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Holland America Koningsdam Dining And Food Review

HAL Koningsdam main dining room

While the Koningsdam cruise ship can accommodate up to 2650 guests, there are plenty of dining options onboard. So, if you want a casual meal or a fancy venue to celebrate a special occasion, you’ll find it on this Holland America cruise ship.

In this Holland America Koningsdam dining review, I share my thoughts on eating onboard. You’ll learn what’s complimentary and where you’ll pay an extra fee.

The following areas are complimentary.

The Dining Room

The Koningsdam has one large complimentary dining room at the aft on the ship. It spans two decks, the Plaza and Promenade. Diners with a set time ate upstairs on deck 3.

Deck 2 handled the anytime diners who can show up when hungry. While cruising solo, the dining room couldn’t accommodate my request to dine alone unless I was willing to wait. However, I was happy to share and got seated quickly.

Hal Koningsdam dining and food choices: Dutch pea soup, grilled salmon and sushi
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Mealtimes were as follows:

  • Breakfast – 7:30 am to 9 am 
  • Lunch – 12 noon to 1 pm
  • Dinner – 5 pm to 9 pm
  • Afternoon tea – 3 pm on sea days

Dining room breakfast menu

Guests in suites have an exclusive dining room called ‘Club Orange’ on deck 2. However, Club Orange guests received the same menu as other diners. Each day, the menu would feature a unique item to make the venue more exclusive.

The venue looked more upscale, but the glass windows allowed passersby to peer in. Dinner in a fishbowl, anyone?

Overall, I found the service in the dining room excellent. While I cruise with food allergies and my selections were adapted, I’ve added my food choices and reviewed each course here, too. I ate in the dining room for three out of four nights of my itinerary.

Night One

Shrimp habanero cocktail
Shrimp habanero cocktail

I chose the shrimp habanero cocktail as a starter and liked that the galley presented it on a plate instead of a dish. The shrimp were large and came with an addition of citrus slices, which gave the appetizer extra flavor.

Grilled salmon and rice was my entrée of choice. The salmon was firm and perfectly cooked. I liked the smaller portion size, and the vegetables were firm, just the way I like it.

Grilled salmon and rice entree
Grilled salmon and rice

While I passed up dessert, my table companion had cheesecake, which she said was decadent.

Night one starters

Night Two

On the second evening, I picked the shrimp, grapefruit, and citrus aioli with pomegranate and red radish. The shrimp and seafood were the highlight of this cruise, and no matter how they prepared it, it tasted great.

Shrimp and grapefruit starter
Shrimp and grapefruit starter

Pork chop with parsnip puree followed the appetizer. The Brussels sprouts were braised with bacon and tasted terrific. However, the pork chop was a bit tough.

Pork chop with parsnip puree
Pork chop with parsnip puree

Again, I skipped dessert this evening.

Night two mains

Night Three

Being a sea day, this was my only formal night. Holland America has moved away from offering complementary lobster. However, you can purchase filet mignon and a 5 oz lobster tail for just USD 18.

I started with the duck confit, chose the rack of lamb, and finished with panne cotta. The lamb chops were the highlight of the meal. They were so tender and melted in my mouth. 

Rack of lamb entree
Rack of lamb

The panne cotta wasn’t to my liking. 

Gala night menu

While cruises of 7 days have two gala nights, my 4-day mini voyage had one. I’ve included the main dining room menu for the extra gala evening. Do note the menus change depending on the ship’s available ingredients.

Sailing 150 years gala menu

Night Four

I ate at Rudi’s Sel de Mer this evening, the signature seafood restaurant onboard. It’s the most expensive specialty venue, with a fee of USD 55 per person. 

Night four starters            Night four mains

Holland America offers “Culinary Council” cruises where guests can take cooking classes and indulge in food created by elite chefs. I have included a sample Culinary Council menu.

Culinary Council menu

Afternoon Tea

Cupcake afternoon tea tower
Cupcake afternoon tea tower

Holland America served afternoon tea on two sea days. The first day was a regular tea. Cupcake tea followed the next day.

The sandwiches and pastries were pre-arranged on towers, which sped up the service of the afternoon tea. It reminded me of having afternoon tea in a land-based restaurant.

Portions were small, so guests ate and left within 15 to 20 minutes.

Lido Market

Alternatively, the Lido Market provides a casual experience for your three meals. After dinner concludes at 8 pm, the buffet keeps an area open from 10:30 pm to 11:30 pm for late-night snacking. There are no 24-hour venues onboard.

By the entrance to the buffet, I was thrilled by the new state-of-the-art hand washing machines. I put my hands in two holes, and swirling water cleaned my hands like a dishwasher.

