Upscale Big Ship Cruising Defined By Holland America Culinary Options

In this series we’re taking a deep look at each of the relevant Holland America culinary options aboard new ms Koningsdam. We think its high time for upscale big ship cruising and Holland America Line seems to have pulled it off with this magnificent new ship.

Sailing recently with Holland America Line, we enjoyed a variety of interesting culinary options.  The scene was new 99,000-ton ms Koningsdam which provided a snapshot of what the future of Holland America will no doubt bring to other ships in the fleet.  While sailing, I posted photos here and there and wrote a story or two about some of the individual venues.  Now back on land, I thought it might be a good idea to take a more global look at what the Holland America Line of today is offering.

We begin with Holland America’s Culinary Council, a group of chefs who bring a wide variety of experience to the tabletops of ms Koningsdam.

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Holland America Line photos


Partnering with a celebrity chef is not a new idea. We have seen that on sister cruise lines in the Carnival Corporation fleet of 100+ ships that span ten different brands. Our friends at Carnival Cruise Line, for example, hooked up with Food Network star Guy Fieri for the rabidly popular Guy’s Burger Joint as well as Guys Pig and Anchor Barbecue Smokehouse on sea days.   Over at ultra luxury line Seabourn, chef Thomas Keller dug in deep to produce a variety of venues, menu items and most recently,  The Grill By Thomas Keller.

Relevant Holland America Culinary Options
Dinner In The Culinary Arts Center

But doing so with six fabulous chefs with diverse background is indeed unique. The results have been amazing.  Let’s take a look at each of the venues aboard Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam, one at a time, in detail.  We begin with Dinner in the Culinary Arts Center.

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The Culinary Arts Center on Holland America Line’s fleet of ships provide an interesting and entertaining venue not found anywhere else.  It’s a display kitchen of sorts where cooking demonstrations are commonly performed on days at sea.  New ms Koningsdam has a Culinary Arts Center too.  Different here, The Culinary Arts Center on this ship turns the tables a bit, inviting the diners to join in.  The two-way interaction between guests and chefs during Dinner At The Culinary Arts Center ($39 per person) turns a normally passive entertainment experience into an interactive atmosphere where foodies can get right up close to the action.

Culinary Arts Center Menu 1

Exclusively (at least for now) on ms Koningsdam,  the signature show kitchen by day transforms to a dinner venue at night. Based on the popular farm-to-table movement, dinner at the Culinary Arts Center features simple, artisanal (I hate that overused word but it actually applies here) dishes prepared by chefs at the center of the action.

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As one might expect, the focus is on fresh ingredients during what truly qualifies as a dining “experience” more than any other venue we have seen at sea.  That focus touches every element of the experience from beginning to end starting with a napkin infused with a sprig of fresh Rosemary to a ‘nothing frozen, everything fresh’ approach all the way through.


Lining the entry to the Culinary Arts Center are nine interactive displays that allow guests to explore the lives of food and wine luminaries, their culinary secrets, recipe tips, favorite dishes and more. Seen here, Master Chef Rudi Sodamin who leads the Culinary Council.

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Diners who find one or more of the recipes of particular interest can pick up a copy of the recipe to try at home too.   This Heritage Carrot Soup was wonderful but had a few ingredients I was not familiar with.  That’s no problem as the onboard culinary team is there to help.

Heritage Carrot Soup Recipe


One theme that came up early in our voyage: Come Prepared.  The people on the ship know what they are doing and are standing by to answer our questions about different menu items in all venues.  In the Culinary Arts Center, onboard culinary pros talked us through a meal that was prepared right before our eyes.  Like the idea?  Think you might want to do this more than once?  No problem: the menu rotates every night between that shown above and this one:

Culinary Arts Center Menu 2 2

See more in our post Koningsdam Interactive Culinary Dinner A Hit as well as a dedicated microsite all about the Culinary Arts Center from Holland America that also has links to information about the other dining venues aboard.

Bookmark this post: I’ll add one more of the relevant Holland America Culinary options with each update.  Up next: Intimate dining across the hall on ms Koningsdam at Sel de Mer, a new seafood brasserie offering a contemporary twist on timeless French classics, with a diverse menu that ranges from fresh oysters to salt-crusted whole fish and bouillabaisse.

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More About Our Holland America Line Koningsdam Sailing

READ more of 9ur sailing aboard Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam here:

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SEE more of our sailing aboard Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam here:

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EXPERIENCE what Holland America Line wants us to know about new ms Koningsdam in these series of videos, beginning with an aerial overview of the ship