Holland America are one of the most famous cruise lines in the world. Their latest ship, the ms Koningsdam has fulfilled their elegant image with a casual vibe creating a truly unique cruising experience.
Having just been inaugurated in the past few months, the ms Koningsdam is truly worthy of the title of flagship of the fleet. I’ve just got back from a 7 night cruise on the Norwegian fjords and it was an experience and ship I would not want to have missed.
There are several types of cabins on the ship, consisting of Inside Staterooms, Family Ocean View, Verandas and Suites with Balconies. In my opinion the best type of cabin to try and get is a corner balcony cabin as it provides a truly stunning panoramic view while blocking you from intense winds and other weather conditions that occur in this region. I recommend that you request cabin no’s 8031 and 8032.
These cabins offer more spacious areas when compared to the others in the Verandah category. I was most impressed with the high quality furnishings in the cabin as well as innovative storage areas.
A large flat screen TV dons the wall and offered a wide variety of films, news and some of my favourite shows too. The bed is a true king featuring luxurious cotton linens. There is also a sofa that opens up to a bed and a desk and chair.
The bathroom was absolutely impressive. Equipped with thick Egyptian cotton towels, Elemis Aromapure shampoos, conditioners, soaps and lotions are provided, along with a plush robe for all in the room.
I especially enjoyed the peppermint body gel, which gave an instant wake up under the super powered massage showerhead. It is adjustable to your personal liking from a mild blast of water to a super power surge. This was one ship, where I never worried about flooding the floor outside of the shower. It has been smartly designed to have a lip at the bottom elevated so it is nearly impossible for it to overflow.
One area that Holland America excels in is the quality and presentation of food. It is all fresh and carefully prepared with no preservations or economical substitutes.
I found the dining venues on the ship are no less exquisite. The main dining room is spacious and spans two decks. Food choices vary from day to day but the choices remain premium.
There are a wide variety of specialty restaurants, ranging from the French inspired seafood of Sel de Mer, to the family style Northern Italian delights of Canaletto to the Asian Fusion wonders of Tamarind. These fill up quickly and it is best to make reservations online prior to your voyage. I did indulge in all three and can honestly say that they were enjoyable not only to the palate but each was a feast for the eyes.
Even the Lido Market is high quality on this ship, blowing any other cruise buffet out of the water. The choices are grand, so sampling a bit of each makes for an interesting lunch. I must state that the rib steak was by far the best I have eaten from a buffet. It was so tender, juicy and tasty, that no knife was needed.
Near poolside, gourmet burgers and hot dogs and fresh cut fries are served for yet another choice in daytime dining. Pizza or a Reuben sandwich can be ordered in an area directly one floor up at the New York Deli.
There’s an Italian gelato bar near the pool offering so many freshly made flavours that it would be impossible to try them all in just a one week’s holiday.
For specialty coffees and teas, the Grand Dutch Cafe will suffice. Although there is a fee for the beverage, all sweets and appetizers are free of charge with your purchase.
For those long days or evenings at sea, you are well covered for entertainment. The casino, located on Deck 3, has all of the typical gambling options such as slot machines, poker tables and roulette wheels.
Located on the same deck is the World Stage which plays hosts to different shows each day. The World Stage is an interesting concept as it includes visuals which surrounds the audience with a 270-degree LED screen. The visuals match the entertainment, making it a unique entertainment experience.
One evening, I watched some stunning footage from BBC Earth with the ship’s orchestra playing; the next day there was a digital magic act. Music is the theme of the ship and a variety of tastes are addressed in the other entertainment venues.
Billboard offers classic pop and contemporary hits as a piano lounge with 2 entertainers. BB King’s Lounge is the place for some soothing jazz, blues or R&B and the Lincoln Centre Stage lives up to its namesake by offering classical music in a traditional style with strings, piano and more.
GREENHOUSE & SPA SALON
The spa is also located on the 10th deck and is a great way to unwind from all of the high intense tours I did in the ports of Norway. Aside from massages, facials and an invigorating Jacuzzi, the spa also offers cosmetic treatments plus hair styling and Shellac nail services. I indulged in a facial and I believe I knocked off ten years. My skin was so firm and alive.
The Spa Retreat is the place to lounge and get away from it all; featuring thermal pools, heated ceramic lounges and sauna/steam rooms. A week or day pass can be purchased for this retreat. If you are prone to getting off the ship and running about, then this is perfect to rewind and recharge the batteries.
The opportunity to venture on the ms Koningsdam was not only a treat but an opportunity to experience a cruise ship that proves less is more. It is a cruise ship with a slower pace.
There may not be the glitz, rock climbing, water parks and non-stop action that are found on other mega-ships; but isn’t a holiday the perfect time to just sit back, take in the surroundings and reflect upon the nice things in life. I think the ms Koningsdam does just that.
Written by Veronica Shine