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The Dining Room on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
The dining venues and culinary options on the Holland America Koningsdam cruise ship feature a diverse mix of size, cuisines, and ambiance. Many of the restaurants and culinary venues are familiar names to past Holland America cruise lovers, and others are new to the cruise line. This article provides photos and information on a dozen places on the ship to enjoy a meal or a bite to eat. The last two pages deal with two amazing culinary experiences--the Culinary Arts Center and Blend. a room dedicated to wine tasting.
The Dining Room is the largest dining venue on the Koningsdam, and is located aft on decks 2 and 3. This dramatic room seats 1,098 guests, and it kind of reminds me of either the inside ribs of a ship or of the inside ribs of a whale. It's certainly gorgeous, with spectacular chandeliers and seating on two decks.
The Dining Room is open for dinner each evening and is open for breakfast and lunch on sea days. The menus are very diverse and include a selection of... starters, soups, salads, main courses, and desserts. Main courses almost always include seafood or fish, poultry, beef, or pork, and there's always a vegetarian selection. The Koningsdam also features regional selections, depending on the itinerary. Holland America Line Signature dishes like French onion soup, classic Caesar salad, grilled salmon, broiled New York strip loin, and oven roasted chicken are available each night.
Everyone in our group enjoyed the variety of dishes offered on the menu, and it seemed like we tried (as a group) most everything on the menu on the nights we ate in the Dining Room. The atmosphere in the photo looks very formal, but it's a comfortable place to dine.
When booking the cruise, guests can choose to dine at one of two, pre-set times or select "as you wish", anytime dinner.
When you sail on the Koningsdam, be sure to try some of the other great restaurants on the cruise ship. My favorite is Tamarind, an Asian restaurant profiled on the next page.
More on the Holland America ms Koningsdam Cruise ShipContinue to 2 of 13 below.
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Tamarind Restaurant on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
Tamarind is the Holland America Koningsdam cruise ship's Asian restaurant. It is located high up on deck 10 aft and seats 140 guests. This specialty restaurant carries a surcharge, but is well worth the extra cost for those of us who love Asian food. Tamarind is open for lunch and dinner. It's one of my favorites restaurants at sea, and I've eaten in a lot of them. I fell in love with Tamarind in 2011 when I dined on the Nieuw Amsterdam, and was recently delighted to find it had been added to the Eurodam during its 2015 renovation.
Tamarind features all sorts of Asian food. For example, of the three soups on our menu, one was Indonesian, one was Thai, and the third was seafood. The appetizers are much the same, with items such as shrimp tempura, Thai beef salad, Malaysian satay sampler, Vietnamese spring rolls, Peking duck crepes, and Shanghai ribs. Is your mouth watering yet? I won't go into details of the excellent sushi and sahimi menu, but love that the main courses... are grouped into four of the five different types of energy--water, fire, wood, and earth. My favorites are the ginger and garlic wok seared lobster (water) or the wasabi and soy crusted beef tenderloin (wood), but the other dishes are also tasty. Vegetarians have three main courses on the menu, along with some starters.
A nice selection of side dishes can be ordered to go along with the rest of the meal, but it's hard to eat plain steamed or brown rice when you can have sushi instead.
Be sure to save room for dessert. Chocolate lovers will appreciate the Tamarind chocolate, which is a bittersweet chocolate shell filled with a tamarind flavored chocolate and ginger mousse. The Thai mini doughnuts are as good as they sound, and come with delicious dipping sauces. Those looking for something lighter might enjoy the mango cloud, an egg white souffle with a scoop of mango sorbet.Continue to 3 of 13 below.
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Sel de Mer Restaurant on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
Sel de Mer is a seafood brasserie on the Koningsdam and a new venue for Holland America Line. This tiny venue only seats 44 guests and is located on deck 2 next to the Atrium and across from the Ocean Bar. Pricing is a la carte and can add up fast if you try several different items.
