Our experience of holidays on a ship is very limited. We’ve only done one, and that was in the Caribbean. We’d looked at heading over to Amsterdam with DFDs Seaways last year but never got around to organising it. Then when it came to booking the mini-break to Amsterdam this year we booked flights instead of the ferry. Mainly as we didn’t know what to expect and the term ferry sounds more transport than holiday experience. If only we’d had a chance to see what was onboard before we booked up!
Onboard the King Seaways
As part of a restaurant and menu overhaul, we had been invited onboard to experience the brand new menu in the Explorer’s Kitchen. Our opportunity started with check-in at 11:00am. We had until 2:00pm to sample food and explore the ferry.
Our first destination on board the King Seaways was straight to the Explorer’s Kitchen. The all you care to eat buffet offers food from all over the globe.
Walking in the restaurant, the seating is set around the windows, with the food station set in the center on the ship. Don’t ask me why, but I honestly didn’t expect the food to be set out like it was. That’s not a bad thing though. The set up of food stations was pretty standard, but the presentation of the food was comparable to our other cruise ship experience.
The presentation is everything in my book. Even more so on a buffet, where people are dipping in and scooping sections out.
Between the family, we sampled most dishes. These Duck Rillettes with Pickled onion pots were impressive to look at so I tried it out. I’m not sure what a Duck’s Rillettes is or where it’s located, but it tasted good. (I’ve googled it since and it’s a meat-based paté).
As you can imagine on a menu sampling there was a mass descendant of hungry guests. We had roughly 5 minutes to photograph the food bay before everyone started to help themselves. This is where the staff excelled by being super attentive and replenishing the food.
Instead of the trays and bowls looking bare, they were constantly being replenished. We noticed that even as we were leaving the restaurant, the buffet looked like we’d never arrived!
It’s hard making All you care to eat buffet food look good on a plate. When you start off thinking salad, then step into pizza, pass the chips and top it off with a bit of curry.
Catherine did a good job with the soup and focaccia. Which she absolutely loved.
The Chips, Terriaki Beef, breaded Ship and Duck fried rice combo, looked a little more thrown together though. We were here to try taste the food not look at guests presentation of it though! Catherine kept trying to make me eat fork fulls. “Mmm, This is lush try this!”
My selection was a spicy hot dog, corn macaroni cheese, and some spicy fries. Followed by a bit of… everything. It all tasted fresh and was very tasty. I think I was expecting the standard, un-inspiring food you usually find at buffets. Instead, everything had little twist and time had been taken to pay attention to the detail.
But where was the kid’s food section?
We were given a quick presentation by the chef de cuisine about their new menu. Instead of separating off the kid’s food in their own section. Their approach saw that their favourites were integrated with the other stations. For example, the pizza was within the Italian food area, Angus burgers were in the American section etc.
Exploring the Ship
After our meal, we were invited to have a walk around the ship and see what a couple of the cabins looked like.
Abigail grabbed our camera an insisted on being the chief photographer. Luckily we had a second camera as her abstract photo style was… interesting!
Starting at the rear of the ship we got a view toward the mouth of the Tyne.
Further around we found the lifeboats.
At the front of the ship is a viewing deck and ORCA Wildlife viewing Lounge. Here you could see details about the types of wildlife you could see on a crossing. Porpoises and Minke whale were frequent spots.
At selected times there was also talks about the marine life that has been spotted. Obviously, if the weather was good you could go outside to watch the sea on the outside deck.
We walked passed the onboard cinema, which had up to date films on show, although this is a pay extra option.
Next up we went to the nightclub area. I can imagine when the journey is underway that this would be a busy location. Easy seating and a huge bar.
This is where Abigail really got into her element photographing… everything!
This is her photo.
The King Seaways Cabins
Cabins on a ship are always compact. Space is truly a luxury and we knew this. This is a standard inside cabin for 2 people. One fixed single bed, with a fold out single bed on the wall to create a pair of bunk beds. There is a private bathroom to the left of the photo too. This was everything I expected a cabin on the DFDS Ferry to look like.
But then we were shown a Premium Commodore cabin.
These had more space and a brighter interior decor. The room had a dressing table and wardrobe. One of the big obvious differences was a double bed. Also as this was an outside cabin, there was a sea view.
Photo was taken by Katie Jane Online
DFDS Seaways Crossing to Amsterdam
We had a fun couple of hours onboard and if we hadn’t already booked flights to get to Amsterdam this year, we would have happily booked a cabin on the ship.
There is a crossing leaving North Shields daily at around 5 pm, arriving in Amsterdam for the morning. Although the crossing is relatively short, there is enough onboard to occupy yourself and make an event of the transport. We can now confirm that the food is good and worth £18 for an Adult and £13.50 for a child (if pre-booked).
The kids are now asking when we’re going back onboard!