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Koningsdam Review - Dec 15-22, 2019

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Koningsam Review - Summary

 

Overall another enjoyable cruise with Holland America Line, but lessons were learned this time as detailed below. Some of the highlights: don't book an aft wrap, Club Orange is probably overrated, and the Neptune Lounge is a really great perk.

 

This was my third cruise overall and the second on Koningsdam. The first Koningdam cruise was to Norway in the Summer of 2018. This was my first time on K-Dam in the Carribbean. This is a beautiful ship as others have repeatedly stated. It's a nice size and while my favorite ship is Nieuw Amsterdam, I would gladly sail Koningsdam again.

 

Embarkation

 

Boarding at Port Everglades was a snap. We arrived around 11am and our names were checked off a paper list. We then went through security and entered the usual boarding queue. As Neptune Suite guests, we went to the front of the line. We had our key cards in less than 3 minutes and were directed to a separate waiting area. Boarding started at 11:30am and we were some of the first people on the ship.

 

Cabin 8195

 

We went immediately to our cabin 8195 which is an aft wrap Neptune Suite. I generally do not like the cabins on Koningsdam because I feel they are smaller. This cabin was no exception. Aside from the fact that it had a wrap balcony, there was nothing special about this cabin. It was like a BC or other vista suite category. The shower was tiny. My other time on Koningsdam we were in 6001 and this cabin felt similar.

 

As usual, our room stewards were amazing and always kept the cabin spotless and well stocked.

 

WARNING about this cabin: The aft location makes for some terrible shaking, pitching, and rocking in rough seas which we had. I barely slept a few nights. Also, there is substantial creaking in this cabin and vibration from the propulsion. On the plus side, the A/C kept the cabin freezing which I like. We did not smell cigarette smoke from the Lido deck but the sound of dragging chairs was noticeable and occasionally I could smell smoke from the engines while on the balcony. I would not book this cabin again and recommend you avoid it. It is also very far from the Neptune Lounge.

 

The bed was also firmer than I remember and there were no "deluxe bedding" or "premium chocolate turndown" as advertised (see photo). Just regular old sheets and the boring 1 inch chocolate squares.

 

Neptune Lounge

 

This is one of the better perks of being in a Neptune Suite. The concierge is great and can take care of pretty much anything on the ship from reservations to problems with your cabin. We were missing our Club Orange tote bags so I reported this to the concierge. They were immediately delivered to the room after the request. There is an honor bar, champagne on certain nights, and snacks. They also have a nice cappuccino/espresso machine that I used daily.

 

Sail Away

 

We didn't really get to attend sail away because it was delayed. I believe this was in part to accommodate passengers from NA that had the azipod issue. We didn't sail until a little after 6pm and by that time it was dark and trivia was starting. Before we left, Adventure of the Seas gave us a close shave and we had fun waving and shouting to the passengers on that ship. It was lots of fun.

 

Destinations

 

We sailed to Grand Turk, San Juan PR, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. HMC was cancelled because of high winds and so the Captain just took us sailing around the Bahamian waters so that the casino could open. No free drinks that I was aware of. Kind of disappointing. Port fees were refunded.

 

Grand Turk was very fun. On the way in we parked next to Carnival Elation which should have been called Carnival Oxidation due to all the rust. Yuck. They need to take better care of their aging fleet. We went on a snorkeling excursion that was totally worth it and lots of fun.

 

San Juan was interesting. We walked to El Morro and visited the old town. There is an airport (TJIG) right by the port and I found it interesting that the departing ships attempted to stay north of the runway centerline to avoid landing aircraft. It was a very busy area.

 

St. Thomas was beautiful. We rented a jeep and drove around the island visiting several beaches. It was very relaxing. Driving on the left side of the road was fun. We saw a neat stingray in the waters behind the ship.

 

HMC didn't happen unfortunately. The winds were really howling and the sea was rough. The last two days were "sea days" spent eating, drinking, and doing trivia. Not what I wanted but these things happen I suppose.

 

Sunsets were beautiful from the aft balcony and I was reminded how serene and powerful the sea is. Some of the views on the water are incredible.

 

The Food

 

I thought the food was better this trip than any prior HAL cruise. Even the Lido food seemed improved overall. We ate at Pinnacle Grill and enjoyed the steak and clothes line bacon. I had my favorite dessert - baked alaska.

