Travel Blog 2019
In 2019 we took our longest trip to date.
We flew to Rome, then boarded the Holland America Koningsdam, their newest ship.
Then we headed out on our adventure.
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The trip is branded 20 Night Mediterranean Legends & Ancient Empires.
- Day 1: At Sea
- Day 2: Dubrovnik Croatia
- Day 3: Kotor Montenegro
- Day 4: Split Croatia
- Day 5: Korcula Island Croatia
- Day 6: Corfu Greece
- Day 7: Catania Sicily
- Day 8: At Sea
- Day 9: Rome, Italy
- Day 10: At Sea
- Day 11: Katakolon Greece (Olympia)
- Day 12: Athens, Greece
- Day 13: Athens, Greece
- Day 14: Mykonos, Greece
- Day 15: Kusadasi, Turkey (Ephesus)
- Day 16: Rhodes, Greece
- Day 17: Santorini, Greece (actually Chania due to weather)
- Day 18: At Sea
- Day 19: Naples, Italy
- Day 20: Rome and Home
Here’s a map of our modified route and all our destinations in red:
Let’s start at the beginning. That would be in May 2018 when my bride booked this amazing cruise on Holland America via Priceline. As has become her tactic in recent years, she books a cabin based on a certain level. In this case it was Level F as I recall. The strategy here is that we won’t get anything less than an outside cabin with a window. If we’re lucky we can be upgraded for a lot less than the regular price of a veranda. In the last week before sailing she called Priceline. She had been keeping her finger on the pulse of the bookings for some time and there were still vacant veranda rooms. So once she got an agent on the phone, she said “I can’t stand it anymore. Can you get an us upgrade?” As it turns out they could. They got us a free upgrade to a veranda stateroom on deck 4. Cabin 4041, which turned out to be a great location too. It was described as “partially obstructed view” which we figured would be just fine.
The Koningsdam is Holland America’s newest ship at the time of our sailing. One of the universal comments by everyone was that the shower was amazing. That is for absolutely certain. The shower in our room was about a foot shorter and narrower than what we have at home and the water pressure was astounding. We’ve been on more than one cruise where you could barely turn around in one of those corner showers. A phone booth seems spacious by comparison. Both the bathroom mirror and the desk / makeup table mirror are designed with a transparent strip around the outside perimeter that is backlighted. This is a brilliant (literally and figuratively) design in that there are no bulky light fixtures to detract from a sleek, clean effect.
As with most cruises, this one is comprised of several legs.
The first leg left Fort Lauderdale, Florida as a repositioning cruise across the Atlantic, eventually arriving in Rome.
The second leg was Rome through Croatia, Montenegro, Corfu and Catania and back to Rome.
The third leg was Rome to Katakolon Greece, Kusadasi Turkey, Rhodes, Santorini (not for us due to weather), Naples, then back to Rome.
The fourth leg was from Rome to Spain but we got off in Rome so we did the 2nd and 3rd legs of the Koningsdam’s trip this time.
We had lots of Australians and Canadians on the cruise which was fun. We generally get along well with people from both of these countries and we had a great time.
Our approach to exploring is to find people we like to spend time with, get off the ship in port and find someone willing to drive us all to where we want on our own schedule. Then we all split the cost. The reason we do this is very simply that we do not herd well. We hate buses. We are not fond of waiting around for Mildred to get get back to the bus because she decided to buy a postcard and somehow that took 45 minutes. Or Marilyn decided to have lunch at the last minute, holding up departure for over a half hour (this actually happened in 2003). So we don’t do buses.
Ever been on a hop-on-hop-off bus?
Here’s a random thought I had just recently as we plan another cruise. This time we are thinking about another river cruise. Something we’ve only done once before and LOVED. How about this idea Viking? A Hop-On-Hop-Off river cruise. It would work like this.
You board ship in the first port. Then you have the option all the way along the itinerary of getting off the ship at any port with a backpack or carry-on with just your essentials and a change of clothes. At that point you can take land transportation while exploring wherever you want – and meet the ship again at whichever port downstream you want. You can spend the night in a hotel or B&B, explore the countryside – then take a train or taxi or bus to the next port where you can catch up with the ship – then get back on and continue the cruise. Or repeat this same approach at yet another port.
This combines the best of both boat and land tours in one without having the hassle of schlepping ALL your luggage from point to point, unpacking, repacking, dragging luggage around, etc.
What do you think?
June 7, 2019: I’m still working on this so stay tuned for updates.
Holland America Koningsdam Review
Overall we loved the ship. Generally speaking the service and food were great.
I will elaborate as I collect my thoughts and transcribe them.
Our only real complaint regarding the ship is the entertainment.
- The dueling pianos in the Billboard Onboard venue is the bottom feeder of the entertainment. I don’t know who had this idea, but have them poll the passengers before making another decision like this. The original Piano Bar concept is far better and Barry from Boston is the best entertainment we’ve ever seen on a ship. You should get him back and assign this 2 piano concept to the recycle bin.
- The BB King venue is very good. We first encountered this concept on our last cruise and really liked it. I think the lineup we had for the Hawaii cruise was better than the one on this trip though. Still, not bad at all. Just not spectacular.
- Now we come to the Rolling Stone venue. Not Rolling StoneS. Rolling Stone as in the magazine brand. This is a rock and roll band and they are very good. Overall the best entertainment on the ship. The sheer energy they bring to the stage is absolutely exceptional. They get people up and dancing and interact well with the audience. They really SELL it.
In deciding how to share all the amazing things we discovered on this adventure, compilation videos seemed to make the most sense. The trip is broken down into regional segments to make it more manageable. I’m working on a Seascapes video and one of us and the ship as well. I shot a lot of video of the Koningsdam and will compile it into a video review when I’m done editing the footage and stills.
My YouTube Channel will have all of these when I’m done. The Travel and World History playlists will have all of these videos.
Please, like, share, comment and SUBSCRIBE to my channel. When I reach 100 subscribers I can apply for a unique custom URL, which will make everything easier.
The current lineup is:
Kusadasi and Ephesus
Italy, Sicily and the Amalfi Coast
Croatia and Montenegro
The Amazing Country of Greece
Videos related to the Holland America Koningsdam
This is the Koningsdam Channel
All of the ship review videos can be found in this channel.
Here are the individual videos:
Lido Deck 9 Dining and Pool Areas
Lido Deck 9 Gym and Spa Areas
Deck 12 Crows Nest and Explorations Cafe
There are more in the works