Abundant Koningsdam Onboard Programming, Collectively Wonderful

On the way to our first port of call in Norway aboard Holland America Line’s new sold out ms Koningsdam, we spent the day at sea.  Sailing full from Rotterdam, I was curious which venues would be most popular, which would not and what I might find the diverse mix of passengers doing on a day at sea. Interestingly, with few of the top deck features normally associated with a big ship of this size, there was no lack of events, activities, demonstrations and other onboard programming from which to choose.

Rotterdam Sailaway - 34

In reality, it was more a matter of which activity to choose among a wide variety of appropriate choices.  Now let’s stop right here for a moment to take advantage of one unique element of this sailing from Amsterdam as opposed to one sailing round-trip from a North American port. Typical of European sailings, this one has a large number of Americans on board, fans of Holland America Line who feel comfortable sailing with them anywhere in the world.  A large contingent but not dominating.  I’ve been on ships before where Americans were a small minority of passengers on the ship (Italian cruise line Costa Cruises comes to mind) and others where Americans seemed to be the only ones (Carnival Freedom full of Texans sailing from Galveston).

Listening as I walked around the ship a lot of Dutch, German, French and other languages could be heard as well. One of the most interesting parts of sailing with a diverse group is that, in general, everyone seems so very polite. They also seem to be a bit happier.  They are for sure in no rush to get from one place to another…to the point where I (who normally walk fast and find slow people in the way annoying) felt comfortable walking at their speed. Not surprisingly, this also seems like a more physically fit bunch.  The point here addresses a fairly common misconception about Holland America Line:  it’s just for old people.

Denali National Park - 049

As on any cruise line, there are a good number of passengers in the 60+ age bracket.  That just makes sense.  Longer and more diverse itineraries offered by cruise lines take time that those in their earlier years just might not have.  Seniors have the money.  The life clock is ticking.  Stop again please.  In what appears to be an interesting side effect of all things Koningsdam, Holland America Line may have very well redefined themselves.  This Norse Legends sailing summer sailing also has a noticeably larger number of families.  Nice families with well-behaved children who seem to be having a good time.

Koningsdam Arrives - 145

In This Is Holland America Line? Yes It Is And They’re Playing Our Song, we talked about Collective Intelligence, a concept introduced by Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford that appears to be weaving its way through the entire organization.  Under the Collective Intelligence banner, good things have come to Holland America that respect the line’s long history, solidify their current position and prepare them for the future.  From that effort we have seen awkward elements of the cruise travel experience made comfortable.  A very good example: explaining the dress code.  One of the most frequently asked questions I get about life onboard.

Denali Square Dedication - 178

With a stroke of the Collective Intelligence brush, Holland America Line totally eliminated the guesswork on what to wear at dinner.  Applying that ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’  thing, Holland America Line explains the dress code this way:


Which brings us back to these shoes mentioned in yesterday’s post.


Expertly cast Cruise Director Shane is faced with a unique challenge.  As the first Cruise Director on this brand new ship which is also an entirely new class of ship for Holland America Line, the stakes are high.

Ask The Captain - 05

Think about Cruise Directors in general.  What part of cruise directors do we come in contact with most?  Their voice right?  We’ll see them around the ship, at shows and events but the most frequently part of the cruise director’s job that we know about is announcements.   Cruise Director Shane’s voice has an undeniable air of confidence, but we expect that.  This is the person who might be giving us life-or-death instruction in an emergency.  Of particular interest here, that same voice also brings a nicely-modulated energy that is contagious.  Cruise fans: think Doug Parker from CruiseRadio and you’re there.

The shoes fit the dress code with Cruise Director Shane serving as a live example.

This is Holland America Line looking at every detail and the effect of Collective Intelligence at work. An Ask The Captain event in Koningsdam’s World Stage multi-media showroom began with a virtual tour of the navigational bridge, an area off limits for security reasons. It was very much a ‘getting to know’ Captain Darin Bowland event and passengers appeared to like what they saw.

Sel de Mer Seafood Brasserie - 32

We ended the day with dinner at Sel de Mer a seafood brassiere with ala carte pricing.  More on that wonderful meal coming up.  First, some of the other activities we might have chosen to do while at sea on Holland America Line’s Koningsdam

  • Norway In a Nutshell- an intro to where we would be going and what we could see
  • Dance Class: Tango
  • Creative Crafts:  Making Luggage Tags
  • Bridge
  • Culinary Arts Center:  House and Cress tasting
  • Windows workshop:  What’s new in Windows 10
  • The History of Faberge- an enlightening talk
  • Texas Hold’em Tournament (twice in the day)
  • Culinary Arts Center Demonstration
  • Ping Pong Tournament
  • Exotic Voyages Future Cruise Presentation
  • Champagne Live Art Auction
  • Meet Your Fellow Veterans
  • BBC Earth Presentation: Trivia From Earth
  • Windows Workshop: Bring Photos To Life With Windows
  • Slot Tournament
  • Pinnacle Grill Lunch
  • BLEND: Become your own winemaker ($129)
  • Windows Workshop: Q&A with Digital Workshop Host
  • $20,000 Jackpot Bingo
  • Team Trivia
  • Beer Tasting ($12.50)
  • Culinary Arts Center Demonstration: Flavors of Norway
  • Matinee: Viva La Musica
  • Navigator Wine Tasting ($15)
  • World Rarest Gems Presentation
  • Fitness Seminar: Walking In Comfort
  • Windows Workshop: Make Movies With Windows 10
  • High Tea
  • Mixology Class ($12.50)
  • Beatles Concert
  • Windows Workshop: Organize photos with Windows 10
  • Martini Sampling ($4)
  • Name That Tune
  • Wine Package Sampling ($4)
  • BBC Earth Presentation: Poolside Movie: Inside Earth

Here’s more from our Galley Tour:

Koningsdam Galley Tour - 26 Koningsdam Galley Tour - 19 Koningsdam Galley Tour - 12 Koningsdam Galley Tour - 13 DSC_0136 DSC_0135 DSC_0121

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Posted Live as we sail  the North Sea to Norway

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