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Old December 26th, 2016, 10:01 PM
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rollerdonna rollerdonna is offline
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Default Koningsdam Cruise Part 1 Dec. 2016

Here's Part 1 of our recent cruise on the Koningsdam. I will add a link at the end to the photos on my facebook page.

Koningsdam Cruise December 2016
Monday December 12

As always, our cruise began a day or two before sailing day. On our pre-travel day, Nova Scotia was expecting a major snowstorm, so we got on the road fairly early to try to beat the weather. We made it about halfway to the airport before the snow hit hard, and the remainder of the journey was dangerous and stressful. Spent the evening in a hotel by the airport, watching the snow falling and hoping our flight would get out in the early morning.

Tuesday December 13
Up at 3:30 a.m. and standing in blowing snow and -10C temperature by 4 a.m. waiting for the airport shuttle. Check-in and security went fairly quickly, aided by the fact my husband now uses a wheelchair for travel as he can't walk long distances or stand for long periods of time. Of course our plane was delayed, and with it being a small 40 seater, we had to walk outside in the cold and mount steps to the plane. United flight 4391 Halifax to Newark was not heated. Even the stewardess wore a long wool coat throughout the flight. There was no food, no hot drinks, no running water in the bathroom, and we were freezing all the way to Newark. Not impressed.

Our connecting flight from Newark to Ft. Lauderdale was much better. Warm, comfortable, pleasant crew, and small food items available. Arrived in Florida 12:30 p.m., met by the Holland America rep who directed us to the shuttle bus to the Westin Hotel Ft. Lauderdale, which is a Holland America recommended hotel. As lovely as we thought it was, we discovered that at the end of the month it will no longer be serving Holland America passengers. A shame really, because the Westin is a beautiful hotel, with a lovely outdoor pool area complete with waterfall, a classy interior, comfortable beds, great food, and wonderful staff, especially Bob the Bartender in the lobby bar.

Wednesday December 14 Embarkation Day
Woke early after a comfortable, restful night. Breakfast buffet was expensive and cold, and we passed the morning outside, soaking up the warmth and sunshine on the patio while waiting for our shuttle to the ship at 11 a.m.
Shuttle arrived at the port within 20 minutes, and we entered the boarding area about 11:30. After a seemingly disorganized process through security and check-in, and some confusion and longer wait for our pre-ordered wheelchair, we finally boarded around 12:30 p.m. First impression of the Koningsdam, elegant, classy, but with a very disappointing and small atrium.

We headed straight for our cabin on Deck 8 aft, and although our room was ready, our bags had not yet arrived. The cabin was nice, roomy, airy, but completely bland. No colour, no decoration except for one photo over the couch. We were to find the bed and bedding exceptionally comfortable. Balcony and bathroom both a good size, with a surprisingly large glassed in shower with a large adjustable shower head, and I thought, a great addition, a corner bar designed for shaving your legs! Storage was ample with his 'n her's closets, and plenty of drawers and shelves. A hidden mini bar and safe, and a flat screen T.V. completed the room.

Hungry, we headed for the Lido Market for lunch. One thing we noticed while heading down the otherwise bland beige hallways (no decor whatsoever), was the carpeting. Again, bland in shades of beige and muted blues, there were tulips "blooming" all up one side of the hallway. A nice touch, even if they were lacking in colour.
The Lido Market buffet, located on Deck 9 was light and airy, decorated in shades of green and yellow, with padded chrome chairs or plush banquette seating. Beautiful colourful potted orchids adorned every single table, a nice Holland America attention to detail. In addition to the usual Hand Sanitizer stations located at the entrance was something new; a 12 second hand washing device where you inserted both hands to be washed in pleasantly hot water!
The food stations were all divided into specific areas; salads, breads and sandwiches, hot meals, Asian food, desserts and drink stations. There was no serve yourself; everything was handled by servers , behind glass, a very good and hygeinic practice. The Lido area had servers to get you drinks (water or iced tea), coffee or tea, or wine if you preferred. They were polite and helpful, and tables were cleared and cleaned quickly and efficiently. Our first meal onboard was very good. I had a chicken Caesar salad served in a bowl bigger than my bathroom sink, and James enjoyed a roast beef sandwich on a baguette, one he returned for again and again throughout the week. At the Sweet Spot dessert station we found a delicious chocolate Panna Cotta, and a wildberry mousse and chocolate tart. Dessert choices were limited but very good.

Following lunch we explored the ship a little, heading first to the aft Sea View Pool right outside the Lido Market. The pool itself was small, and surrounded by traditional deck chairs as well as tables and chairs for sitting and eating outdoors, and cushy comfortable wicker couches and chairs for relaxing out of the sun. There were two bars at the aft pool, and unfortunately a smoking area which seemed to extend beyond its perimeters, as the aft pool always smelled of smoke. With white walls, light brown deck, beige deck chairs, and no other decorations, the whole area appeared bland and colourless, with the exception of the navy blue towels.
The colourless theme continued into the Lido pool area, midship. With the notable exception of orange, turquoise and lime green towels, and a few pink or orange plant pots, the whole Lido Pool area was as bland as the aft pool. A light coloured deck, white walls, another bar, more beige deck chairs, and wicker furniture with off-white and muted blue cushions all made for a very uninteresting area. The pool itself was surprisingly small for a Lido pool, and there were two small hot tubs, and a larger dish shaped hot tub. A giant screen showed nature videos, and later, movies on deck through out the week. There was also a retractable roof over this pool area, which was closed in frequent bad weather, and made the whole area unbearably hot and humid.

Continuing forward on Deck 9, we visited the Greenhouse Spa area, noting the lovely (extra cost) Hydratherapy Pool and rainforest showers, and the private spa, massage, and hot stone beds. There was a ship tour going on at the time so we didn't see too much, nor did we see the gym facilities. Back to that later.
At this point, we headed back to our cabin to find our luggage and unpack, and at 3 p.m. there was a Muster Drill, which required everyone to be in their room and watch a safety video on their stateroom T.V. Although this was an improvement over donning life vests and having to stand outside in rows in the heat on deck, following the safety video, we still had to walk down 5 flights of stairs to the Main Dining Room (our muster station) for an emergency measures briefing. Once dismissed, we then headed back to the aft pool for the "Sail Away Party."

Sadly, the Sail Away party consisted of nothing more than an opportunity to sell Sail Away drinks in special souvenir glasses. There were at least, some very nice hor d'oeuvres served at the poolside tables. There was no live music, only recorded, no Cruise Director or entertainment staff, no dancing, no prizes or giveaways, no celebration whatsoever, just people milling about watching the Koningsdam sail away from Ft. Lauderdale. Most disappointing.

To Be Continued....

photos can be seen at: https://www.facebook.com/donna.belan...0547804&type=3
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Old December 27th, 2016, 09:42 AM
jennc jennc is offline
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what you have described seems to be a common thread now with HAL My last cruise was also disappointing in the same areas you were disappointed in My last cruise was my last with HAL for these reasons Truly boring
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Old December 27th, 2016, 10:17 AM
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rollerdonna rollerdonna is offline
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JennC, strangely, our last cruise was with HAL on Nieuw Amsterdam and it was one of the best we've ever done on any line! I think a great Cruise Director and staff can make all the difference, this ship's was just not up to par.

donna
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Old December 27th, 2016, 12:46 PM
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CruisinK n J CruisinK n J is offline
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Default Koningsdam Cruise Part 1 Dec. 2016

Donna, we are not on Facebook, so we surely wish you'd post your pics on CM as we'd love to see them.

Judy
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Old December 27th, 2016, 04:04 PM
Aerogirl Aerogirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CruisinK n J View Post
Donna, we are not on Facebook, so we surely wish you'd post your pics on CM as we'd love to see them.

Judy
I'm on her FB can see her page but I see no cruise pictures.
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Old December 27th, 2016, 07:06 PM
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rollerdonna rollerdonna is offline
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Weird, I can't find them either, so I just re-posted. Try again.
Judy, I am sorry, but it is almost impossible to post pictures here on CM, the process is so long and complicated. Did you try just clicking on the link? Maybe you can see the photos without actually having a facebook account?

donna
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