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Boarding: Not an ideal situation. The evening before our departure we received notice that due to norovirus our boarding would be delayed. Good news is we were getting a nice clean ship! They did NOT, however, delay departure. So when we arrived, hours later than scheduled, we had a LONG, LONG, LONG, and hot line. At least our room was ready when we got to the end of the line. Short and simple time at the counter. If ONLY they had delayed departure and staggered the arrival times instead of compressing all 3000 passengers into 2 hours. Room: Upon arrival the room as ready, clean, and as expected. We booked an obstructed veranda, to save a buck. DO NOT pick a spot between life boats, as the obstruction is LARGER on this ship. Looking over the lifeboats is barely obstructed in my opinion, and well worth the savings. Room was roomy with plenty of storage. Even drawers under the bed. Four pieces of luggage fit nicely under our bed too. The hall closet doors are an area of conflict. They do not fully open, and you can’t pass by them. Using the closet is a one-person proposition. Our friends oceanview was wider (and less money) - annoying. We had already heard complaints about the angled toilet. What we did not understand is you can’t sit on it at an angle. Your knee hits the shower wall. #stupid. But that shower was WONDERFUL - the largest of any we have had in almost 30 cruises. Our room stewards were FANTASTIC. Some of the best. THE AWFUL!!! Room was great UNTIL - we wanted, no NEEDED to go to bed at 10/10:30. This room is NOISY. And not just a little. I believe the ship has a defect. It is louder IN the room, than in the hall or the balcony. THUMP THUMP, BANG. Lasts until midnight or later. They must KNOW they have a problem. This room should NOT be sold - but be used by staff, or those sailing free. Perhaps a deaf person could be accommodated. IF HAL insists on selling the room it MUST come with a significantly reduced price - AND - a fair warning. Yes, we complained LOUDLY. They were NOT sympathetic, but The next to the last night we did receive $300obc. But since it was so late in the cruise all we could do is book one specialty dining the next night. IMO - this noise should have resulted in a 50% future cruise credit, as 50% of our vacation./sleep was ruined by the noise. But more importantly the situation needs to be addressed, and corrected. People don’t vacation to be bribed into happiness - they ask, expect, and demand a satisfying and relaxing time. fyi: there are COUNTLESS complaints about the noise on Cruise Critic and the Web. Buffet: GROSS. Too many people. This ship has hand washing machines, instead of sinks. That’s great but you get water sprayed all over you. At the start of the cruise you had no choice but to wash, because the norovirus police were standing by the machines. The last two days, they simply did not care, and the soap had run out (light indicator). Meaning HAL is only worried about the press from norovirus, NOT the health of their passengers. Hours were not great. It was VERY difficult to find a cheese snack or get an ice cream. They had a nice gluten free section, but it was NEVER open. AND, no other facilities had the gluten free products. Yea - you can get a snack at the pizza place till midnight, but NOT a GF cracker. Yea - you can get a morning bagel at the Dutch Coffee shop, but not on a GF bagel. Main Dining: Food was 4*, and typical of HAL. Basic dishes, well prepared, and well plated. Rather bland, and nothing unusual - which is expected on this line. We initially had late, fixed, seating. We asked for a large 8-10 person table. We received a 5 person table. Our service was TERRIBLE. Some of the worst we have ever received. Took 2 hours, and we missed the show the first two nights. Our table location was the WORST - just outside the queuing area. NOISY. Entire dining room was too noisy. We changed to anytime seating, which was easy. Our service improved. ONE night we had that 5* HAL service we expected. Only ONE of 10. While better, we never had exemplary Main Dining Room service. Guess you now have to PAY for this quality. Tamarind: We had a little OBC, so we splurged and visited the Tamarind our last night. As expected service was top-notch! We enjoyed two wonderful curry dishes. I had the red curry panang. My wife the fish curry. One disappointment was there were NO Asian Fusion drinks, or wine. Just the same-old, same-old. Grand Dutch Café: One of our favorite places..... Much due to the two young Dutch Gentlemen, and one gal that worked there. They “made” the experience. We visited here for an early morning espresso, and yogurt. My wife enjoyed the lox, but was bothered she could not get it on a gluten free bagel at this location. Dive In: A very RELIABLE HAL burger. Still one of the best burgers and fries on ANY cruise ship. Unfortunately NO gluten free bun (or lettuce bun) available. We ate bare burgers. Dive-In Sauce is great, but make sure to get 3-4 containers. New York Deli and Pizza: TOTALLY the worst gluten free crust EVER. Great pizza ingredients, but just scrape it off. This is the late night snack place, but they are NOT open late. You can barely make it here after the last band quits. Wings were tasty. They had a fantastic, ready to go salad. Bars and Drink Card: Our Travel Agent got us drink packages. Something we are not used to having. We throughly enjoyed the ability to get specialty coffee