Just like mentioned in my recent post about Holland America Line´s newest flagship MS Koningsdam, now it is time to talk about cabin comfort. We have stayed 10 nights in balcony stateroom 4017, a VF category cabin, in the forward section of Deck 4 starboard side. To put it into one word: We LOVED it. Find out why…
One thing we particularly enjoyed was the ample stowage. There are lots of drawers and cupboards for clothes, shoes and personal items to enjoy a tidy and cleaned up look during the entire cruise. The wooden hangers inside the massive closet right at the entrance are of high quality and none of those cheap new ones that other cruise lines have installed to prevent passengers to take them off the ship. When we called for additional hangers, we have been provided with the same wooden hangers. The closet also takes in a mini bar, the hair dryer and a safe that easily fits laptops from the size of a MacBook Air or an iPad.
If you are looking to stow your larger suitcases, these will still fit underneath the bed, yet you may have to lift it up a little in order to get it placed underneath. At the foot of the bed, there is an installed drawer that takes away a little of the stowage underneath. The vanity desk is also equipped with three drawers and the cupboard on the other side holds two compartments behind folding doors. These hold the life jackets, a woolen blanket and the day blanket, but if you rearrange a little, you may also stow a few things in here as well.
Each cabin onboard the MS Koningsdam features Holland America´s popular Mariner´s Dream bedding. It consists of a most comfortable mattress, a real duvet and two pillows (each of a different firmness) for each bed, making it a true retreat for a restful sleep. And by far, getting up in the mornings when going ashore was quite a challenge! Each side of the bed is equipped with an LED reading light, a bed lamp, a USB power socket, a regular 110V outlet and a selection of light switches to control the lighting in the cabin. One thing I really had a hard time getting along with (and I have quite a technical affinity) was the interactive telephone on my side of the bed. There seemed to be no user guide (at least we could not find one) and it took quite some time until we figured out how to place a call.
The average size of each balcony stateroom is around 21 square metres including the verandah. That leaves roughly 17 or 18 square metres for the living space inside the cabin which does not sound too much at first sight. But the layout allows you to easily move around without feeling cramped. Personally, we liked the variation with the little sofa next to the windows better as you automatically use this space much more as a “living room” than if it was the other way around.
I enjoyed many merry moments on this little couch during our cruise. Even though it is quite small, I loved to stretch out on it while day dreaming or reading. Another thing I particularly liked about the cabin design are the various light scenarios you can create yourself. Apart from the main switch, the vanity desk and the seating area have dedicated light switches for additional, atmospheric illumination.
As you can see, lots of additional power outlets and light switches at the vanity desk. The mirror features a soft, indirect lighting. Three more drawers to stow personal items and a large trashcan (can be seen on the previous picture) complete the fitting. The switch for the balcony light is behind the curtain on the wall. Koningsdam is considered a green ship. In order to activate the lighting, you must place your keycard in the gadget located right at the entrance. I tend to forget my room key easily, so you can use any kind of card or even thicker paper to leave inside the slot.To help preserve energy, just simply lift the card upon leaving the stateroom.
A nice touch is the fresh fruits that you can order on a daily base free of charge. Simply fill out the form placed inside the basket upon embarkation day and the basket is refilled as soon as you finished the last fruit, as many times as you will need it. It is one of these little details that make the difference!
Night chocolates, the daily program as well as the order form for in-room breakfast are presented neatly in an elegant folder placed on the bed every evening during turn down service. Beach towels and a little tote bag are provided on the first night without having to ask for them.
Having breakfast on the balcony is even possible on disembarkation day! You may even stay inside your stateroom until it is time to leave the ship. This I have never experienced onboard a large ship before. Compared to what has been served on Celebrity Cruises as in-room breakfast lately, look how neat and tasteful the presentation is.
This view gives you a great idea what the other side of the cabin looks like. The wall mounted flat-panel TV with video on demand dims automatically down at night. All blockbusters and TV series are available free-of-charge. The light wooden paneling and the silver cornices create a bright and elegant ambiance and two hangers mounted to the wall come handy for jackets, bags or towel hanging. One thing missing is a night-light. The cabin is completely dark and can be hazardous.
The modern bathroom combines functionality and contemporary design with well-appointed lighting (even though a night-light is missing!). Surfaces and finishings are of high quality and create a luxurious ambiance like in an exclusive boutique hotel.
Stowage for personal items and toiletries is a little small though, at least for my taste. One thing that was definitely missing is a toilet brush. The plush bathrobes and 100% Egyptian cotton towels, on the other hand, were highly appreciated.
Other than that, the arrangement of the toilet itself can be irritating for everyone who is taller than 1,70m (5´7″). The slanting design may cause you to temporarily park your legs inside the shower.
The frameless glass-doored shower is probably the biggest highlight of the bathroom. It is not only huge compared to other stateroom designs, it also features this amazing massage shower head (the little switch underneath) that literally splashes you from one side of the shower to the other. Loved it! Another useful detail are the wall-mounted Elemis Aromapure bath amenities providing you with high quality shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Now this should really be standard these days, shouldn´t it?
Cabins of the VF category feature a double sized verandah compared to other staterooms which border right at the ship´s hull. Most of them lie in the forward section of Deck 4, port and starboard side.
There is lots of space to spread out on. Besides the verandah seating, you can also spread your beach towel on the floor. As these cabins lie above the World Stage theatre, there might be sounds and noise during rehearsals at day time and during performances until around 11pm. It did not bother us though.
Half of the space of the verandah is covered by the structure of the upper decks which provides a shady shelter from the sun and also some privacy if you prefer to stay underneath.
The views from here are truly impeccable. There is also not much traffic outside in the hallway since just a few staterooms lie ahead. We would book this cabin anytime again, really.
Great job, Holland America. A well-thought through cabin design with lots of technical gimmicks, stowage and attention to detail. The shower is spot on and so is the lighting concept. Close to perfection if there were not these small details missing like a toilet brush, a night-light or the difficult to use toilet itself. A good example for future cruise ships.