Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
frbob

Koningsdam - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Recommended Posts

I cruised Koningsdam for 24 days from 10/18/2018 to 11/11/2018. She is about 2 years old and appears to be in very good physical condition and is well maintained. That said, Koningsdam is a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly...in this writer's experienced opinion.

 

THE GOOD

 

By all appearances, the ship is being kept very clean. Wear and tear has not yet begun to show too much. Not much rust in sight.

The theater (World Stage) is the best in the HAL fleet, and maybe in most fleets. Sight lines are excellent and there is hardly a bad seat in the house. Seating capacity is relatively generous and can fit about a third of the passengers at any one time (close to 800). That said, there were many occasions when the theater was totally filled and people were standing and/or sitting in the aisles (safety hazard?). The hi-tech stage uses a 270 degree computer controlled LCD screen as the backdrop and is the main apparatus of the otherwise sparse set decoration.

Lincoln Center Stage is an outstanding plus for HAL. Koningsdam's venue for the very talented quintet is larger than other ships in the fleet and offers comfortable seating.

Public seating is excellent and comfortable throughout the ship.

The staterooms are a bit smaller on than most of HALs ships, but they are reasonable equipped. Electric and USB plugs are abundant and storage/closet space is good.

 

 

 

 

THE BAD

 

While Koningsdam is new and bright, HAL has done nothing to change the nickel-and-dime operation and product they offer. EVERYTHING they do is designed to get passengers to spend more money. Most of the daily on-board programs offered are for revenue and income production.

Venues throughout the ship are too small for the large number of passengers, often filling an hour or more prior to a presentation.

The Culinary Arts Center is the showcase venue for America's Test Kitchen, and it is very ill-suited for the purpose...very poor seating and sight angles. They also utilize this room for extra-cost dinning in the evening (much more suitable).

The Mariners Program on Koningsdam appears to be treated more as necessary nuisance than as the customer building program it was originally designed to be. There does not appear to be a suitable venue on Koningsdam for a Mariners Reception, so only medallion recipients are invited, no matter how many medallions one has or how many cruise days you've logged. The multi-Star Mariners cocktail party is held in part of the Lido Pool area, while other people are in hot tubs on the other side. It's very clear that HAL management wants to change the demographic of its customers. They are looking for new, free spending blood.

Staterooms are noisier than one would expect for a "new" ship. Even in slight seas there is creaking, rattling and banging...especially at night when you are trying to sleep.

Fit and finish is not all that it could be. As an example, stateroom have a recessed "frame" for the wall mounted large screen TV. In my stateroom the TV was mounted well out of the center of the frame and lop-sided (one side higher than the other).

The Main Dining Room is very noisy, especially on the lower deck (Deck2). There is little or no sound-absorbing material to soak up noise.

There is no replay of the excursion or enrichment talks available on Koningsdam's closed circuit TV system or on stateroom TVs. You can, however, book extra cost dining, spa and excursion options via the interactive TV system.

What little "art" there is on the ship is far removed from traditional seafaring art. All is very contemporary and the artwork appears to be photo-shopped pictures. There is NO art in stateroom passageways.

Passage fore and aft on public decks 2 and 3 is restricted to one side of the ship, ensuring exposure to every selling station onboard.

Traffic flow is poor, especially outside elevator locations where they have planted large modern sculptures (?), creating bottlenecks.

The Promenade Deck is quite narrow and there are no deck chairs thereupon. The walking gets very bottlenecked at the stern end of the ship, so if one is walking behind slow walkers or encountering walkers who insist on walking upstream, it slows everyone down.  Not important enough to write Congress about...just a mention.

 

 

 

 

THE UGLY

 

Whoever designed the toilets in the staterooms should be fired immediately. One cannot sit "on the throne" straightaway. You have to sit sideways because the glass shower enclosure is in the way, and you can't get your knees to squeeze in...unless you're 2 or 3 years old. Very awkward and uncomfortable.

 

 

 

 

DINING

 

This is a very subjective area and not all tastes are alike. So offering comments about the food and service aboard the Koningsdam is treading on very dangerous ground. That said, HAL has put together a fine group of chefs in what they call the Chef's Counsel, to help Chef Rudy design a dining program for the ship's various venues. They have created offerings that, in their test kitchen, appeal to all the senses. Great food requires great ingredients skillfully assembled by craftsmen who love their work. Unfortunately, the Chef's Counsel is not on board to supervise the final product. HALs logistics program is complex and mainly designed to minimize costs and maximize efficiencies. They do not take advantage of the terrific local products as they cruise from place to place. So freshness of ingredients is sacrificed in favor of program convenience. They claim there are reasons (or excuses) for this, but others seem to be able to take advantage of local fresh product availability. That's all I have to say about this topic. Everyone has to judge for themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to write your review.

