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 at night.
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 forward decks.
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.