Launched in 2016, Koningsdam is the first of Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class ships and is a vessel ahead of the curve.

Holland America Line's Koningsdam cruise ship sailing across the ocean

As the largest ship ever built for Holland America Line, this renowned cruise line’s new flagship is aptly named – ‘Koning’ means ‘king’ in Dutch. As their first new ship in eight years, it is the biggest, most technologically advanced and most luxurious Holland America Line ship ever built. Renowned designer Adam D. Tihany and legendary ship architect Bjørn Storbraaten teamed up to explore new ways to blend the company’s rich heritage with an on-trend design that would write a new chapter in the company’s proud history.

This collaboration resulted in light-filled spaces, visual drama and beautiful interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments. Indeed music infuses all twelve passenger decks including the striking three-storey, circular atrium which uses stainless-steel sculptures on each deck to represent a string quartet.

Where to eat

The elaborate main dining room on-board Holland America Line's Koningsdam

Main dining room

As well as music, fine cuisine is also rooted in the DNA of Holland America Line, whose Culinary Council is a leading-edge team of top chefs from around the world. There is no disputing that the cuisine on Koningsdam is both contemporary and beautifully presented.

Leading this new approach to gastronomy is Rudi Sodamin, Consultant Master Chef for Holland America Line. The choice of cuisine is as diverse as each restaurant is delicious. In the stunning double-height Dining Room which is dominated by a copper-effect wine tower, fare adheres to the traditional Holland America format.

Making its debut on Koningsdam, the Sel de Mer seafood brasserie is an intimate restaurant that encapsulates the new dimension in cuisine. This ethos is endorsed by ‘Dinner at the Culinary Arts Centre’, an immersive experience where chefs prepare simple, artisanal dishes in the show kitchen and guests enjoy each course as it’s freshly prepared.

Waiter holding a seafood spaghetti dish in the main dining room of HAL KoningsdamDiner dipping a spoon into a baked Alaska in the Pinnacle dining room on-board Koningsdam

Panache goes up a gear at the Pinnacle Grill – a feature on-board all of Holland America Line’s ships. Here, superb seafood and Double R ranch-certified organic beef sourced from Washington State are firm favourites with guests who revel in the decadent surroundings. Once a cruise on Koningsdam, the Pinnacle Grill switches its menu to present ‘A Taste of De Librije’ where the cuisine is under the supervision of Jonnie and Thérèse Boer – owners of the three Michelin-star De Librije Restaurant in Zwolle, Holland.

As its name implies, Lido Market is an expansive buffet-style restaurant with spectacular views on Deck 9. Here, themed stations include Breadboard, Wild Harvest, Homestead, Distant Lands and Sweet Spot. There is also Market Central for continental breakfast or light meals to grab and go.

Where to sleep

Elegant white and gold Verandah stateroom on-board HAL Koningsdam

Verandah stateroom

Accommodation on this 2,650-passenger ship comes in 13 categories and ranges from Inside Staterooms, to Oceanview Staterooms, to Balcony Staterooms, to Spa Veranda Staterooms; as well as Pinnacle Suites, Signature Suites, Neptune Suites and Vista Suites. All accommodation features the Signature Mariner’s Dream beds. There are 12 commodious Outside Single Staterooms as well as 32 Family Staterooms which have two bathrooms and an additional bunk bed.

Throughout Koningsdam, bright open spaces are in contrast to the company’s previous ships where wood panelling and period artwork create a masculine, clubby atmosphere. Nowhere is this more evident than on Deck 10 overlooking the Seaview pool where white leather banquettes and day beds are surrounded by sheer white curtains. The Lido Deck pool has a retractable roof that can be closed in bad weather. There is also an open-deck cinema on the Lido Deck.

While the décor feels more youthful and modern, this remains a line that caters largely to well-travelled, sophisticated couples.

What to do

The stunning contemporary Atrium on-board Holland America Line KoningsdamMusicians playing piano and singing in Koningsdam's Billboard Bar

The Music Walk, with a curved ceiling giving the illusion of being inside a violin, is a trio of lounges created in partnership with some of the biggest names in music. The ‘B.B. King’s Blues Club’ recreates the Memphis music experience of Beale Street. The B.B. King All-Star Band, featuring two vocalists backed by rhythm and horn sections, brings the best of the city’s music to sea. From funky and fast to soulful and smooth, the band performs six nights a week in the Queen’s Lounge. There is also a variety of high calibre musical options including the new live music venue ‘Billboard Onboard’ – a live interactive music experience that is part of the ‘music walk complex’ which showcases live musicians. There is also the ‘Lincoln Centre Stage’, a live music venue created to showcase a chamber ensemble performing evening recitals and, on sea days, afternoon shows.

Whirlpool in the Greenhouse Spa on-board HAL Koningsdam

Greenhouse Spa

Welcoming contemporary Sea Views bar on-board HAL Koningsdam

Sea Views Bar

The World Stage Theatre features three floor-to-ceiling video screens that form a 270-degree backdrop to live performances. There are also screenings of BBC Earth’s ‘Frozen Planet’ series with their extraordinary images made even more powerful by the ship’s classical musicians performing the programme’s score live on stage. The ‘One World’ show takes the audience on a tour of the Earth with impressive singing and avant-garde dancing.

What I loved

The modern vibe is a new departure for Holland America Line and nowhere is this more evident than in the cuisine. I especially liked the Lido Market where the choice of fresh produce and convenient snacks is exceptional.

Top Tip

Opt for a VB-grade Veranda Stateroom on Deck 4 as they have extra large balconies.

Koningsdam’s new sister-ship, Nieuw Statendam, will enter service in December 2018, so there will be even more opportunities to sample the unique experience that is Holland America Line. But if you can’t wait until then, call our Cruise Concierge team on 0207 980 2847 to book an unforgettable cruise on Koningsdam.

Gary Buchanan
Gary Buchanan has been an influential cruise writer for almost 30 years. Based in Scotland, he writes for Britain’s leading national newspapers and respected consumer magazines on a variety of cruise topics. Recipient of several awards for his creative writing, he has also written five books about cruising. His other skills include being an expert lecturer on maritime history aboard Cunard ships during transatlantic voyages. His favourite cruise destinations include the Greek Isles, Thailand and the Norwegian fjords. When it comes to river cruises he rates the Irrawaddy, Mekong and Seine as real gems.

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