in the AM, and a bottle of water prior to bed. Bar service was all or nothing. The service at the Panaroma Bar was the best. The Sea View Bar was acceptable. One bar tender at the Ocean Bar provided great service. Service at the Music Walk was TERRIBLE. Especially when there was entertainment. Each night I would get my own drinks at least once. Drinks, and selection were VERY good. Although the ran out of the Pear Cider and Amaretto two nights before the cruise was over. Entertainment: STRANGE mix, and even stranger schedule. The main stage had only 3 dance shows in 10 days. NO big shows. NO live music. NO Broadway productions. Shows were difficult to get to if you have fixed dining. There were NO bands at sail-away, in the pool area, or any time other than at night. The quality, and volume was AWFUL!!!! The music walk is, in my opinion a STUPID idea. Only one band can play at a time. And they do. Each venue had (3) 45 min sets a night. No venue was large enough for the crowds, so you spent your time rotating from venue to venue. This simply does not work. On our cruise the rock band was the best attended, yet had the least space. Main stage had 3 dance numbers. They had an “OK” comedian. No jugglers, acrobats. There was a movie, with live music, of BBC’s Planet Earth. It was interesting, but seeing animals kill each other was not our idea of a relaxing or entertaining vacation. Guessing this appeals to the conservative crowd on this line that thinks they deserve their vacation, while children starve. In all the main stage was beyond disappointing. Lincoln Center Stage has classical music. Typically later afternoon to early evening. This is the largest venue, but poorest attended (other than main stage). It also doubles as BB King, hence why it is an afternoon venue. The classical is a VERY strange mix with the other genres. Disco. What disco. It is programed, but not used by this nursing home cruise we were one. Good thing, as per above, the rooms directly above receive noise from this venue. They should just abandon using this as a disco because of the noise generated. Piano Bar. We were graced by Gavin Rohrer and Sarah Angle. Sarah was a short term infill. Gavin had been on board almost half-a-year. Sarah was beyond talented. Gavin was 110% entertainer. Together they made for a fun and exciting evening - EVERY night. Much to my surprise Gavin CRANKED out Elton John’s Burn Down the Mission on night 1. Claiming only ONE person would know the song. Much to his surprise, there were 5 of us. Unfortunately HAL has yet to provide a quality sound system OR real pianos in the in the Piano Bar. Shame these musicians have to put up with this. OVERALL Entertainment: ALL the venues had excessively loud, and heavily distorted sound systems. There is NO excuse for this - NONE. The millions spent they need quality sound systems, AND skilled people to operate the system. Shore Excursions: We took only ONE HAL excursion. It was acceptably over-priced. A crowded catamaran. Fun time. GOOD drinks. “OK” snorkeling. First stop was cloudy, not their fault. But no much to see, as they kept us well away from the pretty corals and fish. Guess with this many novices you have to do this. Second stop, a ship wreck. Also cloudy - BUT, water was FULL FULL FULL of small jellyfish. They should never have allowed us to swim. My wife got out immediately. Others back on board stung. I was OK, with my long sleeve shirt, but not a fun experience. Reminds me of why we skip the Cruise Line Excursions. Ports of Call: WHY we booked this. Half Moon Cay = STUPID. Can’t even use your drink card here. Food is barely edible. We walked the remote path, as we had been here on prior cruises. Got started late, quit early, and did not eat here. Grand Turk. Love this stop. Our third time here. This time we caught a cab into town. Wandered about. Had a beer on the beach. Purchased some local art. Amber Cove. We used this stop to visit a friend living here. Used our connection to get Alfred for a cab. Enjoyed local food, and friendship. We went diving on Bonaire with the small private company VIP Diving. Our Dive Master Bart was FANTASTIC. We had a great time, and SMALL, 3-person dive group. And for LESS money than the HAL tour. ALL 3 of us came back un-harmed. Can not say the same of the LARGE group from the HAL Excursions. This is ROUGH, coral filled water. Glad we did our own thing here. Curacao. Self-guided wandering of the beautiful and quaint Dutch Port. The ONLY “Travel Like an Architect” stop. Don’t miss the rotating bridge. This was the surprise shopping stop. We got unusual, and cute clothing for ourselves, and our grandchildren. Aruba: Or snorkel stop with the HAL excursion, see above. NEXT time, something different. Overall: Ship is nice. A bit larger than we like. We were tired from all the stairs, and walking end to end to end each day. Nicely appointed. Basically clean and in good condition. Although at the start, when the noro-virus scare was in place cleaning was excellent. By the end of the trip it was poor. IF poor is typical, I am glad they took 2 extra hours to clean before we arrived. Single biggest complaint (after our NOISY NOISY room) was the AGE demographic. It was God’s Waiting Room on Steroids. My wife did comment “would you rather be dodging children or walkers”. I guess walkers and scooters is a bit easer to deal with, but the Grumpy Entitled attitude of many is simply a vacation downer. Next Cruise we are back on Celebrity.

