MS Koningsdam Cruise Ship, United States of America

MS Koningsdam is a new cruise ship being constructed by Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard, Italy, for Holland America Line. It will be the first Pinnacle-class vessel to join Holland America’s cruise ship fleet.

The first steel for MS Koningsdam was cut in February 2014, and a keel laying ceremony was held in August 2014. Delivery is expected in February 2016.

MS Koningsdam design

Koningsdam is designed in a contemporary style to create a perfect harmony with classic elegance. It will feature luxurious interiors that blend fresh air, fluid curves, elegant lines and illuminated spaces. The public spaces are designed to reflect tradition, whereas the architectural elements are inspired by music.

The central atrium with a ceiling skylight will be three decks high and adorned by an airy stainless steel sculpture. The interiors are designed by Adam D Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten.

The 99,500 gross register tonnage (grt) cruise ship will have a capacity to accommodate 2,650 passengers and 1,025 crew members.

Accommodation aboard the new Pinnacle-class cruise ship

The new Pinnacle-class cruise ship will offer single and family staterooms. The staterooms will be classified into three categories, namely Neptune, Signature and Vista.

The ship will also feature 32 family ocean-view staterooms that occupy between 222ft2 and 231ft2, with two bathrooms and accommodation for five people, and 12 single ocean-view cabins measuring between 127ft2 and 172ft2. The staterooms and suites will be furnished with custom casework, USB ports and frameless glass shower doors.

A grand Pinnacle Suite of 1,290ft2 will comprise a living area, dining area, dressing area, bedroom and personal verandah with whirlpool. The cruise ship will also feature two Neptune Spa Suites and 43 Neptune Suites. The guests of Neptune and Pinnacle suites will have access to the Neptune Lounge, with the personalised service of a concierge.

The fleet-wide lounges offer worktables, a big-screen television, a library, sofas and chairs, complimentary refreshments and wi-fi at a nominal charge in the ship.

Koningsdam will also offer affordable accommodation, including 266 standard or large interior rooms of up to 225ftsq. Most of the rooms will feature verandas. The verandah spa accommodations, which will be located near the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, will offer health and wellness services during the journey.

Dining aboard the Koningsdam

The guests on-board Koningsdam can enjoy dining at six restaurants, namely the Pinnacle Grill, the main dining room, the Lido, Tamarind Asian fusion restaurant, In-Cabin and Balcony Dining, and Canaletto Italian restaurant.

The central bar area will allow the guests to check-in for an alternative-dining reservation at the central podium, and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail before being seated at the restaurant.

The Culinary Arts Centre will offer activities such as hands-on classes and cooking demonstrations during the day, while it will transform into a dining area and the Grand Dutch Café to provide snacks or beverages in the evening.

MS Koningsdam entertainment venues

The Music Walk complex on the ship will encompass the Lincoln Centre Stage, Billboard Onboard and BB King’s Blues Club.

The World Stage, with multiple stage configurations, will feature high-definition 270° LED screen of two stories high and 250ft-long. It will be equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems and lighting for showcasing performances and productions.

Additional facilities will include Digital Workshop, Explorations Café, Fitness Centre, Merabella luxury shop, Signature Shops, Promenade, Casino and Explorer’s Lounge.

MS Koningsdam itineraries

MS Koningsdam will enter service with a seven-day round-trip voyage from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Naples, followed by a series of six 12-day sailings across the Mediterranean.

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Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam

This Ship Now: Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam

October 10, 2014A review of Nieuw Amsterdam during its fifth year of serviceBy: Marilyn Green

<p>Asian restaurant Tamarind is one of multiple dining venues onboard Nieuw Amsterdam. // © 2014 Holland America Line</p><p>Feature image (above):...

Asian restaurant Tamarind is one of multiple dining venues onboard Nieuw Amsterdam.

// © 2014 Holland America Line

Feature image (above): Expanded menus and entertainment options are keeping

Nieuw Amsterdam fresh after five years in service.

// © 2014 Holland America Line

Launched by Holland American Line (HAL) in 2010, Nieuw Amsterdam did a wonderful job keeping one foot squarely in the elegant, familiar traditions of HAL while introducing new features designed to attract a bigger demographic.

Now in its fifth year of service, Nieuw Amsterdam has continued to maintain that balance by making additions to the onboard experience that are focused on psychographics rather than age demographics. Instead of developing separate features catering to different generations, HAL has found common denominators that appeal to a comprehensive range of guests — from 30-somethings to World War II veterans. What’s more, new programs, such as the year-old partnership with “Dancing with the Stars,” have been introduced without eliminating any of the daily activities that many guests have come to love.

