40 min bus to Nice) and Civitavecchia. Worst ones were Gibraltar (duty free shops and overrun 1.5hr cable car ride), and Barcelona (too hot and constantly looking out for pickpockets).
madsab’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VF 4178
Deck 4 (Beethoven) Verandah's are double the size as the above decks. However, were above the Dining Room and Service doors, so could hear banging when coming into port and when workers used those doors. However, the noise was acceptable, as I wear ear plugs normally anyways, and you could enjoy the Verandah with a great breeze and shade when travelling eastwards. I'd choose it again.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    We did a private 4hr bus tour (max 5 couples) with A/C for a very hot day in Barcelona, where it took us to the top of the Montjuic, block of Discord, Park Guell and Sagrada Familia. Those sites are far apart from each other and while Rick Steves says you can access it all with transit, it was honestly easier with a tour bus who also gives you information. Sites were nice but it was too hot to end the day in the middle of town, so we went back to the ship for lunch and relaxation. In late afternoon, we took the port shuttle back into town for 2 hours to wander the Ramblas and eat some churros and hot chocolate before returning to the A/C of the boat. Note that the taxi ship shuttle shuts down by 4pm, but the port shuttle "Cruise Bus" were continuous every 15-20 minutes (to world trade ctr) and only cost 3-5 euro round trip.
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  • Cartagena (Spain)
    Port is very short walk thru pedestrian friendly downtown. Research the sites and decide which sites you want to visit and save money with a combo pack. All the ruins and stadiums are walkable distance from each other. On port days, it appears they setup a farmers market for the tourists as well. We arrived on Sunday so many shops were closed but tourist sites stayed open and we ate at 100 Montecitos (where they had 1 euro sale on miniature tapa sandwiches - sundays and weds).
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  • Florence & Pisa Tour
    Full day tour of Florence and Pisa, did not see Livorno at all. Definitely get advance tickets to see Accademia for David, the walk-in lineups were very long. Our walking guide in Florence, Virginia from Italy Day Tours, was great and very informative. on our own time, we ate gelato (@ perche no), I Fratelli sandwich shops (3 euro sammies) and bought some leather souvenirs at the shop adjacent to it, all adjacent to Orsanemichelle Church. In time to meet our guides at La Rinescente in town. I would definitely come back to Florence on our own.
    View All 241 Florence & Pisa Tour Reviews
  • Gibraltar
    Walk into town is alright, but along narrow streets with busy traffic adjacent. Ship's shuttle ($) didn't appear efficient - long lineups and no buses. Check to see how many boats are in port when you arrive. We made the mistake of ordering online for the Cable Car ride to the top of the mountain, but due to the number of tourists in town (2 boats worth), it took 1.5 hours just to get up there (not the 6 minutes they advertise). Don't trust Google "how busy' is it, they can't track the anomalies. We had plenty of taxis offer to take us up for 30-40euros, but we were locked in since we pre-paid tickets. You can honestly pre-pay once you get there and see how the lineup is. Or go with boat's package - I think they had a side entrance specific for them. View from the top is alight, but you can't see Africa due to summer haze (mid-July), clear views in winter only apparently. In town, lots of duty free alcohol and cosmetics - best attraction based on the number of stores. They don't really accept UK pounds (we brought some, but they refused quite a few bills) as they have their own Gibraltar pounds, but Euro will have a 20% premium on it. If you want to avoid the hassle, just stay on the boat, which is what a few passengers I met afterwards say.
    View All 727 Gibraltar Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Village of Mijas
    Favorite excursion, very knowledgeable tour guide Maike from Viator, who gave an awesome informative tour about the history, sites and attractions of Malaga and Mijas. Prices in Mijas, while touristy, was still lowest compared to the other spanish ports of Barcelona or Malaga. (Those ceramic letters were only 1.5 euro each compared to 2-3 euro elsewhere.) Lunch at Meguinez at outdoor seats of tapas was wonderful and relaxing and affordable. Opposite it, Casa museo was a cute little museum with lots of artifacts. 2 euro candied almonds are a specialty there. We were dropped off in Malaga and went to the Picasso Museum and wandered the streets near the cathedral. Streets are clean and they are very welcoming to tourists. Walk back to port is doable and there are restaurants and shops by the beach, BUT it can be far. Taxi was only supposed to be 10 euro, which I would have done had I known.
    View All 14 Village of Mijas Reviews
  • Marseille
    Take the ship's bus into town for 16 bucks, not worth the hassle and wait of walking or taking public transit. The buses were continuous and took you straight into town. After you get off, we took stairs up to viewpoint by the Mucem and wandered to the Charity Museum which had really interesting artifacts. Ambled thru Old Town and enjoyed a long relaxing french meal on a patio at Table D'Augustine. We took la petit train to the Cathedral and was glad not to walk, but it was definitely more exhaust-filled with busy traffic. Bought soap in town but found the market at the Ship's port was comparable and had good deals too.
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  • Monaco (Monte Carlo)
    Tenders docked us in Fontvielle (because multiple ships in town), but that ended up closer to the Monaco Car Collection museum and bus stop for #100 Place d'Armes for the bus that took us to Nice (3 euros for 2 people). For bus ride don't bother with day passes or ticket packs, just have lots of change. Nice was wonderful and busy with Farmers Market (Sunday) and better prices on soap than Marseille. Walked the seaside, ate in Old Town, wandered the shops and headed back at least 3 hours before last call. Gave us plenty of time to catch a returning 100 bus at Le Port (note that dropoff and pickup locations are different) between Rue Rusca and Rue Arson. View on bus is nice and probably the same as a actual tour bus (same road) though you miss the commentary. Didn't get to visit Monte Carlo much - next visit instead!
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