NOTHING can compensate a Guest for an Excessively Noisy Room

Koningsdam Cruise Review by Traveling Architect

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Boarding:

Not an ideal situation. The evening before our departure we received notice that due to norovirus our boarding would be delayed. Good news is we were getting a nice clean ship!

They did NOT, however, delay departure. So when we arrived, hours later than scheduled, we had a LONG, LONG, LONG, and hot line.

At least our room was ready when we got to the end of the line.

Short and simple time at the counter. If ONLY they had delayed departure and staggered the arrival times instead of compressing all 3000 passengers into 2 hours.

Room:

Upon arrival the room as ready, clean, and as expected. We booked an obstructed veranda, to save a buck. DO NOT pick a spot between life boats, as the obstruction is LARGER on this ship. Looking over the lifeboats is barely obstructed in my opinion, and well worth the savings.

Room was roomy with plenty of storage. Even drawers under the bed. Four pieces of luggage fit nicely under our bed too. The hall closet doors are an area of conflict. They do not fully open, and you can’t pass by them. Using the closet is a one-person proposition. Our friends oceanview was wider (and less money) - annoying. We had already heard complaints about the angled toilet. What we did not understand is you can’t sit on it at an angle. Your knee hits the shower wall. #stupid. But that shower was WONDERFUL - the largest of any we have had in almost 30 cruises. Our room stewards were FANTASTIC. Some of the best.

THE AWFUL!!! Room was great UNTIL - we wanted, no NEEDED to go to bed at 10/10:30. This room is NOISY. And not just a little. I believe the ship has a defect. It is louder IN the room, than in the hall or the balcony. THUMP THUMP, BANG. Lasts until midnight or later. They must KNOW they have a problem. This room should NOT be sold - but be used by staff, or those sailing free. Perhaps a deaf person could be accommodated. IF HAL insists on selling the room it MUST come with a significantly reduced price - AND - a fair warning. Yes, we complained LOUDLY. They were NOT sympathetic, but The next to the last night we did receive $300obc. But since it was so late in the cruise all we could do is book one specialty dining the next night. IMO - this noise should have resulted in a 50% future cruise credit, as 50% of our vacation./sleep was ruined by the noise. But more importantly the situation needs to be addressed, and corrected. People don’t vacation to be bribed into happiness - they ask, expect, and demand a satisfying and relaxing time. fyi: there are COUNTLESS complaints about the noise on Cruise Critic and the Web.

Buffet:

GROSS. Too many people. This ship has hand washing machines, instead of sinks. That’s great but you get water sprayed all over you. At the start of the cruise you had no choice but to wash, because the norovirus police were standing by the machines. The last two days, they simply did not care, and the soap had run out (light indicator). Meaning HAL is only worried about the press from norovirus, NOT the health of their passengers.

Hours were not great. It was VERY difficult to find a cheese snack or get an ice cream.

They had a nice gluten free section, but it was NEVER open. AND, no other facilities had the gluten free products. Yea - you can get a snack at the pizza place till midnight, but NOT a GF cracker. Yea - you can get a morning bagel at the Dutch Coffee shop, but not on a GF bagel.