 

The chef's who are on the council have changed quite a few times over the years.  We weren't impressed with some of their "concoctions".

 

Hope you enjoyed the ports.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We so agree about the toilets. So uncomfortable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would appreciate knowing about the entertainment offered. How are the shows in the stage venues? And the smaller places like the clubs/bars? Not really interested at all in the Disneyland type entertainment like slides, etc.

 

Thanks  🎭

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food source safety being assured by management for large culinary operations like this is not an excuse.  it may be dull and not "local", but it is what it needs to be in this sort of operation. Suggest you stick to all the other lines you claim use casually-sourced local ingredients, because it is highly unliking you will find this on virtually all HAL ships. There were some minor local additions on the newer format HAL Maasdam InDepth cruises. Give them a try.

Edited by OlsSalt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, frbob said:

I cruised Koningsdam for 24 days from 10/18/2018 to 11/11/2018. She is about 2 years old and appears to be in very good physical condition and is well maintained. That said, Koningsdam is a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly...in this writer's experienced opinion.

 

THE GOOD

 

By all appearances, the ship is being kept very clean. Wear and tear has not yet begun to show too much. Not much rust in sight.

The theater (World Stage) is the best in the HAL fleet, and maybe in most fleets. Sight lines are excellent and there is hardly a bad seat in the house. Seating capacity is relatively generous and can fit about a third of the passengers at any one time (close to 800). That said, there were many occasions when the theater was totally filled and people were standing and/or sitting in the aisles (safety hazard?). The hi-tech stage uses a 270 degree computer controlled LCD screen as the backdrop and is the main apparatus of the otherwise sparse set decoration.

Lincoln Center Stage is an outstanding plus for HAL. Koningsdam's venue for the very talented quintet is larger than other ships in the fleet and offers comfortable seating.

Public seating is excellent and comfortable throughout the ship.

The staterooms are a bit smaller on than most of HALs ships, but they are reasonable equipped. Electric and USB plugs are abundant and storage/closet space is good.

 

 

 

 

THE BAD

 

While Koningsdam is new and bright, HAL has done nothing to change the nickel-and-dime operation and product they offer. EVERYTHING they do is designed to get passengers to spend more money. Most of the daily on-board programs offered are for revenue and income production.

Venues throughout the ship are too small for the large number of passengers, often filling an hour or more prior to a presentation.

The Culinary Arts Center is the showcase venue for America's Test Kitchen, and it is very ill-suited for the purpose...very poor seating and sight angles. They also utilize this room for extra-cost dinning in the evening (much more suitable).

The Mariners Program on Koningsdam appears to be treated more as necessary nuisance than as the customer building program it was originally designed to be. There does not appear to be a suitable venue on Koningsdam for a Mariners Reception, so only medallion recipients are invited, no matter how many medallions one has or how many cruise days you've logged. The multi-Star Mariners cocktail party is held in part of the Lido Pool area, while other people are in hot tubs on the other side. It's very clear that HAL management wants to change the demographic of its customers. They are looking for new, free spending blood.

Staterooms are noisier than one would expect for a "new" ship. Even in slight seas there is creaking, rattling and banging...especially at night when you are trying to sleep.

Fit and finish is not all that it could be. As an example, stateroom have a recessed "frame" for the wall mounted large screen TV. In my stateroom the TV was mounted well out of the center of the frame and lop-sided (one side higher than the other).

The Main Dining Room is very noisy, especially on the lower deck (Deck2). There is little or no sound-absorbing material to soak up noise.

There is no replay of the excursion or enrichment talks available on Koningsdam's closed circuit TV system or on stateroom TVs. You can, however, book extra cost dining, spa and excursion options via the interactive TV system.

What little "art" there is on the ship is far removed from traditional seafaring art. All is very contemporary and the artwork appears to be photo-shopped pictures. There is NO art in stateroom passageways.

Passage fore and aft on public decks 2 and 3 is restricted to one side of the ship, ensuring exposure to every selling station onboard.

Traffic flow is poor, especially outside elevator locations where they have planted large modern sculptures (?), creating bottlenecks.

The Promenade Deck is quite narrow and there are no deck chairs thereupon. The walking gets very bottlenecked at the stern end of the ship, so if one is walking behind slow walkers or encountering walkers who insist on walking upstream, it slows everyone down.  Not important enough to write Congress about...just a mention.

