Stepping off the plane in Malta, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I’m new to cruising and only started my position at Bolsover Cruise Club in January so have very little experience and knowledge of why so many people choose to cruise each year. From social media and the adverts I had seen on TV, I had believed that cruising was for the older generation and it never struck me as something I would ever do in my 20s. I was lucky enough to be able to go to the CLIA Cruise360 conference in Malta which allowed me to view two beautiful ships; Holland America’s Koningsdam and, new kid on the block, Celebrity Edge.
Pulling up to the cruise port in Valletta, Koningsdam was there in all her glory and the sun was shining. When seeing a cruise ship, I always feel taken back by the beauty and sheer size of them; on photos you never get a full sense of just how big the ships are.
Once on board, I got a real sense of atmosphere walking around Koningsdam, the décor was classic and elegant and had some of the most incredible art work you could spend hours admiring.
Our first stop was the Lido pool, it seemed a very quiet and relaxing place to spend your day with your feet up and a cocktail in hand. There were plenty of sunbeds to go round and the hydropool seemed a popular spot for guests, looking as it did, like a huge bath tub! I could imagine myself spending sea days here reading a book.
Next up was a trip to Billboard Onboard which was a very pleasant surprise. Here we sat back and were entertained by two very talented pianists singing songs that all generations loved. I imagine this bar would be very popular with guests in the evening as the pianists got everybody singing and involved which was great fun. After a singsong and a few VERY strong drinks, we headed for a three-course lunch in the Pinnacle Grill. On our way, we stopped off for a quick tour of the buffet.
The buffet on Koningsdam was one of the biggest I’ve seen, every food you could imagine was there and it really did smell, and look amazing, we were all wishing we could get a plate and dig in, but the best was yet to come.
The service was second to none whilst dining in the Pinnacle Grill, I believe the staff really made my experience onboard fantastic and nothing was ever too much to ask. I had crab fishcakes to start which was followed by mac and cheese and chocolate souffle, all presented beautifully. It was divine. Once finished with our lunch, we took one last look around of the magnificent Koningsdam and with tummies full, we disembarked.
Whilst the atmosphere, interior and staff were all brilliant I did get a feeling that this ship was made for people who love classic cruising, and for somebody my age, it would be a perfect holiday to go on with older family members. The ship had children’s facilities and clubs which looked great for younger children and there was something to do for all different ages.
And so to Celebrity Edge the following day. We again pulled up to Valletta Cruise Port but today we didn’t have the lovely sunshine! Nonetheless Celebrity Edge looked mesmerizing and I was excited for what was to come.
Food on Celebrity Edge
The modern luxury of this ship was something I’d never seen before, and everything caught my eye. The attention to detail was outstanding and the decoration is everything I thought it would be and more. With our tummies rumbling we headed to the buffet first and grabbed a plate. The food looked and smelt lovely and there was so much to choose from that I didn’t know where to start.
I sat down happy with the curry I had chosen, and it did not disappoint. Whilst I normally find buffet food pretty bland, the food surprised me with good flavors and quality.
The Rooftop Garden
Once we had eaten, we started the ship tour and I was very excited. We headed up to the Rooftop Garden, and although the weather wasn’t great, I just wanted to grab a blanket and watch the film showing on the big screen, one of my favorites; Dirty Dancing.
The Rooftop Garden was perfect for relaxing and socializing and could be used any time of day, with live singers, films and rooftop BBQ’s I could imagine myself using this beautiful area most days and it was definitely my favorite place on the ship.
After walking away from my idea of paradise, we visited the pool which was very spacious and tranquil. We headed inside and saw all the different restaurants on board. One restaurant that I would love to try was Le Petit Chef. This restaurant would be great for children and adults of all ages as your table is brought to life with little animated characters who prepare your meal before you are served the actual dishes. It was fascinating and unlike anything I’d ever seen.
We then visited Eden which was so peaceful and beautiful, with floor to ceiling windows and a lot of greenery it would be the perfect place to relax with a G&T and a book. We were told that in the evening Eden is brought to life with magical performances. We then headed off to have quick view of the casino and a cheeky peek into Celebrity Edge’s theatre where we got to see performers rehearsing for that evening’s show!
After the theatre, we left the ship with a heavy heart. Celebrity Edge took my breath away and the clientele for this ship felt quite different to Koningsdam. From young couples and families, to the older generation, I believe this ship would be suitable for everybody.
I can honestly say my entire perception of cruise holidays has changed over the last few months. Cruising gives you the chance to see different cities and countries all in relaxing luxury and comfort.
Whilst both ships that I visited are completely different I would just like to say that the service and food throughout both visits were impeccable. The facilities on board were to a very high standard and everything you need is taken care of without having to ask twice. I think that whatever age you are you will be able to find a cruise/cruise line that suits you and your needs, there are so many out there that you really are spoilt for choice. My whole perception of ‘cruising being for the older generation’ is gone and I would now take a cruise holiday every year!