Although most of the items on the menu are seafood, Sel de Mer also has other French favorites like duck cassoulet, coq au vin, beef pot au feu, and French fries. There's a daily plats du jour, so you might want to check the menu to see which day a favorite might be served. (For example, I'm a big fan of rack of lamb and would love to try it at Sel de Mer on Sunday, the day it's offered. The night our group dined at Ses de Mer, the fresh fish of the day and the Maine lobster were popular choices at our table, but everyone seemed to enjoy what they selected. The Sel de Mer lobster was cooked perfectly, which isn't always the case in other restaurants at sea or ashore. The vegetarian choice was... a goat cheese souffle, and the bite I tasted was excellent.
Next to Sel de Mer is a familiar and Holland America favorite--Pinnacle Grill.Continue to 4 of 13 below.
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Pinnacle Grill on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
The Pinnacle Grill is Holland America Line's traditional steakhouse with a Pacific Northwest flair. It's popular on all the cruise line's ships, and the one on the Koningsdam is excellent. This venue seats 116 and is located on deck 2 next to Atrium and Sel de Mer. The menu is similar to Pinnacle Grills on the Nieuw Amsterdam, Eurodam, Veendam, Maasdam, Ryndam, and other Holland America Line cruise ships.
Pinnacle Grill has a surcharge, but the Pacific Northwest steaks and other menu items are delicious and worth the extra fee. Favorites include the lobster bisque, crab cakes, steak tartare, steak (sizes from 7 oz. to 23 oz. and 4 different cuts), lamb chops, and broiled salmon. Surf & turf is always a good selection when you can't make up your mind. One new main course added is the President's Cut, a three-pound, bone-in rib eye. It has a hefty extra surcharge (on top of the fixed fee), but is perfect for sharing if everyone can agree on how it should be... cooked. Our table for 8 shared it along with our own main course.
I was happy to see that the dessert menu still includes a souffle and the baked Alaska made with Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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Canaletto Italian Restaurant on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
Canaletto is the casual Italian restaurant on the Holland America Koningsdam. It is located on deck 9 inside the Lido Market area. The Italian dishes on the Canaletto menu are designed for sharing at the table, adding to a fun dining experience in a beautiful space with great sea views. Canaletto has an extra surcharge.
Canaletto features small plates for tasting like beef carpaccio or duck and chicken liver pate. The menu also has several pasta dishes, along with veal, sea bass, chicken, and pork as main courses. My favorite dessert at Canaletto is the Limoncello creme, but most people prefer the tiramisu.
Since Canaletto is inside the Lido Market, many guests sit in the space at breakfast and lunch.Continue to 6 of 13 below.
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Grand Dutch Cafe on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
The Grand Dutch Cafe on the Koningsdam is a casual coffee bar that also serves Dutch treats and snacks. It is a new venue for Holland America, seats 68, and is found on deck 3 near the Atrium. Open from about 7:30 am until 10 pm, it's a great gathering place during the day and into the evening.Continue to 7 of 13 below.
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Explorations Cafe on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
The Explorations Cafe is found on the top of the ship on deck 12 inside the Crow's Nest lounge of the Koningsdam. This 30-seat coffeehouse is located inside the library area of the Crow's Nest. Guests can read a book, surf the Internet, check their email, and sip a cup of coffee while snacking on a pastry in the Explorations Cafe.Continue to 8 of 13 below.
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Lido Market on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
The 388-seat Lido Market is found on deck 9 on the Holland America Koningsdam cruise ship. Past Holland America cruisers will enjoy the layout of this venue; it's much better than the traditional buffet lines. The Lido Market has a large variety of specialty stations, with a cuisine to suit everyone's cravings.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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New York Deli and Pizza on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
The New York Deli and Pizza casual eatery is new to the ms Koningsdam. Located on deck 10 overlooking the pool, it's a great place for a quick sandwich, salad, or a piece (or more) of pizza. Since the small deli counter is on deck 10, it's often much quieter than eating poolside.Continue to 10 of 13 below.
