ABOARD THE KONINGSDAM — Caution has always marked Holland
America Line’s approach to bigger ships. Even though Koningsdam is HAL’s
largest vessel at 2,650-passengers, other lines have led the way in the “big”
category, so size doesn’t seem to define Koningsdam.
It does take more time to walk the
975-foot ship compared to vintage HAL vessels. But the extra size means more
experiences, and more dramatic spaces onboard.
In alternative dining, for
example, Koningsdam provides not only the Pinnacle Grill steak house, but Sel
de Mer, a French seafood brasserie. There’s a new Grand Dutch Café, a coffee
bar, and a farm-to-table restaurant which takes over the Culinary Arts Center
The two-story Lido Pool area,
HAL’s first, is a comfortable oasis within the ship that provides some good
people-watching options from the mezzanine circling the pool, as well as
stylish curved seating to watch the Poolside Movie at night.
Elsewhere, Canaletto has its own
defined area within the Lido restaurant, rather than the improvised space it
occupies on some HAL ships. The Lido buffet remains linear, but its length is
broken up into discrete serving stations.
Another two-story space, the
330-seat Queen’s Lounge, has a richness that draws passengers in. Entertainment
options have multiplied on Koningsdam in the Music Walk area, which offers
classical, jazz and pop options adjacent to each other.
The Greenhouse Spa is an easy area
to like. It combines with The Retreat, an area of for-hire cabanas, and some of
HAL’s high-end suites to form almost a ship within the ship on the upper
Cabin innovations include moving
the mini-bars into the clothes cabinets to reduce the size of the desk, some
clever extra storage beneath the beds, floor-to-ceiling glass doors in the
showers, bedside USB outlets, and storage for life jackets above the love seat.
HAL has streamlined the emergency
drill by having passengers view all of the instructional part in their cabins
on the in-room TV prior to assembling at muster stations. It really made a
difference in what can be one of the more tedious cruise experiences.
One area that hasn’t gotten bigger
on Koningsdam is the library, which has been reduced to a corner of the
Explorations Café, with a token number of art and travel books that can’t be
removed from the area.
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