Hello Valued Cruise Critic Friends,
My review of the Koningsdam was just published but I wanted to paste it here so dedicated CC users could review and ask questions. See full review below. Happy Sailing!
We are veteran cruisers, especially recently with this being my fifth cruise in the last year. This is our fourth(?) HAL cruise. For the first time in 25 years we cruised with old friends who were also veteran cruisers. There was so much to like about this ship and we had a great time, as did our friends. Wife and I are 52 and 49.
EMBARKATION was outstanding. We arrived around 10:50 and there were very few people there that early. It probably took us 10 minutes from walking in to getting our seats waiting for the ship to open. I expect the ship opened around 11:40 and we walked on with friends and headed to the deli for sandwiches and drinks.
FOOD - DELI The Reuben at the deli was good but ask for extra meat on the Reuben. We had one with extra and one without and the one without was skimpy. This was our only trip to the deli.
LIDO - Food here was a mixed bag. I thought breakfast here was very good with a lot of variety. I got the corned beef hash every morning and it was tasty. Lunch quality was lower than I remember on previous ships. Food in general was bland. The carved lamb I had one day was way overcooked and dry, the server even noted all they had was well done.
DINING ROOM - We had six meals in there and all were good or better. Most of mine were fantastic except the Yankee Pot Roast which was too lean. The blackened barramundi was excellent but one part of it had scales and was inedible. A recent trend we have noticed is putting all the great dishes on the menu on the Gala Night, leaving the other nights a little short on really great dishes. Yankee Pot Roast night was one of these.
SPECIALTY - We had two lunches in Pinnacle Grill. Both were outstanding and a great value at $15 pp, especially considering the lackluster lunch quality in the Lido. Dishes there included salmon, seafood soup, and tenderloin. Apps and desserts were also outstanding. I requested the key lime pie off the dinner menu and they obliged. It was big and great. We also had an outstanding meal in Tamarind. They went to another bar to get it when they did not have my liquor of choice. I thought there would be a discount for the first night, but it was full price. Keep this in mind if you are seeking a first-night discount. The Dutch Cafe is the best kept secret on the ship. Rarely a line, great food, drink and service. Don't skip this place.
SERVICE - I would love to give 5 stars here because it was generally outstanding, but there were a few notable exceptions. Interactions with the staff were always 5 star. They were kind, polite, and interested in you. They would do anything you asked even if it wasn't their job. However, there were a few issues. One night in the dining room we had particularly slow service from both the waiter and wine steward. It seemed as a table for six we were the lowest priority for this crew. I finally spoke to a supervisor when we were there for 70 minutes and still had appetizer dishes on the table. Service in the Crows Nest was also hit and miss. Too often you would try to get the waiter's attention and they seemed to be in their own world, not looking to see if anyone around them needed service. Other than these exceptions, service was outstanding.
BARS - Service and quality was generally very good, but again a few drinks came out not quite right. John in the Panorama and Rolling Stone Rock Room served some strong drinks, and we sought out "Double John" for service whenever we could.
ENTERTAINMENT - We really enjoy BB Kings and this cruise was no exception. The female lead had a slow start to the week but warmed up as the week went on and was right on by mid-week. Everyone else was top notch start to finish. We also enjoyed the Rolling Stone Rock Room. One of the two comedians was very good, the other good. We enjoyed the dance troupe who made good use of the video technology. We also enjoyed the Planet Earth show. Daytime activities was weak and there was very little live music during the day. We saw two string quintet shows and both were outstanding. Pop-up game show on the unexpected sea day was fun. Would appreciate more entertainment options day and night so the ones offered weren't so crowded all the time. There should be a non-comedian show in the main theater every night, with the comedians in a secondary location. In 2019 it's not too much to ask to have some sort of show in the main theater every evening PLUS live music in other parts of the ship.
SHIP - The ship had a good vibe with a mix of younger and older passengers, with most being between the two like us. Weather was windy all week but almost no rain. Our stop at Half Moon Cay was cancelled for high seas and as we sailed away we had the highest seas and ship rocking we have ever experienced on a ship. At one point outside decks were closed because of the high winds.
PUBLIC ROOMS - Very well kept up and all set the right mood. The quality and quantity of art throughout seemed a little lacking. As usual I enjoyed the fresh flowers.
CABIN - I liked everything about the cabin except the toilet. Our Oceanview had a great layout, space, storage, plugs, USB ports, lighting, bed,, sheets, bathroom, EXCEPT the toilet. While it wasn't terrible, because everything else was so well thought out, this issue with having to sit askew or a knee firmly against the shower window stood out like a sore thumb. I have to think this challenge could have been overcome with some extra thought and engineering in the design.
GUEST SERVICES - Prompt, quality service when needed.
VALUE - We are bargain hunters and got a great deal on this cruise. 5 star here.
EXCURSIONS - We did not take any ship excursions.
FITNESS and REC - We did not do the spa or fitness center.
DEBARKATION - We had a 1:50 flight so we stayed on the ship until last call and carried our luggage off. I love not packing the night before and having a full, enjoyable evening on the last night without worry of packing or bags. We met friends for dining room breakfast at 8:20, had an enjoyable last meal, then waited in the lounge until last call around 9:40. Fairly short line getting off, but long line at customs. We probably got through customs around 10:10.
OVERALL - We all had a very enjoyable week. Four of us had the drinks package and made good use of that with alcoholic, non-alcoholic, coffee, and bottle waters all free. That was a value-added freebie for us and we booked because of it. Highly recommended cruise, especially at less than $100 pp, per day.