The itinerary included some Caribbean islands I had not previously visited. I have had good past experiences on HAL ships and wanted to try Koningsdam which is one of their newer and larger ships. At 2600 passengers it could not be considered a big ship compared with other companies' vessels that carry from 4,000-6,000+.
Embarkation was delayed due to a Coast Guard inspection but was efficient once boarding started. Expedited disembarkation was fast and easy.
Some passageways seem narrow and confined. This is especially true since Holland America caters to a more "mature" clientele, some of whom use walkers or power chairs which can slow down traffic. The Promenade Deck is also narrower than on other Holland America ships, because the lifeboats are hung along the outside of this deck, a practice on other companies' ships as well. This blocks the view of the passing sea and detracts from the enjoyment of a stroll on the deck. Sunlight does come from above.
The dining room experience was very good. There was a variety of entrees and we were able to enjoy different dishes every day of our 11 day cruise. The Lido Buffet served good and varied food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Service is attentive and beverages are brought to the table and refilled. The staff is good at clearing tables so it is not too difficult to find a seat. Dinner time was hectic and crowded but the food was very good.
Other options include Dive In for burgers, hot dogs and fries cooked to order, New York Deli and Pizza, and the Grand Dutch Cafe. The pizzas are made to order, there are bagels and breakfast sandwiches early in the day, sandwiches and salads until closing. Grand Dutch was delightful with Dutch snacks and sandwiches complimentary and drinks which cost extra. We had dinner at Tamarind which was a most enjoyable experience.
We had room service continental breakfast twice. Food was fresh and delivered promptly at the time we requested. Most items are complimentary.
My favorite entertainment venue was Lincoln Center Stage with its classical quintet that played concerts several times daily. They varied their programs from serious classical works to modern jazz and movie themes. Boardwalk and Billboard also provided lively music. BB King's Jazz club took over the Lincoln Center space at night. I did not care for the shows in the World Stage except for the BBC nature program with live musical accompaniment.
There were cooking demonstrations in World Stage early in the cruise, by America's Test Kitchens.
Our shore excursions at Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts were enjoyable and we got a taste for these islands and an incentive to return to explore further. The ship also stopped at St. Maarten, Martinique, St. Thomas, and the company beach island in the Bahamas.
Koningsdam does some rolling in rough seas, more noticeably than on other larger ships.
The crew were all polite, professional and gave a high level of service.
Deck 4 (Beethoven), third cabin from front end of hallway. A connecting door to 4003 which we did not use. Voices and some cabin noise audible through the door. Extra large balcony which extends across the width of Promenade deck below. People on decks above can look down onto the balconies of these Deck 4 cabins except for the area just outside the door. Noise and vibrations from bow thrusters, anchor being raised and lowered, and other loud sounds from working areas just below and ahead of these cabins. Although these cabins are directly above the front of the World Stage theatre there was no noise audible in the cabin. Adequate size for two, but would be crowded with a third person on the fold out couch bed. Position of toilet in the bathroom is awkward, causing one to sit a little sideways because of proximity to shower. There was a large walk in shower instead of a bathtub.
There is an automatic nightlight at floor level in the cabin, motion activated, to help find the bathroom at night. It goes off by itself after a couple minutes.
Storage was adequate but not generous, and there is space under the bed for suitcases.
There is ample nearby parking available. We find Park N Go gives most convenient location and fast shuttles. Holland America's terminal can become congested but they handle the crowds pretty well and move people onto the ship efficiently. Disembarkation is usually very fast.
A bus ride from the pier around the island up to the old sugar plantation, where we boarded open railroad carriages pulled by an old steam engine for a ride up the hill to a scenic overlook (and souvenir vendors). Passengers can help turn the locomotive around on a turntable for the ride back down to the plantation. St. Nicholas Abbey, the old plantation house, is beautifully furnished and the guides explain its history. We also walked down to the rum distillery and around the grounds, were shown a movie shot by a previous owner in the 1930s, and given a taste of their rum. There is also a gift shop. We then boarded the bus for the trip back to port.View All undefined undefined Reviews
A delightful train ride behind an antique steam locomotive, a tour of the elegant sugar plantation house and grounds, historic video, and sampling of rum.View All undefined undefined Reviews
A rocking ride through the scenic island countryside on an old sugar cane railroad. Complimentary drinks, narrative by the guide, and a local choir for entertainment. Great views of the mountains and the coast line.View All 303 Scenic Railway Reviews