Peter Knego’s latest Sea Treks/Decked! continues aboard Holland America Line’s brand new MV KONINGSDAM at Napoli with a look at the ship’s lower public spaces.

Holland America Line

Keep up to date with Peter Knego on Twitter by clicking here

THE SANDS OF ALANG: The latest DVD about shipbreaking in Alang, India

All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2016.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

P1130256 copy
Room service breakfast.

A gentle tapping on my door at 9:00 AM brought with it a breakfast tray.  I parted the curtains and toyed with an omelete, cereal with soy milk, toast and coffee before heading up to Explorations for a double shot cappuccino.

P1130568 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Cappuccino in Explorations Cafe.

With fellow guests emptying the ship to head off on varied tours of Naples, Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, Sorrento and Amalfi, I savored the peace and tranquility of Explorations before commencing my own quest to document the public spaces on Promenade (3), Plaza (2), and Main (1) Decks.

For the first part of this Decked! tour featuring the KONINGSDAM’s Upper Deck areas, please click here


P1120867 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Starboard Promenade Deck, facing aft.

With its fully encircling promenade on the aptly named Promenade Deck (3), HAL has maintained a much-cherished fleetwide feature aboard the KONINGSDAM, but not without compromise.  Guests can still enjoy that invigorating walk around the lower portion of the ship but the views are now mostly obscured by boats and life saving gear.  This is much better than the “segments” on the new Princess and recent Celebrity ships but it will surely be a disappointment for those who love their proximal sea views.  Nonetheless, three laps equals one mile.

P1120856 copy
The World Stage, facing forward from Promenade Deck.

Spanning two levels, the 667-seat World Stage begins the line up of public rooms on Promenade and Plaza Decks.  This state-of-the-art venue features a 270-degree wrap-around video screen that enhances stage productions with tailor-made digital imagery created by New York-based Batwin and Robin Productions.

P1130294 copy
MV KONINGSDAM spiral stairs, facing aft from Promenade Deck level.

Promenade Deck continues aft of the forward vestibule with a striking spiral staircase (somewhat reminiscent of the Meridian Bar-to-Crow’s Nest stairs on the late SS CANBERRA) that links the Casino with the Music Walk entertainment complex on Plaza Deck.  Although it is a welcome and attractive link between the two main public decks, there may be some upcoming revisions to these stairs and they may be entirely reconfigured on the next Pinnacle Class ship due to noise from the Casino infiltrating the venues below.

P1130292 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Casino, facing aft.

Accommodating up to 450 guests, the Casino has its own dedicated bar and all of the perquisite slots, gaming and card tables.

P1120874 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Totally Random Carpet Shot #4 (Casino).

With KONINGSDAM’s dynamic new architectural team combining the talents of Oslo-based Yran and Storbratten and New York-based Adam Tihany, there is a more sophisticated use of colors and patterns over the previous ships designed by Utrecht-based VFD.  The Casino, with its brown, gold and tan tones marks a refreshing break from the dated razzle dazzle of its equivalent on the Vista Class ships.

P1120881 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Park West Gallery, facing port.

Park West has its own dedicated art gallery with original works for sale directly aft of the Casino on the port side of Promenade Deck.

P1120883 copy

Offering various sundries, from logo wear to fashion accessories, the Signature Shops line the starboard Promenade Deck passage aft of the Casino.

P1120878 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Queen’s Lounge, facing port from balcony.

The upper level of the 300-seat Queen’s Lounge follows on the port side of Promenade Deck.  Reminiscent of the balconied Queens Rooms on the QUEEN VICTORIA and QUEEN ELIZABETH, it is an impressive space with wave-shaped balconies, maple-toned veneers and spindly chandeliers.

P1120885 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Queen’s Lounge, facing forward from upper level.

