Just off Koningsdam 10 Day Southern Caribbean yesterday.
Having previously sailed this ship two years ago, the range of improvements since then are striking. First and foremost it is very apparent to someone such as myself working in the hotel F&B industry that there has been a huge customer focused service initiative and training. First night in traditional late seating the waiter says "please let me know if there is anything special or different you would like and I will try to get it for you", wine stewardess says "we are here to make your Holland America experience special", asst. maître d' stops by daily, WOW the service attitude has just gone to a new level.
A quick overview of my other experiences:
Embarkation - Despite being "suggested" to arrive mid-afternoon, we arrived at 11:15, whisked our way through and were enjoying lunch in the MDR at 12:10. Cabins were ready upon boarding.
Food - Noticeable improvement since our last HAL cruise. Interesting to see the generic MDR dinner menus are now heavily themed to Caribbean dishes, lighter foods. fish, etc. in keeping with the itinerary. Old favorites and Everyday selections offered as well.
Best Pinnacle experience we have had in a while and excellent dinner in Tamarind. Our food in Canaletto was fine but getting tired of the odd menu format and the buffet location of the venue so will give it a pass next cruise.
Outstanding variety and quality in the Lido for breakfast and lunch.
Dive In runs rings around the competition, NY Pizza was just ok.
Entertainment - Rolling Stone is a home run. I am 60 and the age range onboard is mostly 55-75, so no longer the kid onboard LOL. Great to see the sea of white heads in the Rolling Stone nightly singing, dancing, and having a fabulous time, SRO every show.
Billboard much better than two years ago, Lincoln Center unfortunately no where near as good, obviously depends on the skill and enthusiasm of the individual performers ship to ship, cruise to cruise.
Superb virtuoso pianist in the World Stage one night. And yes, I can confirm the singers and dancers are no more.
Ports - My favorite Caribbean itinerary, ABC's to me by far the nicest and cleanest islands, made better by great weather.
Ship - Immaculate from recent drydock.
Staff - Great service in cabin, dining, and bars. I'm sure that Capt. Darin Bowland is responsible for setting the tone onboard, great guy.
Other Notes - Received our 100 day bronze medallion this trip, very nice ceremony.
The new app works great and is very helpful looking up daily programs and menus and checking your account.
Only a few books left in the library, mostly focused on the Caribbean region.
10 PM happy hour still held in Crows Nest.
Casual nights very informal, Gala nights a few tuxes, maybe 20, in MDR at least most men wearing a suit or sport coat, many with ties.
You can no longer bring a portable fan , mine was confiscated upon boarding, picked it up on the way out.
Disembarkation very smooth, my group was 8:30-8:45, called at 8:32, in cab within 20 minutes to FLL thanks to electronic passport app.
Bought my FCC's - just hoping my next HAL cruise will measure up to this one. Any questions, please ask.