Main Dining:

Food was 4*, and typical of HAL. Basic dishes, well prepared, and well plated. Rather bland, and nothing unusual - which is expected on this line. We initially had late, fixed, seating. We asked for a large 8-10 person table. We received a 5 person table. Our service was TERRIBLE. Some of the worst we have ever received. Took 2 hours, and we missed the show the first two nights. Our table location was the WORST - just outside the queuing area. NOISY. Entire dining room was too noisy.

We changed to anytime seating, which was easy. Our service improved. ONE night we had that 5* HAL service we expected. Only ONE of 10. While better, we never had exemplary Main Dining Room service. Guess you now have to PAY for this quality.

Tamarind:

We had a little OBC, so we splurged and visited the Tamarind our last night. As expected service was top-notch! We enjoyed two wonderful curry dishes. I had the red curry panang. My wife the fish curry. One disappointment was there were NO Asian Fusion drinks, or wine. Just the same-old, same-old.

Grand Dutch Café:

One of our favorite places..... Much due to the two young Dutch Gentlemen, and one gal that worked there. They “made” the experience. We visited here for an early morning espresso, and yogurt. My wife enjoyed the lox, but was bothered she could not get it on a gluten free bagel at this location.

Dive In:

A very RELIABLE HAL burger. Still one of the best burgers and fries on ANY cruise ship. Unfortunately NO gluten free bun (or lettuce bun) available. We ate bare burgers. Dive-In Sauce is great, but make sure to get 3-4 containers.

New York Deli and Pizza:

TOTALLY the worst gluten free crust EVER. Great pizza ingredients, but just scrape it off.

This is the late night snack place, but they are NOT open late. You can barely make it here after the last band quits. Wings were tasty. They had a fantastic, ready to go salad.

Bars and Drink Card:

Our Travel Agent got us drink packages. Something we are not used to having. We throughly enjoyed the ability to get specialty coffee in the AM, and a bottle of water prior to bed. Bar service was all or nothing. The service at the Panaroma Bar was the best. The Sea View Bar was acceptable. One bar tender at the Ocean Bar provided great service. Service at the Music Walk was TERRIBLE. Especially when there was entertainment. Each night I would get my own drinks at least once.

Drinks, and selection were VERY good. Although the ran out of the Pear Cider and Amaretto two nights before the cruise was over.

Entertainment:

STRANGE mix, and even stranger schedule. The main stage had only 3 dance shows in 10 days. NO big shows. NO live music. NO Broadway productions. Shows were difficult to get to if you have fixed dining. There were NO bands at sail-away, in the pool area, or any time other than at night. The quality, and volume was AWFUL!!!!

The music walk is, in my opinion a STUPID idea. Only one band can play at a time. And they do. Each venue had (3) 45 min sets a night. No venue was large enough for the crowds, so you spent your time rotating from venue to venue. This simply does not work. On our cruise the rock band was the best attended, yet had the least space.

Main stage had 3 dance numbers. They had an “OK” comedian. No jugglers, acrobats. There was a movie, with live music, of BBC’s Planet Earth. It was interesting, but seeing animals kill each other was not our idea of a relaxing or entertaining vacation. Guessing this appeals to the conservative crowd on this line that thinks they deserve their vacation, while children starve. In all the main stage was beyond disappointing.

Lincoln Center Stage has classical music. Typically later afternoon to early evening. This is the largest venue, but poorest attended (other than main stage). It also doubles as BB King, hence why it is an afternoon venue. The classical is a VERY strange mix with the other genres.

Disco. What disco. It is programed, but not used by this nursing home cruise we were one. Good thing, as per above, the rooms directly above receive noise from this venue. They should just abandon using this as a disco because of the noise generated.

Piano Bar. We were graced by Gavin Rohrer and Sarah Angle. Sarah was a short term infill. Gavin had been on board almost half-a-year. Sarah was beyond talented. Gavin was 110% entertainer. Together they made for a fun and exciting evening - EVERY night. Much to my surprise Gavin CRANKED out Elton John’s Burn Down the Mission on night 1. Claiming only ONE person would know the song. Much to his surprise, there were 5 of us. Unfortunately HAL has yet to provide a quality sound system OR real pianos in the in the Piano Bar. Shame these musicians have to put up with this.

OVERALL Entertainment: ALL the venues had excessively loud, and heavily distorted sound systems. There is NO excuse for this - NONE. The millions spent they need quality sound systems, AND skilled people to operate the system.