 

At the MDR we did the 8pm dining on Deck 3 and found that to be much better than the earlier dining. While I usually don't like to eat dinner so late, at that time you just walk right up to your table and the pace of the service is faster. Also, Deck 3 is cooler and quieter than Deck 2. The MDR food was consistently good.

 

No Yum Yum Man but they did have the cart out.

 

Club Orange

 

I am not sure what to make of this. I think HAL is still trying to figure it out as well. We ate at "Club Orange" for two dinners. Mostly when we wanted to have a quieter dinner. The food is the same as the MDR menu with one added item each night and the option of having macaroni and cheese. The portions are larger than MDR and they try to fancy it up. I also felt the single glass wine pour at CO was more significant. I really can't figure out why anyone would want to add this to their cruise for a per day charge. It might make sense to charge people $10 per meal here just for the break from the MDR, but otherwise I don't see the benefit. We didn't purchase it separately but it was included because we were in a Neptune Suite.

 

I did get to do the CO behind the scenes tour which was fun. It's a B-deck tour of the ship's stores and the prep areas. Our tour guide was the provision master and he was very informative. I learned a few interesting tidbits:

  • There are "VVIPs" on board who get almost whatever they want. I saw weird requests written down like "deliver a snickers bar cut into 3 pieces every afternoon" and other eccentric nonsense. There were about a dozen VVIP cabins written down. Sadly, ours was not one.
  • The crew demands a special kind of rice. They will not eat the rice we are used to. The crew rice is a "no go" item that must be kept in stock.
  • All of the bread except sliced bread is made from scratch and baked on board.
  • The ship spends about $15,000-$20,000 per month on medicine. When asked what kind of medicine, I was told "all kinds" and was told the medical center was very well stocked.
  • Despite the rumor, someone doesn't die onboard each cruise. We did visit the morgue (empty at the time) and I was informed that in about 13 years with HAL, the provision master has heard of only a few deaths on board.
  • The coffee is different on European cruises because they find that European passengers have different tastes.
  • With the exception of very long cruises, all food stores are taken at cruise origination. Nothing is delivered in the foreign ports. This is mainly due to quality control and cost.

 

 

By the way, the MDR salt and pepper shakers have a faint black and white ring at the top to denote salt or pepper. (see photo).

 

The Bad

 

It wouldn't be a true review if I didn't complain a little. Here are my gripes:

  • It feels like staffing has been cut back a little bit. I only ever saw one room steward at a time although supposedly there are two. There was also a decrease in Lido staff. I noticed many self serve stations in the Lido which was not what I am used to.
  • The entertainment was terrible as usual. There was a dance show that was acceptable but the comedians were awful. HAL should not book comedians who bash the audience or spend 1/2 of their set talking about all of their accomplishments. Look, bud, if your Emmy nomination was worth anything, you wouldn't be performing on a cruise ship.
  • I think only true Neptune Suites should be marketed as such. Make sure you check out photos of your cabin before selecting it. There are websites for this.
  • The Lido pool was a mess with kids everywhere and wet floors. I suppose some of this cannot be avoided during the Christmas holiday.
  • The winter train set was broken. The train just sat there. There is an entire compliment of engineers on board. You'd think they could fix it.
  • The person doing trivia shouldn't make jokes at the expense of religious people. She regretted it immediately after saying it, but come on.
  • The spa really messed up their schedule. It would be nice if pre-purchased spa treatments showed up on your itinerary. Mine did not.
  • HAL is really going nuts with this "save the ocean" initiative. No more plastic straws, no more sugar packets, water in cans, and other silly things that just annoy passengers. There is even a video on your in-room TV where the CEO admits it is increasing costs for the company. As a stockholder, I do not appreciate this. I commend wanting to save the oceans, but the way to do it is to take better care of handling refuse and recycling. You can't tell me that a 1L glass water bottle is better for the environment than a plastic Evian bottle. Or that mining aluminum is better for the environment. Nonsense. And to use an appropriate pun, HAL has gone overboard with the feel good nonsense all while burning fuel oil like crazy.

 

 

I still really enjoy cruising HAL and I know I'll be back, but I think my next cruise will be on Celebrity just so I can make the comparison. We'll see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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yum yum.jpg

bacon.jpg

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Great review and photos.  We’ve been on the Kongingsdam in total of over 40 days off and on and I wouldn’t hesitate to book again.  I agree with the majority of what you have said.  

