In this post, I’ll be reviewing the Holland America Koningsdam dining and entertainment. In a nutshell, the Koningsdam dining was a bit better than my last cruises on Royal Caribbean and Princess, but the entertainment was underwhelming.
HOLLAND AMERICA KONINGSDAM CRUISE REPORT:
Check out my Koningsdam Cruise Report below
- How I booked my “free” Holland America Cruise to Alaska
- Room Review: Holland America Koningsdam Inside Cabin and Obstructed Verandah
- Alaska Inside Passage Ports on Holland America’s Koningsdam
- Holland America Koningsdam Dining and Entertainment
Main Dining Room:
The main Dining room is located towards the aft of the ship and is two stories. The 3rd deck is for reserved dining, and the 2nd deck is for “as you wish”. Originally when I booked the cruise, all reserved dining was sold out, but when I called back a month before my cruise, early dining (5 p.m.) was available so I took that.
The Koningsdam dining room was open daily (even on the last morning) from 7:30 AM to 9 AM (some hours were modified due to port days). Lunch was served on most days minus one port day from approximately 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, and then dinner from 5 PM to 9 PM.
Iced tea, lemonade, hot coffee/tea, milk, and water are included in all meals. Juices are also included during breakfast.
Overall, the food quality was better than on my recent Royal Caribbean cruise, but since I’ve been hearing people rave about Holland America’s food, I was left a bit disappointed. I think I was the most impressed at breakfast as there was a good variety of items including a Pan Asian Breakfast and congee which was nice. The lunch menu was decent but lacked a bit of variety as it only had 2 daily specials each day. Dinners were always changing which was nice in terms of variety. But, the taste of the dishes often didn’t hit the mark.
I’d have to say, Holland America did a good job with the breakfast. The Koningsdam dining highlight was definitely the breakfast for me. I never got tired of breakfast and ate all of them in the dining room. The extensive menu was definitely a plus. I particularly enjoyed the make-your-own omelet, the Pan Asian Breakfast with Salmon, Rice, and Miso Soup as well as the Congee. The Pan Asian Breakfast and Congee were quite good, but if they could have been a bit less salty they would have been perfect. I always got a fruit plate to start my day as well, and the fruits were generally pretty fresh.
From lunch, I enjoyed the Calamari appetizer and the Cobb Salad a lot. All the other items I tried were pretty good, but the worst dish I had was the fish and chips. It had way too much batter. Also, the presentation of the dishes was all pretty good.
On sea days, afternoon tea was offered at 3 pm in the main dining room. I was excited to see how it would be, but it ended up being bland. They had the tea platters all pre-set up before you walked in, so you didn’t really get any selection. But, the actual food items were not too bad thankfully.
The worst part was that you didn’t have any choice of tea. Just the super dark overly brewed tea they made. Sigh. So, I only went one day.
Service from our waiters Paolo and John were great, but overall I feel like dinner was a bit of a mixed bag. A lot of main entrees just missed the mark for me.
We can start with the good. The most memorable dinner options I had were the escargot appetizer and the Spaghetti Crab Carbonara. The rest of the dishes were alright, with a decent presentation but often not tasting the best.
The most disappointing entree was on the last night, the Vegetable Tempura Udon with asparagus, shitake mushroom, and a mirin-soy broth. I was so excited for a udon soup, as that is what it sounded like. I ended up with just a bunch of fried tempura. Sad. And on the first night, the Alaska Crab Seafood Cocktail was way too saucy and the presentation was unappetizing.
We didn’t try any but the menu also included enhanced options for a fee, such as one of the steaks from the Pinnacle Grill. For example, there was a $20 surcharge for the New York Strip from the Pinnace Grill, which saves you some money if you want to try it and not mind having the dining room appetizers and desserts. I still debate if I should have done that instead of paying for the full Pinnacle Grill experience.
Overall, the main dining room was clearly a step up from my other two cruises on Princess and Royal, but I don’t know if it’s by enough for me to say that Holland America is quite for “foodies” per se.
There are also 5 specialty dining options for a fee. You could pre-purchase and reserve to get your preferred time and save a bit of money than the onboard price. I ended up trying two of them. With the exception of Nami Sushi, all surcharges cover your entire meal (appetizer, sides, entrees, and dessert) witexceptinks.
