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Koningsdam Review

5.0 / 5.0
845 reviews

Not the cruise to Hawaii that I had hoped....

Review for Hawaii Cruise on Koningsdam
10+ Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Jan 2023
Cabin: Verandah Stateroom

We are frequent cruises (2-4 per year) AND long-time travelers to Hawaii, going every 3 - 4 years for the last 30 years. In a tourist-way, we feel we know the islands pretty well. We picked this trip to see if cruising might be a way to keep visiting them as we get older . The flight from the east coast is long and tiring, and I can see the time coming when we will be less comfortable driving on Hawaii's rural roads. The shorter flight to California, some pleasant days at sea to adjust to new time zones, then shore excursions to take us to our favorite places seemed like a solution that would let us travel well into our eighties. (Indeed there was no shortage of passengers on this voyage using canes, scooters, and walkers, and I say more power to them!)

So we BEGAN this cruise with a profound sense of disappointment when two of our four carefully selected shore excursions were canceled less than FIVE DAYS prior to our embarkation - too late to book non-HAL alternatives, and too late to research the possibility of renting a car in each island.

HAL's excuse was that their shore vendors were disrupted by the pandemic. Two staff members (one in HAL's central office and one on the ship) said that their suppliers were short personnel due to workers leaving the islands in 2020 and 2021 when tourism collapsed. I find this an unconvincing excuse for HAL's last minute failure to provide service in 2023. Are they seriously telling me that a problem supposedly created by conditions dating back to 2020 could not be foreseen until the week before we left for our cruise? I don't blame the staff on the ship, but someone in HAL management is either negligent in their responsibility to track local supply, or is cynically accepting reservations they know they won't be able to honor. Frankly we would have canceled the trip, if we knew far enough in advance that we wouldn't get to the sites we wanted to see.

Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom

Standard balcony cabin. Has extra storage (drawers under bed). Balcony is deeper than some other lines - One of the balcony chairs has an ottoman - you can stretch out your legs. Bathroom small but adequate - large shower with glass doors. Our stateroom attendants were wonderful, and attendants we passed in the hallway were consistently friendly and polite.

Port Reviews


We have been to Oahu several times, so didn't feel the need to repeat tours we've already taken (Pearl Harbor, circle-the-island-tour, Punch Bowl, Bishop Museum, Art Museum, etc.) We took an Uber (easy to arrange) to Waikiki and had a pricey but elegant "tea" on the verandah of the Moana Surfrider Hotel, a grand Victorian hotel of the same vintage as San Diego's Del Coronado. Then we walked along Waikiki Beach, ending up at the "Pink Palace" Royal Hawaiian Hotel's outdoor Mai Tai Bar, which serves arguably the world's best Mai Tai's at not too outrageous a price. (They seem to have more rum in them than they did when I was younger.)


We had reserved an all-day HAL tour of the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto, plus a bus trip along the Poipu Coast to Waimea Canyon (the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"). But our ship was two hours late docking due to winds, and HAL canceled the entire tour - I still don't understand why they didn't try to run part of it and prorate the cost.

Left to our own devices, we booked an Uber to take us to the Lihue Museum. The Uber came promptly, but we didn't know they aren't allowed into the port enclosure, so we needed to walk three blocks in the rain to a shopping center, which was the pickup point.

It was nice to see the museum again.

We asked the docent at the museum where we might walk to lunch and she suggested two places. They both looked nice, but both only opened for dinner. So that left "Rob's Good Times Grill", the patrons of which seemed to be already having too good a time. After 90 minutes on shore, we Uber'ed back to the ship.

And that was what we saw of Kauai on this cruise. Sad.


In this port, we had booked an excursion with HAL to go to the summit of Haleakala, a trip which is practically a pilgrimage for me. This is the tour HAL canceled less than five days before embarkation. We were just going to walk through Lahaina, a town we already know very well, but after our Kauai experience we thought we should try to do more.

We booked the only "bus to Hana" trip which was still available. It cost $150 more than other Hana tours which were already sold out, but it promised a "restaurant meal" so we thought it might be worth it.

Well the tour was ok and it was nice to REVISIT some of the spots we liked on the way to Hana. But we found out later that the less expensive tour ran the exact same itinerary. And our "restaurant meal" was not at, say, the Hotel Hana Maui, which might have justified the $150 surcharge, it was at "Tony's" roadside hamburger stand with picnic benches. Tony seemed like a very nice person and the grounds were pretty, but $150 more than the standard tour??? I had already complained so much to HAL's shore excursion department that I decided to write this one off.


We took the long day tour to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park plus Rainbow Falls. This was the one HAL tour we booked in advance which HAL did NOT cancel at the last minute. The guide brought us to an overlook at Crater Rim Drive to see the active lava fountain at Kilauea's summit, then we drove back to walk through the Thurston Lava Tube.

The tour also made two shopping stops on the road between Hilo and the park. I'm always resentful when tours use our limited time to take us to tourist trap shopping experiences, but this seems unavoidable now no matter the cruise-line, country, or port. Instead, it would have been preferable, just for example, to drive down "Chain of Craters Road" to view some of the earlier eruption sites, and the cliffs overlooking the sea. But that being said, seeing Kilauea while it was active is something I would not have wanted to miss.

Kona (Kailua Bay)

We had booked an excursion with HAL to tour Kohala, the northern part of the Big Island. We had driven this route ourselves in prior years and enjoyed the varied landscape of green ranch-lands reminiscent of California, desert-like lava fields, and small towns with stores selling arts and crafts. But HAL canceled this excursion the day we embarked. So we had to content ourselves with walking around Kona Town. Unfortunately, it's two main historical sites, the historic church and the palace, were both closed for renovation. So we went to a lunch place we remembered from prior years.


Our ship arrived in Ensenada as scheduled between 3p and 3:30p, in a driving, cold (50's F.) rain. We had read that shore excursions were offered to wineries up in the hills, and a surf-generated "blow-hole" an hour outside of town. But the temperature and late hour made neither seem appealing so we stayed on board.

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