The Beautiful Koningsdam Still Experiencing Some Growing Pains
Koningsdam Cruise Review to Caribbean
After a 2 1/2 hour drive on December 4th from Cocoa Beach, FL to Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale for our Southern Caribbean cruise on the new ms. Koningsdam, we encountered a delay with traffic only at the port itself. Once we cleared security, inside the terminal though, it was clear sailing onto the ship. There were no lines where 4 and 5 star level passengers were processed. The rest of our party boarded quickly with us. Our Disembarkation went just as smoothly. The ship's 10-night Itinerary was Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Bonaire, Aruba & Curacao. Of the 2,553 passengers on board, most were American and many were Canadians. A few children were on board but no teens.
Amazingly, our two staterooms were ready on our arrival so we dropped off our carry on luggage and proceeded to lunch. Although the Lido Marketplace (buffet) was still pretty empty at 11:45, we chose to dine at the Dive-In. I just had to have some of their delicious fries again. Hamburgers are cooked to order. Then we toured the ship. The ms. Koningsdam is a beautiful ship with a very modern decor. Everything in the interior is sparkling clean and new. The decor is music themed. I enjoyed the many sculptures of musical instruments. Our passenger corridor is a pretty beige and the carpeting with its tulip border is beautiful. I wished that they had more art on the walls, though. Soon it was time for the 3 pm mandatory safety drill which went smoothly. All passengers are required to return to their staterooms to watch a short safety video on their stateroom TV before proceeding to their muster station when directed and without lifejackets.
Our stateroom, 5084 was a balcony cabin mid-ship. It seemed a little compact to us but there was certainly enough storage for all our possessions. The decor was lovely and classy. We were surprised at the large sized TV but were just a bit disappointed that we could not check our statement or book either shore excursions or dining times on it. We could check the menu each day but often it was not completely correct. We both loved having a fridge in the room. The bath also seemed small but the shower with its glass door was larger than most. Dispensers in the shower hold shampoo, conditioner and body wash. There are three small shelves by the sink for just the essentials. I appreciated the large back lighted mirror over the sink. Our balcony was a good size with a small table and two chairs including a foot rest. Novie & Ricky did a wonderful job tidying up our room daily.
We chose Open Seating for dinner, which started at 5:15pm and it worked well. After the first two nights, we had the same table and servers on the cruise. There was usually a short line at the MDR Reception Desk; some nights there were no line. Our servers, Feby & Dicky were quite professional and our orders were always correct. Our Wine Steward, Gina was helpful and efficient, too. Putu our Dining Supervisor found the time to chat with us most nights and was very friendly. He checked nightly to see if everything was satisfactory. My husband's Special Request Meals were always carefully prepared and the menus unfailingly brought to him toward the end of dinner. The MDR (Main Dining Room) did a terrific job with this. The MDR menus were diverse and the food was fine.
Twice we ate in the Canaletto and Pinnacle Restaurants where service was excellent and the food delicious. Novi, our server in the Canaletto was so delightful. We knew her from her service in the Lido Restaurant. Rudy, the Bar Server was so warm and professional. We knew him from the ms. Amsterdam. We also enjoyed meals at the Dive- In and the New York Deli and Pizza. The pizzas are wonderful (6 choices) or, you can build it yourself from a list of ingredients which I did once at lunchtime. The Finocchio Pizza won first prize at the World Pizza Championship in Naples, Italy. Deli sandwiches (8 varieties) were so tasty, too. I enjoyed a Reuben on Rye & the New Jersey Club Decker on two dines. Others in my party enjoyed different varieties.
The Lido Marketplace (buffet) had everything anyone could want to eat. We never experienced any problems finding a table for the four of us. Food was good. We all enjoyed the delicious complimentary ice cream served in the Lido Restaurant; vanilla, chocolate & strawberry offered throughout the cruise.
