You wait for ages for the opportunity to have a ship’s tour, then two come along at once. This week we had the pleasure of travelling up to the capital God’s country for a tour of the Koningsdam, moored on the River Forth at South Queensferry.
We had travelled up by train to Edinburgh and caught the local service to Dalmeny. As the tour started at 9.30am, we stayed overnight at Premier Inn and after a good night’s sleep I was up early in the hope of getting a photo of the ship and the Forth Bridge in the dawn light. I just managed to get this picture before the mist rolled in and completely obscured them from view. As I made my way back to the hotel for breakfast I could hear the ship’s horn being sounded as a warning to other shipping.
This was a self-tour, with the freedom to go as we pleased and as tour was mid cruise we were pleasantly surprised to be told that a couple of cabins were available for viewing. We were impressed with the balcony cabins, in particular, although compact, were well appointed. I particularly liked the reading lights, and the shower looked excellent, with Elemis toiletries as standard in all the cabins. The balcony’s depth was quite generous as on some modern ships it is quite shallow and you can only sit comfortably, side on. Not on this ship!
Having been impressed with the Celebrity Silhouette we were particularly keen to compare it to another “Premium” cruise line and the Koningsdam doesn’t disappoint. For what they class as a mid-size ship it had the feel of a ship much larger than the 99,500 tonnes.
The seating in the bar areas looked comfortable and the sofas in the “Crow’s Nest” in particular looked great and when tested were comfortable. Whilst the windows don’t have the same panoramic effect as the Yacht Club on MSC’s Preziosa, you could appreciate the scenery whilst relaxing in comfort with a drink.
Also on deck 12 was the “Retreat”, the ship’s luxury sun deck with cabanas and loungers for the sun worshippers looking for a really special area to relax.
The Greenhouse Spa and Salon is split over two decks (10&9) with the fitness centre at front of deck 9.
Moving aft on both these decks is the Lido Pool area, whilst not as plush as the “Retreat” you would be more than comfortable here, and with the “New York Deli and Pizza” on hand on deck 10 or “Dive In” on deck 9 for burgers, you could spend all day there, whilst at sea perfectly happy. There is even a hoist for those less mobile to enjoy the facilities.
The ‘Lido Market” is the place if you wanted a wider selection for lunch. We had passed “Canaletto”, the Italian Speciality dining option and it took a minute or two to realise that this was the ship’s buffet area. The tables are set with glasses and cutlery, which certainly raises the standard compared to more popular cruise lines.
All too soon it was time to make our way to the main dining room for lunch, but not before we checked out the sea view bar and pool. We noticed that there were ramps and lots of the doors were automatic making access for wheelchairs easier.
The lunch menu consisted of Sea Food Platter, followed by Tomato and Basil soup then a choice of Barramundi or Tenderloin of Beef (our choice) followed by Chocolate and Peanut Tart, with Rum and Raisin Ice Cream. All were delicious, the Tenderloin in particular, and the Tart and Raisin Ice Cream certainly did not breach the Trades Description Act as it had a definite alcoholic kick to it!! As Linda is diabetic, she, unfortunately, avoids such sugary treats but the waiter was more than happy to provide her with some sugar free ice cream.
After lunch there was a presentation by the sales team, although there was no need for a sales pitch as the quality of the ship and lunch had convinced us that we would have no qualms in booking a cruise with them in the future. With half of their fleet dedicated to Alaska, the combination of their expertise there and quality of their ships, if the Koningsdam is a good benchmark, would make them prime candidates for a cruise in that region.
We concluded, as we made our way back to shore, that a couple of hours certainly weren’t long enough. I doubt a 7 night cruise would be either.
Whilst we normally look to cruise further afield, at anchor in the Forth next to the railway bridge in wonderful sunshine, the option of sailing in the UK on such a beautiful ship certainly gives food for thought.