As part of HAL’s new Music Walk entertainment venture, the Queen’s Lounge is the thrice nightly setting for B.B. King’s All-Stars, featuring bands and artists that have been cast, trained and vetted via HAL’s new branding partnership with the original B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis, TN.

P1130212 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Atrium, facing port from Promenade Deck.

The midships vestibule follows the Queen’s Lounge on Promenade Deck, adjoining the three deck tall Atrium, a circular space with brushed steel fixtures taking their inspiration from the inner workings of musical instruments. The overall decorative theme of KONINGSDAM is fueled by all forms of music, from classic to contemporary, with artwork, soft fittings and even the names of four accommodation decks (Schubert, Mozart, Gershwin and Beethoven) paying tribute.

P1130860 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Reception, facing forward/port.

The Future Cruise desk and Reception overlook the port side of the Atrium.

079-koningsdamgranddutch copy
MV KONINGSDAM Grand Dutch Cafe, facing aft.

On the starboard side of the Atrium, there is another new exclusive to the HAL fleet, the 66-seat Grand Dutch Cafe, which offers up specialty coffees for purchase and a revolving menu of complimentary and for-purchase treats, from pastries to sandwiches and cookies throughout the day.

P1120889 copy
MV KONINGSDAM orange tulips in the Grand Dutch Cafe.

It was a special morning in the Grand Dutch Cafe with orange tulips in tribute to the Dutch royal family’s House of Oranje to celebrate the Dutch prince’s birthday.

P1120892 copy

P1130389 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Photo Gallery, facing aft (better).

A passage continues aft on Promenade Deck on the starboard side with the Photo Studio and Photo Gallery.

P1120935 copy
MV KONINGSDAM The Dining Room, facing aft from Promenade Deck landing.

At the far aft end of Promenade and Plaza Decks, Adam Tihany’s magnificent, 1,098-seat Dining Room is the KONINGSDAM’s traditional, included-in-the-fare restaurant. Clearly an evolution of Tihany’s masterful restaurants on Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships, the Dining Room boasts eggshell-toned “ribs” that are paeans to the framework of a violin, versus the Santiago Callatrava-inspired supports in the Solstice Class restaurants.

P1120907 copy
MV KONINGSDAM The Dining Room, facing aft from Promenade Deck.

Like its equivalents on the Solstice Class ships, the Dining Room has balcony seating but on the KONINGSDAM, the layout is slightly asymmetrical.

P1120918 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Totally Random Carpet Shot #5 (The Dining Room).

Offset by the eggshell framework, the deep maroon and bright yellow hues of the Murano glass chandeliers and carpeting give the space a welcome and appetizing warmth.

P1120927 copy
MV KONINGSDAM The Dining Room, facing forward from Promenade Deck.

Like its Celebrity Solstice Class precedents, the Dining Room boasts a grand staircase and a double deck wine tower at opposite ends of its domed center. Although lacking a name that lives up to its decorative merit, the Dining Room is the most impressive looking eatery in the entire HAL fleet.


P1120851 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Digital Workshop, facing starboard.

The Digital Workshop computer classroom follows the World Stage on starboard Plaza Deck.

P1130319 copy
MV KONINGSDAM spiral stairs, facing forward from Plaza Deck level.

The lower landing of the spiral stairs connecting the Casino with the Plaza Deck public spaces is set between two unique-to-KONINGSDAM public spaces that are part of the new Music Walk:  Billboard Onboard on the port side and Lincoln Center Stage on the starboard side.

P1130305 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Billboard Onboard, facing aft.
P1130310 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Totally Random Carpet Shot #6 (Billboard Onboard).
P1130313 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Billboard Onboard, facing forward.

The 165-seat Billboard magazine-sponsored Billboard Onboard is the venue for Billboard chart-topping hits performed by two pianists, a guitarist and DJ.

P1120844 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Lincoln Center Stage, facing fwd.

