1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Koningsdam
My husband and I are in our mid-30's/early 40's. During the holiday season, we always take a cruise. For the past four years, we've taken NCL cruises. This year, we decided to take a cruise on the Koningsdam. We already had 3 HAL cruises under our belts, but those were all out of the Pacific Northwest. We were unsure about a HAL cruise in the Caribbean because the ports are less of a feature than on an Alaskan itinerary. What did we think? We absolutely loved the Koningsdam!! I'm mystified why there are so many low reviews. So far, this is our favorite HAL experience. Cruise Info: 7 Day Eastern Caribbean - December 15-22, 2019 Embarkation: We spent 2 nights at an Airbnb in Fort Lauderdale. We took a Lyft to Port Everglades and arrived around 11am. Embarkation was smooth. Check-in went by quickly, and there was plenty of space to wait in the terminal. By noon, we were on the ship and enjoying lunch in the main dining room. Ship: This is a beautiful ship! The decor manages to be both classic and modern. HAL seems to be moving in a new direction with this ship, and I like it! The atrium spans three decks with the Ocean Bar and Grand Dutch Cafe on two of them. On previous HAL cruises, I thought the atrium was too small and too dull. This one was bigger and had more energy from all the nearby areas. The ship was always clean and tidy. The promenade on deck 3 was more narrow than on previous ships, but it was still a great place to walk around and enjoy the sea air. We avoided areas on the starboard side because the ventilation for cigarette smoke was there. The BB King Lounge is 2 decks high, so there was always lots of seating. We didn't spend much time by the lido pool, but it did feel stuffy here. The only opening for the 2 deck area was the retractable roof. Cabin: We had originally booked a guaranteed inside cabin. Less than a week before the cruise, we were offered an upgrade to a veranda for $79 per person! Needless to say, we quickly got on the phone and got our new cabin. Please see my cabin review below for more details. Main Dining Room: The dining rooms on older HAL ships are dark, but the Koningsdam's MDR is bright, modern, and welcoming. We ate all our dinners and some of our lunches here. I also enjoyed afternoon tea a couple times, which is a fun treat. We had open seating, and we usually arrived around 7pm. On both gala nights, we were given a pager and had to wait 20-25 minutes, but the time passed quickly. The food was very good and offered a nice variety. The MDR staff is friendly and willing to fill special requests (e.g. extra vegetables, no sauce). There was only one dish I did not enjoy, and I was able to receive a new entree quickly. Drink service was extremely fast! I hope HAL eventually ends set dining times. When I looked at the deck above, I saw many empty tables. This seems inefficient. Also, I wish there were bathrooms in the dining room because you have to go through the people waiting to enter in order to reach the toilets. Grand Dutch Cafe: What a great addition!! Every staff member is from the Netherlands, and the menu consists of Dutch foods. We ate many lunches here. We especially enjoyed the quiche and the pickled herring. The coffees were excellent. The highlight of this area was the extremely friendly staff. They always made us smile. Room Service: Each day, we ordered room service for breakfast. It always arrived on time or a little earlier. We requested items not listed on the menu (e.g. grapefruit, plain yogurt), and these items were always included. It's very relaxing to enjoy breakfast in the cabin before venturing out on the ship. Signature Beverage Package: When we booked our cruise, HAL was running a great deal on the SBP ($140 per person for the entire week). This is such a wonderful perk! It covers all drinks priced at $11 or less, and this includes bottled waters and specialty coffees. (I should note that you can only get bottled waters that are 500mL or less. This seems to be a recent change.) Each day, we enjoyed a couple coffees, many bottles of water, a few glasses of wine, and a digestif. We definitely got our money's worth! If you can get the SBP at a discounted rate, go for it! Entertainment: The Music Walk is a great concept! Lincoln Center Stage and BB King are both amazing!! They are filled with talented musicians. I loved relaxing to classical musical before dinner and then dancing the night away after our meal. The nighttime music is loud. My husband and I both wore earplugs when dancing at BB King. We were still able to enjoy their music without getting headaches. We were unable to listen to the rock band for long. Even with the earplugs, they were still way too loud. They need to either turn down the volume or move to a bigger venue. We went to the main stage shows twice. We saw the BBC Earth presentation and a comedian. Both were good. Daytime Activities: This is an area HAL still needs to work on. There is not a lot going on at this time, so we usually entertained ourselves by walking the promenade or playing cards. Computer classes and spa seminars are not for me. I wish there more active options (e.g. dance classes). We did attend the presentation about HAL's history. This was fantastic and very interesting! Service: As always, HAL's service was top-notch. Our room stewards were wonderful! They took care of everything, and our room was always clean and tidy. Every staff member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The cruise director (Karlijn) was a real standout! She puts her heart and soul into her job. Guest Services: On day 2, we noticed a billing error. We had been charged for a few items that should have been included with the SBP. We visited guest services, and the issue was quickly resolved. We had no more issues the rest of the cruise. Great job!! Ports: The only port that stood out was San Juan. There is so much to see in the Old Town! Due to rough seas, we were unable to visit Half Moon Cay. On the morning of arrival, the captain announced the change. By 10am, the cruise director had planned several new activities for the day and had a new schedule printed. I was very impressed! Please read my port reviews below for more information on each stop. Disembarkation: We were able to enjoy room service breakfast and then wait in our cabin until our luggage group was called. Getting off the ship was easy. We took a Lyft to Pompano Beach and spent the next few days relaxing by the sea. Overall: We loved the Koningsdam!! Yes, HAL is moving in a new direction with a larger ship, new concepts, and more modern decor. I think the low rating on CC has to do with these changes. In order for HAL to go forward and gain new cruisers, it needed to change. The Koningsdam shows the company is looking towards the future. I can't wait to cruise with them again!!

