Wondering what Holland America’s MS Koningsdam is like? My first impression was that it’s an absolutely sleek and beautiful liner. But you want to know all the details, right? That’s why I’m sharing my Holland America Koningsdam review with you.
My first opportunity to see the Koningsdam was in October 2021 — not for a cruise, but for a press conference onboard. Holland America was getting ready to restart cruising from San Diego after a 19-month pause caused by the pandemic. I was fortunate enough to be able to tour the Koningsdam and learn about Holland America and all the precautions they were taking to ensure safe cruise travel.
And now, I’ve just returned from a week of cruising the Mexican Riviera with my husband. It was a wonderful cruise, mostly because the Koningsdam has been outfitted so well and Holland America really caters well to their passengers.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, I was offered a complimentary cruise by Holland America so I could share my experience with you. My opinions expressed here are my own and were not subject to any review by Holland America.
Here’s my Holland America Koningsdam review:
Verandah Stateroom 8076
Our stateroom was on Deck 8, about midship. That was super convenient because the staircase to the Lido Market and pool was just around the corner and up one floor. I was pleasantly surprised by all the extra details included in our room. And just so you will know, I’m going to include them here…
- Verandah (balcony) with clear barrier
- Good-sized bathroom with luxury showerhead, soap, lotion, shampoo, bath gel
- Closets with hangers, drawers, additional storage under the bed
- Queen size bed with pillows, love seat & ottoman, desk & chair
- Nightstands with drawers and nightlights on both sides of bed
- Large screen TV with an HDMI port (we were able to plug in a casting device)
- Extras like wall hooks, mini-fridge, blow dryer, make-up mirror, motion sensitive floor light strip, USB ports for charging, power outlets for US/European plugs, thermostat
- Two cozy plaid “deck” blankets, two bathrobes, all the towels you’ll need
- A room safe, for securing your valuables
You literally don’t need to pack anything for your room — no power strips (they’re not allowed anyway), no blow dryer — not even a makeup mirror. We had water glasses in the bathroom and a mini bar stocked with bottled water, soda and more (extra cost to use). Oh! One exception…I did bring some magnetic hooks to add to the wall next to the bed (the walls are made of metal so magnets work here). I used them to hang my lanyard with room key, jewelry, a hat, the daily schedules, and an origami butterfly one of the servers made for me! But there are also hooks for ties and such inside the closet.
At one point, I wished I had a full-length mirror in the room. The mirror at the desk lit up and mostly met my needs, but then I realized there WAS a full-length mirror inside the closet door! All this in just a regular Verandah stateroom. I can’t imagine needing anything more. Here’s the link to Holland America’s information about all Koningsdam room options.
Dining Options on the Koningsdam
The Konigsdam has many dining options, and you will love them all. Well…I did, anyway.
The main Dining Room serves Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, and Dinner. This is like a really nice restaurant back at home, with white tablecloths, different menus every day, and waiters taking your orders and serving you.
The Lido Market is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well and often has snacks/treats available in between meals. The Lido Market is more casual, kind of “grab & go” style, but the food is delicious, and seating areas have great views of the sea! Crew still dish up your food choices and take your beverage orders. Some entrees are even made to order, like crepes, salads, and omelettes.
Gelato, snacks, and beverages
I’d be amiss if I left out the fact that there’s a gelato bar on the Koningsdam, right by the Lido pool. There are also various places to grab snacks and appetizers, sodas or smoothies. When you’re sitting on deck or in a lounge area, crew members will stop by to see if you need anything — that’s pretty nice! I’m not an alcohol drinker so I didn’t visit any bars but they do have plenty of them. I will say, however, that I never saw anyone who’d been drinking too much.
There are several specialty restaurants onboard the Koningsdam, and we had the opportunity to try three of them. The Tamarind, Rudi’s Sel de la Mer, Canaletto’s, and the Pinnacle Grill are on par with the most luxurious restaurants you could visit on shore. There is an additional charge to visit these restaurants but it is MUCH lower than the equivalent on land ($30 to $45 per person).
Here’s the main difference: service is impeccable, presentation is exquisite, and the atmosphere is perfect and intimate. It is not “just going out for dinner” when you visit one of these restaurants. It is enjoying an extravagant and unforgettable dining experience! (I highly recommend you splurge for at least one of these specialty restaurants — my personal favorite was the Tamarind.)
Entertainment on the Koningsdam
Cruising is not just having ocean views and eating — far from it! One of the best things about going on a cruise (besides traveling to new destinations!) is the entertainment offered onboard the ship. So my Holland America Koningsdam review includes a description of the kinds of entertainment you can expect.
The World Stage theater — a theater in the round — is where you will view premier entertainment every night of the cruise. It is well suited to adapt to different presentations. The Step One Dance Company performed incredible dance performances several nights, and they were definitely a highlight for me. The combination of choreography, technology, and even collaboration with singers was very entertaining.
I also enjoyed a presentation of the history of Holland America (very interesting), port to table cooking demonstrations, a full-feature movie night, and the BBC performance ‘Planet Earth’ (a string quartet playing music composed specifically for a backdrop of astounding wildlife photography). All on the World Stage! For popular events like the dance performances, there are typically two scheduled performances so you can plan around other events you don’t want to miss.
