Holland America Line’s forthcoming flagship, Koningsdam, is nearly complete. Early next year, she’ll set sail on her maiden voyage, becoming the newest and largest ship in the Holland America fleet of blue-hulled “dam ships.”
But while she may bear a similar resemblance to her siblings Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, Koningsdam will be a unique ship for Holland America. She’ll introduce new design features, new décor, and new amenities previously unknown to Holland America’s past guests, a loyal group of folks known as Mariners.
So what can you expect from Koningsdam? Here’s four of the features we’re most excited about:
In much the same way that Carnival is seeking to revitalize its image with the new, classy décor found aboard the Carnival Breeze, Holland America hopes to pry itself away from the days of old with Koningsdam. Not that there was anything wrong with HAL’s classic décor, but in general, it was dark and closed-in.
In an effort to make things a little lighter, the line recruited noted interior designer Adam Tihany, whose work includes the new Seabourn twins, as well as past interior design for Celebrity’s Solstice-class.
While it might not all be a success (the rendering of the main dining room aboard Koningsdam looks like a carbon-copy of that aboard Celebrity Solstice), the fact that Holland America is dramatically shaking up its interior décor style, mood and ambiance could be a good thing for the line.
When Holland America introduced its Vista Class ships beginning with Zuiderdam in 2002, they didn’t ratchet up the dining venues exponentially. That all changes with Koningsdam, which offers up more culinary choice than any vessel that has come before her.
“Koningsdam allows us to leverage our culinary creativity and debut new brand-exclusive venues and magnificent food concepts as well as enhance our current successful offerings,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We know that guests are going to be excited with our many creative dining choices and appealing new experiences aboard Koningsdam.”
Guests will have the opportunity to embark on a culinary adventure that features cuisine from around the world in several alternative restaurants, including an immersive dining experience in the re-imagined Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine.
They can also indulge in the re-designed casual Lido Market, which will feature a variety of themed-serving stations. Many of the ship’s dining venues will be situated along an interactive culinary-themed walkway located on Deck 2 of the ship — all in addition to the main dining room. Onboard menus are once again being developed by long-time HAL Master Chef Rudi Sodamin.
“With Koningsdam, we are building upon our outstanding culinary foundation,” said Sodamin, who recently was named Best Cruise Line Chef by Porthole Magazine. “Our guests will truly appreciate the many inventive menu choices and the visionary innovations that will be delivered with our first Pinnacle Class ship.”
Koningsdam also sports a number of new and re-imagined bar and lounge spaces that are sure to delight guests. One of the most-appreciated for HAL’s Mariners will no doubt be the new Queen’s Lounge, which has been given a pseudo-Cunard treatment that features a two-story layout coupled with an oversized dance floor. Music and dancing has always been very much a part of the traditional Holland America Line cruise experience, and Koningsdam looks to take that to new heights.
Holland America isn’t the first line to come up with this concept, but we think wine blending will be an excellent addition to Holland America’s already-stellar onboard culinary arts program.
Known as BLEND, the wine-tasting venue is the first of its kind for the line, which has partnered with Washington State-based Chateau Ste. Michelle in order to create this unique culinary offering for gusts. Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest and most acclaimed winery in Washington State, and through this winemaking process, guests will learn interesting information about the history of Washington wines and winemaking, examine soil samples, and see how different vineyard sites impact the flavors and style of the wine. The onboard Cellar Master also will instruct guests on what characteristics, flavors and nuances to look for in the wine from each barrel.
You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to appreciate this unique venue, however; Holland America has cleverly designed BLEND to appeal to both novice and advanced wine lovers alike.
Koningsdam makes her debut in April of 2016 in the Mediterranean, where she will spend the bulk of her maiden season before venturing north to Northern Europe and finally setting sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she will winter in the Caribbean.
With less than six months to go until Koningsdam’s launch, it’s hard not to be excited about this latest evolution of cruising with Holland America Line.