When I sailed on Nieuw Amsterdam earlier this year, on the sailing that hosted the finals for “Dancing with the Stars,” I was struck by how new the ship felt and the universality of the ship’s appeal. The dancers and fans added a verve and enthusiasm that spread to everyone — even people who did not have a compelling interest in the competition — and the connections between different generations made for new friendships and abundant conversation.

HAL’s traditional standout activities also enriched the line’s passenger base, from ballroom dancing and excellence in dining that spans Cupcake Tea to the most formal meals, plus entertainment such as the just-launched Nashville-themed B.B. King Blues Club, held five nights a week in the Queen’s Lounge.

Here’s an overview of today’s Nieuw Amsterdam:

Accommodations
Rooms have features with widespread appeal and a great deal of flexibility, including closet space that can be adjusted to include hanging items and shelving. All accommodations have Sealy Euro-Top mattresses, hypoallergenic pillows and flat-screen televisions with DVD players. The in-room system has more than 1,000 free movies with titles reflecting a broad variety of guest tastes. Nieuw Amsterdam is also the first HAL ship with keycard-activated lighting, which has been used by hotels as an energy-saving device for some time.

It’s important to check the deck plan within stateroom and suite categories, as size can vary with location, and some have bathtubs and showers or larger space for seating. Thirty accommodations — from Deluxe and Superior Verandah Suites to inside staterooms — are wheelchair accessible.

Dining Options
Onboard dining choices are varied enough for expansive appeal. HAL’s Culinary Council of well-known chefs provides daily recommendations on the dining room fare. Dining options include Pinnacle Grill and the Tamarind restaurant that specializes in Asian food. Meanwhile, HAL’s Master Chef’s Table serves a tasting dinner on selected evenings. Pinnacle Grill also holds a weekly Le Cirque dining presentation; at $49, it is essentially the cost of tax and tip alone at the New York’s Le Cirque restaurant.

HAL expanded the menu at Italian restaurant Canaletto at the beginning of the year, bringing in a trendy small-plates option that has passengers across the generations experimenting and comparing notes at dinner. Canaletto dining now has a $10 surcharge (which was formerly included).

Complimentary 24-hour room service is more extensive than what’s available on many other cruise lines and includes the opportunity to order from the dining room menu during dinner hours.

The two decks of spa staterooms have in-cabin healthy dining menus that appeal to younger cruisers as well as older passengers who are both physically active and health conscious. There is a 22-dish vegetarian menu in the two-story Manhattan Dining Room, which has spa choices and international dishes such as the Dutch uitsmijter (open-faced sandwich with eggs on top) at breakfast.

Three kinds of afternoon tea appear on different days: a whimsical Cupcake Tea; the traditional Dutch High Tea; and an Indonesian Tea Ceremony featuring a variety of teas and desserts.

Exclusivity is another factor appreciated by HAL passengers of all ages. Suite guests can choose to have breakfast separately at Pinnacle Grill, although the menu is the same as that of Manhattan Dining Room. They also have free laundry and dry-cleaning services, priority tender boarding and use of the private Neptune Lounge where snacks and drinks are available throughout the day.

Entertainment
Entertainment is designed to please both new and repeat HAL guests. The three-deck, 890-seat Showroom at Sea showcases production shows and entertainment ranging from comedians to illusionists. When I sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam, it was packed two hours ahead of show time for the “Dancing with the Stars” final competition, accompanied by presentations by dance experts in their 40s.

Younger couples and older guests take full advantage of private nooks on Nieuw Amsterdam, so much so that travelers should make reservations as early as possible for the curtained cabanas placed along a wall of the Lido deck that rent for $35 (on port days) or $50 (on sea days) per day. The fee includes beverages and lunch served privately, and the cabanas come with iPods loaded with musical selections.

The Private Retreat, located on the deck above the Lido, is in even greater demand. Here, cabanas offering outdoor living/dining rooms include light breakfast and lunch and cost $45 to $115 per day, depending on their size. These should be reserved as early as possible after booking the cruise; by the time passengers board the ship, they are already reserved.

Life Onboard
The year-old partnership with “Dancing with the Stars” has clearly expanded Nieuw Amsterdam’s guest mix. On this year’s cruise of dance finalists, guests of all ages were dancing in the evenings and attending daytime dance classes — as well as attending seminars on computer tips, photography lessons and demonstrations from celebrity chefs in the Culinary Arts Center.

Sales Tip
North American dance studios are now sending “Dancing with the Stars” contestants to the ship year-round to compete. The contestants typically sail with their families — a very good potential target market for travel agents.

Nieuw Amsterdam sails alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises this winter, returning to the Mediterranean in April.