Directly across from Billboard Onboard on the starboard side of Plaza Deck, the 165-seat Lincoln Center Stage, in partnership with New York’s Lincoln Center, is the setting for American standards, Jazz and Classical concertos with musicians vetted by the Lincoln Center.

P1120848 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Lincoln Center Stage/Explorer’s Bar, facing aft.

The Explorer’s Bar is located at the aft end of Lincoln Center Stage.

P1130321 copy

A dedicated whiskey bar, Notes, is another KONINGSDAM exclusive, situated at the aft junction of Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard.

P1130226 copy

Distinguished by its elegant trappings, Merabella, one of the Signature Shops on the starboard side of Plaza Deck, is the go-to for fancy watches and jewelry.

P1120832 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Queen’s Lounge, facing forward from Plaza Deck.

The lower level of the Queen’s Lounge/B.B. King’s Live, the third of the Music Walk venues, is directly aft of Billboard Onboard and Lincoln Center Stage.

P1130362 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Atrium, facing aft from Plaza Deck level.

The midships vestibule and mid level of the Atrium follow on Plaza Deck.

P1130350 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Ocean Bar, facing aft.

Bordering the starboard side of the Atrium on Plaza Deck, the Ocean Bar seats 63 guests.

P1120789 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Totally Random Carpet shot #7(Ocean Bar).
P1120786 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Ocean Bar, facing forward.

A traditional space found on all HAL, ships, the Ocean Bar, with its rich and restrained color scheme and quality furnishings, offers views of the sea through floor-to-ceiling windows.  Due to its proximity to no less than four key dining venues, it is a favorite pre-and post-dinner watering hole.

P1120807 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Pinnacle Grill, facing aft.

The extra-tariff($10.00 lunch, $29.00 dinner, per person),116-seat, reservations-required Pacific Northwest-themed steakhouse and seafood eatery, the Pinnacle Grill, is located on the port side of the Atrium on Plaza Deck.  More on the Pinnacle Grill in the next post.

083-koningsdamseldemer copy
MV KONINGSDAM Sel De Mer, facing port.

Located aft of the Atrium on the port side of Plaza Deck, the seafood brasserie Sel De Mer is another new KONINGSDAM extra-tariff dining venue but unlike the others, it is priced on an a la carte basis.  More on Sel De Mer in a future post…

P1120770 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Blend, facing forward.

Blend is located on starboard Plaza Deck across from Sel De Mer and the Culinary Arts Center.  Another new exclusive to KONINGSDAM, it is an extra-tariff ($129.00) wine-blending venue sponsored by the Chateau St. Michelle winery in Washington state.

086-koningsdamculinaryartscenter copy
MV KONINGSDAM Culinary Arts Center, facing aft.

The Culinary Arts Center offers cooking classes in the daytime and at night becomes the setting for yet another new extra-tariff dining venue ($39.00 per guest, including unlimited wine) featuring farm-to-table cuisine that is prepared in an open kitchen.  More later in this post…

P1130379 copy
MV KONINGSDAM aft Plaza Deck passage, facing forward.

The aft Plaza Deck passageway circumvents the Culinary Arts Center and continues along the starboard side with touch screen videos describing the chefs, cooking techniques and courses in the Culinary Arts Center.

P1120939 copy
MV KONINGSDAM The Dining Room, facing forward from Plaza Deck.

The lower level of the Dining Room concludes the public spaces on Plaza Deck.


P1130238 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Journeys Ashore, facing aft.

Main Deck (1) begins and ends with a large block of Exterior and Interior cabin accommodation.  In their midst, several meeting rooms surround the Journeys Ashore shore excursions counter at the base of the Atrium.

067-koningsdamhudson1 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Hudson Room #1, facing forward.
068-koningsdamhudson2 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Hudson Room #2, facing starboard.

Hudson Rooms 1 and 2 are on the starboard side of Main Deck.

069-koningsdamhalfmoon2 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Half Moon Rooms i and 2, facing aft.