The two I didn’t try were Canaletto and Rudi’s Sel De Mer. Canaletto serves Italian cuisine and is open for dinner. If you pre-purchased Canaletto before the cruise, it was $25 + 18% gratuity per person. Rudi’s Sel De Mer is a seafood brasserie that is also open for dinner, and the pre-purchased price was $49 + 18% gratuity per person.
The Pinnacle Grill serves steak and seafood and is open for lunch on certain days but for dinner most days. We ended up reserving in advance for $39 + 18% gratuity per person to try it out for one dinner. Our preferred reservation time was already taken 2 months out, so I suggest you reserve ahead of time if you want you get a preferred time slot.
I thought the meal was good, to the level of a steakhouse on land, but I’m not sure if it was truly worth the hefty premium considering you give up your dining room meal.
For appetizers, they were all fine, but items like the wedge salad were easily found in the main dining room. And while the clothesline bacon was cute, the small 3 strips of bacon didn’t really warrant a “surcharge” in my opinion. The steaks were good, but I think a Flemings/Ruth’s Chris steak is still a notch better. Also, on top of already paying for specialty dining, if you wanted to add a lobster tail to make it a surf and turf, it was a $10 (+18% gratuity) charge. I mean, I was already there, I had to try it! Luckily, the lobster tail was quite good so I felt happy.
I liked my creme brulee, and how the hot tea is upgraded to Harney and Sons. Much better than the Bigelow tea served at the Main Dining Room + Lido Buffet.
Tamarind + Nami Sushi:
These two options are located together. Tamarind serves pan-Asian cuisine and allows you a full meal by paying the surcharge which was $29 + 18% gratuity per person for dinner when I reserved in advance. Nami Sushi is a la carte, where you can just order dishes one by one.
I liked some of the appetizers more than my main. The Shiitake and Tofu Spring Rolls and Thai Citrus Scallops were tasty. But, I was let down with my main. I got the Wasabi and Soy Crusted Beef Tenderloin. While it was decent, it was a bit too heavy + salty. Other people at my party were also disappointed with Tamarind and didn’t enjoy their entrees. The worst part was the desserts. The house made sorbets were incredibly sour, and the Mango Posset I had was way too sweet. Definitely a miss.
Overall, I found Tamarind to be disappointing for the price paid. The meal was not very authentic, and the main entrees and dessert were sore spots.
Koningsdam Dining Complimentary Casual Options:
NY Pizza & Deli, Dive In, and the Grand Dutch Cafe
There were also other complimentary dining options on the Koningsdam. NY Pizza and Deli near the pool was generally open from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm and served bagels and pizza. The Dive In served burgers hotdogs and fries, as well as movie night snacks (buffalo wings!). I tried the buffalo wings during movie night on one of the days and enjoyed it. Lastly, The Grand Dutch Cafe just outside the reception desk had light bites complimentary, and coffee drinks for purchase.
The Lido Market was the buffet on the Koningsdam. I didn’t really come here much, just for one meal and for snacks throughout the day. I didn’t like how cramped it felt, and how close together the seats were. The food itself was decent, with multiple stations and cuisines. Hours of operation looked something like 7 to 10:30 am for breakfast, 11:30 am to 2:00 pm for lunch, 2-4 pm for limited stations, 5:30 to 8 pm for dinner, and 10:30 to 11:30 pm for limited stations as well.
I did enjoy how they had actual ice cream in the dessert section, as my last cruise only had soft serve. Also, even when the buffet wasn’t open, it was nice to be able to make a nice cup of tea.
I loved the room service for a late-night snack. Room service was available 24/7, and there was no extra charge! This was a nice welcome offering, as my last Royal Caribean cruise had a delivery + gratuity charge for room service other than continental breakfast. For the room service, I enjoyed the chicken noodle soup, fresh fruit, and cookies.
Another paid Koningsdam dining option is called G Gelato, which serves gelato, popsicles, and milkshakes. A cone and small cup was $3, and a milkshake was $5.50 to $6.50. I was thinking of trying it out, but since I had ice cream at dinner, and ice cream at the buffet, I didn’t feel the need to.
This was only my 3rd cruise ever, with my 1st being on the Star Princess and 2nd on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. I knew going into the cruise that Holland America’s guests skew older, but I didn’t think that it would mean the entertainment would suffer because of that.
Well, the entertainment was the most basic and boring of all the cruises I’ve been on. Daily events were quite bland, with origami, bridge, bingo, trivia, and movie night. Plus the headlining entertainment was bland as well. I would concede, I did enjoy the venue for movie night, as the pool deck has very nice chairs and a retractable roof.
Pool + Hot Tubs:
There’s the main Lido Pool and the smaller Sea View Pool in the aft. Both were quite small, but never crowded.
This is the main theater on board that features a two-story, panoramic LED screen, and it hosts a variety of performances day and night. They had informative documentary-style talks about Alaska, and Holland America as a cruise line in the afternoons. In the evenings, it would switch up to performances from the Step One Dance Company, a comedian (ironically the same one I had on Princess 7 years ago), and a singing group. I was surprised that they would duplicate the evening performances throughout the cruise so there wasn’t much variety. I watched the dance company and it was decent, but definitely not as entertaining as the Broadway show and ice skating performance I had on Royal Caribbean.
B.B. King’s Blues Club, Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard Onboard:
The boat has a lot of live music venues. There’s the B.B. King Blues Club, the Rolling Stone Rock Room, and Billboard Onboard. Billboard Onboard would have different themes of performers such as Piano Celebration, The ’60s, The ’70s, One Hit Wonders, and All Requests.
What cruise ship would be complete without shuffleboard? There was also a jogging track and an outdoor basketball court.
My Favorite Venues: Library + Fitness Center:
I found relaxation in the library. There were nice chairs overlooking the window and I often spent time there to read/get work done while admiring the ocean views.
Also, the fitness center which is located right next to the spa, was well-equipped and never too crowded each time I visited.
Casino + Bars:
The casino is a good size for a cruise ship and has the latest slot machines, as well as table games. I didn’t partake in any drinking on this cruise, but there were numerous bars that I walked past on the boat.
On the top 12th deck is the Crow’s Nest where you can lounge and play board games. There’s also Explorations Cafe, where you can (for a charge) get handcrafted coffee drinks. It was a cute spot, but each time I went up there, it was always generally a bit crowded, so I didn’t visit much.
Want to stay connected? I sure did, and I needed to get some work done on the cruise. So, I pre-purchased premium Wi-Fi for 4 devices for the entire voyage for $185 before the cruise as I was told it was cheaper. And it sure was, as on board it would be $230 for 4 devices. This worked out great for us as there were 4 of us. Before the cruise, they only gave the premium device option to pre-purchase (1 device $128, or 4 devices $185), but on board, you’ll have more Wi-Fi options. There is Premium that allows audio steaming, a “surfing” package for browsing the web, and a “social” package for using messaging apps. You’ll also be able to choose from 1 or 4 devices to be connected at a time, as well as for the whole voyage or for 24 hours. Note: if 4 devices are connected, you could disconnect and reconnect on a different device, you’re not forced to be stuck on the same device once you connect.
We had issues connecting at the beginning of the cruise and had to go to the front desk to get it reset. Thankfully it started working just a few hours after leaving Vancouver. The Wi-Fi worked pretty well during the sea days, but less well during days at port. Also, it seemed that Wi-Fi worked better in the common areas than in my inside stateroom.
Example prices on my voyage were $160 for 1 device for the premium, $120 for 1 device for the surf, and $90 for 1 device for the social.
Overall, I thought the Holland America Koningsdam dining fell a bit flat and the entertainment was boring. Highlights included the main dining room breakfast and the nice presentation of the food. Negatives included the entertainment options and the specialty dining I tried. Other pluses included the fact that the boat was newer and modern, and they didn’t charge extra for room service!
Have you been aboard Holland America’s Koningsdam before? What did you think of the Koningsdam dining and entertainment? Comment below!
Have any questions? I’ve also started working with a travel agency, Fora Travel, and can assist in booking hotel stays or planning trips. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also view all my other posts here! Thanks for stopping by!