Fantastic Pre-Holiday Cruise

Koningsdam Cruise Review by WanderingTheWorld

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
My husband and I are in our mid-30's/early 40's. During the holiday season, we always take a cruise. For the past four years, we've taken NCL cruises. This year, we decided to take a cruise on the Koningsdam. We already had 3 HAL cruises under our belts, but those were all out of the Pacific Northwest. We were unsure about a HAL cruise in the Caribbean because the ports are less of a feature than on an Alaskan itinerary. What did we think? We absolutely loved the Koningsdam!! I'm mystified why there are so many low reviews. So far, this is our favorite HAL experience.

Cruise Info: 7 Day Eastern Caribbean - December 15-22, 2019

Embarkation: We spent 2 nights at an Airbnb in Fort Lauderdale. We took a Lyft to Port Everglades and arrived around 11am. Embarkation was smooth. Check-in went by quickly, and there was plenty of space to wait in the terminal. By noon, we were on the ship and enjoying lunch in the main dining room.

Ship: This is a beautiful ship! The decor manages to be both classic and modern. HAL seems to be moving in a new direction with this ship, and I like it! The atrium spans three decks with the Ocean Bar and Grand Dutch Cafe on two of them. On previous HAL cruises, I thought the atrium was too small and too dull. This one was bigger and had more energy from all the nearby areas. The ship was always clean and tidy. The promenade on deck 3 was more narrow than on previous ships, but it was still a great place to walk around and enjoy the sea air. We avoided areas on the starboard side because the ventilation for cigarette smoke was there. The BB King Lounge is 2 decks high, so there was always lots of seating. We didn't spend much time by the lido pool, but it did feel stuffy here. The only opening for the 2 deck area was the retractable roof.

Cabin: We had originally booked a guaranteed inside cabin. Less than a week before the cruise, we were offered an upgrade to a veranda for $79 per person! Needless to say, we quickly got on the phone and got our new cabin. Please see my cabin review below for more details.

