Great Mediterranean and trans-Atlantic cruise - only disappointment is the onboard entertainment.
5 out of 5
Embarkation in Rome was expedient and well organized. Holland America proactively sent all passengers an embarkation schedule with designated check-in times, by deck location of staterooms. The Mediterranean segment of the cruise was sailing at full capacity and the staggered check-in time worked well for crowd control, as the Civitavecchia cruise terminal does not have a large waiting area to accommodate a ship load of passengers arriving at the same time for embarkation.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Food selection, quality in the main dining room was superb. Service was slow at breakfast and on all Gala nights. The Pinnacle Grill was excellent. Our dinner experience in the Tamarind on a sea day during the crossing was horrible - we were a party of eight and staff were overwhelmed. It took over an hour to get our food and at that, five people were served while it took an additional 15 minutes for the remaining three in our group to receive their meal. Dessert and coffee were ordered at the same time and the coffee never arrived.
3 out of 5
Fitness center is well equipped but the air conditioning didn’t seem to be cooling. America’s Test Kitchen gets a thumbs up, as well as lectures during the crossing.
2 out of 5
Holland America has outsourced ALL entertainment and no longer employs their own Singers and Dancers performing Vegas-style shows. All performances in the World Stage are by guest performers - very mediocre: comedians, solo singers, magicians. The one exception were “The Knights” - a trio of professional performers.
The Filipino and Indonesian crew shows have been eliminated. Also eliminated is the solo piano player and Ocean Quartet (and dance floor) in the Ocean Bar - no pre/post dinner soft music or dancing.
HAL has introduced the “Music Walk” as the main entertainment feature across the fleet. Partnerships with Lincoln Center Stage (excellent classical music) and BB Kings, The Rolling Stones and dual pianos in Billboard Onboard. The last three, while talented musicians, do not fit the passenger age demographic.
HAL would be well advised to reinstate the Ocean Quartet and solo piano player in the Ocean Bar to cater to their repeat customer base.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Officers, especially the captain, were very visible during the entire 26-day voyage. Room Stewards greeted us by name after the first day, as well as bar personnel. Waiters were professional and their service impeccable ... the delays in the MDR seemed to be kitchen-related.
5 out of 5
This was our second trans-Atlantic on the Koningsdam. New features since her inaugural season are the sushi restaurant, the relocation of the Lincoln Center Stage to share the same space with BB Kings, and the addition of The Rolling Stones. Public areas are well maintained, with housekeeping staff always visible.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Excellent location easily accessible by aft staircase or elevators, just off mid ship. Very quiet, as there are cabins above and below. Stateroom attendants were amazing.
Realize entertainment will be limited to BB Kings, Rolling Stones, Billboard Onboard and Lincoln Center. Gone are all the dance floors and opportunity for pre/post dinner dancing and solo piano venues. HAL’s main passenger demographic is 60+ retiree. Families will be better suited on the sister company Princess or “other ships” featuring rock walls, ice skating, bumper cars, etc. don’t expect Vegas-style shows, and realize guest performers will be in the theater every night.
On our first visit last year, took ship excursion to Achillon Palace (Empress Sisi of Austria’s residence) - highly recommend and it can be done via Hop On Off (HOHO) bus. This trip, we simply did HOHO bus .
Naples is the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento, Pompeiii (did it all in one 9-hour excursion 2 years ago). Last year we took ship excursion to Capri and Ana Capri. Given traffic, would recommend ship excursion for all,of the above. This cruise, we booked Viator tour to Casserta Palace - the Versailles of Italy. Definitely worth the visit but never offered by HAL.
4 out of 5
Getting off the ship was easy; getting thru immigration and customs took over an hour. Be forewarned that Ft.Lauderdale is the first port of entry into the USA and the entire crew, as well as all passengers (whether disembarking or in transit) have to go thru immigration and customs.
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