I was impressed with the Lido buffet, with four or five stations open on each side. Even when it was busy, service was fast, and lines moved quickly.

Lido Market breakfast
Lido Market breakfast

In the morning, the Roasting Pan had hash browns, bangers, English bacon, scrambled egg, baked beans, grilled tomato, bacon, waffles, and crepes.

Another station featured baked goods, muffins, pastries, English muffins, bread rolls, bagels, and more. You can get smoked salmon and cream cheese to complement your bagel.

The omelet station had congee with condiments, smoked salmon, or a build-your-own omelet.

The Sweet Spot featured a dietary section with gluten-free, lactose-free, and vegan choices. While not all staff were knowledgeable about the ingredients, I could find items that were both gluten and lactose-free.

The lunch and dinner offerings were just as extensive. I was shocked to see fresh sushi on small plates along with other Asian stir fry dishes. The sushi was fresh, and the staff couldn’t make it fast enough. I could get gluten-free soy sauce by asking for it.

Lido Market sushi
Lido Market sushi

I loved that there was a salad section with suggested selections and an option to make your own salads. The Asian salad was delicious and fresh.

Room Service

Room service is free. Complete the order card and hang it outside your door by 2 am. Choose a delivery time between 6 am and 10 am; expect your order to arrive up to 15 minutes before or after.

I ordered breakfast one morning and requested a time of 9 am. My food arrived at my aft veranda stateroom at 9:15 am. 

Breakfast options:

  • Continental: pastries, Greek yogurt, fruit, butter, jam.
  • American: eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns.
  • Frittata: spinach, onions, asparagus, chili, goat cheese.
  • Bagel and Lox: cream cheese, veggies, capers.
  • Passion fruit yogurt: with granola, mango, chia.
  • Juices: Tomato, grapefruit, cranberry, orange, V-8, prune.
  • Beverages: coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milk options, decaf available.
  • Sugars: various sweeteners.
  • Cereal: variety, including gluten-free.
  • A la carte: yogurt, toast, fruit, butter.
  • Fruit: choice of banana, oranges, apples, pear.

Extras for a fee include lobster benedict (USD 12.50), steak and eggs (USD 15), and various drinks.

Grand Dutch Café

Located on deck 3, the Grand Dutch Café offered Dutch favorites such as Maatjes herring, pea soup, Broodje kroket, Bossche bol, Pannrnkoek, and Pofferjes.

The coffee shop usually opens from 7 am to 9 pm on sea days, 11:30 am to 9 pm on embarkation days, and varies on port days. Unlike most cafés where the food is ready-made, gourmet sandwiches are made to order. Place your order, get a number, and take a seat.

Dutch pea soup and pickled herring
Dutch pea soup and pickled herring

The Dutch pea soup was thick and had great flavor. I also tried the pickled herring, which was so good, I could have eaten a double helping.

While the food is included in your cruise fare, it’s an extra cost for specialty coffees, liquor, and beers.

Grand Dutch Café menu

New York Pizza And Deli

Located on deck 10 overlooking the pool, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or a late-night snack from the New York deli. Breakfast consists of various bagels, assorted spreads, and options for smoked salmon and cream cheese.

There are seven deli sandwich choices, six pizzas, two desserts, and an option to build your own fresh pizza. Here, cruise guests can request sandwiches on gluten-free bread. They also offer fresh fruits.

For those with food allergies, this venue can make gluten-free and vegan pizza, which takes 20 minutes.

Movie snacks include:

  • Six flavors of pretzels
  • Buttered popcorn
  • Potato chips
  • Cheese nachos
  • French fries
  • Beef short rib sliders
  • Buffalo chicken wings
  • Korean BBQ fried chicken

Dive-In

Located mid-ship on deck 9, the Dive-In is another option by the pool. It serves burgers, hotdogs, and fries. Choose from seven burgers and three hot dogs, with or without fries.

There’s a chicken burger, a ‘Skinny Dip,’ made with a brown rice burger, and a grilled portabella mushroom option.

Jack Knife Bratwurst sausage with curry ketchup
Jack Knife Bratwurst sausage with curry ketchup

I tried the ‘Jack Knife,’ made with a Bratwurst sausage, curry ketchup, and curry powder sprinkle. It didn’t have quite the flavor as the ones in Germany and needed a bit more curry flavor.

You can get burgers and hotdogs in a gluten-free bun. However, the fries are not gluten-free.

Gelato

Gelato is one of the few venues with a small fee for its sweet treats.

To satisfy the sweet tooth, choose from gelato, sweet treats, and milkshakes. Choose from strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate milkshakes for USD 5.50, and they sometimes offer specialty flavors for an extra dollar.