Main Dining Room: The dining rooms on older HAL ships are dark, but the Koningsdam's MDR is bright, modern, and welcoming. We ate all our dinners and some of our lunches here. I also enjoyed afternoon tea a couple times, which is a fun treat. We had open seating, and we usually arrived around 7pm. On both gala nights, we were given a pager and had to wait 20-25 minutes, but the time passed quickly. The food was very good and offered a nice variety. The MDR staff is friendly and willing to fill special requests (e.g. extra vegetables, no sauce). There was only one dish I did not enjoy, and I was able to receive a new entree quickly. Drink service was extremely fast! I hope HAL eventually ends set dining times. When I looked at the deck above, I saw many empty tables. This seems inefficient. Also, I wish there were bathrooms in the dining room because you have to go through the people waiting to enter in order to reach the toilets.

Grand Dutch Cafe: What a great addition!! Every staff member is from the Netherlands, and the menu consists of Dutch foods. We ate many lunches here. We especially enjoyed the quiche and the pickled herring. The coffees were excellent. The highlight of this area was the extremely friendly staff. They always made us smile.

Room Service: Each day, we ordered room service for breakfast. It always arrived on time or a little earlier. We requested items not listed on the menu (e.g. grapefruit, plain yogurt), and these items were always included. It's very relaxing to enjoy breakfast in the cabin before venturing out on the ship.

Signature Beverage Package: When we booked our cruise, HAL was running a great deal on the SBP ($140 per person for the entire week). This is such a wonderful perk! It covers all drinks priced at $11 or less, and this includes bottled waters and specialty coffees. (I should note that you can only get bottled waters that are 500mL or less. This seems to be a recent change.) Each day, we enjoyed a couple coffees, many bottles of water, a few glasses of wine, and a digestif. We definitely got our money's worth! If you can get the SBP at a discounted rate, go for it!

Entertainment: The Music Walk is a great concept! Lincoln Center Stage and BB King are both amazing!! They are filled with talented musicians. I loved relaxing to classical musical before dinner and then dancing the night away after our meal. The nighttime music is loud. My husband and I both wore earplugs when dancing at BB King. We were still able to enjoy their music without getting headaches. We were unable to listen to the rock band for long. Even with the earplugs, they were still way too loud. They need to either turn down the volume or move to a bigger venue. We went to the main stage shows twice. We saw the BBC Earth presentation and a comedian. Both were good.

Daytime Activities: This is an area HAL still needs to work on. There is not a lot going on at this time, so we usually entertained ourselves by walking the promenade or playing cards. Computer classes and spa seminars are not for me. I wish there more active options (e.g. dance classes). We did attend the presentation about HAL's history. This was fantastic and very interesting!

Service: As always, HAL's service was top-notch. Our room stewards were wonderful! They took care of everything, and our room was always clean and tidy. Every staff member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The cruise director (Karlijn) was a real standout! She puts her heart and soul into her job.

Guest Services: On day 2, we noticed a billing error. We had been charged for a few items that should have been included with the SBP. We visited guest services, and the issue was quickly resolved. We had no more issues the rest of the cruise. Great job!!

Ports: The only port that stood out was San Juan. There is so much to see in the Old Town! Due to rough seas, we were unable to visit Half Moon Cay. On the morning of arrival, the captain announced the change. By 10am, the cruise director had planned several new activities for the day and had a new schedule printed. I was very impressed! Please read my port reviews below for more information on each stop.

Disembarkation: We were able to enjoy room service breakfast and then wait in our cabin until our luggage group was called. Getting off the ship was easy. We took a Lyft to Pompano Beach and spent the next few days relaxing by the sea.

Overall: We loved the Koningsdam!! Yes, HAL is moving in a new direction with a larger ship, new concepts, and more modern decor. I think the low rating on CC has to do with these changes. In order for HAL to go forward and gain new cruisers, it needed to change. The Koningsdam shows the company is looking towards the future. I can't wait to cruise with them again!!
WanderingTheWorld’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Holland America Koningsdam price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VA
This is a great cabin! It was quiet and had beautiful views on the balcony. The bed is very large, and we could both comfortably sit on the couch. We had more than enough storage space. (There are even drawers at the foot of the bed.) The TV allows you to check your onboard account. HAL has thankfully done away with the bathtubs. Instead, we had a large shower. The shower head is detachable and offers great water pressure. I had read complaints about the angle of the toilet, but we did not have any issues.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews