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Konigsdam 11-day Southern Caribbean - My View

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Thanks Roger for all the updates on Koningsdam.  We will be boarding for the Christmas cruise in the Deck 4 aft-wrap starboard.   I'll be interested in your impressions of how St Martin/Maarten and the rest of the islands are recovering from Irma/Maria.  We are looking forward to hearing more from you during the rest of your cruise.

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3 hours ago, Crew News said:

 

It is a special night in the Pinnacle Grill with a more exotic menu. 

Thanks for the info.  I remember seeing the signs for that now when you tell me what it is.

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I am on the cruise and a couple of doors down from Roger.  We spoke for a while in the hall the other night and I told him I will help out answering questions on the different threads.  

 

Philipsburg is still recovering from the hurricane damage of 2017.  The boardwalk is in great shape and most of the bars and restaurants are back open.  Front Street is a different story.  The further away from the courthouse (and ships) you go, the less rebuilt it is and you can see how violent the hurricane was to downtown. Back Street was worse than Front Street.  Same thing, the closer to the courthouse, the better shape it is in.

 

The pier shops are back and thriving.  The harbor village shacks have been rebuilt. The Belgian Chocolate Box is open at the pier...she opens late morning...I bough two giant boxes. OMG, her stuff is awesome!

 

One more thing.   I have Verizon international coverage and could not get data in Philipsburg.  Cellular for calls worked, but no data.

 

Lisa

 

These are a few pictures I took with my phone.

 

20FCEFE6-3188-4574-B60D-22D71569F4CA.jpeg

7AFB208F-133B-4FCE-A37E-2454C4DF8D4E.jpeg

4888DBD5-BB74-43D8-AD9B-A748A7A30C28.jpeg

11AF524A-2999-443C-BB0A-44A98729BBC1.jpeg

77BB18DA-7459-47D2-9BC1-D3CAC286F5F9.jpeg

52684860-F986-4FD2-A770-FA26D1B20CB6.jpeg

0BB9219B-005F-4620-AFDE-5D0F0C9C1CFC.jpeg

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Lisa. Thanks for the pics of st Martin.  So happy that the Chocolate Box has reopened, we love that place and always spend way too much.  It used to be down the alley where the pic of the old car was.  

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26 minutes ago, RedHeadTexan said:

I am on the cruise and a couple of doors down from Roger.  We spoke for a while in the hall the other night and I told him I will help out answering questions on the different threads.  

 

Philipsburg is still recovering from the hurricane damage of 2017.  The boardwalk is in great shape and most of the bars and restaurants are back open.  Front Street is a different story.  The further away from the courthouse (and ships) you go, the less rebuilt it is and you can see how violent the hurricane was to downtown. Back Street was worse than Front Street.  Same thing, the closer to the courthouse, the better shape it is in.

 

The pier shops are back and thriving.  The harbor village shacks have been rebuilt. The Belgian Chocolate Box is open at the pier...she opens late morning...I bough two giant boxes. OMG, her stuff is awesome!

 

One more thing.   I have Verizon international coverage and could not get data in Philipsburg.  Cellular for calls worked, but no data.

 

Lisa

 

These are a few pictures I took with my phone.

 

20FCEFE6-3188-4574-B60D-22D71569F4CA.jpeg

7AFB208F-133B-4FCE-A37E-2454C4DF8D4E.jpeg

4888DBD5-BB74-43D8-AD9B-A748A7A30C28.jpeg

11AF524A-2999-443C-BB0A-44A98729BBC1.jpeg

77BB18DA-7459-47D2-9BC1-D3CAC286F5F9.jpeg

52684860-F986-4FD2-A770-FA26D1B20CB6.jpeg

0BB9219B-005F-4620-AFDE-5D0F0C9C1CFC.jpeg

 

Thanks for the report and pictures.  Glad that Belgium chocolate box is now at the pier shops.

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Roger,  are y’all from Albuquerque originally?  I graduated from Highland in ‘64 and went to ENMU till I got drafted.  Again thanks for the updates and enjoy your cruise.  

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24 minutes ago, Imzdo1 said:

Roger,  are y’all from Albuquerque originally?  I graduated from Highland in ‘64 and went to ENMU till I got drafted.  Again thanks for the updates and enjoy your cruise.  

 

I am a military tumbleweed drafted in Indianapolis, Indiana and finally deposited 24 years later in Albuquerque New Mexico with interim stops in Germany, Greece, Turkey, Korea, and eastern USA.

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Another visit to the Front Desk was needed to discuss di Lebrije.  Purchase of the meal online for $69 is not eligible for the 50% discount because wine is included.  Since the meal on board costs $49 without the wine, the Mariner Loyalty Refund can only be $24.50.  I cancelled and requested a refund.

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2 hours ago, Imzdo1 said:

Lisa. Thanks for the pics of st Martin.  So happy that the Chocolate Box has reopened, we love that place and always spend way too much.  It used to be down the alley where the pic of the old car was.  

We went down the alley to find the shop and did not see it.  

 

Lisa

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44 minutes ago, Crew News said:

 

I am a military tumbleweed drafted in Indianapolis, Indiana and finally deposited 24 years later in Albuquerque New Mexico with interim stops in Germany, Greece, Turkey, Korea, and eastern USA.

Me too.  Army brat, Retired military, retired civil service, 45 years all over the world settled in Dayton, Ohio area.  Maybe we will run into each other on HAL someday.

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The day started with sprinkles and increased the closer our catamaran excursion got to the French side.  The boat maneuvered around several sailing ship masts sticking out of the water.  Our guide was happy to point out the boats that just arrived in the harbor within the past few days signalling the revived tourist season.

 

We learned that nearly every leaf on the island had been ripped from the trees but they are now regrowing.  The devastation of the Marigot side was evident to me since I was there two years ago.  Of course the street vendors had   We returned but many of the fixed shops were shuttered.  It was pointed out that any roof observed was news since the two hurricanes.  We learned that every car on the island was damaged so the car dealer imported new replacements to sell when folks received their insurance payments.  The residents decided to repair their cars instead of replacing them and they pocketed the insurance replacement funds since nobody was working,  Needless to say, there are lots of unsold cars on the island that will have to be discounted to clear the showrooms for the new models this year.

 

With four large ships in port at the same time, the port shopping center was packed with passengers but I successfully picked up my 3.5 Kg of Gouda Cheese for $28 (up from $27 two years ago).

 

Another comment on post drydock conditions is the new carpet in the Lido Market nearly prohibits the sliding of any occupied  chair over it.  A slight lifting of one's body weight from the chair allows a good tug to move the chair a few inches to allow one to stand up from the table. 

 

Initial impressions:

During my last cruise in May 2018, I noticed, with only two exceptions, the aloofness of the ship's crew.  My curiosity of this condition continues here on the Konigsdam.  When I asked if I could attend the Mariner medal ceremony to photograph our roll call members, I was told by a uniformed ship's officer, probably Guest Relations, that the the ship's photographers would be the only ones taking photos. 

 

My Mariner Luncheon had no ship's staff welcoming those Mariners passing through the MDR doors instead they stood aside chatting with each other.  I have not seen any MDR staff stopping by the tables to welcome passengers.  The Mariner Reception at the Lido Pool was controlled by the Cruise Director who told me to have a drink and find a place to sit.  No welcoming words.  It is still early in the cruise but I have yet to see a uniformed ship's officer, with the exception of our Mariner Reception "greeter" (probably Guest Relations) and the Lido Manager,  ask any passenger how they were enjoying their cruise.  Even though ship's officers are everywhere, their lack of interaction with passengers is evident to one looking for it.

 

The above are just my observations and I do hope that others have better impressions.  I will keep looking.

 

The Lido Manager is truly friendly and speaks to many passengers.  His fellow staff members could learn a lot about customer service from him.

 

More later

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Imzdo1 said:

Me too.  Army brat, Retired military, retired civil service, 45 years all over the world settled in Dayton, Ohio area.  Maybe we will run into each other on HAL someday.

 

We have room on our Denali/Alaska roll call on June 2, 2019.

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1 hour ago, Crew News said:

Another visit to the Front Desk was needed to discuss di Lebrije.  Purchase of the meal online for $69 is not eligible for the 50% discount because wine is included.  Since the meal on board costs $49 without the wine, the Mariner Loyalty Refund can only be $24.50.  I cancelled and requested a refund.

I wrote to Headquarters prior to our Koningsdam cruise in September as I had booked and paid for two De Librije dinners before boarding.  Here is the answer I got:

Dear Mr. XXX

Thank you for your recent correspondence with Holland America Line regarding your upcoming Koningsdam, September 2018 sailing for your Mariner Society discount benefits. 