All the public areas are lovely. The Lido Pool has a dome over it and it was briefly closed on several occasions for either wind or threatening clouds. The Lido Pool is on the small side but there are three modern looking Jacuzzi also. Another pool is at the stern with more Jacuzzi. We rarely had a hard time obtaining lounges as the crew often collected used towels left by departing swimmers. Bar service was good around the pool, also. I loved the lounging beds and couches on Deck 10 facing the pool below; it all seemed so upscale to me. They were fun to use. There is a poolside TV; I think that it could be used more often. The movies shown were old and of little interest to me. I did enjoy the Steel Drum music poolside. Take a class in how to play the instrument. Our party of 4 did enjoy our almost nightly stop at the Grand Deli Cafe for a complimentary treat. Try the almond cookies, the Apple Cake or the delectable chocolate pastry
The Casino sometimes was quite busy, other times less so. It was annoying to have to walk through the smokiness, though to reach the World Stage Theater. I did miss the lack of a Library on the ship. We heard on good authority that one may be added later. I thought that the best thing about the ship was all the entertainment. We visited the 270 degree, 650 seat World Stage (main theater) nightly for all their fantastic entertainment - 3 shows nightly, so convenient! The stadium seating, wider spaced rows was perfect. Even in the back rows, the audience has wonderful views of the wide open stage with its LED screens. The Lincoln Center performers were so talented and their performances were packed as were BB King's Blues All Stars. We earned HAL pins at Name That Tune in Billboard and loved the piano music of the Beatles performed by Emily and Jonathan so much that we came back for more "Music of the 60s" later that same evening. Most evenings there was piano music in the Ocean Bar. Also, there was music and dancing in the Queen's Lounge.
The ship had many of the activities found on most cruise ships, Shopping Tips & Shore Excursion Talks, Bingo, Trivia, Dance Classes, Fitness Classes, Champagne Art Action, Spa Seminars, Pickle Ball, Digital Workshop Windows & Digital Camera Classes, Texas Hold 'Em, Ping Pong & Shuffleboard Tournaments, Culinary Art Classes, Galley Tour and Wine Tastings, etc. One different one was Blend, make your own wine and bottle it, an extra charge of $129. The ship has Happy Hours when the second drink is $2. There is no music in the Crow's Nest, however. There were no lectures or travel slide shows I guess because we had only 3 Sea Days.
Our shore excursions were all ship sponsored and excellent. We took a ship tour in Amber Cove to Puerto Plata. I was disappointed to learn that the beautiful new Amber Cove Beach was a taxi cab ride away from the pier so we didn't have time to go there, perhaps next time. In Aruba we did a caves tour and in Bonaire, an island tour. In Curacao, we did independent sightseeing since we had visited the island previously. In Grand Turk we enjoyed the beach and pool and the beach in Half Moon Cay. The BBQ on Half Moon Cay was wonderful! Temperatures were pleasant, the upper 70s - low 80s. Although there was a 100% chance of rain in the ABC islands, we only saw rain in Curacao.
All in all, we had a great cruise. However we did run into some snafus. The other couple in our party didn't receive their Shore Excursion packet. We all did not get the Pinnacle Grill Steakhouse Restaurant perk provided by our Travel Agent and there was a mix-up with dining times in the Canaletto. All problems were solved eventually, except that there was a charge on our statements for that complimentary meal at the Pinnacle Grill. We had to clear that up on disembarkation day morning. Also we ordered a HAL Beach Towel that was not delivered when the front desk said or even the next day. Our room Steward had to finally get us one. Bottom line, yes, I would take another cruise on the ms. Koningsdam hopefully after the communication between the various departments gets tightened. She is a beautiful ship and I have high expectations that the snafus are just growing pains that will in time disappear.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Be sure to visit the Grand Dutch Cafe for delicious treats that are complimentary.
Ports of call
Amber Cove (Puerto Plata), Dominican Republic Did not visit port
Kralendijk, Bonaire Did not visit port
Willemstad, Curacao Did not visit port
Oranjestad, Aruba Did not visit port
Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida Did not visit port