These change daily and could include Tiramisu, Rocky Road, Nutella Irish Cream, Strawberry Banana Split, and Oreo Cookie.

Expect to spend USD 3 for a 4 oz and USD 4.75 for an 8 oz gelato. Selections include two toppings of your choice, and additional sauces and sprinkles cost 50 cents.

If you prefer ice cream, the Lido Market has a small selection of hard ice cream. You won’t find any soft serve onboard.

Specialty Restaurants

For a mid-shipped vessel, the Koningsdam has many specialty restaurants. Its signature steakhouse, the Pinnacle Grill, serves seven steak options, including a 36 oz Tomahawk bone-in rib eye for two.

This was the only specialty venue offering lunch in addition to dinner. It has an additional charge of USD 46 for dinner and USD 19 for lunch.

Canaletto Italian restaurant

Canaletto, the Italian restaurant, charges USD 25 for dinner. It has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-friendly options. Along with classic pasta dishes, you can add on a lobster tail for an additional USD 15. Then finish your meal with Tiramisu.

While I didn’t try Canaletto, I found its venue odd at one end of the buffet. It almost felt like a pop-up venue.

Tamarind (USD 35 pp) and Nami Sushi (A la carte) offer southeastern Asian and Japanese sushi. You’ll find Nami Sushi inside the Tamarind Pan-Asian restaurant.

Rudi’s Sel de Mer should be your go-to restaurant if you love seafood. It’s the priciest option at USD 55 per person.

On our second day, guests could enjoy a one-time pop-up ‘Seafood boil’ in the Lido Market. At USD 35 pp, I could enjoy Ivar’s Northwest-style clam chowder, crab, salmon, clams, mussels, shrimp, and a triple berry crisp.

Pinnacle Grill

I ate in the Pinnacle Grill for lunch and was blown away by the meal. The lunch menu, service, presentation, and flavors exceeded my expectations. Neighboring diners raved about their choices, which were different from mine.

Pinnacle Grill's Grilled Prawn Bruschetta
Pinnacle Grill’s Grilled Prawn Bruschetta

I started with the grilled prawn bruschetta. Mine was created on gluten-free bread to make it celiac-friendly. I received three large prawns, and the drizzle of balsamic made for a wonderful, tasty fusion.

Apparently, the tomato broth with spicy lemongrass chicken was a huge hit with several other lunch guests. The soup had a real kick if you like spicy food.

Broiled Alaskan king salmon was my entrée choice. Served with wild rice pilaf and spinach, the salmon flaked nicely and had great flavor.

Broiled Alaskan king salmon entree
Broiled Alaskan king salmon entree

Strawberry pavlova with strawberry consommé rounded out my delicious lunch, a fantastic bargain at USD 19.

Rudi’s Sel de Mer

This seafood specialty venue offers an intimate atmosphere on deck 2 near the piazza. The restaurant serves fresh seafood delights created by master chef Rudi Sodamin.

I loved the artistic plates with different designs and the overall ambiance of the venue. French music filled the restaurant, while Parisian paintings adorned the walls.

The menu was extensive, and everything on it looked appealing. My meal began with a complementary small portion of smoked salmon, which was moist and flavorful.

Since I’m celiac, I received gluten-free bread instead of a French baguette and a tasty selection of tapenades. Olives, pesto, roasted red pepper, and anchovies were some of the choices.

Trio of Seafood appetizer
Trio of Seafood appetizer

For my starter, I chose the Trio of Seafood. The portion of king crab, shrimp, and tuna was so large it could have been an entree for some. The king crab and tuna were the highlights of this appetizer.

I followed with the grilled seafood platter. It was beautifully presented with a hanging lobster over a plate of salmon, large shrimp, and jumbo scallops with a few vegetables. My entrée was perfectly cooked and probably the best seafood I’ve ever tasted.

Grilled seafood platter with hanging lobster
Grilled seafood platter with hanging lobster

My entrée was accompanied with pommes frites and haricots verts, which was far too much food. Apple crumble and sorbet completed my meal.

Rudi’s Sel de Mer is a must if you love seafood. The culinary experience and flavors exceeded my expectations, and I can’t wait to dine there again.

Wrap It Up

While this Holland America dining review covers the food on the Koningsdam, you’ll receive a similar experience on the Nieuw Statendam and Rotterdam, their other Pinnacle-class vessels.

Overall, the food quality was exceptional, although the dessert selection lacked inspiration. 

Holland America specialty restaurants were some of the best I’ve enjoyed, and I recommend booking one of their culinary cruises just for great food.

Dining room, Dutch pea soup and sushi on Holland America Koningsdam