Something I particularly liked about the layout of the Koningsdam was the “Music Walk.” It’s a promenade that leads to several music venues: BB King’s Blues Club, Billboard Onboard (dueling pianos), the classical Lincoln Center Stage, and the Rolling Stone Rock Room. You can literally walk from one musical performance to another, sit and enjoy for awhile, or move on to hear something else. These all have beautiful lounges, dance floors, and places to grab a beverage as well. These venues also work well for the comedians that Holland America brings onboard. During our cruise, we were able to enjoy two very different, but both very talented comedians. I appreciated the variety and the scheduling that made it possible to take in many events each evening. It really was so much fun!
Physical Activities Onboard the Koningsdam
I actually have a friend who thought there wasn’t anything to do on a cruise except sit and eat. I told her she couldn’t be further from the truth! Even on sea days (when the cruise ship sails all day), there are so many ways to stay active.
First of all, Koningsdam has a very impressive fitness center — much nicer than the YMCA where I’ve exercised at home. With a wide array of fitness machines and even weight-lifting equipment, there’s something for everyone. The views from the fitness room are some of the best on the ship as you look straight out to sea while you’re exercising!
Sport court and pools
On the Sun deck, you’ll find shuffleboard, an exercise track, a sport court with basketball and pickleball, and more exercise equipment. The Promenade deck allows you to walk all the way around the perimeter of the ship — three times around is one mile! And then there are the pools on the Lido deck…two beautiful pools with several jacuzzis. One of the pools has an overhead retractable roof, which is kept closed on cooler days. This pool is for adults and youth. The Seaview pool is for adults only and is located at the back end of the Lido deck. I personally enjoyed both the pool and the jacuzzis very much!
More Holland America Koningsdam Review
You didn’t think that was all, did you? I feel I just barely got started! The Koningsdam is so much more than a floating hotel; there’s something for practically everyone.
- If you want to be pampered, there’s a spa. (I really enjoyed my pedicure!)
- If you want to read, there’s a beautiful library.
- You don’t have to completely unplug as there’s an internet cafe.
- A game room has all kinds of puzzles and games to check out.
- Cruise staff lead trivia games, music quizzes, and even line dancing.
- I can’t think of a better place to take photos from!
- You can watch video highlights of available shore excursions.
- You can attend lectures about local culture and food.
- Like seclusion? Rent your own cabana in The Retreat on the Observation Deck.
- Get a professional portrait taken, to record your memories.
- Like to shop? Stores carry clothing, jewelry, handbags, souvenirs and much more.
- Attend a “Coffee Chat” and learn what it’s like to be the head chef or the captain.
- Check out the art gallery and art that is displayed all over the ship.
My Favorites & Not So Favorite
Want to know my favorite place to hang out? The Crow’s Nest. It’s a stunning lounge at the front of the ship with commanding views, plus the furniture is really comfortable. My husband and I enjoyed going there to play a game of Five Crowns and relax.
More favorites also include eating breakfast near the window in the Lido Market and watching the waves, ordering gelato poolside, taking photos of the sunset each evening, and going to every dance performance. I loved being greeted by the host every time I went to the Dining Room (how did she learn my name so fast?). And I adored being able to do the Fox Trot with my husband during one of the Ballroom hours! Gala nights were also fun because it gave us an excuse to dress up. Honestly, everything worked so seamlessly well. I really appreciated having a clean stateroom every day with my bed made (and sometimes a towel animal to bring smiles).
The only thing I did not like was the requirement to wear a face mask while indoors on the ship. This I cannot blame Holland America for, but it was hard for me. However, as of March 1, 2022, the cruise line policies now state that masks are recommended on board but not required. If you want to learn more about their health protocols, read here. I am grateful that I felt safe for the entire cruise. With everyone vaccinated and tested before boarding the ship, I had no fear whatsoever of catching anything.
Another highlight of cruising is getting to explore port cities I’ve never seen before. There’s no space here to describe all the shore excursions offered. My husband and I did go on a shore excursion arranged by Holland America in each of the three port cities we visited: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. They were wonderful and I will write about them further in another article. I felt assured that if there were any delays on an excursion, the ship would wait for us, but we had no problems at all! Our tour guides and excursion experiences added so much to the enjoyment of our cruise.
Summary of my Holland America Koningsdam Review
I hope I’ve given you a better idea of what to expect on a Holland America cruise, and specifically on the Koningsdam. To give you an idea of how I felt after spending a week on the Koningsdam, I need to share something with you.
A week after we returned from our cruise, I drove my husband to the airport to make arrangements for a business trip. While I waited for him, I parked nearby where I had a view of the San Diego waterfront. There in the port was the Koningsdam. It would be leaving soon on a cruise up the California coast. I felt a tinge of envy that I wasn’t boarding the ship. In fact, what I felt was a longing — a longing that made me realize it almost felt like home. My cruise on the Koningsdam had endeared me to it. I think it will do the same for you.
You might also be interested in “What’s It Like to Come Home From Your First Cruise?”
Please feel free to comment or ask me questions below…