For a few years, Holland America has been introducing more contemporary savoir-faire to its classic, mature leisure experience, and Koningsdam debuted with a vibrant new aesthetic and a number of new concepts. However, while this may be a shiny new leaf for the line, it hasn’t really departed from the signature HAL experience, or the venues its core customers know and love. There are some welcome enhancements—for example, more space allotted to the pool deck, and a revamped Kids’ Club. The Adam Tihany design has a musical motif and a contemporary color palette. And the layout, with most of the entertainment venues, restaurants and bars centralized on decks 2 and 3, creates that “city center” aura where happy cruisers mix and mingle.
The many fans of HAL’s Culinary Arts Center cooking demos will be pleased to hear that this “culinary theater” has now been turned into a Food & Wine-branded dining experience. And thus far, it’s among the most popular of the for-fee alternative dining options. Other new surcharge special-occasion spots are Sel de Mer French bistro and “Taste de Librije,” a Dutch gastronomy once-per-sailing popup in the Pinnacle Grill.
Casual dining concepts, no-fee and for-fee alike, have also been improved and expanded. The latest alternative, for-fee concept is Grand Dutch Café, which emulates the legendary sidewalk cafes of Amsterdam and beyond. Sip European beers all day and evening while people-watching, like a true Dutch person. There’s also a cozy coffee hangout, Explorations Café.
New among the complimentary dining concepts: a poolside burger/hot dog grill and a 2-in-1 New York pizza joint/deli. The Lido buffet has been expanded and updated with more action stations and themes.
Canaletto, Tamarind and Pinnacle Grill are the three formal alternative dining concepts on board.
Bars & Lounges
BLEND is the most innovative new imbibing concept on this ship—a wine bar in partnership with Chateau Ste. Michelle, where cruisers can learn the basics of wine-blending before sipping.
Brand partnerships with Billboard, Lincoln Center and B.B. King’s Blues bring a range of talent and repertoire to HAL’s Music Walk bars and lounges. Cruisers can revisit the decades of Billboard Top 40 hits, hear top-tier classical musicians riffing on Radiohead, and then enjoy the wee hours in a dim-lit blues joint.
The other watering holes onboard this ship are familiar fleet-wide concepts: The Crow’s Nest at the top deck, the Explorer’s Bar for apertifs or spirited coffee drinks, and Notes Bar for top-shelf spirits.
The World Stage is where cruisers can enjoy Koningsdam’s full production shows. This two-deck theater features flexible interior configurations to showcase their five new productions –each with a full cast backed by a 270-degree LED screen in-the-round.
The rest of the entertainment on this ship crosses over with various other categories—the most obvious example being the Culinary Arts Center’s evolution from demo stage to fine dining restaurant. Billboard Onboard also deserves a mention, as it’s a scaled-down revue in its own right, whose performers range from two talented dueling pianists, a guitarist and a DJ.
Queen’s Lounge transforms from a blues club to a disco, while the Lido pool deck will showcase movies under the stars on its own oversized LED screen.
HAL’s recreational facilities have been improved and expanded on this ship in a way that caters to all key demographics: families, romance travelers and the mature, long-voyaging cruiser. The adult swimming pool and deck space on deck 9 has been expanded with more lounge chairs available. The Lido pool now spans two decks, with a retractable glass ceiling to protect from the weather. Greenhouse Spa facilities have been vastly enhanced, and the Digital Workshop takes place in a dedicated classroom outfitted with the latest Microsoft technology.
Finally, and most important to families, this ship allots a prime space to Club HAL, where different youth programs are broken into three categories:children ages 3-7, tweens ages 8-12 and teens ages 13-17). Teens get their own hangout: The Loft . It is outfitted with karaoke, some Xbox games and big-screen TV.