 

 

 

 

THE UGLY

 

Whoever designed the toilets in the staterooms should be fired immediately. One cannot sit "on the throne" straightaway. You have to sit sideways because the glass shower enclosure is in the way, and you can't get your knees to squeeze in...unless you're 2 or 3 years old. Very awkward and uncomfortable.

 

 

 

 

DINING

 

This is a very subjective area and not all tastes are alike. So offering comments about the food and service aboard the Koningsdam is treading on very dangerous ground. That said, HAL has put together a fine group of chefs in what they call the Chef's Counsel, to help Chef Rudy design a dining program for the ship's various venues. They have created offerings that, in their test kitchen, appeal to all the senses. Great food requires great ingredients skillfully assembled by craftsmen who love their work. Unfortunately, the Chef's Counsel is not on board to supervise the final product. HALs logistics program is complex and mainly designed to minimize costs and maximize efficiencies. They do not take advantage of the terrific local products as they cruise from place to place. So freshness of ingredients is sacrificed in favor of program convenience. They claim there are reasons (or excuses) for this, but others seem to be able to take advantage of local fresh product availability. That's all I have to say about this topic. Everyone has to judge for themselves.

We were also just on this cruise and agree with comments of the  good.  However disagree with the bad.  Our cabin was fine, our TV was installed OK.  The toilet even with the angle of it, we found to be no problem even with our sizes of over 200 lbs.   The passages ways were no problem for us and my wife was using a walker.  The elevator areas were no more crowded after a show

than on any other Hal ship we have been on.  Some of the bad we didn't like too much either, but they didn't spoil our cruise experience.   We were in cabin 4033 and we did not notice any sounds that hindered us from getting a nights sleep, that no to say there wasn't any, they just were a problem for us.  In fact the day and night we had rough seas we thought the ship handled them just fine. The doors to the outside deck were taped off and we were advised not to try to go out, which we totally agreed with.  We did not even try to go out on our balcony, as being unwise to do so.   My wife is sometimes bothered by rough seas and she didn't experience any ill feelings.   We thought the cruise was GREAT.

 

 

Edited by boards
more information

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Son of a son of a ... said:

New to HAL.  Question: can you make reservations for entertainment or is it first come, first seated?

Sorry, no reservations

 

5 minutes ago, boards said:

Whoever designed the toilets in the staterooms should be fired immediately.

I understand that has been corrected on the Nieuw Statendam.  I wonder if they'll ever do something about it on the K.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, catl331 said:

Sorry, no reservations

 

I understand that has been corrected on the Nieuw Statendam.  I wonder if they'll ever do something about it on the K.

We did not try the reservations for dining, we did open seating and got seated right away every time.  Were very impressed.  Also we were impressed with the size of the main course portions on the first three evenings that we ate in the Lido for a few dinners to slow down, but went back to the MDR for the dining experience.  It was very good.   The breakfast in the MDR was great also.   I cannot comment on the toilets to be on the Nieuw Statendam. just to say that the position of them on the Kongingdam didn't bother us.  

Edited by boards
to add information

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your review.  Hope you enjoyed the cruise, even with those drawbacks.  We did like Koningsdam, and I think some changes are due to be made when she goes into drydock, such as losing the CAC to Club Orange.  We will be on the premier voyage of the Nieuw Statendam in December, and hope we enjoy her as much as we did Koningsdam.

 

We have found that the first offering of the show in the evenings is always chock-a-block full.  We much prefer going to the later show, if we go at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on the Konigsdam Iberian Adventure docking on 9/28.   I agree with comments on the freshness comment.  Our dinner was luscious in Tamarind and we booked another night about 6 days into the cruise.   The same lobster and crab dishes were inedible because the fishiness and texture issues.   If they don't take on fresh material during the cruise I would give things like soft crab a wide berth after a few days at sea.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, ottahand7 said:

I was on the Konigsdam Iberian Adventure docking on 9/28.   I agree with comments on the freshness comment.  Our dinner was luscious in Tamarind and we booked another night about 6 days into the cruise.   The same lobster and crab dishes were inedible because the fishiness and texture issues.   If they don't take on fresh material during the cruise I would give things like soft crab a wide berth after a few days at sea.  

 

Softshell crab now shows up in the MDR, which is probably how they handle its approaching due dates. It was fine when we had it in the MDR so they are not passing off bad stuff - just encouraging its early departure from their stock on hand.