 

Guests who pre-purchase Taste of  De Librije will pay full price and then once you are on board, you will see the discount amount reflected as an on board credit on your on board account.

 

We are working on updating our website to allow the discounted rate upfront.  However, at this time that functionality is not yet available.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

We thank you for your patience and we look forward to welcoming you on board.  Thank you for contacting Holland America Line.

 

Kind Regards,

 

It took me four visits to the front desk before I finally got the discount.  They did not believe me even though I showed them the email from Headquarters.  I did eventually get the discount, including the wine portion, for $35 per person.  Seeing the trouble it was, I cancelled the second dinner and got the full amount credited even before I was credited the Mariner discount.  That entire system needs an update and we should definitely be given the discount at booking time before paying.

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That is not good about the officers.  Sadly on our last cruise we never saw but a couple of officers in 21 days and they spoke to no one.  Saw the captain at a distance -- twice.

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2 hours ago, taxmantoo said:

It took me four visits to the front desk before I finally got the discount.  They did not believe me even though I showed them the email from Headquarters.

It never fails to amaze me how individual ships fail to be aware of corporate policy. While I fully understand and support the need for captains' independence to make decisions related to ships' and passengers' safety and security and the operational management of their ship, there are far too many examples of ships seemingly unaware of - or simply ignoring - HQ policies. Passengers should be able to board any ship and get this discount automatically, no questions asked. 

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5 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

It never fails to amaze me how individual ships fail to be aware of corporate policy. While I fully understand and support the need for captains' independence to make decisions related to ships' and passengers' safety and security and the operational management of their ship, there are far too many examples of ships seemingly unaware of - or simply ignoring - HQ policies. Passengers should be able to board any ship and get this discount automatically, no questions asked. 

 

I addressed this subject in one of the many comment cards given to the Front Desk today stating that we on Cruise Critic thought this matter had been resolved as well as that the issue would be included on my cruise survey.  It must be noted that half of my stack of comment cards were kudos to individuals and services.  As a Carnival stockholder, actions that diminish HAL may have an impact on stock prices.

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For the third dinner service in the MDR, I paid particular attention to the absence of a single Assistant Dining Room Manager, or uniformed officer, stop at a single table to speak to any guest.  On the Zaandam last May, the Assistant Dining Room Manager, Marcus, stopped at EVERY table on his side of the MDR EVERY evening during my first seating.

 

In stark contrast, the Konigsdam Lido Market/Canaletto Manager stopped at EVERY Canaletto table twice during my time of observation.  I created a comment card kudo for him with the addition that the other ship officers should follow his example of guest relations.

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When we used to have dinner in the main dining room, no assistant dining room manager ever stopped at our table -- nor were any in sight at the early fixed dining time.

 

The two times we ate in the Canaletto -- again no manager stopping at any table.

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We were on the K's 2 cruises just prior to dry dock... had Open Dining so we sat in many different areas of the MDR.  We always had an assistant dining manager stop by our table.  We often had feedback for them.   We usually ate late so maybe they weren't as busy then?  Not an excuse, it seems to me that that's their job, to interface with the customers and see what issues there may be or how they can better serve the guests.  Another example of inconsistent experiences on the same cruise line, same ship.... YMMV.  m--

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Not sure this occurred on drydock but there is a motion sensor next to the bathroom door that turns on a low-lumen path light mounted on the bottom of the closet across from the bathroom.  All you have to do is get near the bathroom door in the dark to activate it. This dim light remains illuminated for sufficient time to return to bed. 

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2 hours ago, Crew News said:

Not sure this occurred on drydock but there is a motion sensor next to the bathroom door that turns on a low-lumen path light mounted on the bottom of the closet across from the bathroom.  All you have to do is get near the bathroom door in the dark to activate it. This dim light remains illuminated for sufficient time to return to bed. 

 

I think that is new.  We have taken a battery operated LED to put on the floor near the bathroom door on previous Koningsdam cruises.

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That lighting may be new, we sure didn't have it in our room prior to dry dock... we were in a basic balcony room.  Are you in a suite?  Maybe the more expensive rooms have it or maybe it's new.  But nice!  I owuld htink HAL would want to reduce trips and falls. m--  

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