Five Things to Know About Holland America's Koningsdam Cruise Ship
Best for: Multigenerational travelers and passengers looking for a sophisticated experience without a sky-high price tag
Sails: The Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Northern Europe
At a Glance: With a 2,650-passenger capacity, this is Holland America’s newest and largest ship—the first of the new Pinnacle class. It’s also the line’s most luxurious vessel, with an airy, modern design, world-class entertainment, and restaurants you’ll want to come back to again and again.
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The Staterooms Are Made for Multigenerational Voyages
Well laid out with a contemporary design, cabins on the ship feel larger than they are. They range from 127-square foot solo cabins (new for the line) to the 1,290 square foot Pinnacle Suite, which features a living and dining room, sound system, and a plunge pool on the balcony. Also new are 32 family oceanview cabins, which can fit a party of five. Starting at 222 square feet, they feature a sofa bed and a pullout bunk bed, along with two bathrooms, so children can have one all to themselves.
The Design Feels Fresh But Familiar
Holland America tapped Adam D. Tihany and architect Bjorn Storbraaten to design Koningsdam and create a template of sorts for Holland America ships of the future. The result is a lighter, more modern look with lots of glamorous touches, such the chic white lounge chaises that line the deck overlooking the Lido Pool, which look like something straight out of a boutique South Beach hotel. (Also new for the Lido Pool: a screen for outdoor movie nights.) Music-themed art covers the ship, from a statue of a cello to mod portraits of Mozart, a nod to the ship’s Music Walk (more on that later on). Even the rib-like arches that soar in the two-food dining room were inspired by the strings of a harp. Also in the dining room: streamlined furnishings in light fabrics, a dramatic grand staircase, and a stunning wine tower dramatically framed in bronze.
The Restaurants Impress
There are 13 restaurants on board, ensuring that passengers will never get bored with their options. On gala nights, you might find dishes by Holland America’s Culinary Council members—Rudi Sodamin, Mark Best, Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, and Jacques Torres—on the menu in the main dining room, which is also open for breakfast and lunch. Choose between two set seating times, or simply walk in and ask for a table whenever you wish. Lido Market feels less like a buffet restaurant than a modified food hall: With names like Breadboard (sandwiches and fresh-baked breads), Wild Harvest (salads), and Distant Lands (international options), each station feels self-contained and unique. Other restaurants included in the price of your voyage are the Grand Dutch Café, which serves Dutch pastries and dishes like herring and pannekoek (Dutch pancakes); New York Deli & Pizza, which is new to the line and overlooks the Lido Pool; and Dive-in, a hot dog and hamburger joint near the Lido pool. But it’s in the for-fee restaurants where the cuisine really shines. Brasserie Sel de Mer specializes in seafood, and the bouillabaisse and profiteroles are particularly excellent. Holland America favorites Pinnacle Grill steakhouse, Italian nook Canaletto, and pan-Asian Tamarind continue to be crowd pleasers. (Reservations go fast, so book before you board.) But perhaps the best new addition is dinner at the Culinary Arts Center’s farm-to-table restaurant with an open kitchen, where the chef talks through each simple seasonal dish he creates, then displays recipe cards for them at the end of the night for passengers to take home.
Make Time for Cooking and Wine-blending Classes
The Culinary Arts Center hosts demos and tastings that will soon be run by America’s Test Kitchen: Think pasta making, wine pairing, and mixology classes. Also on board is Blend, an intimate tasting room where passengers can sign up to sip a variety of vintages from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State’s oldest winery, then blend them into their own creations ($129 per passenger). They can even create their own personalized label and have the bottle poured during their dinner.
Music Row Is a Must
Cruise-ship entertainment can often stray a little too far into the kitsch zone, but Koningsdam manages to elevate the genre, making it a nightly event everyone can look forward to. After dark, the buzziest spot on the ship is Music Walk on Deck 2, where Pinnacle Grill, Sel de Mer, the Culinary Arts Center, and the main dining room are all located, so passengers only have to walk a few feet after dinner to take in the B.B. King's All Stars in the Queen's Lounge, classical music at Lincoln Center Stage, and the Billboard Onboard piano lounge. Most of the shows play several times each evening and songs change nightly, so you never have to see the same show twice.