 

On a recent Maasdam InDepth we did have fresh shrimp after our stop in Ecuador and they were in a class of fabulousness all by themselves - allegedly one of the largest shrimp exporters in the world. Agree, fresh is best, but these can be hard calls to make on the fly in each port when menus have to be planned and approved in advance going through so many layers of food safety and menu planning administration. .

Edited by OlsSalt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to the OP for a really balanced review of recent experiences on the Koningsdam.  My wife and I will be sailing on this ship in January.  While we have some experience with HAL's smaller ships, we still don't feel totally comfortable with the "largeness" of the Koningsdam.  We have done a fair amount of research on this particular ship, and it seems to be a little of a "mixed bag."  We found the above review to be interesting and helpful.  Thanks, again, OP!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Vict0riann said:

Thanks for your review.  Hope you enjoyed the cruise, even with those drawbacks.  We did like Koningsdam, and I think some changes are due to be made when she goes into drydock, such as losing the CAC to Club Orange.  We will be on the premier voyage of the Nieuw Statendam in December, and hope we enjoy her as much as we did Koningsdam.

 

We have found that the first offering of the show in the evenings is always chock-a-block full.  We much prefer going to the later show, if we go at all.

Our experience on the TransAtlantic Crossing part of our journey was that, if the performers in the first show were really good, the second show was SRO also. It's attributable to either great performances or boredom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, OlsSalt said:

Food source safety being assured by management for large culinary operations like this is not an excuse.  it may be dull and not "local", but it is what it needs to be in this sort of operation. Suggest you stick to all the other lines you claim use casually-sourced local ingredients, because it is highly unliking you will find this on virtually all HAL ships. There were some minor local additions on the newer format HAL Maasdam InDepth cruises. Give them a try.

I'm glad you're happy with mediocre. Live it up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, frbob said:

I'm glad you're happy with mediocre. Live it up!

 

I am very happy with HAL for value cruising. Very happy.  In fact we always feel we get far more than what we pay for with HAL.

Edited by OlsSalt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you @frbob for taking the time to post your review. Appreciate your opinions. Looking forward to comparing it to our experience in a few weeks. 

 

Cheers. Dogstar. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, boards said:

the position of them on the Koningsdam didn't bother us.

...us either.

We thoroughly enjoyed our journey on the K. Looking forward to my next meal in Tamarind (which won't be until next August).

It's always interesting to see how defensive some need to get on these kinds of message boards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Son of a son of a ... said:

New to HAL.  Question: can you make reservations for entertainment or is it first come, first seated?

No reservations for shows etc., come and have a seat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back on topic...

 

*Good:

The Artwork,  most which is actually art, and not replica antiques like most items onboard older vessels, is much better than on previous vessels.

The decoration is more contemporary, but still quite Americana Classic, NOT modern or European contemporary.

The Lido Pool area is gorgeous

Showlounge is unique and a great concept.

Grand Dutch Cafe is fantastic.

Cabin airco can be switched off ( finally!)

NY deli and pizza is a great spot.

 

* The Bad:

The Icecream station closes at 14:30h. or 15h. And from then-on, the only icecream available is the Gelato for a surcharge.

No more self-service lemonade dispensers. 

 Standard Cabins are slightly smaller, with no more adjustable table. Room service becomes unpracticable.

 

* The Ugly:

Some decoration Still has some way to go to become truly contemporary luxurious without  cheap retirement-home reminders.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your review. Agree with most of things you discussed. I really liked the NY Deli and the shower heads, but that will not bring me back to the Konnie. Currently on Celebrity Reflection; their pricing includes a lot including free internet, free drinks with no 15 drink limit, free tips, free laundry (we are Elite) and generous carbin credit. I would pay a fortune with all this on HAL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your review. We've been on the Koningsdam twice now, and really enjoy her. We've done inside and OV and loved them both. We're doing the Nieuw Statendam (balcony) next October, and are looking forward to that one, too. We did NCL between the two cruises (and will do another NCL next month), and there is no comparison.

I look at your bad, and think that maybe you had a bad tv placement. I never noticed that on either of our trips, so thinking that might be a one off? I walked the ship specifically looking for the art. I found it lovely, modern, and musical, but art is a taste thing, right? I know that people continue to be disappointed with the promenade deck, but hubby and I enjoy our walks out there in the evening-very quiet and serene. As to the ugly,  I know that the toilets are/have been an issue since day one, although we never had issue. I guess we got used to them. Thanks again for your review! It's good to hear how others feel.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the tv placement is ridiculous you can only watch it in bed.  it needs to be opposite the couch to be enjoyed.  we were on the same cruise, just returned.  great food, great service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...