Stern's Guide to the Greatest Resorts of the World, Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation, Stern's Guide to European Riverboats and Hotel Barges, and The Indispensable Guide to Foreign Words and Phrases--by Steven B. Stern (Sponsored by Stern's Travel Guides, Ltd.)
do we hear friends say that if they go on a cruise, they will eat too much.
This is probably true. What makes it worse is that much cruise food is not
worth gaining weight over.
are exceptions, and the fact that one can enjoy great dining on a cruise ship
is certainly true on HollandAmerica's Konigsdam
room meals on medium-size and large, non
luxury-class, ships tend to be
institutional with many courses, impersonal service and items that generally do
not live up to their expectation.
Offerings are generally plentiful; however frequently disappointing.
When evaluating the experience, the question guests should ask themselves is:
"would I visit this restaurant if it was in my home town."
Konigsdam features five outstanding
specialty restaurants, as well as, a main dining room that is far above
average. To encourage guests to try the specialty restaurants, the ship offers
several dining packages where a combination of the various venues is offered at
a discounted price. Wine packages are also available.
On our ten
day cruise, we had the opportunity to sample all of the dining venues.
Following an amuse bouche, guests can choose from nine items for their appetizer, including lobster
bisque, shrimp cocktail, steak tartare, Caesar salad, crab cake, or ossertra
malossal caviar (for an additional $45 supplement).
main course choices range from fish and seafood entries such as Alaskan king
salmon, cedar planked halibut, Alaskan king crab legs and lobster tail ($20 supplement) to grilled Colorado
lamb chops, double-cut pork chops, wild mushroom ravioli and six cuts of steak
varying from 7 to 23 ounces. There are eight attractive sides to choose from,
and all steaks are served with your choice of hand-crafted sauces.
cruises, the Grill plays host to guest Michelin-starred restaurants such as Le
Cirque and De Librije. Having attended one such gourmet event, I can attest to
the fact that it is one of the best meals you will have on a ship.
advised to select two appetizers, a selection from the sushi menu, a main
course from a variety of dishes labeled "Water", "Wood",
"Fire" and "Earth". a side dish and a dessert.
"Water" entries include Asian
style fish and ginger and garlic wok-
seared lobster; "Wood"
describes such dishes as wasabi
and soy crusted beef tenderloin,
Taiwanese braised pork belly and Korean duck breast; "Fire" indicates
spicy entries such as Thai basil Szechuan shrimp, Penang
red curry coconut chicken and Vietnamese-style lamb; and "Earth"
describes Asian vegetable and noodle creations. It
is possible to sit at the sushi bar
located inside the restaurant.
CULINARY ARTSCENTER ($20 or $39 with unlimited wine)
is a show kitchen offering cooking lessons on certain days. In the evening the
venue converts to a dining room with the open kitchen as its centerpiece. The
head chef prepares each dish before the diners who can come up and watch before
each dish is served. The fare is a farm to table concept with emphasis on
vegetarian and organic dishes. There is only one sitting at . Each evening there is an amuse bouche, a salad,
a pasta, a choice of a main course (
fish, meat or vegetarian) and a choice of dessert or cheese, various teas and
petits fours. It is a casual atmosphere and diners can visit with each other
evening a section of the Lido Market restaurant
is sectioned off and converted into a charming Italian trattoria. It is
recommended that two people order two small plates, one pasta , one large plate
and two desserts. Small plates include antipasto, zuppa di pesce, beef carpaccio,
and several salads. Pasta dishes range from spaghetti with sea food, pomodoro
or bolognese to shrimp ravioli, potato gnocchi
and rigatoni with sausage, olives and spicy tomato sauce. Vitello al
forno, chicken cacciatore al forno, costolette di agnello, grilled sea bass and
portobello mushrooms make up the list of large plates. The dessert list
includes "to die for" Tiramisu, as well as a lemon torte, cannoli and
THE DINING ROOM
to the above specialty restaurants, there are several no fee dining venues
available to the passengers, chief among which is the elegantly designed and
furnished two-level dining room. We found the room considerably brighter and
more ambient than the main dining rooms on most other ships. Tables can
accommodate from two to eight. The
chairs are of a soft leather and were
very comfortable. Guests can choose among two assigned-table dining times on the upper level, or they can opt for
"anytime dining" on the lower level
dining at such time and with whoever and wherever they choose.
changes each evening and consists of
appetizers, soups, salads, seven main courses ( at least one meat, fowl, seafood, fish and
vegetarian entry), and several desserts. Many of the items that appear in the
specialty restaurants appear on the menu each evening. The desserts are
imaginative and outstanding (with a deference to chocoholics) . On various
evenings we were offered lobster tail, steak au poivre, prime rib, rack of lamb
and other desired items. On any evening, Caesar salad, New
York strip sirloin, grilled salmon and broiled
chicken are available alternatives.
outstanding for a large dining room and the overall experience was so good that
many guests saw no reason to try out the specialty restaurants. (However, I
think that would be a mistake since all of these venues were a bargain compared
to similar restaurants ashore).
to the main dining room and specialty restaurants, passengers can opt for
several self-service venues. The Lido Market is the ship's major buffet
restaurant opened from until
To avoid long lines, the
food presentations are divided into five theme stations. To assure good
hygiene, guests are encouraged to wash their hands at hand washing stations. In
addition you cannot help yourself to food. The food stations are behind glass
and you have to ask to be served. This is an attractive area that leads out to
the lido pool with outdoor seating. Drinks are served at the table and the
servers are attentive, unlike the buffet areas on many ships. We found the large variety of selections to
be quite good, especially the bakery products. In the morning, omelets and
other egg dishes were made to order and the trays with other items were