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Dive-In Casual Eatery on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
The Dive-In is located on deck 9 poolside, just outside of the Lido Market. It's a busy place for lunch, but the delicious burgers are cooked to order. Just order the burger (or hot dog), and the server gives you a buzzer/pager to take to your table. When the burger is done, you'll get paged. Much easier than having to hang around the counter.Continue to 11 of 13 below.
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Gelato Shop on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
The Holland America Koningsdam cruise ship is located poolside next to the Dive-In burger stand on deck 9. The gelato has an a la carte price, but it authentic gelato made on the ship. Holland America sent a couple of its chefs to Italy to learn to make gelato properly, and also invested in a gelato machine. Buy a cup or cone, close your eyes, and you are in Italy!Continue to 12 of 13 below.
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Culinary Arts Center on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
Past Holland America travelers are familiar with the Culinary Arts Center on other Holland America Line cruise ships. They are used for culinary events like cooking classes, demonstrations, and lectures. The Culinary Arts Center on the Koningsdam is also used for these events, but is also a special restaurant. This culinary center was purpose-built, with a terrific show kitchen and individual cooking stations for the classes.
Located on deck 2 and seating 74, the Culinary Arts Center is open for dinner, with a fixed menu each evening. Diners get to enjoy a farm-to-table experience and watch the chefs at work in the show kitchen, preparing each course "live". Some of the fresh ingredients are grown in a small glass greenhouse right next to the Culinary Arts Center, adding to the experience.
On our cruise on the Koningsdam, the chefs rotated two, five-course menus for the Culinary Arts Center dinners. Everyone gets the same starters, but has a choice of a main course and dessert.... Our menu included:
Salad -- "Sprouting salad of golden beets" -- dried apples, tarragon, hazelnut oil, cider vinaigrette, farmhouse goat cheese, gold and red beets. I'm not a huge beet fan, but this was a delicious combination.
Appetizer -- "Celery and Kale Risotto" with homegrown mushrooms, sorrel pesto, and chive flowers. The kale was roasted, crunchy, and a nice addition to the mushroom risotto.
Main Course -- 3 choices
- "Rib eye cap with roasted parsnip puree", heritage carrots, pickled romanesco, cipollini onions, and a Beaujolais wine reduction. I tried this one and it was amazing.
- "Vacuum poached seabass and fennel confit" with pickled seashore vegetables and a dry sherry reduction
- "Red quinoa with zucchini", apples, red beets, and almonds (vegetarian)
Desserts -- 2 choices
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- "Artisan cheese plate" with wild honey
- "Chocolate cylinders"--with red pepper cress and espuma of mascarpone yogurt
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Blend Wine Tasting on the Holland America Koningsdam Cruise Ship
Have you ever wanted to make your own wine? On the Holland America ms Koningsdam cruise ship, you can't plant or harvest grapes and make wine from scratch, but you can blend your own special label at Blend, a dedicated room with a tasting table for 10 across from the Culinary Arts Center on deck 2. Holland America Line partnered with Washington State vintner Chateau Ste. Michelle in the Pacific Northwest to bring this blending experience to its cruise ships.
I love wine tastings, but this was something very special. We tasted five different red wines from the Cold Creek Vineyard of Chateau Ste. Michelle. While tasting the five wines, we made notes as to which ones we liked the best and why. Using this information, each of us determined a percentage of each wine we wanted to blend to make our own. Using a graduated cylinder (just like in chemistry class), we added the wines we wanted to blend in a glass. If we weren't happy with the glass blend, we tried again until we were... satisfied to blend a whole bottle. The instructor gave us a chart to convert our percentages into a whole bottle, which we then prepared and labeled with the name we had chosen.
Great fun, and you got to take the bottle back to your cabin to drink there or in one of the restaurants. It's okay to take the bottle home, but I wouldn't try to put it in a checked bag since it's not corked for travel. Some participants who were staying extra time at the end of the cruise took their bottles ashore in a carry-on. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend booking seats at Blend on the last day of your cruise, unless you plan to drink the bottle that evening.