Culinary Arts CenterWhen Holland America Line’s new Koningsdam enters service next March she will have some familiar and some new dining venues and eateries, Michael Smith, senior vice president, guest experience and product development, told Cruise Industry News. “It comes down to offering our guests more choices,” he said.

Among the new venues will be Sel de Mer (salt of the sea), a French brasserie, serving a classic selection of French seafood – with a “contemporary twist” – from fresh oysters, to chowder, salt-crusted whole fish and bouillabaisse.

The 44-seat restaurant will serve fresh dishes à la carte and prepared à la minute, which Smith described as mid-priced.

Also new will be the Grand Dutch Café, overlooking the atrium, reflecting the cruise line’s heritage and serving Dutch specialties. Foods will be complimentary; guests will only pay for specialty coffees and other beverages.

The Culinary Arts Center, a concept that was first introduced by Holland America, will convert into a 78-seat restaurant at night called Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center. With a show kitchen and individual cooking stations, during the day the center will be used for cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes.

The Koningsdam will also feature Holland America’s other alternative restaurants that carry a cover charge. The Pinnacle Grill will highlight Northwest cuts of beef and seafood dishes; Tamarind, Asian fusion; and Canaletto, Italian dishes.

“Canaletto will have a dedicated and distinct space in the Lido area,” said Smith, “and look like an upscale Italian restaurant. We are rolling the (revised) concept out on the other ships.”

In the main dining room Smith expects more passengers to opt for As You Wish Dining, while number of tables will be made available for traditional seating.

The Lido has been reimagined with themed food stations and will have a bakery serving fresh breads and pastries.

Other venues include the traditional grill by the pool, which with extended hours, becomes a casual dinner option as well.

There will also be the New York Deli and Pizza serving individual nine-inch personal pan pizzas made to order in addition to Italian desserts. That concept, too, was being tested on other ships.

And there will be complimentary room service, and guests can order à la carte from the Pinnacle and Tamarind menus. “It enhances our room service choices,” Smith commented.

So what will it take to deliver? “It takes a dedicated team, working with (Master Chef) Rudi (Sodamin),” Smith answered. “And it comes down to being able to offer guests choices and the best and freshest products we can source. We are partnering with Carnival Global Sourcing, enabling us to find the best purveyors and benefiting from being able to leverage the scale of the Carnival Corporation.” Meanwhile, for the Koningsdam, under construction at Fincantieri, there is staff training underway, such as preparing a whole fish under salt for the Sel de Mer brasserie.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Summer 2015