Shore Excursions:

We took only ONE HAL excursion. It was acceptably over-priced. A crowded catamaran. Fun time. GOOD drinks. “OK” snorkeling. First stop was cloudy, not their fault. But no much to see, as they kept us well away from the pretty corals and fish. Guess with this many novices you have to do this. Second stop, a ship wreck. Also cloudy - BUT, water was FULL FULL FULL of small jellyfish. They should never have allowed us to swim. My wife got out immediately. Others back on board stung. I was OK, with my long sleeve shirt, but not a fun experience. Reminds me of why we skip the Cruise Line Excursions.


Ports of Call: WHY we booked this.

Half Moon Cay = STUPID. Can’t even use your drink card here. Food is barely edible. We walked the remote path, as we had been here on prior cruises. Got started late, quit early, and did not eat here.

Grand Turk. Love this stop. Our third time here. This time we caught a cab into town. Wandered about. Had a beer on the beach. Purchased some local art.

Amber Cove. We used this stop to visit a friend living here. Used our connection to get Alfred for a cab. Enjoyed local food, and friendship.

We went diving on Bonaire with the small private company VIP Diving. Our Dive Master Bart was FANTASTIC. We had a great time, and SMALL, 3-person dive group. And for LESS money than the HAL tour. ALL 3 of us came back un-harmed. Can not say the same of the LARGE group from the HAL Excursions. This is ROUGH, coral filled water. Glad we did our own thing here.

Curacao. Self-guided wandering of the beautiful and quaint Dutch Port. The ONLY “Travel Like an Architect” stop. Don’t miss the rotating bridge. This was the surprise shopping stop. We got unusual, and cute clothing for ourselves, and our grandchildren.

Aruba: Or snorkel stop with the HAL excursion, see above. NEXT time, something different.

Overall:

Ship is nice. A bit larger than we like. We were tired from all the stairs, and walking end to end to end each day.

Nicely appointed. Basically clean and in good condition. Although at the start, when the noro-virus scare was in place cleaning was excellent. By the end of the trip it was poor. IF poor is typical, I am glad they took 2 extra hours to clean before we arrived.

Single biggest complaint (after our NOISY NOISY room) was the AGE demographic. It was God’s Waiting Room on Steroids. My wife did comment “would you rather be dodging children or walkers”. I guess walkers and scooters is a bit easer to deal with, but the Grumpy Entitled attitude of many is simply a vacation downer. Next Cruise we are back on Celebrity.
Traveling Architect’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VH
Upon arrival the room as ready, clean, and as expected. We booked an obstructed veranda, to save a buck. DO NOT pick a spot between life boats, as the obstruction is LARGER on this ship. Looking over the lifeboats is barely obstructed in my opinion, and well worth the savings.
Room was roomy with plenty of storage. Even drawers under the bed. Four pieces of luggage fit nicely under our bed too. The hall closet doors are an area of conflict. They do not fully open, and you can’t pass by them. Using the closet is a one-person proposition. Our friends oceanview was wider (and less money) - annoying. We had already heard complaints about the angled toilet. What we did not understand is you can’t sit on it at an angle. Your knee hits the shower wall. #stupid. But that shower was WONDERFUL - the largest of any we have had in almost 30 cruises. Our room stewards were FANTASTIC. Some of the best.
THE AWFUL!!! Room was great UNTIL - we wanted, no NEEDED to go to bed at 10/10:30. This room is NOISY. And not just a little. I believe the ship has a defect. It is louder IN the room, than in the hall or the balcony. THUMP THUMP, BANG. Lasts until midnight or later. They must KNOW they have a problem. This room should NOT be sold - but be used by staff, or those sailing free. Perhaps a deaf person could be accommodated. IF HAL insists on selling the room it MUST come with a significantly reduced price - AND - a fair warning. Yes, we complained LOUDLY. They were NOT sympathetic, but The next to the last night we did receive $300obc. But since it was so late in the cruise all we could do is book one specialty dining the next night. IMO - this noise should have resulted in a 50% future cruise credit, as 50% of our vacation./sleep was ruined by the noise. But more importantly the situation needs to be addressed, and corrected. People don’t vacation to be bribed into happiness - they ask, expect, and demand a satisfying and relaxing time. fyi: there are COUNTLESS complaints about the noise on Cruise Critic and the Web.
Beethoven Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews