Last updated: 03:38 PM ET, Tue August 09 2016

A New Breed Of Ship

Koningsdam’s modern design will appeal to Holland America newcomers and loyalists alike

Vacation Agent | Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Jason Leppert

A New Breed Of Ship

PHOTO: Holland America Line's Koningsdam.

Holland America Line’s Koningsdam is a new breed of cruise ship, one that exemplifies the company’s rebranding with an equally refined vessel. From the outside, it looks much like its predecessors, albeit larger, but the interior is far more modern without altogether abandoning the tradition embodied by the 143-year-old cruise line.

In fact, favorites like the Crow’s Nest observation lounge and the Queen’s Lounge remain while new venues such as the Grand Dutch Cafe represent a return to the line’s heritage. The greatest changes are in the areas’ interior design and art. Gone are the dark tones, golden and red hues, and antiques, which have been replaced by cheery colors, architectural undulations and fresh art inspired by music and the instruments that create it.

Fanciest and Most Common Accommodations: The crème de la crème of accommodations is the 1,357-square-foot Pinnacle Suite. It is, in fact, one of the few design carry-overs from the legacy ships. Amenities include access to the exclusive Neptune Lounge and complimentary laundry services.

The 748 Verandah Staterooms are the most prevalent cabins, ranging in size from 228 to 420 square feet including the balcony. These staterooms have the more modern design approach found elsewhere on board. Only metallic pewter accents are reminiscent of past ships, as wooden panels appear lighter overall to give a larger and softer appearance. Storage and hooks are plentiful; the glass-enclosed bathroom showers are generously sized.

What’s Included: The cruise fare includes all meals in the main Dining Room, Lido Market buffet, Dive-In Grill and New York Deli & Pizza, as well as select room service items. Specialty dining and drinks beyond basic tap water, iced tea, juices, milk and coffee are extra. Gratuities, shore excursions, Wi-Fi connections and spa treatments also incur surcharges.

Best Entertainment: Entertainment is one area where Holland America Line’s rebranding innovations really shine. Music Walk is a collection of three live venues: B.B. King’s Blues Club, Billboard Onboard and Lincoln Center Stage. B.B King’s, featuring the B.B. King AllStar Band, is housed in the Queen’s Lounge. Billboard Onboard pairs trivia with dueling pianists. The Lincoln Center Stage features classic chamber music with an expert pianist and string quintet that play everything from jazz to pop.

The World Stage is an intimately sized main theater with seating in the round, encircled by a 270-degree floor-to-ceiling video wall. Only two production shows and one clip show — featuring BBC Earth’s “Frozen Planet” set to a live performance of the program’s score — are offered weekly, but they are all stunners. Vaudeville acts fill in the rest of the week.

Favorite Excursion: The Koningsdam is cruising in Northern Europe this summer. In Norway, a ride on the Flam Railway takes guests from the cruise pier up into the mountains as the landscape quickly changes from grassy greens to snowy whites. A brief stop at a viewing platform affords passengers an opportunity to witness a dramatic waterfall and an ethereal music-and-dance interlude before returning to the ship.

READ MORE: 10 Culinary Highlights Aboard Holland America Line’s Newest Koningsdam 

What’s for Dinner? In addition to the dining options included in the fare, guests can choose to dine at a number of excellent specialty restaurants. The Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto are returning favorites for steaks and Italian cuisine, respectively, and Tamarind (featured on the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam) brings pan-Asian cuisine to the new ship. New and unique to the Koningsdam are Sel de Mer, which serves à la carte premium seafood, and specialty dinners at the Culinary Arts Center, which feature simple, artisanal dishes inspired by the farm-totable movement. Plus, Gelato serves specialty ice creams.

Who Goes on This Ship? Holland America Line is stereotypically known for catering to an older clientele, but the truth is that the line’s average age decreases annually. Many wheelchairs and walkers are still seen on board. However, the line’s target audience is inquisitive, seasoned travelers of all ages. Koningsdam’s fresh design approach will appeal to millennials as well as senior citizens.

Insider Booking Tip: Perhaps surprisingly, the ship is well positioned for traveling families. Family Oceanview Staterooms feature two lower beds convertible to a queen-size bed, one sofa bed for up to two people, and one upper bed. These staterooms have two bathroom compartments each – one with a combo tub shower, toilet and sink, and one with a shower and sink – for additional convenience and privacy. Plus, the Club HAL children’s facilities cater to three separate age groups from 3 to 17.

Key Selling Points: Koningsdam is positioned as a hybrid of sorts between its closest premium competitors, Celebrity Cruises and Disney Cruise Line. The new Holland America Line ship offers international itineraries complete with fine dining, high-tech entertainment, ace live performances and multigenerational-friendly accommodations – calling to newcomers and loyalists alike.


Cruise line: Holland America Line

Ship: Koningsdam

Size: 99,500 gross registered tons, 2,650 passengers

Entered Service: 2016

Itineraries: After four-day to month-long cruises in Northern Europe this summer, and the Mediterranean in the fall, the ship repositions to Fort Lauderdale in November.

Price: Fares start at $3,660, $4,880 and $6,540 respectively for three-, four-, and seven-night cruises per person double.

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Vacation Agent Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the August 2016 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.