On the starboard side, aft of the Stuyvesant meeting room (not shown), the two Half Moon meeting rooms, like the Hudson meeting rooms, can be combined to accommodate larger groups.


P1120945 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Stairtower Art (holographic reindeer).
P1130162 copy
An untitled Marilyn at sea…

Marking a huge departure from the faux Xian warriors and gilded antiques found on prior HAL ships, the artwork on the KONINGSDAM veers from evocative to provocative and rarely disappoints.

P1130266 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Stairtower Art (guitars).
P1130857 copy
Stairtower Art (record spine line up).

Name plaques were not yet installed during my short time on the ship but a large portion of the art is musically inspired.  The media ranges from sculptures, wood blocks and ceramics to paintings and sketches.

070-koningsdamnewyorkdeli copy
MV KONINGSDAM Panorama Bar/New York Deli, facing port.

I took a short break in the midst of documenting for a light lunch at the New York Deli and Pizza overlooking the Lido Pool on Panorama Deck.

P1130549 copy
MV KONINGSDAM insalata caprese and iced tea at NY Deli.

The new complimentary eatery has a mean insalata caprese and…

P1130553 copy
MV KONINGSDAM grilled turkey sandwich in NY Deli.

…an excellent Manhattan Treat (turkey, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye).  For breakfast (6:00 to 10:00 AM) The NY Deli offers up toasted bagel sandwiches and for lunch/dinner (11:30 AM to 8:30 PM), eight types of sandwiches and numerous pizzas (served between 11:30 AM and 1:00 AM).  I would try a made-to-order pizza later in the cruise — it was good but not nearly as good as those offered on Carnival and Princess ships.

P1130601 copy

Once the KONINGSDAM was fully documented, I ventured ashore with one of my favorite fellow journalists, Seatrade Insider’s lovely Anne Kalosh, in search of some classic Neapolitan pizza.

P1130619 copy

Da Michele is one of Naples’ most famous pizzerias and, while we initially had some challenges locating it, once we turned the corner and spotted the crowd outside, we knew we had arrived.  We hovered in the company of fellow pizza aficionados for some twenty minutes before our number (27) was called.

P1130621 copy
Margherita, bubbles and Annie.

Once inside, we ordered our respective Margheritas, some acqua frizzante and engorged on the simplest but most exquisite of culinary creations for a mere five or six Euros a piece.  Afterward, we had just enough time to get back to the ship, where I enjoyed a work out with a passing view of Vesuvius as KONINGSDAM quietly motored off to Palermo.

P1130717 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Culinary Arts Center risotto preparation.

Our 8:00 PM dinner was scheduled for the Culinary Arts Center.  I had no idea what to expect but with the first sip of organic Snowqualmie Cabernet Sauvignon (unlimited and included) and my first taste of the Roasted Heritage Carrot Soup, I was hooked.  Other starters included Broccoli and Baked Ricotta Salad (with wild rice, asparagus pesto and roasted pine nuts), Herb Crusted Beef Bavate, Pan-Fried Sea Trout and Pumpkin Ricotta Parcels.

P1130751 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Red Quinoa With Zucchini.

Main Courses range from Ribeye Cap With Roasted Parsnip Puree, Vacuum Poached Seabass and Fennel Confit to Red Quinoa With Zucchini, all prepared in the open kitchen with a narrative from the chef and his sous chefs.  All in all, a dining event not to be missed.

P1130800 copy
MV KONINGSDAM Star Wars under the dome.

With dinner extending well into the evening, we missed the production show in the World Stage.  I decided to work off some of the day’s more indulgent calories with a walk around the ship, settling in the midships lido to watch the latest Star Wars movie on the big screen, accompanied with a bag of freshly popped popcorn from the New York Deli.

End of Part Two…

Click Here For Part Three

Special Thanks:  Erik Elvejord, Jerrol Golden, Gene Sloan, Jocelyn Wu


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *