On a recent 14-night transatlantic crossing aboard Holland America Koningsdam, I had a chance to really get to know this new vessel stem to stern, top to bottom. It’s also the first ship in the Holland America Pinnacle Class of cruise ships.
It’s always exciting to cruise aboard a new ship. Cruise ships have gotten so large that it’s tough for many passengers to totally cover every square inch of their ship in the course of a week. Maybe that’s why longer cruises are getting more and more popular, especially on these larger cruise ships.
The top 12 things I really like about the new Holland America Koningsdam:
- Some of the nicest crew ever – but this seems consistent fleetwide and a Holland America trademark.
- Full room service breakfast selection, including eggs, on debarkation morning.
- Nice selections in Lido buffet –lots of cooked-to-order options available at different stations, especially at dinner with Italian and Asian selections.
- Well-designed staterooms, light color décor and plenty of storage, cubbies and closet space.
- Large centrally located flat TVs
- Free 24-hour room service with option for fee-based specialty restaurant items
- BBC Earth Experiences live show Planet Earth II in Concert.
- Sel De Mer – Rudi Sodamin’s newest specialty restaurant featuring of course, seafood, fish
- Afternoon tea in the Queen’s Lounge. To Cunard fans, this sounds familiar.
- Spacious-size walk-in shower with glass doors
- Actual real hangers that are not affixed to the closet rod.
- Finding several USB outlets in room; at the desk and each bedside!
Bonus tip and great for non-smokers
If you’re looking for some quiet outdoor space to relax, head up to Deck 11 aft. You’ll find two bed-like loungers plus lots of available lounge chairs. And no cigarette or cigar smoke wafting over from the designated smoking area on Deck 9.
Dedicated Holland America past passengers may at first be startled by Koningsdam contemporary design and décor. Older guests who are total HAL devotees commented on the loss of Holland America’s traditional dark wood and subtle yet elegant décor. The lack of a traditional library also was troubling for many of the older guests who prefer a paper book to an e-reader. I think the lighter, brighter look is very appealing and there are still books to lend.
In my opinion, these changes are necessary to attract younger passengers. Cruises and cruise ships must evolve in both itineraries and new ship designs. HAL enthusiasts who long for a more traditional cruise ship environment and design can still find it on the older, smaller and totally elegant Holland America cruise ships.
While HAL’s older cruise ships maintain their original “old world” ambiance, many if not all of Holland America’s newest features have been or will soon be added across the fleet. The best of both worlds for Holland America lovers.