Holland America Line's MS Koningsdam Hits High Notes

18 May 2016

Music is at the heart of Holland America Line’s new ship – the luxurious MS Koningsdam. The ship offers a rare blend of sophistication combined with those classic Holland America Line touches of elegance and the most modern technological devices on the market.

It is the newest ship on the water and already critics are saying that it will change the way we cruise for decades to come. Launched in Italy last month, the ship's design, which focuses on fluid curves and light-filled public spaces, is a tribute to the architecture of music and the instruments of the orchestra. Even the soaring, three-deck atrium – one of the design highlights – with its glistening skylight and stainless steel structure looks like the instruments that form a string quartet.

 The MS Koningsdam rises above the moored gondolas in Venice. The MS Koningsdam in Venice. Picture: HAL

“The idea was to tell a story that guests can connect with throughout their voyage,” said Adam D. Tihany, who is one of the world’s pre-eminent hospitality designers.

“I was inspired by the thought of what you might see from the inside of a musical instrument, what the architecture of the surfaces and the geometry look like. The design isn’t a literal translation of music but a conceptual approach where we seek to evoke the feeling and beauty of an instrument with graceful lines, dramatic textures, lighting effects and use of materials. My inspirations were not only instruments but also majestic spaces and exaggerating the feeling of height, so guests feel the grandeur of every room.”


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The music influences are not just to look at, though. Thanks to a partnership with the Lincoln Music Center in New York, lovers of music can indulge their senses in an internationally acclaimed blues club and a classical music salon. The B.B. King Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge has artists direct from Beale Street and the sound is always smooth and soulful.

The 285-metre, 12-deck ship at capacity can hold 3,194 passengers and 1,025 crew. At 99,500 gross tonnes she is the largest Holland America ship of the new Pinnacle Class. The ship cost about $A710 million to build and the name 'Koning' or King is in honour of HM Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

 A family room on Holland America Line's MS Koningsdam affords a view of the ocean. Bring your family on the MS Koningsdam. Picture: HAL

The ship is very much true to HAL traditions, with teak promenades and the ever-present Culinary Arts Centre. In a nice touch, the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy (where she was built), presented MS Koningsdam’s Captain Emiel de Vries with a bottle containing the first water that touched her hull. The new Pinnacle Class ship sailed from the shipyard on April 3 this year and welcomed its first cruise guests on April 8.

“The official handover ceremony was a celebration of the years of planning and hard work that went into building our gorgeous new ship and a chance to honour all those who made this day possible,” Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, said. “We look forward to beginning work soon on our second Pinnacle Class ship scheduled for delivery in late 2018.”

The ship will be based in Amsterdam, sailing mainly around the Baltic, British Isles and Northern Europe until November, when she will relocate across the Atlantic Ocean to Fort Lauderdale to undertake mainly seven, 10 and 11-night Caribbean voyages.

Wine barrels line the walls at BLEND, where you can create your own drop on board Holland America Line's MS Koningsdam. Create your own drop at BLEND. Picture: HAL

When it comes to dining, HAL excels and it truly deserves its reputation as one of the leading cruise companies in the world when it comes to cuisine. Of course, there’s the high-class Pinnacle Grill, boasting its North West cuisine served on Bulgari white china.

The main two-deck dining area is light, open and spacious and comes with an innovative wine tower and arguably one of the best wine selections at sea. When it comes to wine, guests can also create their own drop at BLEND, where passengers can blend their own one-of-a-kind wine, which they can enjoy at dinner.

MS Koningsdam also is setting the pace in accommodation, with staterooms offering bedside USB ports, whirlpool baths and private verandas. The Family Stateroom – a first for HAL – can sleep up to five people.


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Brian Crisp

I've has been a journalist for more than 30 years and travelled to more than 60 countries. When I travel I love getting lost because that's when you find the true heart of a city. I love country music, but as yet I haven't made it to Nashville. Perhaps next year!