 

We recently  spent 14 days on the Oosterdam in a Neptune and I also commented on my feelings about Club Orange.  However some really like it but others, like us, think it’s not only a money grab but kind of offensive to Neptune suite patrons and 4&5* Mariners.  

 

Thanks for your review.  

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Great review Sumo and photos. The salt and pepper shakers' differences are quite subtle, took me a minute to distinguish them. And the couple hanging that flag are far more wholesome and innocent than me. I noticed that the anchor should have been lower a bit to not cover a key part of the letter "E".

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2 minutes ago, vicd1969 said:

I noticed that the anchor should have been lower a bit to not cover a key part of the letter "E".

 

LOL thanks for pointing that out! Now I cannot unsee the "Nautical MILF"

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To me, the biggest issue with this class ship is the lack of a real promenade deck.  I will give it a pass.

Deck Chair

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We will be on K'dam on the 2 January cuise, can i ask to the most expert one's how is common the cancellation of HMC? i've start to get into the idea that visit HMC in this period is almost impossible?

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13 hours ago, vicd1969 said:

 I noticed that the anchor should have been lower a bit to not cover a key part of the letter "E".

 

12 hours ago, SumoCitrus said:

 

LOL thanks for pointing that out! Now I cannot unsee the "Nautical MILF"

I can't unsee this now as well.  😮

Let's hope that they don't know what a MILF is and she is not "advertising". 

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OP, I agree with your comments. I had a deck 7 aft wrap, and the motion, especially the "azipod shimmy" was annoying. The layout on deck 7 was different and much better/spacious than yours--I've never seen a Neptune aft wrap with the sofa, coffee table, and bed all squished together like that. (But I think deck 7 gets the prize for the tiniest shower.)  If there aren't pictures of your cabin, please post them on Halfacts so others can see how bad this one is.

 

Loved your comment on the comedian and his Emmy nomination. It's like Dancing with the Stars. If they really were "stars," would they have the time to spend weeks doing that show?

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Kind of you to post your review. Wow ... dodged a bullet ... had an upgrade offer for you cabin but decided against it. Having had a Neptune on our last cruise in Australia and NZ, that would have been a disappointment to us. I agree with the Neptune Lounge being a great perk. We board the Koningsdam on Jan 2 so very much appreciated your review. We have only been on the Maasdam and Noordam so this will be quite different for us. The great service, however, will remain the same.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Just finished your review this am over coffee! Thank you so much for your honesty. Our favorite HAL ship is The Nieuw and I so love the promenade decks!

Unfortunately for us the itinerary we want out of our home of San Diego RT Hawaii/Mexico is The Koningsdam! My objection is the lack of a wonderful promenade. But itinerary is what we want and so will be on her in a NS midship.

Not a fan for OC. Don’t care for the tote I will stick with the Neptune lounge and PG with Sel de Mar! My favorite photo?

The beautiful STING RAY👍👍👍👍

Denise😊

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7 hours ago, dada.mv said:

We will be on K'dam on the 2 January cuise, can i ask to the most expert one's how is common the cancellation of HMC? i've start to get into the idea that visit HMC in this period is almost impossible?

 

We have been lucky to never have had HMC cancelled.   No one can predict the weather so fingers crossed you’ll get there.  

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BTW ... years ago on a Panama Canal cruise our first stop was HMC. It was in early February and we made it just fine. I was the Protestant chaplain on the ship that cruise and recall doing two renewal of vows ceremonies in the chapel on HMC. Sadly, my Protestant chaplain days are over as that was one of the cutbacks but that trip introduced us to HAL and we love the line.

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Appreciated your review and photos as we sail on a 10-day Koningsdam cruise on Jan, 2nd. We had a discounted offer for Club Orange, but it just didn't see worth it. Couldn't find the value in it.

 

I agree you need to check out the Neptune Suites before booking them. After always having one on the same floor as the Neptune Lounge, we found ourselves (after having to book a NS guarantee in order to get a casino discount) with an aft one on the Oosterdam last Feb. and disliked it immensely. So far from everything and small.

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12 hours ago, deck chair said:

To me, the biggest issue with this class ship is the lack of a real promenade deck.  I will give it a pass.

Deck Chair

We agree with that. We need a real promenade!!

Also the very poor entertainment!!

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